Apple CarPlay compatible
While my test drive partner (Andy Cutler, a proper motoring journalist from Glass’ guide) took the A4 for a spin around the chocolate box Cotswold villages I spent some time getting to grips with all the onboard technology. In fact I became so obsessed with it that I quite forgot it was actually my job to navigate us around a certain route using one of those old fashioned things called a map!
Plugging my iPhone into the USB, I was greeted with a message to activate Apple CarPlay. Once I’d done that I was able to see several of my phone’s apps and functions, including any text messages. You can even set the phone up to read them out to you while driving, though you might not want to do that if you are sharing the car journey with your boss and you’ve been slagging him off via text to all of your other work colleagues!
Usefully, you can also integrate Google Maps complete with any history on your phone so you can navigate to places you’ve previously visited. The Google Maps interface can even be viewed on the central LCD screen although it does become a bit confusing using it in conjunction with the on board satellite navigation. At one point we had two different voices coming through the speakers giving us different directions of where to go which was all a bit much.
One particularly clever feature is the handwriting recognition feature which enables you to enter your destination into Google Maps just by writing the name, one letter at a type, on the scroll wheel. It was actually surprisingly good at recognising my handwriting although it wasn’t the quickest process in the world.
When it comes to entertainment, the Audi A4 is also well kitted out. Onboard is a digital jukebox – a hard drive that will play music out of the optional Bang and Olufsen speaker system, complete with 3D Surround Sound. In addition you can also integrate your smartphone’s music quite easily to play through the car’s onboard speakers.
Using the iPhone 6 I listened to tracks from My Music as well as via Spotify. The name of the track playing and any artwork is displayed on the MMI screen and you can rewind and forward tracks quite easily using the buttons on the control panel or toggle between playlists. My only complaint is that it’s the MMI panel isn’t a touch screen display. Audi explains this is for safety reasons, which I understand, but I think that it’s mostly going to be the passenger using the central LCD panel, leaving the driver to focus on the bank of controls around the steering wheel.
Audi Active Lane Assist
So what did I think of the Audi A4? Pretty good on the whole. Driving the second leg from our lunchtime pit stop back to the hotel in Newbury, the A4 was an extremely smooth ride – though I’m not sure my co-driver would necessarily agree. It handles country roads as well as motorways equally well (the A4 was on the M4 for a short while) and certainly isn’t lacking in power.
Those who like added safety features will also be pleased as there are no shortage of these in board with dozens of onboard sensors as well as front and rear cameras. These include a reversing camera (handy for when we went the wrong way and had to perform a tight 3 point turn) with the view of the back of the car displayed clearly in the MMI screen.
Audi Active Lane Assist helps you stay in the correct lane when you are driving on a marked up dual carriageway or motorway while Collision Avoidance Assist will automatically steer you around large obstacles in the road – such as a broken down car. There’s also a Pre-Sense system which will automatically put the brakes on if someone steps out into the road. Thankfully we didn’t have to use any of these technologies although the car did beep at us several times when a cyclist or motorcyclist came too close when we were pulled up in traffic.
My only concern is that the furore over the digital emissions scandal will undoubtedly put some people off buying a diesel car, at least in the short term. Only time will tell how long it will take for the VW group, which owns Audi, to recover, but I expect many consumers will be reluctant to buy a diesel car in the coming months. In 2014, Audi achieved its best ever worldwide sales of 1,741,100 cars. However, I don’t expect the next couple of years to be record breakers for the German car brand.
The Audi A4 is available to order now with prices starting at £25,900 on the road. UK deliveries begin on November 21st.
You can see Katie Purcell, Product and Marketing Manager for the Audi A4, talking about the tech features of the car in the YouTube video below:
Technical Data – Audi A4 Saloon 2.0 TDI S tronic (190 PS)
Engine / electronics:
Engine type: Inline four-cylinder diesel engine with VTG turbocharger
Max. power output in PS / at rpm 190 / 3800 – 4200
Exhaust emission control Oxidising catalytic converter, SCR catalytic converter, water-cooled exhaust gas
Emissions class EU 6
Start-stop system Switches the engine off if the vehicle is stationary and the brake is engaged.
Drivetrain / transmission
Drive type: Front-wheel drive
Transmission type: 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
Suspension / steering / brakes
Front suspension Independent-wheel suspension, five-link axle with front track rod, aluminium
Rear suspension Independent-wheel suspension, five-link axle with rear track rod, resiliently mounted
Wheels / tyres 8.0 J x 18 lightweight forged aluminium wheels, 245/40 R18 tyres
Performance / consumption / acoustics
Top speed in mph: 147
Acceleration: 0-62 mph in 7.7s
Fuel / octane value Diesel according to EN 590 / –
Idling / drive-past exterior noise level in dB (A) 72 / 68
Consumption / emissions (according to tyre size)
Fuel consumption: urban / extra urban / combined, mpg 57.6 / 74.3 / 67.3
CO2 emissions, g/km 111
Length/ width excluding mirrors / height in mm 4726 / 1842 / 1427
Wheelbase (L101) / track at front/rear in mm 2820 / 1572 / 1555
Height of loading lip (H196) in mm 684