Displaying items by tag: Audi
Another Bavarian brand is currently working on several purely electric models that will debut in the next 10 years. However, the ambitions of the producers from Ingolstadt are much bigger. According to the head of the company, Marcus Disman, Audi plans to become purely "electric" in the next 20 years.
In fact, it is a time frame that is conceived as necessary to complete the transition, write Vrele Gume. According to Disman, Audi is currently setting a deadline for the phasing out of current models with internal combustion engines. The cars in question will either become purely electric or will be euthanized.
By the end of 2021, the Ingolstadt brand will have six purely electric models on offer, along with 12 plug-in hybrids. However, that is just the beginning. Audi wants to have twenty electric cars on sale by 2025, and if it succeeds in achieving that, it could become a manufacturer like Tesla sooner rather than later.
However, it should not be forgotten that Ingolstadt announced that they will continue to develop internal combustion engines, in an attempt to make them as efficient as possible. So, regardless of the fact that Audi will start phasing out the SUS engine, petrol engines will still have their place in the portfolio. "Plug-in" hybrids are likely to serve as long-distance models, giving customers who frequently travel hundreds of miles "from the train" the opportunity to own usable vehicles. Those who are not outspoken "long-distance runners" will be able to rely on electric cars. At the moment, there are only four different electric models of Audi on offer, with two being actually model variants. The Audi e-tron, e-tron Sportback, e-tron S and e-tron Sportback S are currently the only ones of their kind in the Ingolstadt range. However, by the end of the year, the Audi e-tron GT and Audi Q4 e-tron will enter the scene, with probably a couple of new "plug-in" hybrids.
Given all the above, the goal of the "four rings" brand to become purely electric in the next 20 years is not so unattainable. Will other premium manufacturers follow this matrix?
BMW also has ambitious plans when it comes to electrifying its models, although it seems that the latter has arrived "at the party". The BMW iX is the first true electric car from the Bavarian manufacturer since the i3, and it is not yet officially on sale. Although Audi’s e-tron models on the market rest on existing platforms, they are not just electrified versions of existing models, as is the case with the BMW iX3. The same can be said for the Mercedes-Benz EQC. Of course, Munich also plans to fill the electric offer in the near future, including the i4, the electrified series 7, the iX1 and possibly even the electric M5. BMW also wants to phase out internal combustion engines, although the deadline for achieving that process could be slightly longer than Audi's.
Despite its soul-stirring performance, Audi's redesigned 591-hp RS7 makes a case for the less-expensive RS6 Avant wagon.
After a brief hiatus from the United States market, Audi's fiery RS7 Sportback returns for 2021 in fighting form. Delivering big doses of both speed and refinement, the new car's stonking performance sacrifices little comfort for its driver. But it's not the only practical hot-rod hatchback that Audi offers these days, and therein lies the RS7's greatest issue.
HIGHS: Effortless speed, impressive ride comfort, menacing curb appeal.
The new RS7 is once again motivated by the Volkswagen Group's venerable—and versatile—twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that also can be found under the hoods of various Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche models. Output in this version is a strong 591 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. If those figures sound familiar, that's because they're the same as those of the Audi RS6 Avant station wagon, which is mechanically identical to the RS7 yet offers more cargo space—30 cubic feet versus the RS7's 25. We also think the longer-roof RS6 looks better, but we're suckers for wagons. Compared to the previous RS7, this 4.0-liter wears turbos featuring larger compressor wheels. Thanks largely to an additional 2.9 pounds of boost over the previous standard model, the RS7's horsepower and torque ratings swell by 30 and 77, respectively. As with the RS6, the RS7 features a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, or Quattro if you're into trade names.
Audi RS7 Has Dynamite Looks and Big Power
On paper, the latest RS7 is not as impressive as its predecessor's hottest variant, the 605-hp RS7 Performance. Yet, despite the new car weighing an additional 460 pounds, it can catapult its 4947-pound girth to 60 mph in a mere 3.0 seconds, which is a tenth of a second quicker than before. Stay on the throttle and it posts a similar 11.3-second quarter-mile time but with a 3-mph slower trap speed (122 mph), which is indicative of its extra bulk. The 2021 RS7's porkiness is also on display in both the 30-to-50- and 50-to-70-mph top-gear acceleration tests, where it trails the RS7 Performance by 0.4 and 0.5 second, respectively. Well, pokiness or a less aggressive transmission map. For comparison, the RS6 Avant gets to 60 in 3.1 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds at 120 mph.
LOWS: Subdued exhaust note, seriously heavy, an RS6 Avant is both cheaper and more practical.
