Efficiency was at front of mind during the redevelopment of this eighth generation A4 range, so as a starting point all nine of the turbo charged and directly injected engines that power it are linked without exception to start/stop and recuperation systems. These help to bring about economy improvements that average 11 per cent across the board, but actually amount to as much as 21 per cent.
The petrol range will kick off, as it did before, with the 1.8-litre TFSI with 120 PS, which is due to open for order in early 2012, slightly later than the first phase. Until then, the lead-in unit is a more powerful 1.8-litre TFSI which has been completely redesigned for the A4 to include control of the valves and their lift, thermal management, fuel injection, turbocharging and the integration of the exhaust manifold. With power increased from the previous 160 PS to 170 PS, and an even more significant torque hike from 250 Nm to 320 Nm, it combines 49.6 mpg economy potential with CO2 output down from 169 g/km to 134 g/km.
The bulk of the engine range changes are reserved for the TDI contingent, which now offers a choice of six options employing either four or six cylinders. Of the four 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, two power acutely efficiency focused TDIe models. The 136 PS version which performed this role originally continues, and has been joined by a more powerful 163 PS version. CO2 drops to 112 g/km from 120 g/km in the A4 2.0 TDIe 136 PS, and the 2.0 TDIe 163 PS runs this figure close at 115 g/km. Combined cycle economy figures stand at 65.7 mpg and 64.2 mpg respectively.
In the interest of maximum breadth of choice, particularly for business users, the 143 PS version of the 2.0-litre TDI continues alongside a 177 PS unit - with power up from 170 PS - that heads the four-cylinder line-up. The 136 PS, 163 PS and 177 PS units have been refined by a new pendulum type absorber in the dual mass flywheel which makes engine run smoother and more refined at low revs.
In the V6 camp, a 204 PS 3.0-litre unit first seen in the A6 Saloon and A7 Sportback is adopted in place of the 2.7-litre TDI, and brings up to 57.6 mpg to front-wheel-drive models. A 245 PS version is linked exclusively to Quattro all-wheel-drive in Saloon, Avant and AllRoad Quattro variants.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard for Saloon and Avant models with front-wheel drive, and most variants offer the continuously variable multitronic automatic transmission as an option. The Quattro versions feature either the manual transmission or the seven-speed S-Tronic twin-clutch automatic.
Electromechanical power steering is new to all models in the series. Its direct gear ratios work in favour of precise response, and it draws no power from the engine when running in the straight-ahead position, thereby improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions by up to 7 g/km.
Visually, the latest refinement of the A4 range begins with a reworked bumper with new look angled air inlets and flat fog lights which leads into a revised single frame grille with tapered upper edges and redesigned cross ribs. Flanked by restyled headlights, the grille flows into a re-sculpted bonnet. Where Xenon headlamps are fitted, these are fringed by updated LED daytime running lights that form a narrow, continuous band. The A4 allroad quattro is distinguished by its horizontal chrome grille applications and by its round fog lights.
The tail lights reflect the shape of the headlights, and where xenon headlamps are fitted these are formed from homogeneous strips of LEDs. The bumper with its diffuser insert has also been redesigned.