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Audi A4 35 TFSI: Elegant evolution

By Ghaith Madadha - Jun 12,2023 - Last updated at Jun 13,2023

Photo courtesy of Audi

First launched in late 2015 as the latest and most technologically advanced iteration of Audi’s compact executive saloon line, the fifth generation A4 was also the most premium-oriented. Classy and confident yet understated in design, the A4 introduced a number of advanced driver assistance and infotainment systems, as well as a powerful downsized entry-level engine and improved driving dynamics. Revised in 2019, the A4 gained a sharper redesign, improved tech and fuel-efficient mild hybrid drivelines, including a bigger, more relaxed entry-level 35 TFSI model.

 

Subtly sporty

 

A front and optionally four wheel drive competitor to compact executives like the BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Jaguar XE, the fifth generation A4 brought a clean, crisp yet somewhat conservatively sporty design with a large assertive hexagonal grille, big lower intakes, slim browed headlights, defined sills, elegantly level waistline and bigger footprint for a more grounded aesthetic. Incorporating increased lightweight aluminium content including aluminium suspension components for reduced unsprung weight, it was lighter than its predecessor and the most aerodynamic car in its class.

Generating low 0.25 aerodynamic drag coefficient, the A4 is subtly revised and re-styled to blend in among Audi’s evolving and more assertive design ethos for its mid-life face-lift. At the front, it gains a wider and hungrier grille, more aggressive lighting elements, and more angled front intakes. From side view, it features more rising and defined sills, while its level crease-line is divided into two marginally overlapping lines. At the rear, it similarly adopts updated bumper and light designs, and wide integrated twin exhaust ports.

 

Unstressed ability

 

Powered by a larger, lazier and less aggressively boosted turbocharged 2-litre mild hybrid four-cylinder engine as the entry-level petrol A4, the 35 TFSI is nevertheless very similar in output and performance to the pre-facelift 1.4-litre model. Producing 148BHP at 3,900-6,000rpm and 199lb/ft throughout 1,350-3,900rpm, the A4 35 TFSI’s smooth and under-stressed engine makes the same power, but over an earlier and broader plateau, while torque is increased somewhat by 15lb/ft over a similarly wide band, but accessed at lower engine speed for enhanced response and versatility.

Driving the front wheels through a smooth and swift shifting 7-speed automated dual-clutch S-Tronic gearbox, the A4 35 TFSI’s quick-spooling engine is responsively eager from standstill. With its driveline configuration providing excellent traction and stability under hard acceleration, the A4 is smooth and composed as it accelerates through 0-100km/h in 8.9-seconds. Capable of 225km/h, the A4 is in its element on highways, where its muscular mid-range band allows for flexibly confident overtaking manoeuvres. The 35 TFSI meanwhile returns low 6l/100km combined cycle fuel efficiency.

 

Composed comfort

 

Riding on lightweight aluminium five-link suspension with upper links integrated directly into its body in front and rear, the A4 is designed to provide supple absorption of longitudinal forces, but conversely also deliver lateral stiffness. Developed to make the A4 handle with tidy eagerness into corners the A4 drives with commitment, fluency and poise. A sportier and more tuneable set-up than its predecessor, the current A4’s agility and stability through corners is further enhanced by a brake-based torque vectoring system that selectively brakes the inside wheel.

With its suspension design mitigating its longitudinal engine ahead of the front axle and front-wheel-drive configuration and weighting, the A4 is surprisingly nimble. More crisply tucking into corners, the current A4 has a lighter and seemingly less nose-heavy feel than its predecessor. Composed, taut and agile through corners, the A4 is also superbly stable at speed and settled over dips and crests, while its electric-assisted steering is responsive, direct and sporty, if not especially textured and nuanced in feel and feedback.

 

Upmarket ambiance

 

Smooth riding and highly refined inside, the A4’s wide range of wheel options include comfort-oriented standard 16-inches to more assertively-styled and grippy 19-inches, the latter of which are best complemented by optional adaptive dampers. The A4’s quiet cabin meanwhile has a stylishly uncluttered and airy ambiance in all guises, with a horizontally-oriented design, good visibility and excellent driving position adjustability. Front seats are supportive and centred with steering wheel and pedal positions, while rear space is better than most competitors, if not outright generous.

Little altered inside, the revised A4’s upmarket cabin receives a bigger infotainment screen, improved operating system, new natural voice activation, subscription-based infotainment features, and optional configurable and digital instrument panel. Connectivity and predictive features that interact with city infrastructure — where supported — are further enhanced. Adopting a yet milder version of the 48V mild hybrid system used in the A8 luxury saloon, the A4’s 12V system is, however, mainly concerned with improving stop/start system and alternator functionality, to help reduce fuel consumption by up to 0.3l/100km.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Engine: 2-litre, in-line turbocharged 4-cylinders
  • Bore x stroke: 82.5 x 92.8mm
  • Valve-train: 16-valve, DOHC, direct injection
  • Gearbox: 7-speed automated dual clutch, front-wheel-drive
  • Top gear / final drive ratios: 0.43:1 / 4.23:1
  • Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 148 (150) [110] @3,900-6,000rpm
  • Specific power: 74.5BHP/litre
  • Power-to-weight (kerb): 97.7BHP/tonne
  • Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 199 (270) @1,350-3,900rpm
  • Specific torque: 136Nm/litre
  • Torque-to-weight (kerb): 178.2Nm/tonne
  • 0-100km/h: 8.9-seconds
  • Top speed: 225km/h
  • Fuel consumption, combined: 6-litres/100km
  • CO2 emissions, combined: 125-136g/km
  • Fuel capacity: 54-litres
  • Length: 4,762mm
  • Width: 1,847mm
  • Height: 1,428mm
  • Wheelbase: 2,820mm
  • Track, F/R: 1,572/1,555mm
  • Overhang, F/R: 899/1,043mm
  • Aerodynamic drag co-efficient: 0.25
  • Luggage volume, min/max: 460-litres
  • Unladen / kerb weight: 1,440kg / 1,515kg
  • Steering: Electric-assisted rack & pinion
  • Turning circle: 11.6-metres
  • Suspension: Five-link
  • Brakes: Ventilated discs
  • Tyres: 245/40R18 (optional)

 

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