Making the most of the RS7's acceleration on the street is easy, thanks to a neat trick we discovered with the car's advanced electronics. When fitted with Audi's Intersection-assist feature (part of the $2250 Driver Assistance package), the RS7 communicates with intersections that are V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) compatible. Activate this at a stoplight and a countdown timer illuminates in the standard 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, indicating when the light will turn green. Depress one of the RS Mode buttons on the RS7's steering wheel to summon launch control and the car's customizable drive modes, stand on the brake and accelerator, and then release the brake for a max-thrust hole shot.
The RS7 is more than a stoplight racer, though. With broad shoulders that are 1.7 inches wider than the lesser S7's, plus its blacked-out maw and exterior trim, this Audi looks stunningly mean. But it also grabs attention, which is problematic when triple-digit speeds can be summoned almost by thought. That it also brings an impressive level of refinement doesn't help matters. We imagine much of its weight gain comes from significantly more sound-deadening material, as our test car's calm and serene cabin reduced the full-throttle noise from the $1000 Sport exhaust to a distant, 79-decibel bark. Ride comfort on the optional 22-inch wheels with 30-series Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires is excellent, the standard air springs shrugging off even the worst of Michigan's poorly maintained roads.
Despite carrying 56.1 percent of its mass on its front wheels, the RS7 feels surprisingly balanced. When pushed hard into corners, the standard rear-wheel steering helps its driver maintain a smooth, tight line by rotating its rear end. Its ability to change directions is bolstered by a torque-vectoring rear differential, which helps with yaw by splitting the rear axle's torque unevenly. In Dynamic mode, the RS7 hunkers down by 0.4 inch and circles the skidpad with a solid 0.95 g of lateral adhesion. When it's time to slow down, massive 16.5-inch iron front rotors clamped by 10-piston calipers effortlessly shed the car's forward momentum. Stops from 70 mph take a scant 151 feet. While our car didn't feature them, carbon-ceramic brakes are available for $8500 and have the added benefit of upping the governed top speed from 155 mph to a claimed 190.
The performance and presence of the Audi RS7 is intoxicating enough for us to almost forget that the RS6 Avant exists. But one glance at the RS7's $115,045 base price puts the two cars in perspective. For $5000 less, Audi's RS wagon posts nearly identical performance results, has seating for five versus the RS7's four, and is more capacious in back. For those smitten with the RS7's sleeker profile, it is an awesome machine. But we know where our money would go.
Audi has set a date for the suspension of the A4 and A6 models powered by internal combustion engines. The same goes for the Audi A8. The Bavarians obviously do not want to invest significant sums of money even in the development of models from the plug-in hybrid segment. The decisions of the company's leaders represent the cornerstone for the realization of the idea of Audi CEO Marcus Dysman, who wants this brand to leave the production of conventional cars.
The mentioned Disman has been at the helm of Audi for a shorter period of one year, and the German Manager Magazine reports that its plan for the development of the brand implies that the new generations of A4 and A6 sedans will be presented again from 2023, shortly after electric editions. However, Audi doesn’t even want conventional mid-size sedan variants to be in the sales mix for the rest of the life cycle of that generation of sedans. So, the end of the offer for A4 and A6 will come before we reach 2030.
When it comes to the limousine flagship marked A8, it should be said that the premiere of the restyled version is expected by the end of this year. It should also be the last resort to keep the big sedan current, and Audi also does not want to artificially extend the life of this vehicle even by offering it as a representative of the PHEV segment.
Manager Magazine reports that Disman already perceives the mentioned models as "living dead", indirectly quoting him, ie transmitting his words in a slightly freer translation, that the company's policy is to order the suspension of the promotion of old technology after the federal elections planned for autumn this year. . The Bavarians believe that customers will simply lose interest in conventional Audi models after that.
Almost two weeks ago, the head of Audi told another German business weekly, Wirtschaftswoche, that the company is currently working on a concrete plan that envisages phasing out and shutting down the offer of models powered by internal combustion engines, which will be a process that ends "in the next ten, maybe fifteen years".
The focus of teams of experts employed by the company from Ingolstadt is increasingly occupied by purely electric models. Disman further emphasized the importance of battery models for the premium brand by declaring work on the Artemis project, immediately after he took the chair of the brand’s commander-in-chief. According to a report published by Automobilwoche at the very beginning of the year, the first model developed under the auspices of the Artemis project will be presented at the IAA event taking place this fall.
Serial production of the model is scheduled for the end of 2024. Disman recently said that the model will not be a large sedan or a large SUV, which would eventually be placed in a class above the A8 or Q7: "It will be a new category vehicle and we will not tie it for symbol A, nor for index Q. ”
Finally, Audi has entered the premium electric vehicle market with its e-tron models.
