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Facelift for ‘nifty’ Audi A4 range

The good news from Audi is that they have not given up on building good, sporty, comfortable sedan cars. The B9-generation Audi A4, based on the MLB platform, was recently updated with a few cosmetic changes on the outside and some real changes inside, where it really counts.

This model introduces Audi Connect, which is quite nifty, to the South African market. You can call for car help via a button in the roof of the car. This also implies your car has a hot data connection all the time, enabling around-the-clock tracking.

As always, these cars have a really refined ride and a near-perfect handling balance. It is really very good as a sporty, luxury, medium-sized family car.

Cars.co.za said: “Few cars in its class are this quiet and comfortable. In fact, you could easily drive a few hundred kilometres and arrive at your destination still feeling fresh. Audi cabins are arguably (still) the market benchmark for quality, user experience and design excellence.”

I concur. Except for the rather flimsy looking large colour display “stuck” on the dash in the middle, like an afterthought. It just does not look thought through. It just does not match with the rest of the rather gorgeous interior.

The A4 range offers three engines, 2.0 L turbo petro and diesel and a V6 turbo diesel Quattro model.

The 35 TFSI 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engined advanced model incorporates 12 V mild-hybrid, which should deliver fuel consumption in the mid sevens. I got 9,8 F/100 km with the 4.0 S-line I drove.

Performance, safety and handling are very good, especially in dynamic mode. You should not have any complaints as you have 132 kw/320 Nm on tap going through a very smooth seven-speed tiptronic box. The zero to 100 km/h time is 7,8 seconds and top speed is claimed to be 220 km/h.

This A4 is a true sports-executive sedan, but with space for a family of four. Dual-clutch automatic transmissions are standard throughout the range.

Base prices for the A4 are as follows: 35 TFSI R666 000, 35 TFSI Advanced R685 500, 40 TFSI R705 500 and the 40 TFSI S-line R750 500, but remember to add at least R150 00 to these prices to fit your car out. There are nine pages of optional extras in the 25-page price list, so beware when specifying those little nice-to-have extras, which can easily mount up to R200 000.

In a nutshell, these sedans are built to please the driver – and they do. They also offer practical space in the cabin and the boot. Still, many potential buyers will opt for the similarly priced Q3 crossover thinking it is more practical and appealing. It must be a fashion thing.

The A4 sports a five-year or 100 000 km maintenance plan, which can be extended to 10 years, and a one-year warranty with unlimited distance.

The 40 TFSI S-line S-tronic in Turbo Blue we drove is priced at R929 950. A total of R203 450 of accessories is fitted to the tested car, including items such as climate control at R10 700, sunroof at R16 550, technology suite at R21 000, comfort package (fancy seats and rear-view camera) at R20 200, adaptive cruise control at R34 000, and so on.

The competition includes the other Germans in the form of the sporty BMW 3-Series, the luxury Mercedes Benz C-class, England’s Jaguar XE, the more practical left-of-field Japanese contender, Toyota’s (much more affordable and with three-year/100 000 km warranty, which can be extended) Corolla and, finally, the Lexus IS.

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