Monday, June 29, 2015

2016 Audi A4 is larger, lighter

The 2016 Audi A4 arrives with a bang, but no surprises. We say that because the formula for creating the news A4 one we know all too well. Make it larger, add a bunch of content, reduce weight, and improve both power and efficiency. It's a recipe for success, and this fifth-generation A4 looks to be a solid contender against its chief rivals, the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The shape hasn't changed; it's immediately recognizable as an A4. Instead, this new model updates that familiar design with sharper lines, similar to what we've seen on the new Q7, or even the R8. The big story here is that the 2016 A4 is up to 264 pounds lighter than its predecessor, depending on trim and engine. Additionally, the A4 is the most aerodynamic car in its class, boasting a drag coefficient of just 0.23.

A fresh, modern cabin lies within that lighter shell – one that looks decidedly more upscale than the last A4. Many elements are reminiscent of the Audi Prologue Concept that we first saw (and drove) in Los Angeles last year – specifically, the steering wheel, and the new MMI controls. In fact, Audi has positioned its infotainment controls closer to the center console – in front of the gear selector. This reminds us of the current A8, where Audi specifically designed its shifter to act as a sort of wrist rest. You can rest your arm on the gear lever and still access all of the MMI functionality. Speaking of which, that's the latest generation of Audi's MMI interface, packing navigation, touch capability, LTE connectivity, and WiFi in the 8.3-inch color display.

Audi isn't saying which engines will come to the United States right now, but when the new A4 launches, it'll be offered with three gasoline and four diesel engines in Europe. Our best guess is that the US-spec car will come with the latest 2.0-liter TSFI turbocharged inline-four with 272 horsepower, as well as Audi's tried-and-true 2.0-liter TDI diesel four. Front- and all-wheel drive will be available, and for the first time, two-wheel-drive models will get a proper dual-clutch transmission – no more CVT.

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