Comfortable when you need it, punchy when you want it.
With SUVs being so popular now, manufacturers have the challenge of fitting multiple models into a multitude of niches to satisfy all kinds of customers. Take Audi, for example, whose Q5 represents about 25 percent of the marque's U.S. sales. Part of that has to do with the model's three very different powertrain variants: the regular Q5 45 TFSI, the gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid Q5 55 TFSI e, and the dynamic SQ5. In the hottest segment of the game, you gotta satisfy everyone.
The 2021 Audi Q5 lineup gets a midcycle refresh that slightly changes its appearance inside and out, not to mention slightly boosts the model's performance. The 2021 SQ5, which we'll focus on in this review, improves upon the 2020 model, and after taking it to the track, we can confirm it also handles like a champ on our figure-eight course.
2021 Audi SQ5: The Numbers
In our testing, the turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that puts down 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque launched the SQ5 from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, exactly the same time Audi got with its own stopwatches. The SQ5 also completed the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds at 102.9 mph. Those are pretty good numbers for a 4,400-pound SUV and it means the SQ5 can stay neck and neck with the competition. The last Mercedes-AMG GLC43 we tested—a 2017 model—got to 60 mph in the same 4.7 seconds and crossed the quarter mile in 13.4 seconds at 104.3 mph. Talk about being competitive. Since then, however, Mercedes has added 23 horses to the GLC43, which now makes 385 hp (torque remains the same at 384 lb-ft). We have yet to test an updated GLC43, so we'll have to wait and see how much faster (if any) it is.
Road test editor Chris Walton was impressed by the SQ5's handling. "Wow! What a delight on the figure eight," he said. "Really, a tremendously fun experience that I was not anticipating. Porsche levels of fun and predictability."
Whether it's on the track or the streets, the 2021 Audi SQ5 is fun to drive. Like we said in our First Drive, the SQ5 feels more like a hot hatch than a hot SUV, with limited body roll and sharp steering response. On twisty roads, the SQ5 leans in nicely, its tires maintaining good grip and giving you the confidence to push the SUV even harder. The low-end torque allows the SQ5 to pull itself out of corners with ease, but the transmission takes a bit of time to downshift, even in Dynamic mode. At least Audi fits the SQ5 with shift paddles, which allow the driver to override the gearbox's lethargic nature.
You're most likely buying an SQ5 because you want more power, but when you want to cruise peacefully, this Audi also delivers. Despite its 21-inch wheels, the SQ5's ride is settled and peaceful on the freeway. When we drove about Portuguese Bend, an area of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Southern California where frequent land movements perpetually rumple the pavement, we noted the Audi's suspension handled medium undulations well.
2021 Audi SQ5: Inside The Beast
You'll know you're in the SQ5 thanks to the number of badges located about the cabin. From the steering wheel to the shifter to the seats, the abundant S logos visually differentiate the SQ5 from its less powerful siblings. Besides that, all Q5 and SQ5 models come with the same 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system that's compatible with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This screen replaces the priorly available 7.0- and 8.3-inch displays and is located within easy reach of the driver. The MIB3 infotainment system is easy to use and fast to respond, and it now adds a voice control system that learns and recognizes natural commands for vehicle controls.
Although the SQ5 (as well as its Q5 stablemates) doesn't get the fancy dual-screen center console found in Audi's bigger models, such as the Q7 and Q8, the cabin still feels tech-savvy. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster (or Virtual Cockpit in Audi-speak) is enhanced with a better resolution that makes the setup's Google Satellite images even crisper. Our test car included the Prestige package and came with the optional color head-up display. The 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system had us cranking up the volume every time we played our favorite songs.
Interior space is generally decent. The biggest compromise is to second-row foot room due to the bulky drivetrain hump. Other than that, though, there's plenty of space for adults. Rear-seat passengers will appreciate the airy cabin thanks to the large windows, but the biggest downside is that the seats do not fold in a fully flat position.
2021 Audi SQ5: Worth The Cost?
The updated SQ5 brings a fresh design inside and out while balancing dynamics and refinement for everyday driving. It's a great option for those who want more punch than the Q5 offers. Plus, with a starting price of $53,995, it's a reasonable value—at least in its base form. Prices escalate quickly, though, with our top-of-the-line SQ5 with the Prestige package stickering for $71,790.
The SQ5's number one mission is delivering a fun driving experience. This Audi not only does that, but it also provides a suave ride when you want it. Few SUVs manage to do this as well as the SQ5 does.
