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Audi A4

B5 A4 Series II

Audi logo1 May 1999

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

As Audi pointed out at the time, the contemporary A4 featured in the Chicago Design Museum.

So there was no need to mess with the superb styling. Nevertheless, the Germans did subtly alter the A4’s grille, headlights and bumpers, along with the boot lid, door handles, wing mirrors, rear valance and the cabin’s dash and trim.

And there were minor changes underneath designed to improve the car’s ride and handling characteristics, with revised suspension and steering geometry.

Better crash protection came about with the availability of curtain airbags, while refinement levels also improved.

The Avant wagon variants carried on until July 2002, over a year after the B5 II sedan’s demise. With 195kW/400Nm, the 2.7-litre twin-turbo S4 sedan and Avant wagon rivalled BMW’s iconic M3 sports sedan.

Released in December 1999, it too outlived its donor, this time by two years. The S4 got the chop in August 2003.

But that model was soon overshadowed by the mad RS4 quattro Avant, which belted out 280kW and 440Nm from a worked version of the twin-turbo 2.7 V6. Only 30 were brought in from November 2000 to July 2001.

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