Audi A4 – old vs new compared

The Audi A4 is one of the best-selling cars in the UK, thanks to its smart looks and popularity with company car drivers and families alike. It’s good to look at and has a smart interior – but the all-new version that goes on sale in 2015 looks set to move things on in leaps and bounds.

The changes to the new A4 are hard to spot, but our side-by-side comparison should help you see just how much the new A4 has improved. As per usual, Audi will sell the A4 in saloon and Avant (estate) forms, so we’ll look at both here.

Styling

At the front the most notable change is the new grille and a bonnet that shows off the car’s extra width over the old model – this new A4 should strike an imposing figure on the roads. The new car is 16mm wider and 25mm longer than the one it replaces. The headlights have also been updated and can now be specified with Audi’s Matrix LED technology, which can light up as much road as possible without dazzling other road users.

The body is more aerodynamic than the old model and this should make the new A4 very quiet on the motorway. It keeps the old car’s sleek roofline and smart side profile.

 Walk around the back and you’ll find rear light clusters with a three-dimensional design, and all models will get a rear diffuser to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.

The overall design is evolution rather than revolution, but Audi’s easily done enough to keep it looking fresh for another five years.

Interior

The interior has been completely redesigned to bring it up to speed with the competition. The old model’s interior was certainly not a bad place to sit for long journeys, but in terms of modern equipment and overall look it was lagging behind the stylish Mercedes C-Class

The inside of the new A4 looks more stylish and expensive than the one it replaces, and to our eyes it looks as upmarket as the one found in the £70,000 Audi A8. The dashboard is dominated by a continuous air vent strip and high quality trim pieces.

In terms of passenger space the new A4 is bigger than the old one, and there’s more legroom, headroom and shoulder room than before. With 505 litres of boot space in the estate, the new A4 is ahead of its rivals here as well.

Behind the wheel, buyers will notice the optional 12.3-inch display (called Audi Virtual Cockpit) that replaces the speedo and rev-counter dials and can show a huge amount of information for the driver. The climate control interface has also been redesigned too and should be easy to use.

Driving

A lot of work has gone into the suspension and chassis of the new A4 to improve the responsiveness and comfort. Lighter parts have been used on the suspension and steering and as a result the car is up to 120 kg lighter than the one it replaces.

All new A4 models will have as standard an electronic front differential and dynamic steering that should be an improvement over the old A4’s competent but uninvolving style of driving.

All models of the new A4 equipped with engines above 190hp will have adaptive shock absorbers with two switchable modes too – you’ll be able to choose between sport and comfort modes on the move.

Engines

Engines have more power and better fuel economy over the old A4 and that’s partly because the car is lighter, but also because the petrol models use a new method of combustion. The seven-speed DSG gearbox is now available for the two-wheel-drive models as well – it was only available on quattro 4×4 models for the previous-generation A4.

The most economical new diesel engine can achieve 72mpg – that’s 10mpg more than the old model’s most frugal option. The 3.0-litre TDI has also been modernised and is now developing 272hp – around 20 more than the one it replaces, and that’s enough to rocket it from 0-60mph in 5.3 seconds.

Petrols are the real surprise in the line up because they have excellent fuel economy and are powerful enough to move the A4 at a decent speed. The smallest – the 1.4-litre TFSI – can achieve 58mpg and emits just 114 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Even more surprising are the stats for the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol with 190hp – 59mpg and 109 g/km of CO2.

Equipment

In terms of technology and gadgets the 2015 A4 is leaps ahead of the old model. As standard the new A4 has xenon headlights, an electric boot door for the Avant, keyless ignition and a seven-inch colour display – all of which were optional on the old model.

Tick the ‘navigation plus’ option on your new A4 order form and the car becomes a moving wi-fi hotspot with internet access for passengers, who can also charge their smartphones wirelessly. If that’s not advanced enough you can also mirror the screen of your phone on the infotainment screen and command the car using an app. You can also order 10.1-inch tablet screens that clip into the back of the front-seat headrests, so anyone in the back can watch videos and even use smartphone applications on the move.

Safety

The old A4 was a pretty safe car equipped with a range of systems that helped the driver, but again the new A4 is leagues ahead. There is an improved cruise control that takes into account traffic jams and road markings, an automatic braking system and a rear cross-traffic assist system that notifies passengers if vehicles or cyclists are approaching from the rear when a door is opened.

Find out more about the new A4

The new Audi A4 saloon and Avant will be shown at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2015

Read our full Audi A4 preview and Audi A4 Avant guide to see more high-res photos and find out more detailed information about two of 2015’s biggest new cars. If you can’t wait for the new model then see what A4 deals you can get using carwow’s configurator.

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