An A4 is a useful thing. You can print memos on it, write quick notes or even fold it into an aeroplane. Yeah, I’m talking about the paper. But quite similar is the A4 sedan 3.0 L TFSI S-Line. You can fill it with a grocers list or turn it into an aircraft – I mean propel its sporty red fuselage from 0-100 in 6.2 seconds!
The Audi A4 3.0 L Quattro TFSI S-line (now that we know which Audi A4 we are talking about I will henceforth stick to just the model name for obvious reasons) was an enjoyably sporty drive but the navigation was unreasonably adamant. At a particular point, It kept mentioning these roundabouts that were just not there. The only roundabout as far as I could see was the way in which I was making progress. Yes, the roadworks were to blame but it’s high time that Audi updated the system. However, the car finally left me far from any complaint but because, as though intuitively, it was guiding me towards a really nice photo opportunity. Just like the Audi A4 itself, with its little faults, did not leave me complaining at the end of the drive.
UPSIDE: Confident handling, Powerful engine, Better priced than comparable rivals
FLIPSIDE: Navigation needs update, Wind noise at high speeds, Moderate fuel efficiency, Rear storage stingy
THE PRICE: My 3.0L test car costs 199,000 dirhams whereas the 2 L litre version is for AED 175,000 and the 1.8L TFSI for 149,000.
Just as you can read from the multiple driving modes, this Audi has its priority set right on a pleasurable drive; 272 hp and 400 Newton metres of torque vouch for its intentions. Dare to switch off the traction control and the car takes up stance on the edge of accuracy and slipaway fun, giving you the confidence to push the car and its limits. That’s the best trait of the Audi A4 3.0 L TFSI Quattro.
The Audi A4 has one of the best weighted and appropriately-sized steering wheels in town. but actually offers very good traction and road feedback. The flipside is that road imperfections get transmitted inside slightly more than what you would expect of a family executive saloon. Even though the braking is sharp and quick, pretty much all that happens are just shared strictly between the road and the tyres, not transferring any of that back into the cabin.
The drive comes with a sport shift which is a click away from the D position, as well as a manual steptronic transmission and sporty paddle shifts. Surprisingly, Audi doesn’t yet offer as standard the kind of driver assistance and other frills many other rivals do.
The Audi 3.0 L is not the epitome of fuel efficiency at a mere 6.54 kms per litre of gasoline, even with the start-stop function. But then, it’s an ecclectic mix of driving styles that gassed out these results so if you stick to the highways or avoid the S drive altogether chances are, you will fare better.
On the normal drive mode, the transition of gears is almost imperceptible. The alertness and the responsiveness of the seven speed transmission makes the D drive more than enough on highways. Yet in the S mode, you nudge the car harder and it responds immediately downshifting by three gears. It stays there and switches back to the fuel efficient top gear as soon as it fulfils your demand, with a minor surge. But that’s fine; it’s like a jolt of sportiness.
In the S mode, the car transforms into a sort of fun machine with a power delivery that kicks its own ass. Suddenly, even the sound of it becomes much more alive delivering you an almost track like motoring satisfaction. The 0-100 comes up in 6.2 seconds.
While it feels quite stable even at very high speeds, you get to listen to the persistent wind eagerly licking up the A pillars of this delicious looking car. But why doesn’t Audi tweak the sound of the engine a bit more, I don’t know, because a man who chooses a sporty red car would any day love listening to the engine-vroom rather than the perverted afternoon wind.
My test Audi came wrapped in what I call ‘pomegranate red’ which was almost dripping its colour onto the LED tail lamps. The belt line is placed at the edge of sporty profiling but the rear windscreen and the window settings afford very good vision complemented by the side view mirrors.
The front and rear diffuser vents and the dual exhausts add a lot more aggression to the car. Another impressive feature is the 18 inch alloy wheels with their five aggressive spokes in silver carbon grey.
Cabin and Controls
The A4 cabin is furnished with a beige and black leather which complements its sporty flush outside. It is reasonably silent for an Audi. The seven inch screen layout works in tandem with the aluminium knob – the MMI (multimedia interface) of Audi.
The navigation was so confused that it often baffled itself. And the way it ended up asking me to turn left and right, I was wondering if I had strayed onto a moto-cross track by accident. But one thing about the navigation is that it has a tour list which is very helpful when you plan your trips, with a complete overview of the streets and roads that you will come across and how long will you stay on each, en route to your destination. The reversing camera is very helpful because of not just the park assist guidelines but also the wide angle which is a boon when pulling out of a parallel parking into the traffic.
Instead of asking your kid to stand in the ‘naughty corner’, next time you could probably ask him to sit in the centre seat of the Audi A4 Quattro with its elevated shaft cover and the air blowing between his legs. But thus blocking the rear air vent won’t be well received by your other passengers because the price you pay for great vision is that the glasshouse tends to get warmer in the summer.
The spacious boot accommodated, yes you guessed it – the mother of all prams – still leaving space for a good fat suitcase as well. The front cabin storage is pretty systematic but for all practical purposes there is no storage whatsoever at the rear. The seat back pouch, cup holders and the side door storage are all too shallow for anything at all. That’s something you can take after putting up with versatile smart phones that go powerless in half a day. By the way, there is a charger just next to the air vent.
Audi A4 3.0 L Quattro S Line and BMW 335i
As a rival to the new BMW 3 series, which is already on its way to becoming a legend, the Audi A4 3.0 L Quattro TFSI S Line puts up a great fight and falls just short of posing a great threat. Both cars with their three litre engines is almost on par with regard to the excellent drive quality but the feeling of living up to challenges or wanting to take a gamble, that which is so vital for sporty fun, is a grade higher in the BMW 335i. The aggressive styling too is very close to the BMW, especially the impressive alloy wheels of 18 inches, with their five articulate spokes in silver carbon grey.
While Audi usually overwhelms BMW’s attempt at interior refiements, the BMW 335i fares slightly better than the A4 Quattro. The cabin console and dash are slightly tilted towards the driver in both cars, making their driver-oriented leanings self-evident. As far as cabin space goes, both of them are quite comparable, slightly better than the Mercedes C class. But the boot space is where the Audi A4 scores over the BMW 3 series.
The Essential Audi A4 3.0 L Quattro TFSI
For a car with so much of sportiness, the driver assist features are too little or much less engaging than what you would expect. But sans the frills and with a passable fuel efficiency and more than enough power, the Audi A4 3L Quattro can definitely satisfy you compared with more expensive German options.
In matters of comfort, the A4 pays more attention to the front cabin with knee support, which won’t go unnoticed by the front passengers while the rear seat passengers will appreciate the relatively smoother drive and added space that the new A4 brings with it, which includes the boot space.
Drive Courtesy: Audi Volkswagen Middle East
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy