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Among executive luxury sedans, the 2-litre diesels are the number churners. You have the option of a petrol engine too but with high refinement levels and good fuel efficiency of the diesels, the latter appeals to the logical luxury car buyer. After all, these are cars driven over long distances and are daily drivers, either by the owner or the chauffeur. Only Mercedes and BMW had them but now Audi is in the market with its 2-litre TDI. While Ingolstadt is late to the party, it’s here now so let’s take a look at it.
The A4 is a fresh car since it was launched in the second half of 2016, but few would have gotten their hands on it. It was launched only as a petrol car last year as Audi was getting the diesel A4 reconfigured to suit our fuel quality. Now that that has been done, the diesel A4 is in the market and that’s the car you see in these pictures. It’s the 2-litre TDI, standard fare for the segment and comes with 187bhp of power and 400Nm of torque, which again is par for the course. Rest of it stays the same – front wheel driven, similar equipment levels and as sharp as ever.
Fun to drive?
Between the petrol and the diesel, this one’s the better performer. It’s faster to 100kmph, which comes in 7.7 seconds and has a higher top speed of 237kmph. The petrol maxes out at 210kmph and does 0-100kmph in 8.5 seconds. Numbers aside, what’s instantly likeable are the refinement levels. It is so quiet at 3000rpm that you could mistake it for a petrol car. Once the engine gets past its turbo lag phase of about 1700rpm, the acceleration is strong and smooth all the way past 4,000rpm if you are giving it the beans. It is mostly not required though since it has a strong midrange and a tug of the paddle through a few gears will build a good pace well past the 140kmph mark. That’s what the A4 is built for – high speed highway cruising. It feels rock solid at speeds, the electrically assisted steering makes light work of traffic and the ride quality at slow and fast speeds strikes a good balance. The brakes are strong and since it is a much lighter car, 120kg less than its predecessor, the nose doesn’t feel as heavy now. My memories of the old A4 may be fading, but it never felt so nimble. It was always a comfortable sedan, but when the road demanded of its dynamic abilities, you always craved for a car you could flick around with more enthusiasm. This new A4 feels like Audi has finally delivered that. Don’t expect it to be as much of an engaging drive as a 3 Series or a C-Class since their rear-driven wheels make them more of a driver’s car, but all round, there’s little to complain about the new A4.
It has Audi’s drive select modes to alter the steering and engine characteristics. Unless you are in a hurry, it’s best to keep the engine in comfort mode because at part throttle with the turbo lag and uncertain shifts, the A4 won’t feel smooth. The inherent strength of the A4 is its smoothness, so give the car its right setting according to your driving style and you will be rewarded with an excellent mile muncher. For speed, get the engine and steering in dynamic and go for it, or just go to the individual setting and shift the engine to comfort mode and leave the steering in dynamic. That extra bit of lightness of the steering in comfort is never needed.
Easy on the wallet?
On the efficiency front, 18.25kmpl is the ARAI certified figure the 35 TDI A4 comes with. For a strong 2-litre diesel, anything more than a real world efficiency of 10kmpl is good and even while driving it with a heavy foot, the on-board computer showed up 11kmpl on the virtual cockpit.
Four cars in the segment take on the A4 – the C-Class, 3 Series, XE and S60. The S60 is a bit long in the tooth now and on space and equipment levels, the rest of the field is much ahead. The XE doesn’t have a diesel engine yet so the A4 goes up against the C-Class and the 3 Series. Prices start from Rs 40.2 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi for the A4 diesel, which is about as much as a C-Class and a similarly equipped 320d.
evo India rating: 4/5