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Having grown up substantially over the current A4, the new B8 has a length of 4,703 mm. To put things in perspective, the current B7 measure in at 4,586mm. In tandem, its wheelbase has extended from the current 2685mm to 2808mm. In short, more cabin space is to be expected along with a capacious boot volume of 480litres.
Audi’s compact four-cylinder 1.8 TFSI, develops 160bhp and a torque of 250Nm between 1500 and 4500rpm, all from a displacement of 1798cc. The manual A4 1.8 TFSI does 8.6 seconds to 100 km/h, and maintains its thrust up to a top speed of 225 km/h. Yet according to the EU test cycle its consumption is only 7.1 l/100 km –1.1 litres per 100 kilometres better than the previous model. What we are likely to see from Euromobil in Malaysia will be the multitronic version - with continously variable transmission.
The 1.8 TFSI is a close relative of the 2.0 TFSI engine chosen three times in succession by a jury of international journalists as “Engine of the Year”. On this smaller version 0f the B8 range, direct petrol injection and turbocharging represent an ideal combination. Injection pressure has been increased to 150 bar and new direct injectors distribute the fuel accurately to the combustion chambers. The turbocharger is exceptionally rapid in its response – at an engine speed of 2000 rpm it accelerates the engine 30 percent faster to a ten percent higher torque than the conventional 1.8T engine that powered the preceeding model. For all its vigour, this four-cylinder unit runs quietly, in a most refined manner.
Audi AG has not released power/torque figures for the 2.0 TFSI engine application in the new A4.
Similar transmissions choices are carried over with the S-Tronic (DSG) still missing form the A4 line-up. As such, a six-speed manual gearbox, the tiptronic automatic transmission, the multitronic continuously variable transmission are paired with either front-wheel drive or quattro permanent all-wheel drive.
The technical features of the steel bodyshell are also evidence of the major steps forward that have been taken on the new Audi A4. The body is extremely light in weight: although almost 12cm longer and over 5cm wider than its predecessor, the bare bodyshell weighs about 10% less – an excellent starting point for a saloon car of low gross weight. The Audi A4 1.8 TFSI, for instance, tips the scales at only 1410kg.
This weight saving is due to specific use of new grades of steel that combine exceptional strength with low weight. Only these ultra-high-strength steel grades give the body the high level of rigidity needed for precise, sporty handling and good ride comfort.
Interchanging the differential and the clutch has enabled the front axle to be moved forward by 154 mm. This change, aided by moving the car’s battery to the boot, helps to achieve ideal weight distribution.
With its wide track –1564 mm at the front, 1551 mm at the rear – the A4 suggests its dynamic power even at a standstill. Audi claims the new A4 will be the sportiest car in the midsize category: agile, effortless to handle and safe at all times.
The new A4 (B8) goes on sale by November 2007 in Europe. Expect to see this in Malaysia only sometime H2 2008.