2020 was a tricky year but Audi did well to roll out a slew of launches which included the Q8, RSQ8, RS7 Sportback, A8L and its last launch was the Q2, which serves as the entry-point for customers buying into the four-ring brand. And building on its launches from last year, the company decided to start 2021 with the proverbial bang in form of the new Audi A4 facelift. Audi has already begun manufacturing the car at its plant in Aurangabad and the bookings for the luxury sedan are now open too. We got an opportunity to spend some time with the new A4 sedan and test it.
Watch Our 2021 Audi A4 Review
Also Read: 2021 Audi A4 Facelift Launch Date Revealed
Starting off with the design, it is clear that the A4 facelift is a handsome car. The front end is completely revised, with a newly designed bumper that looks sexier and the signature single-frame grille becomes wider, offering an aggressive look. The LED headlights too are completely new and the LED daytime running lights get a new pattern, differentiating it from the previous model.
View it in profile and you see that the car is slightly sportier, with all the edges and creases which culminate into the sporty rear section, with re-designed LED taillights, a new bumper and the strip of chrome joining the lights. The overall sporty design is accentuated by the dual tailpipes. The only thing that could have been better is the design of the 17-inch alloys. They look pale in comparison to the overall look of the car.
Along with the exterior, the new A4 gets few updates to the interior too. And the party piece is the new 10.1-inch MMI screen. Yes, it is an all-new unit and of course it does get smartphone connectivity in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The feel is very tactile, it offers a capacitive touch and it is very easy to use. Apart from that there is a row of buttons and the AC controls right below the vents, which feel good to hold and operate. Overall, the fit and finish inside the car is very premium and is in line with what you would expect from a car in this segment.
The new A4 gets a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine under the hood which makes 187 bhp and 320 Nm of peak torque. The motor is paired to a 7-speed S-tronic gearbox. With the new A4 as well, Audi continues with its no-diesel policy, at least for the foreseeable future. A lack of diesel engine option may dissuade potential customers. One also gets five types of setup for the car which can be engaged via the Audi Drive Select buttons. The driver can choose from efficiency, comfort, dynamic, auto and an individual setup. The feel of the steering and the engine characteristics vary depending on the setup that is selected.
The new A4 definitely offers a shove of torque in the mid-range. The engine itself is refined and yet is sporty enough to make your driving experience happy. Give it the beans and the car does feel that it can do the 0-100 kmph sprint in just 7.3 seconds, well, that's what Audi claims! But no, the engine is fun and it is engaging, more importantly, because the 7-speed gearbox is a joy. It is precise and offers smooth shifts.
The steering does not wow you in terms of feedback and a little livelier unit could have added to the sporty feel but then, it does the job well, is light and convenient at low speeds and weighs up nicely as you increase the speed. The A4 may not feel as engaging as the 3 Series when you chuck it into a corner but then it does the job well. In terms of ride quality on the car it feels slightly stiff, but the likeable types. It will keep you comfortable over broken patches of tarmac unless you hit one at high speed.
Tech and Safety
The overall design of the dashboard does not change drastically. Even the single file of AC vents stays the same as before. Audi will launch the new A4 in two trims which are premium plus and technology. The premium plus variant gets an 8.8-inch MMI touchscreen while the technology variant will have the bigger 10.1-inch MMI Plus that brings MMI navigation. The premium plus misses out on the Audi virtual cockpit and wireless charging while the technology trim gets both these features. Both trims get features like ambient lighting and sunroof. In terms of safety, the new A4 gets 8 airbags along with ABS as standard. The top-spec technology trim also gets auto park assist as standard fitment.
The launch of the new Audi A4 is just around the corner and we expect the prices to start at about ₹ 42 lakh to ₹ 45 lakh or so. The A4 will go up against its German counterparts in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the BMW 3 Series. Plus, the 2021 Volvo S60 will be launched in March 2021 as well.
The A4 facelift continues to be a comfortable and a spacious sedan with enough room for 4 people. The upholstery looks and feels premium and the rear seat offers good amount of headroom and knee room should you be one of those who spend more time at the rear. The new Audi A4 does look good and with the equipment on offer, it can do a number on the Volvo S60. It strikes a balance between performance and comfort although it will be interesting to see how this car matches up to its rivals in the real world. For now, the Audi A4 facelift does impress! The A4 is the car which shaped Audi's brand identity in India and it will continue to be an important car for the company in our market.