If you are in the Indian subcontinent and have one of the holy trinity German brands sitting in your driveway, Congratulations! You have made it in life. With the high taxes on luxury cars in the domestic market coupled with the skyrocketing maintenance costs, owning a German car is more or less a fantasy for the masses. But for the blessed few who can afford to have one in their garage, the portfolio is breathtaking, no matter which manufacturer you are looking at.
Audi has seen great growth in the Indian Automotive market since it set foot on Indian Soil. The brand has been able to carve out a fair share in the business and also a cult following, all because of their timeless and classy designs. The A4 therein has been one of the strongest selling models in the Audi lineup right alongside the A6 and Q7. A4 was the smallest sedan offered by Audi, before the A3 set foot in India. However, we still personally feel that it is the quintessential Audi entry point because the A3 feels a little too Ventoish.
The redesigned A4 is one of the biggest refreshes to the Audi A4 legacy as the newest generation is developed on the new MLB platform. The car now features the much-hyped and crowd favourite Audi Virtual Cockpit. A 1.4-litre turbocharged TFSI petrol engine is standard as before, which is mated to a dual-clutch gearbox. Is the new A4 impressive enough to sway buyers away from the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class? Let’s get in the driving seat and find out.
The 2020 Audi A4 follows in the footsteps of the B9 2016 Audi A4 that completely revamped the product by using the MLB Platform and was designed from the ground up. 2020 MY brings about a very big change in the form of discontinuation of the universally loved 2.0-litre oil-burner. The Diesel Engine has always been the de-facto choice of Indian buyers in the premium offerings, and it getting axed does come in, as a huge shock.
The 2020 Mild Refresh also brings about:
The Audi A4 up until just a couple of months ago came in with two engine options that both further had two variants each, but the since the diesel has been discontinued after the mid-life facelift, the A4 now only comes with one engine option and two variants.
The Current-Gen A4 is now offered in only two guises:
Mechanically, both the trims remain unchanged but vary in terms of feature listing which results in the Rs. 3 lakh gap between the two. A catchy feature of Top trim is the addition of the Audi Virtual Cockpit that transforms the driving experience into a much more intuitive one. Most of the features added in the top trim are for enhancing comfort features and have been listed below.
If you are seriously considering getting the A4 home, a little premium for the top-spec Technology variant isn’t going to upset your sleep, and that is why it is going to be our recommendation. The top-spec Technology variant just because of the Audi Virtual Cockpit is going to be worth all that extra cash.
The only request we are going to make is for you to actually drive your car, at least on the weekends if not daily, to appreciate the extra money spent. But if you are going to be chauffeur driven in the A4, you can certainly get the Premium Plus and save a little bit of moolah.
With the mid-life facelift, the 2020 Audi A4 is now available with a sole engine option, in the form of a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol. Badged 30 TFSI, this engine produces 150 bhp of power and 250 nm of torque. If you know about VAG cars, you’ll know that this engine does duty in the lower variants of Skoda Octavia and Audi A3. We aren’t going to use any metaphorical terms to describe this engine, in simpler words, it’s underpowered for a car of this size and calibre. This engine still makes sense in A3, but in A4, it looks totally out of place and irrelevant.
Enough of digressing, this engine is refined, typical of other Audi petrol. There are no vibrations whatsoever, and one will have a hard time guessing whether the car is on, without giving a glance at the rev-counter. Get going, and there is negligible turbo lag, and one will feel at home in the city. The big plus of this engine is its free-revving nature. Part throttle response is satisfactory, however, floor it and the engine struggles to get going. Overtaking will require a lot of planning, and this petrol engine performs best when driven sedately.
If you do frequent highway runs, it will take quite some to get used to this engine, for it struggles on open roads and its sluggish acceleration only makes matters worse. Now, enough about the engine, coming to the transmission, it is a seven-speed DSG, which channels power to the front wheels. While we have digressed enough about the engine, this gearbox deserves a noteworthy mention. This gearbox is a jewel and surely deserves a better engine. Shifts are buttery smooth and lightning-quick, heck, this gearbox even allows one to downshift at higher RPMs! While this engine might be enough for Audi to market the A4, it lags way behind in terms of competition.
Models and Variant
Audi A4 Premium Plus
BMW 3-Series 330i M Sport
Mercedes-Benz C-Class C200 Prime
Jaguar XE Pure
Rs. 41.49 lakh
Rs. 47.90 lakh
Rs. 40.10 lakh
Rs. 40.60 lakh
1.4-litre turbocharged 30 TFSI four-cylinder Petrol
2.0-litre twin-turbo TwinPower four-cylinder Petrol
1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Petrol
2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium four-cylinder Petrol
7-Speed S Tronic DSG
ZF 8-Speed Automatic
9-Speed G-Tronic Automatic
Audi has given the fantastic 2.0-litre Diesel a premature death, and the reason for that being Audi’s lethargy to make this engine BS6 ready. This engine produced 188 bhp of power and a mammoth 400 nm of torque and was the default choice of buyers shopping for the A4.
