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New Audi A4 The Best Yet?

RMAutoBuzz

Audi’s current A4 continues to be a strong seller, despite being introduced in 2009 and receiving only periodic refreshes since that time. Meanwhile, BMW’s 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class are riding on all-new platforms with hotter, fresher designs. The next A4 will be revealed in Summer 2015 and released in dealers by year’s end. Spy shots reveal some next-gen Audi design touches also seen on the upcoming R8 supercar.

Design

Bearing the internal codename “B9”, the 2016 A4 has already captured by spy photographers during cold-weather testing. The compact luxury sedan looks to ride on a wider track, with greater overall length and width. The current A4 is smaller than most cars competing for the same buyers, so it looks like Audi has chosen to go with a bit more in the way of interior and cargo space.

Visually, the 2016 A4 sheds some of its curvy proportions for a more-defined design, with bluff faces and an upright stance. Audi’s new corporate grille, which is much larger than before, makes an appearance here after being spotted on Audi’s forward-thinking Prologue Concept displayed at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Platform and Powertrains

The new compact rides on Audi’s brand-new modular longitudinal MLB platform. By utilizing lightweight production techniques including aluminum alloy, high-strength steel and composite materials, the new car promises to be lighter, making the most of each available horsepower while improving cornering and braking performance.

The A4’s key differentiation from competitors has always been its industry-standard Quattro AWD system, making the Audi a true four-season car that retains spritely performance in all road conditions. Today, all luxury competitors in the segment offer AWD versions of their cars, so expect Audi to push the envelope once again to stay ahead of the curve. The company has reportedly developed a modern torque vectoring control system with the ability to send power to each of the four wheels independently. Base models will continue to be front-wheel drive.

As for engine options, the German brand is expected to offer its newest 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection gasoline engines making around 240 and 300 horsepower, respectively. A 2.0-liter turbodiesel will also surely be an option, offering buyers highway fuel efficiency well in excess of 40 mpg. Audi may well ditch its continuously variable automatic transmission, found for 2015 only on the base, front-wheel-drive gasoline A4. Although the vast majority of buyers opt for Quattro, the CVT transmission has not been well-liked by some customers who prefer a traditional manual or automatic.

Takeaway

With the new A4 only months from hitting showroom riding on an all-new, more dynamic platform with modern engines and transmissions, Audi has put BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti on alert. In the compact luxury performance sedan segment, which makes up a huge portion of all luxury car sales, having the freshest design on the market wins buyers who like to stand out. Expect the new car to excite as Audi continues to fight for the title of the world’s best-selling luxury brand.

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