The new Audi A4 facelift is the first model that has been launched by Audi India in the year 2021 as part of its product offensive planned for this year. However, when I say new, this is not entirely an all-new A4 or an all-new platform so this is basically a facelift version of the A4. The car will rival the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Volvo S60, Jaguar XE and the BMW 3 Series Limousine. Now, what does this facelift version offer and will it be good enough to bring back some numbers to the Audi India sales book? Let’s find out in this review!
The new Audi A4 being a facelift does not look radically different from the older model but with the changes, it does look significantly different. One of the biggest changes upfront is the new wide single-frame grille and this is something that we’re seeing in almost all of the new Audi cars and it goes pretty much in sync with the family design. Also, the bumpers are new on both ends, the headlamps are also new and you get the daytime running lamps with them. If you couple that with the overall theme of the design, which is quite angular and sharp, the new Audi A4 looks a bit more dynamic than the older model and also a little more premium. So yes, in terms of looks, the new model is not radically different but better looking for sure.
Step inside the cabin of the new Audi A4 and you will realize that the changes aren’t really extensive. One of the biggest changes that most people will notice inside the cabin is the new floating touchscreen which is now a larger unit compared to the older model at 10.1-inch. As far as usability goes, it sports good resolution and is easy to use as the user interface is simple and the touch response is decent. This is pretty much the biggest change inside the cabin but that’s not particularly a bad thing because when the A4got its previous facelift, things were already made better and as a result of that, you still have a cabin that is well put together. The material quality, fitment quality and ergonomics are impressive. The buttons have a nice tactile feel and the seats are quite nice & comfortable and offer good support. The Audi A4 is fairly smart in terms of space management as it offers good space in the door pockets and a lot of cubby holes around. There is also wireless charging for your phone so in terms of features and technology, the car has just got better as far as the infotainment system is concerned.
The rear seat inside the new A4 is pretty much the same as the older model because we said there is no change to it, but then again, the A4 already has one of the better seats in the segment. In terms of space, with the driving seat adjusted to my preference (my height – 5’’8’), I had knee room to spare and there was space for me to slide my feet under the driver’s seat. The rear seat is quite nice in terms of cushioning and support and even if you look at the back-rest angle, it’s quite nice. One of the better things about the seat is the under-thigh support, which is reasonably good. So, if you put all of these things together, the Audi A4 can be a fairly good chauffeur-driven car as well if that is your requirement.
Now coming to the driving performance, once you get behind the wheel of the new 2021 Audi A4, this is where you will find the biggest change and that is – the engine. While the older A4 came with a smaller petrol engine with about 150 hp, now you get a larger turbocharged petrol engine only that churns out 190 hp of power and that makes A4 a lot more engaging and fun to drive than the older version. The engine, in terms of refinement, is top-notch. Once you are out on the open streets and cruising, be it city speed limits or at highway speeds, the engine is super silent and smooth so it really goes well in sync with the positioning of the new A4. For me though, it is the additional power that’s the most exciting part. Out on the road, this engine is really impressive. Now, keep in mind, this is no 3 Series because this is a front-wheel-drive car but the engine is really nice and off the line acceleration is crisp, the throttle response is good and getting to highway speeds is very easy. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is paired nicely to the engine and shifts pretty quickly that makes the A4 a lot more engaging and fun to drive.What adds to the driving experience is the fact that it’s a rev-happy engine so you can rev it up to a little over 6,000 rpm and that just adds to the pleasure of driving. You also have the driving modes that are pretty much standard on an Audi and ‘Dynamic’ is the one you want to be in if you want to have fun, but you can also choose from other modes depending on as their name suggests. That said, the key takeaway for me is the additional power and while the previous version wasn’t exactly fun to drive, the new one is a lot better.
The new 2021 Audi A4 has always been a car that has offered a good balance between ride and handling and there hasn’t been any update in terms of the suspension or any architectural changes inside on the new model. So, it is pretty much the same and it’s not a bad thing because the A4 continues to be a comfortable car. The suspension does a good job of handling all the speed breakers and potholes and surface undulations in a manner that the occupants inside the cabin stay largely unaffected. The ride quality is a bit on this stiffer side but once you gain some momentum, it improves in leaps and bounds. As far as handling is concerned, it’s not the best in the segment as the car is a front-wheel-drive and hence, has its limitations, but that doesn’t mean that the new A4 isn’t really engaging to drive.
It is fun and like I mentioned earlier, the engine is now more powerful and as a result of that, you have access to more speed and fortunately, the A4 can handle speed pretty well around corners so you can chuck the car in corners at higher speed and it maintains the line without any signs of nervousness. There is a good amount of grip from the tyres and the balance of the chassis is quite nice so that means on a straight line, you can go pretty fast and even when you have to panic brake, the car does not veer off its line, thereby instilling more confidence in the driver.
With the new A4, you get a good balance between various traits and that’s what the Audi A4 has always been. It’s never been the best driving or the most comfortable car in the segment, but it has been one of those cars that bring about a lot of things together and puts them together in a package that makes it really appealing for the buyer. The new 2021 Audi A4 has been launched at a starting price of Rs 42.3 lakh (ex-showroom) and I think Audi India has done a decent job but I wish the pricing was a bit more competitive because the competition is really stiff in this segment. That said, in this segment, if you are looking for a well balanced, well-rounded kind of experience, and a car that is not a master of a single trade, but is good at almost every trade then the new 2021 Audi A4 should be a strong contender for any potential buyers.
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