The A4’ s Petrol Engine has always been viewed as somewhat of an underwhelming offering in the mid-size luxury sedan segment, and that view has some merit. Though the engine has decent performance numbers, when looked in the same light as it’s opponents, the petrol A4 just falls flat on its face as it is the smallest displacement and also the slowest of the line.
The lighter petrol motor does help A4 propel faster than its now-extinct diesel variant but the handicap of performance figures hurts it a lot in the long run. The added kerb weight is also an important factor in Audi A4's subtle acceleration.
0-100 kmph (seconds)
1.4-litre turbocharged 30 TFSI four-cylinder Petrol2.0-litre twin-turbo TwinPower four-cylinder Petrol
2.0-litre twin-turbo TwinPower four-cylinder Petrol
1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder Petro
2.0-litre turbocharged Ingenium four-cylinder Petrol
The A4 does the ton in a pretty quick 8.5 seconds but still falls at least a second behind the second slowest competitor, really putting it into perspective that if it is an outright performance that you want, you are much better off with one of the rivals, certainly the Bimmer or the Jag.
The B9 A4 with it’s new MLB platform does an outstanding job when it comes to riding comfort. The new A4 does not possess a single iota of the “European Stiffness” that is pretty prevalent in all European offerings. Audi has done a fantastic job in tuning the suspension to the exact sweet spot, where the passengers are extremely comfy and the driver can have amazing feedback behind the wheel.
The A4 soaks up bumps on bad roads like nothing else, it loses the characteristic thud (suspension crash) sound that European sedans are known for and simply wafts along on the asphalt. The suspension coupled with an extremely silent cabin does seal you off from the outside world and you certainly feel that you have spent your money wisely.
The A4 is the only European vehicle in its segment that comes as a Front-Wheel Drive Setup, which has it benefits as it helps liberates space in the back row, keep the car a little well mannered and overall making it easier to drive the car. If you are not so keen on the liftoff oversteer aspects of an RWD, then the ride and handling of the A4 are going to do nothing but impress you in bucket loads.
The brakes on the Audi A4 are a set of ventilated discs all around, and at this price point, we would expect nothing else. The brakes are sure-footed, precise, offer great stopping power and enough feedback to efficiently slow down this huge hunk of moving metal.
Another great advantage in the A4 is its kerb weight. Audi has managed to cut a few kgs from its sedan which in turn helps the brakes perform much better in terms of weight distribution and thus instils confidence in the driver.
Curb Weight (kg)
The A4 can undercut it’s competition in terms of its weight as it comes in a couple of kilos lighter than everything else in this segment, this certainly helps in the braking and handling department. Audi has done wonders to the car in terms of all of its mechanical aspects.
The A4 is rated at 18 kmpl by the ARAI for its petrol mill and that is really impressive numbers for a mid-sized petrol-powered luxury sedan. The A4 with its new 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox and the driving mode set to Comfort should easily see you in the claimed economy range out on the highway. Cruise control plays an important role in extracting maximum mileage figures when on the highway.
Driving the A4 inside the city in decent traffic should see it return a very healthy 13 odd kmpl. Audi manages to chuck out these impressive figures due to the precise fuel timing and an optimum mixture of air-fuel that helps it chuck out maximum performance with minimal fuel consumption.
Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)
The A4 is certainly not the car for people who want the most frugal vehicle to run as it is a petrol-only offering. However, the car is impressive on the fuel efficiency front as it obliterates the competition when looked at their petrol counterparts. If Fuel Economy was the only criteria for your purchase, you either should have picked up the now discontinued oil burner or now should just cross-shop between other diesel European sedans.
On Paper the Audi A4 is one of the roomier cars in its segment. It offers pretty great interior space in the front and above average in the rear. The ground clearance of 128 mm is on the lower end of the spectrum. One could see this car bottoming out on the taller speed bumps which could turn into an expensive repair bill, Watch out for the pesky speed humps!
The LED DRLs are what makes known an Audi on Indian roads, and it has been tastefully updated for 2020. The front fascia is unmistakably an Audi with the hexagonal grille lined with chrome and the DRLs make its presence known from afar. The body structure is compact as compared to the competition and thus makes it easy to tackle tight traffic conditions.
Kerb weight (kg)
Ground clearance (mm)
The newer exterior styling of the B9 A4 is extremely refreshing and brings it up to date. The car is understated but edgy and is certainly one of the best looking cars in its segment. The trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have a similar silhouette but Jaguar is the "out-of-the-box" one here. The XE will also have a hard time tracing Indian roads due to its least ground clearance.
Some of the notable exterior features are:
Stepping inside the 2020 B9 Audi A4 is guaranteed to brighten up your day. Period. The previous-gen A4 had started to show it’s age when one sat down inside, but the newer A4 being heavily inspired by the Q7 is a blessing. The interior looks futuristic and classy at the same time, the use of high-quality materials throughout the cabin is extremely apparent and would have you giggling like a small child from the inside.
