New Audi A4 to gain ‘mild hybrid’ diesels
Audi’s heavily updated A4 line-up will offer richer connectivity and new ‘mild hybrid’ petrol and diesel engines, the carmaker has confirmed, with ordering due to start within weeks.
The UK is Europe’s second-largest market for the A4, and half are sold to businesses – a core product despite the Q5 and A5 Sportback gaining popularity in fleet. Launched four years ago, this mid-cycle update changes every exterior panel except for the bonnet, roof and tailgate, and introduces all-LED lighting with animated lock and unlock graphics, all bringing it in line with the larger A6.
Audi is offering a similar line-up to the outgoing car. UK sales are split almost equally between the saloon and ‘Avant’ estates (including the Allroad), with high demand for the sports-styled S line version. It’s this and the near-identically styled S4 that get the biggest visual updates, including new colour-contrasted bumper air intakes and three inlets above the grille, like the A1 – a nod to the Audi Sport Quattro rally car of the 1980s.
Connectivity was a focus across the range. Updated models feature a new touchscreen infotainment system, instead of the outgoing car’s rotary controller, which responds to ‘natural’ phrases for search terms and voice commands. Where available, the system can receive live information about hazards ahead and traffic light sequencing – the latter will suggest an average speed to match the next green light, designed to promote smoother driving. Audi will also offer a smartphone app to allow keyless access and starting.
From launch, the A4 will be available with three ‘mild hybrid’ petrol engines, from 150hp to 244hp, two 2.0-litre diesels producing 191hp and 231hp, and the first TDI-powered, S4 – powered by a 48-volt ‘mild hybrid’ V6, which makes 349hp. Two ‘mild hybrid’ diesels will follow shortly after launch, with 136hp and 163hp, while electrification will be added to the 191hp and 231hp within months.
Audi expects the entry-level 150hp petrol to continue as the most popular version, in fleet and retail. This is the only version that doesn’t get an automatic transmission as standard, though a manual option will be added to the 191hp diesel later this year. None of the diesels offered at launch are RDE2-certified, which means they will attract the 4% company car tax penalty – compliant versions are due ahead of the January 2021 deadline. There are plans to offer a plug-in hybrid in this generation A4, a spokesperson said.