2021 Audi A4 45 TFSI Quattro S Line - Toybox

By: Mark Higgins

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Audi's latest mid-size contender follows a tradition

Twenty-six years ago Audi leapt into the mid-size premium market with the A4 that was an immediate success.

And while buyers are racing off to jump into SUVs Audi continues to dish up the delectable mid-size luxury A4, now in its ninth iteration.

Facing greater opposition than ever and not just from wagon on stilts set, the $68,500 A4 45 TFSI quattro S line we are driving is pitted against the Merc C300, Alfa Giulia Veloce, Lexus IS 350 F-Sport, Jaguar XE R-Dynamic HSE and Volvo S60 T5 R-Design.

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The A4’s new but familiar look

Late in 2020 the A4 range of sedans and Avants, (wagons in Audi-talk) underwent a major revision with evolutionary tweaking from nose to tail and underneath as well. Its longer and wider and the styling updates include puffed guards, new bodylines and a lower set new design grille giving it an up to the minute look that’ll carry it for years to come.

| Read next: 2020 Audi RS6 Avant Quattro review

So what is the bang for your buck with this model? Standard kit includes 19-inch alloys, LED lights at each end sport suspension, selectable drive modes, auto wipers and headlights, heated and power-folding mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and adaptive cruise control.

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53 years apart. Vlad’s 1968 Super 90 appeared as a resto feature in issue 449

Inside Audi blitzes its rivals by a considerable margain, having the midas touch when it comes to interiors, with the refined and superbly crafted A4 interior radiating an ambience of sporty elegance. There’s leather-draped power adjustable supportive and comfortable sports seats, the brilliant digital dash, a flat-bottom leather steering wheel, tri-zone aircon, mood lighting, a frameless auto-dimming mirror, inductive phone charging and the interior is tastefully finished with polished carbon weave and matte aluminium garnish. It’s spacious up front, adequate in the second row and the boot is a decent size and shape.

Tech heads and teenagers will have a ball with the top notch infotainment, MMI navigation plus with its 10.1-inch touchscreen, sat-nav, 360-degree camera, DAB+radio Apple CarPlay and Android Auto play through 10 powerful speakers. All functions are fingertip controlled on a shiny dash mounted central screen that work a treat except it smears and smudges too easily and drove me mad. Can we please have amatte finish on the screen Mr Audi? Aside from that the Audi A4s interior is a delightful place.

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Like its predecessor the updated A4 carries over its five-star ANCAP rating thanks to a brace of active and passive safety features and a raft of driver assist technology protecting occupants, other motorrsits, pedestrians and cyclists. These include eight airbags, low-speed autonomous emergency braking, plus pre sense rear, blind-spot and lane keep monitoring with warnings, driver alert and a tyre pressure monitor to name just a few.

Under the bonnet is a turbo 2lt four putting out 183kW and 570Nm, bolted to a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and driving all four wheels. Added at the upgrade is a mild-hybrid 12-volt battery. Standstill to 100 kays takes 5.8 seconds so its no slouch.

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Now we know what to call it and what you get, what’s it ike to drive?

Very good indeed. The 45 TFSI engine has plenty of torque giving it excellent flexibility and responsiveness and it leaps ahead from low in the rev range. It exudes a pleasant exhaust note and has enough sportiness to make a back road drive come alive.

The transmission is super smooth with gear changes hard to pick unless you are looking at the tacho.

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Five drive modes are offered and for the most part auto or comfort was where it sat. If a quick burst of power was needed a tap of the shifter into S gave it sufficient oomph. But when it came to having a play, dynamic, or individual mode allowing me to tailor the settings worked a charm. I saw it had an efficiency setting but that’s as far as I got.

Like its predecessor this latest A4s ride and handling balance is excllent. It’s light on its toes, points well thanks to crisp precise well-tuned steering and the brakes are more than up to the job. Even in dynamic the ride was fine and it didn’t get ruffled through high-speed lumpy corners. Negatives? The only one is the shiny smeared infotainment screen.

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Hi-tech, multi-functional steering wheel

But for another view we threw the keys to Vlad Vereshcagin, who totally restored a 1968 Audi Super 90 featured in Unique Cars 449, had this to say after a quick spin. "I could happily drive it for 1000 kilometres. It’s very quiet, comfortable and safe, in fact it almost drives itself. The Audi badge is a special one and having totally restored my Super 90 and now driving the new A4 the fundamentals of the brand haven’t changed. Everything is done for a purpose, whether it is the styling or the technology."

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Seven speeds with two drive modes

2021 AUDI A4 45 TFSI QUATTRO S LINE

BODY: Four door sedan
ENGINE: 2.0litre turbocharged four cylinder with a 12v mild hybrid system
POWER: 183kW@5000rpm
TORQUE: 370Nm@1600rpm
0-100km/h: 5.8 sec
DRIVE: Quattro all-wheel drive
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual clutch auto
SUSPENSION: front-multi link rear-multilink
PRICE: $68,900

 

From Unique Cars #451, April 2021

 

 

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