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Audi A4 dripping with technology

Created on 07/10/2015 @ 10:10
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

The front page headlines may well be all about the emissions scandal that has rocked the automotive industry but the motoring pages are this week full of comment about the arrival of the new Audi A4.

Audi's rival to the BMW 3-Series and Jaguar's XE will go on sale in November and the company has broken with tradition by revealing the load-carrying Avant at the same time.

The A4 is the most advanced saloon I have driven - in fact it all but drives itself with all the latest state -of-the-art technologies such as infotainment, driver assistance, traffic jam driving aids and improved cruise control.

Scariest of all is a sensor system which sees the car drive itself I traffic jams of speeds up to 38mph with the driver able to keep hands and feet clear of steering wheel and pedals. What you're supposed to do in that time is anybody's guess but I would advice against the make-up brush or laptop.

This is the ninth generation of the premium executive saloon and while you will be hard pressed to see the difference outwardly this car really does prove that appearances can be deceptive. Because this is not a facelift, it's an entirely new model, with improvements in performance, space, technology and overall performance. In fact everything has changed except the name.

Audi has continued its drive to refine improvements and although power is up by 25 per cent, fuel efficiency is improved by an amazing 21 per cent across the entire range aided by the new front-wheel drive MLB Evo platform that drops weight by 120kg, despite adding 21mm in length and 12mm to wheelbase.

There's more badly needed head and leg room for rear seat passengers but disappointingly that means no increase in boot space on saloon. Avant does gain 15 litres though.

Prices start at £25,900 for the 148bhp 1.4 TFSi petrol version With the range available at launch in three trims: SE, Sport and S-Line. Sport adds £950 to the base price SE trim, while flagship S-Line goes all out with prices from £30,150 to £35,680 for TDi Quatrro.

The changes are obvious inside the cabin with a completely redesigned centre console and dash. It's like sitting in a virtual cockpit With the tablet style MMI display also getting an upgrade along with improvements to seats and steering wheel.

You can also pick your own design features when ordering which will include interior trim colours and detailed sills and dash plus sound systems and LED lights.

Every spec offers plenty of Audi technological sophistication with SE models getting xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lamps, three zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and smartphone interface, displaying contacts, and mapping.

Sports models get exclusive five-spoke alloy wheels and MMI Navigation and free three months Internet connection as well as sports seats and steering wheel.

The business user will be particularly attracted to the 2.0litre TDi with 150PS and six speed manual transmission because it delivers combined fuel consumption figures of 74.3mpg and CO2 emission figures of a "claimed" 99g/km - even in SE and Sport models.

The TDi also offers best in class prices from £29,150, a BIK rate of only 17%, the lowest VED band rate, the widest spread of torque in class, 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 130mph.

Audi's legendary quality is evident everywhere you look and the ride has been improved thanks to electro-mechanical steering and vastly improved suspension. The A4 is also as quiet to drive as the magnificent A8.

BMW and Jaguar bosses will be keeping a keen eye on the A4 as Audi steps up the technology game to an even higher level. The day will surely arrive when the first driverless Audi hits the road.

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