The long horizontal one-piece air vent, matte chrome knurled climate control knobs with indented displays and the generous use of metal and wood throughout the cabin is going to sweep you off your feet with sophistication. The A4 has never looked better on the inside and never has Audi Interior design felt so modern and stylistically better than rivals.
The Biggest party piece though comes in the form of the Audi Virtual Cockpit. The Virtual Cockpit chucks out the “dated” analogue speedometer and gauges and instead replaces it with a huge slab of digital display that has EVERYTHING. Yes, EVERYTHING, in capitals, no matter what needs to be done to the car, it can be controlled by the Driver without taking his hands off the steering wheels. Iron-Man vibes much?!
The Interiors on the A4 then are something that one needs to experience to appreciate the level of kit and sophistication that Audi has managed to pack inside. They are by a long shot the most refreshing and premium looking interiors among the whole segment lineup.
The stick-on style 10-inch screen that is tacked on the A4’s dashboard might come off as an afterthought but by now has become a trait. The 10-inch infotainment system comes loaded with all the latest gadget wizardry and the newer Audi MMI system is a joy to use. The Rotary Dial with a touch-sensitive surface make inputs a delight, this coupled with snappy response times, up to date colourful graphics and the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes the overall experience amazing. However, this system does fall slightly behind the ever so great BMW iDrive system which is in a league of its own.
The standard 10 Speaker Setup is also guaranteed to keep the Audiophiles mighty impressed with rich and tight bass and not so shrill Highs. Audi has hit it out of the park this time. And how can we forget about the Virtual Cockpit, that tied with the Infotainment works fantastically in tandem. The Audi Virtual Cockpit coupled with The MMI system is a stellar combination and certainly trumps the systems by Mercedes and Jaguar.
If hauling luggage and impromptu road trips rush through your veins, the A4 is your perfect companion. The 480 litres of the open uninterrupted boot of the A4 gulps down even the biggest of suitcases with ease, and the wide opening of the trunk eases the load-up. The space-saver spare tyre is also tucked away nicely under the floorboard unlike many of its European rivals.
The 40:20:40 split rear seats further aid towards the practicality of the boot as if need be, the cabin opens up to accommodate even more stuff. A4 is thus extremely practical for every scenario that you can throw at it.
Cargo Volume with rear seats up (Litres)
Smart cabin space optimisation works its magic in the A4 as it helps extract a commendable cargo column out of it. Even its competition with larger footprints provides with less cargo volume which thus stands in Audi's favour on being a better weekend getaway car.
Like every other European car, The A4 is never going to let you down when it comes to safety. Audi has consistently provided with cars that make us feel safe inside-out and the B9 A4 is no exception. It retains the classical "heavy door shut" and the car feels extremely well built and rigid, and is certainly one of the safer cars you can put yourself in.
The A4 comes with a whole host of Safety features in the form of 8 Airbags, ABS, EBD, All-around disc brakes, ECU based speed limiter, high tensile construction among others. The A4 and A5 together received 5 Stars in the Euro NCAP Test with almost 90% rating in both Adult and Child Occupant Safety, getting it our seal of approval as well.
On the reliability front, the A4 does have a lot of electronics which could go wrong if the vehicle is particularly abused, but treat your ride with respect and get it serviced at the appropriate intervals and the A4 should pass the reliability test with flying colours. Warranty wise, it comes with a 2-year unlimited km standard warranty that should also put your mind at ease.
The BMW 3-Series is the pinnacle of driving perfection in the mid-size luxury sedan segment. It is the yardstick that puts every newcomer in its place and rightfully so. If Performace, handling and Hooligan behaviour are what is on your mind, just simply walk into a BMW Dealership and put down a deposit on one. Even though the A4 is bloody brilliant, it doesn’t come close to the BMW when driving dynamics are concerned. Will there ever be a day that someone other than BMW will be able to take over the mantle?
The Jaguar XE is certainly one of the sportier-looking cars of the lot with its edgy exterior styling and sporty interior bits. The Jaguar is the most different feeling cars in terms of its design approach when it comes to the cabin and the feel of it but the A4 still feels a couple of notches above the XE. The XE also has a pretty small boot and extremely low ground clearance, taking away some massive practicality points. The not so great parts quality and underwhelming after sales may put you off the XE if you are not already keen on the brand. The A4 as a package then is the better choice.
The Audi A4 is a feature-loaded mid-size sedan that is certainly more like a revolution than a simple evolution of the previous-gen A4. The car feels extremely robust and well put together and oozes oodles of sophistication. It’s understated but the edgy design should certainly appeal to the masses, and its feature-loaded cabin should satisfy the stuff per rupee equation. The A4 also offers one of the best ride and handling dynamics in its segment with its cabin being the quietest of the lot. The only shortcoming of the Audi A4 is the lack of its brilliant 2.0-litre engine in the lineup which certainly would have made the A4, the default buy for consumers in this segment.