Sportier and More Modern: Traffic Isn’t As Bad When You’re Driving the New Audi A4
In 2016, I had the rare privilege of driving the Audi A4 in its home country of Germany. Not only did I get to take the midsize sedan on the famed autobahn, where I reached speeds of up to 180 to nearly 200 kilometers per hour, I also got to drive it back to Audi’s headquarters in the town of Ingolstadt.
There I met Jens Dietrich Kotnik, the global product manager of the A4, who talked about the development of what was then the car’s latest model.
“It was already a bestseller cars, so what else could we do?” he told me. “The first step is you have to improve the design. We’ve created an entirely new design language for the car.
“This is a very technically optimized car,” he added. “It’s a symbiosis of design and technology.”
This time, I took the A4 out for a spin in Manila’s roads. As expected, it all came rushing back to me: the comfortable interiors, the high-tech but easy to use digital dashboard and “virtual cockpit,” and the overall classy, luxurious feeling that every Audi promises and delivers.
What’s different this time around is the “Singleframe” grille that’s now broader and flatter, and the strategically placed “muscles” just above the fenders. The result a sportier, more dynamic look that doesn’t diminish the classic A4 silhouette. Audi also says the LED headlights with fully automatic high beam now come standard in the model.
When you lock the doors, the side mirrors automatically fold, saving you time in case you’re parked in a tight spot.
Inside, the 12.3-inch virtual cockpit instrument cluster is still a wonder to behold. Located in the driver’s side behind the steering wheel, it mirrors the digital display from the main 10.1-inch high-resolution digital dashboard screen, making it that much easier to see navigation, or switch between settings and functions.
While there was a rotary and pushbutton control on the center tunnel console that operates the digital screen in the previous iteration of the A4, there is now an MMI touch display with acoustic feedback.
All of this may sound fancy and complicated, but during the drive, they all just sort of fade away and you’re left with a smooth, unhurried ride. That’s courtesy of the 1.4-liter TFSI four-cylinder turbocharged gas engine that can crank out 150 horsepower and 250Nm of torque. Top speed is at a respectable 210kph, although I can scarcely think of a place in these parts where you’d need—or even can—drive that fast.
In my case, the A4 was a trusty carrier during that weird period between Christmas and New Year’s. The weather was pleasant, the streets were slightly less packed, and people are generally in a better mood. The last time I drove the A4, I was zipping through cities in Central and Southern Germany—Munich, Leipzig, Stuttgart and Berlin. This time, it was just around Metro Manila and a drive down south to Cavite.
Both times, the A4 proved solid and dependable. Audi’s midsize sedan is an engaging and sophisticated every day ride, the kind you would probably never get tired of even if you have to stew for hours in rush hour traffic. I know I felt that when I first got to drive it in its home country, and there’s no doubt that it remains that way when I drove it in mine.