New Audi A4 India launch expected in August 2016
Audi India is working to launch the all-new A4 luxury sedan in August this year. The carmaker is believed to have brought forward the launch of the new A4 as remaining stock of the current-gen model is selling out faster than anticipated. The A4 is an important model for the carmaker and, according to company insiders, it didn’t want to be in a position where it was forced to turn away customers until the new model arrived.
The all-new A4 has been on sale in international markets since mid-2015 and got its first India showing at the 2016 Auto Expo in February. As on the current A4, a 2.0-litre diesel unit will be at the core of the new car’s engine range. In India, the four-cylinder unit, part of the VW Group’s new engine family, will be offered in the 190hp guise, up 15hp from today’s A4 35TDI. As we had reported earlier, this new-gen engine will be assembled in India from next year. The engine will come mated to Audi’s S Tronic 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox which is a big departure from the old A4’s use of the Multitronic CVT system. What’s also big news is the possibility of this engine being offered with the option of a six-speed manual gearbox. The rationale is that such a version could be priced at a lower price point and would be of particular interest to chauffeur-driven and corporate buyers, and even enthusiasts who are devoid of manual gearbox options in the segment. Let’s not forget, Audi India has seen success with its strategy to launch a lower-priced, manual transmission-equipped version of the Q3 SUV too. But, like the Q3 S and the outgoing A4, both 2.0 diesel versions of the new A4 will have their engines channel power to the front wheels only; the Quattro all-wheel-drive system is not expected on either version. However, there is a possibility of Audi bringing the Quattro-equipped A4 with a 272hp 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 to India.
The choice of petrol engines will be interesting as well. Internationally, the new A4 is available with 1.4- and 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engines and Audi is understood to be studying the prospects of bringing the smaller of the two engines to India. The 150hp 1.4-litre direct-injection turbo petrol is the same engine that powers the Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI. The 190hp 2.0 TFSI is also a contender for our market and if sold, will be available with a dual-clutch gearbox.
Audi has not finalised trim levels yet, but the A4 is likely to be available in two or three variants. The 2.0 diesel manual and 1.4 petrol A4 will come with fewer frills than the rest of the range. Top-spec cars will be generously loaded with equipment like Audi’s Matrix LED headlights, fully digital instruments (Virtual Cockpit in Audi speak), MMI infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Bang & Olufsen sound system, wireless phone charging, three-zone climate control, ambient lighting, a sunroof and driving modes (Drive Select), among other features.
Audi expects the long list of features to be one of the defining elements of the new A4. At the same time, officials claim the A4 has been designed with an eye on lowering ownership costs, and this could be another area where the car could distinguish itself. Depending on the variant, the new A4 is almost 120kg lighter than its predecessor, so the potential benefits in fuel economy and lower running costs could also play into Audi’s hands.
There’s no word on pricing yet but Audi is known to spring surprises on this front; a sub-Rs 40 lakh starting price seems to be a safe assumption. When launched, the new A4 will compete with the BMW 3-series, Jaguar XE, Mercedes-Benz C-class and Volvo S60.