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Audi A4

B8 A4

Audi logo1 Apr 2008

A COMPLETE generational model change, the B8 A4 sedan’s body is longer by 117mm at 4703mm and wider by 55mm at 1826mm, and sits on a 167mm longer wheelbase at 2808mm, with the front tracks being 45mm wider at 1564mm and rear tracks 36mm wider at 1551mm.

Inside, the B8 is 20mm longer at 1758mm, 10mm wider at 1410mm, while shoulder height in the back seat is 23mm better at 1380mm. There’s also 3mm and 6mm more front and rear head space respectively while rear legroom rises 29mm to 908mm.

The aerodynamic co-efficiency rating is a leading 0.27cd.

Boot space in the sedan is a class-best 480 litres.

The B8 also features the new-from-the-ground-up MLP Modular Longitudinal Platform that underpins the A5/S5 two-door coupe range launched in 2007.

Still basically a front-wheel drive vehicle featuring a longitudinal engine layout as well as the option of quattro Torsen differential all-wheel drive, the 2008 A4 sits on a longer wheelbase.

Its engine, gearbox and drivetrain have been repositioned backwards to achieve a better weight balance and lower centre of gravity than previously. This is why the front axle has also been pushed forward.

The upshot is improved steering, handling, roadholding and ride characteristics – with the latter being one of the A4 engineers’ greatest challenges. Aiding this is the first A4 application of what is catchingly referred to as ‘Audi Drive Select Dynamic Driving System, an option that sharpens up the steering and dampers and increases throttle response for a sportier drive.

A new variable ratio rack and pinion steering set-up is also available, while brakes are now bigger than before.

The front suspension is an aluminium five-link design while the rear is a multi-link arrangement. Quattro cars now have up to 60 per cent of drive channelled to the rear wheels.

Four engines and three gearboxes have been announced initially.

The 1.8 TFSI ousts the previous B7’s long-lived 96kW/195Nm 1984cc 2.0-litre normally aspirated and 120kW/225Nm 1781cc turbo-charged twin-cam 20-valve four-cylinder petrol engine family for an all-new 1798cc twin-cam 16-valve direct-injection unit delivering 118kW of power at 4500rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1500 to 4500rpm.

Available with a six-speed manual or a redesigned Multitronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with eight stepped ‘speeds’, it returns 7.4L/100km and does the zero to 100km/h sprint-time in 8.6 seconds.

The B8 continues with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, but the revamped 1968cc unit now features common-rail and Piezo injector technology and a diesel particulate filter. Teamed with the Multitronic transmission, it produces 105kW at 4200rpm and 320Nm at 1750-2500rpm, and boasts 5.8L/100km combined average fuel usage and 9.4 second 0-100km/h dash times.

Mid 2008 saw the Australian debut of Audi’s 2698cc 2.7-litre V6 TDI common-rail turbo-diesel with Multitronic, dishing out 140kW at 3500rpm, 400Nm at 1400-3250rpm, 6.6L/100km and a 7.7 second sprint.

Like Mercedes with its W204 C-class rival, Audi will pitch both a petrol and diesel A4 luxury sedan flagship, with each using a conventional six-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox like before.

The former is a derivation of the 3197cc 3.2 FSI V6 delivering 195kW at 6500rpm and 330Nm from 3000 to 5000rpm. Using quattro drive, it hits 100km/h in 6.4 seconds and uses premium unleaded at a rate of 9.3L/100km.

Topping this is a 3.0 TDI quattro due in October, with 176kW at 4000rpm, 500Nm from 1500-3000rpm, a 6.1 second sprint-time and 6.4L/100km.

New to the A4 are features such as an electro-mechanical park brake, adaptive cruise control, Audi’s MMI driver interface, a lane-change indicator, side proximity alert, rear camera, keyless entry and start, a standard 6.5-inch colour screen and three-zone climate control air-conditioning.

All models include the latter two items, plus ESP stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution and Brake Assist, eight airbags, cruise control, alloy wheels, a multi-function steering wheel, light and rain sensor technology, leather upholstery, power windows, remote central locking, aluminium exterior trim, a trip computer and split-fold rear seats.

While we saw the B8 A4 sedan arrive in April 2008, it wasn’t until September 2008 that Audi introduced the wagon version of the brand-new version of its most popular model.

While the Avant is unlikely to achieve the sales numbers of its sedan sibling, Audi’s hope is that it may take some of the cream of the compact SUV wagon market with its far more athletic passenger car front-wheel drive wagon.

For 2008, the A4 Avant is offered with just two of the four engines available in the sedan (it missed-out on the 3.0 TDI and 3.2 FSI): The 1.8-litre TFSI produces 118kW of power at 4500rpm-6200rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1500-4500rpm.

Both are equipped with the eight-step CVT transmission only.

The 2.0-litre TDI produces a maximum 105kW of power at 4200rpm and 320Nm of torque between 1750 and 2500rpm.

Audi introduced the S-tronic dual clutch gearbox (DSG) in the A4 for the first time in May 2009.

Mated to a development of the turbocharged 1984cc twin-cam 16-valve direct petrol injection unit (2.0 TFSI) made famous in the Golf GTI from 2005, this Euro-V emissions compliant engine delivers 155kW of power between 4300 and 6000rpm, and 350Nm of torque between 1500 and 4200rpm.

Drive is sent to all four wheels via Audi’s trademark Torsen differential quattro all-wheel drive system working in conjunction with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed S-tronic transmission.

In normal conditions, the rear axle has 60 per cent of available torque and the front end drives 40 per cent, for a greater rear-wheel drive ‘feel’ than in pre-B8 A4 and derivatives (B7 RS4 excepted).

However, in some conditions, up to 65 per cent of drive can be delivered to the nose end if necessary, while the rear wheels are charged with handling up to 85 per cent.

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