2020 Audi A4 sedan and Avant drive review

Audi’s refreshed B9-generation A4 range has arrived in Australia, just three months after it went on sale in Europe, and kicks off at $55,900. In addition to the A4 sedan and Avant models, the refresh extends to the A4 Allroad and A5 line-up of Coupe, Cabriolet and Sportback variants.

The A4 sedan is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 110kW (in both the $55,900 35 TFSI and $59,900 35 TFSI S Line) or 183kW in the $68,900 45 TFSI quattro S Line. As the still-confusing naming suggests, the 35 models are front-wheel drive, while the 45s feature Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system. The A4 Avant is available in a single spec, the $71,400 45 TFSI quattro S Line.

Our drive impressions will concentrate on the 45 models, but the front-wheel-drive 35 TFSI sedan is not to be overlooked if you’re in the market for an entry-level executive sedan. In today’s world of turbocharged monsters making mountains of power, 110kW doesn’t sound like much, but it’s accompanied by a stout 270Nm peak torque figure that arrives at just 1350rpm. The seven-speed S tronic gearbox is an unobtrusive partner to the engine and the official combined cycle figure fuel consumption figure of 6.1L/100km is a whole litre better than the more powerful 45 TFSI.

The 35 TFSI is also very well equipped, coming standard with leather upholstery, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, tri-zone climate control, 19-inch alloys, sat nav, a 10.1-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB+ radio and wireless phone charging. The only major miss for the base car is Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, though it’s added for the S Line version, which also scores a leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, electric adjustment for the front passenger seat, and heated and folding wing mirrors plus some S Line badging.

Above the 35 models, the range-topping 45 TFSI sedan and Avant brings more power (more on which shortly), quattro all-wheel drive, a 10-speaker premium audio system with subwoofer, flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, aluminium interior inlays, and memory function for the driver’s seat and exterior mirrors.

Sharp-eyed Audi fans will notice that the facelifted 45 TFSI quattro is actually down 2kW over the previous car. You can thank the WLTP regulation changes for that, but you’re hardly likely to notice the difference from the driver’s seat. In fact, if you think you can, you’re wrong. The new 183kW peak is produced from 5000-6500rpm (an additional 500rpm more than the previous car’s 185 peak), while torque remains as per the old car with the 450Nm maximum available from 1600-4500rpm. Audi claims that the quattro sedan will scamper from 0-100km/h in 5.8 seconds, an incredible 3.1 seconds quicker than the 35 model. It tops out at a limited 250km/h, 26km/h faster than the 35.

Regardless of model, but especially so of the 45 TFSI models, the new A4 offers a refined and relaxed way to make progress. The suspension largely does an excellent job of isolating the bigger lumps and bumps, but could do with a touch more control on twisty roads. Of course, Audi would argue that the S4 models offer that type of sportier driving, and they’d not be wrong.

The more powerful tune of the 45 TFSI’s 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine does mean that you don’t need to work quite so hard for pace, and the 45 is genuinely quick. It will see off all but the hottest of hot hatches in a straight line and give them a real fright on a twisty road. Yes, really!

Obviously, its raison d’etre isn’t to go hunting fun backroads, so the 45 TFSI quattro isn’t geared towards maximum driver thrills, but the steering and chassis provide clear feedback on grip levels. The brakes deliver solid stopping power and no longer suffer from being over-servoed (long a frustration with Audis) when you’re mooching along urban roads.

This facelift doesn’t offer anything ground-breaking, but the sharp new look does give the B9 A4 a fresh lease on life.

Jesse Taylor

Final Verdict:

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