We previewed the new Audi A4 earlier this week when a solitary image became available before the official Audi press release was issued yesterday. As we noted then, while at first glance the new A4 looks unchanged the reality is that it is an altogether different beast to the outgoing model.
Chief amongst the changes is the A4???s new platform that it shares with the Audi A5/S5 coupe. With the engine finally set further back in the chassis rather than overhanging the front axle line, this like the A5 range will be an Audi that handles well. Audi have also moved the steering rack behind the front axle line (it used to be ahead of the front axle) so the vague, lifeless and clattering steering of previous A4???s should be a thing of the past.
The front overhang has been significantly reduced further benefiting handling and overall asthetics. This was achieved by moving the front axle forward by a whopping 154mm. Audi now claim that the new A4 is the sportiest saloon in the mid-size car category???a big call.
New technologies aboard the 2008 A4 include ???Audi drive select??? a program that varies engine, automatic gearbox, steering and suspension damper settings. Steering is a speed sensitive variable ration system.
Australian engine options and specifications have not yet been released (expect them closer to the Australian launch of the A4 in October) but expect the usual petrol and diesel Audi fare. Europe will see a choice of five engines including three diesels. The top shelf 176 kW /500Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, a 2.7-litre 140kW/400Nm turbo-diesel and the105kW/320Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel.
Petrol engines (in Europe) will include the 1.8-litre118kW/250Nm four-cylinder and the 195kW/330Nm 3.2-litre petrol V6. It would be hard to look past the hard charging 3.0-litre turbo-diesel and its whopping 500Nm.
All engines are backed by either a six-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic automatic. For the ???gear heads??? an eight-speed Multitronic continuously variable transmission is also available.
The A4 is available in FWD or AWD Quattro variants. The smaller engines, both four-cylinders and the 2.7-litre diesel are only available in FWD while the 3.2-litre petrol and 3.0-litre diesel are available with the Quattro AWD chassis.
Audi???s new A4 is will be debuted to the world at Frankfurt next month. Locally the sheet will be whipped off Audi???s new volume seller in October at the Sydney International Motor Show.