The strength of the BMW M4 Coupé is evident in every detail.
Audi is clearly hoping to hose down some of the hype around the new BMW 3-Series with a heavily revised A4 sedan and Avant range and although the new Audi is only due to hit showroom floors at the end of this month, Audi has already posted the pricing and specifications on its website.
Sure, Audi is not able to fight this battle with an all-new product but the new A4 does come to the party with updated styling, new engines and a more affordable price tag.
So while entering the BMW 3 Series family costs R363 052 for the feature-loaded 135kW 320i and the cheapest Mercedes C-Class will set you back R359 000 for the 115kW C180, you can have a new A4 1.8T FSI S for just R306 500.
There are a few things you'll have to sacrifice, however, as the entry A4 only has 88kW of power and it's not exactly extravagant when it comes to interior features. The one you need to compare to the German rivals, then, is the 125kW SE model, which still seems rather reasonable at R344 000.
WIDE ENGINE RANGE
The detuned 1.8T FSI (turbo direct injection) engine that bottoms out the range musters only 88kW and 230Nm (0-100 in 10.5 seconds, says Audi) and the more powerful version of this engine is good for 125kW and 320Nm, for an 8.1 second sprint.
Also offered is a 155kW/350Nm 2.0T FSI and a 200kW/400Nm 3.0T FSI while the S4 continues with its 245kW/440Nm version of the latter engine. A combination of quattro all-wheel drive and S tronic double-clutch transmission are available on all three aforementioned engines, and the 2.0T can also be had in front-wheel drive with a multitronic CVT gearbox. Multitronic is optional on 1.8T versions.
All engines in the more efficient new range have an idle-stop system.
The entry-level S trim line comes with all the bare necessities like air conditioning, on-board computer and CD player and also has a 6.5-inch MMI colour display. Amusingly, the seat upholstery is described as a mix of real and man-made leather.
Upgrade to the SE and you also receive 17-inch alloy wheels (16-inch alloys are standard on the S) as well as cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, Audi Music Interface and automatic headlights and windscreen wipers. Quattro versions add 18-inch alloys, Milano leather, sports suspension and three-zone automatic air conditioning.
WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
As you'll see in the pictures, this A4 sports a more aggressive front-end design from the same mould as that of the A1, new A3 and A6. New taillights round off the styling changes while the interior's been spruced up with high-gloss inserts, a selection of new steering wheel designs and a more user-friendly infotainment system.
Besides the new engines that we've already mentioned, the chassis has been updated with stiffer mounting rubbers on the rear suspension control arms and revised damper rates.
AUDI A4 PRICES
1.8T FSI S 88kW manual - R306 500
1.8T FSI S 125kW manual - R329 000
1.8T FSI S 125kW multitronic - R346 000
1.8T FSI SE 125kW manual - R344 000
1.8T FSI SE 125kW multitronic - R361 000
2.0T FSI SE 155kW multitronic - R386 500
2.0T FSI 155kW quattro S tronic - R452 000
3.0T FSI 200kW quattro S tronic - R499 500
S4 3.0T FSI 245kW quattro S tronic - R620 000
2.0 TDIe S 105kW manual - R333 500
2.0 TDI S 130kW multitronic - R349 500
2.0 TDI SE 130kW manual - R347 500
2.0 TDI SE 130kW multitronic - R364 500
3.0 TDI quattro 180kW S tronic - R498 500
1.8T FSI S 125kW manual - R346 000
1.8T FSI S 125kW multitronic - R363 000
2.0T FSI S 130kW manual - R349 500
2.0T FSI S 130kW multitronic - R366 500