"The Audi A4 is a comfortable and economical executive saloon with a stylish, technology-laden interior"
The Audi A4 has been involved in an ongoing battle in the executive saloon class with the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class for 30 years. Historically, each of this German trio boasted strengths in different areas; the A4 brought an understated design and quattro four-wheel drive, the 3 Series was the driver’s choice, and the C-Class was about sublime comfort and quality. Times have changed, with all three competitors now more equal than ever before, ensuring the latest versions all need to be impressive all-rounders.
Best executive cars
All three of these executive specials now offer an increasingly similar list of qualities making picking between them more difficult. As well as a direct rivalry with each other, recent years have seen strong offerings from rival manufacturers, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Jaguar XE and Lexus IS providing strong competition. This means the Audi A4 can’t afford to rest on its laurels, and the latest model is a spacious, practical and relatively fuel-efficient machine.
A recent significant facelift has seen the A4 evolve again to keep itself in the fight with the new BMW 3 Series and updated Jaguar XE. Its looks have changed quite significantly, with a new nose that's now even more purposeful and striking designs for its front and rear lights. The interior has been given a revamp and mild-hybrid engines ensure lower running costs for company-car drivers.
For enthusiastic drivers, the A4 gets off to a lacklustre start whether you pick a quattro four-wheel drive or a front-wheel drive variant, as it lacks the nimble agility offered by the rear-wheel drive BMW 3 Series. This new model is an improvement over the previous generation, though, with a vastly improved ride quality that is more compliant with the potholed roads of Great Britain, with the optional adaptive suspension allowing you to choose between a soft or firm spring setup. There's no option of air suspension, like in the Mercedes C-Class, though.
There's a wide range of engines to choose from. Those who cover fewer than 12,000 or so miles a year will be well served by the modern, turbocharged 2.0-litre petrols. Available with either 148bhp, 201bhp or 261bhp, and badged 35, 40 and 45 TFSI respectively, our favourite is the mid-level model, returning up to 40.9mpg despite a swift 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds.
Those who cover a higher annual mileage might prefer a diesel, and the 161bhp 2.0-litre 35 TDI is a great all-rounder, with up to 58.9mpg claimed, combined with low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax rating. There's also a high-performance Audi S4 saloon, fitted with a 336bhp diesel engine, which we've reviewed separately.
Those who cover a higher annual mileage might prefer a diesel, and the 161bhp 2.0-litre 35 TDI is a great all-rounder, with up to 58.9mpg claimed, combined with low Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) company-car tax rating. There's also a high-performance Audi S4 saloon, fitted with a 336bhp diesel engine, which we've reviewed separately.
Even the cheapest Technik trim is well equipped, with a 10.1-inch infotainment screen and Audi's Virtual Cockpit fitted as standard. Sport Edition, S line and Black Edition add desirable styling to the mix, while the top Vorsprung grade includes adaptive suspension, LED Matrix headlights, a sunroof and lots of driving assistance kit to make the A4 safer.
The Audi A4 finished 73rd out of the 100 cars ranked in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK but didn’t appear in our 2020 list. Euro NCAP awarded the A4 a five-star score in crash-testing.
If you're in the market for a compact executive saloon, then the Audi A4 ticks virtually all the boxes. It's economical, spacious, well built, packed with tech, has a beautifully designed interior and, while rivals such as the BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE and Alfa Romeo Giulia may be more rewarding to drive, the latest generation A4 is the most competent yet on a twisty road. While there's not a lot to separate most of the models in the A4's class, the Audi is a great all-rounder.
Audi A4 saloon - MPG, running costs & CO2
The greenest Audi A4 model can return over 50mpg
Audi has gone to great lengths to improve the Audi A4's fuel-efficiency figures. It's not as if the old car's CO2 emissions and fuel economy were bad in comparison to rivals – far from it – but Audi has to keep cars like the refreshed BMW 3 Series and hi-tech Jaguar XE at bay in order for the A4 to remain competitive.
Company-car drivers are likely to be unimpressed that there's no plug-in hybrid version of the A4. There are some strong rivals here, including the BMW 330e and Mercedes C 300 e that offer low BiK bands thanks to their low CO2 emissions.
Audi A4 MPG & CO2
Like many compact executive cars, the Audi A4 has a huge range of engines to choose from and mild-hybrid technology has been rolled out to boost fuel-efficiency and help cut CO2 emissions. It works by capturing energy while the car is slowing down and using it to power the car's electrical systems. The most economical engine in the range is the 2.0-litre diesel; the 134bhp ‘30 TDI’ is able to return up to 60.1mpg according to Audi. Even the 161bhp ‘35 TDI’ is capable of up to 58.9mpg in trims with smaller wheels. The A4 now has a reduced engine range to choose from, but all are relatively frugal. The more economical diesels are best for high-mileage driver, but relatively high BiK bands mean the petrol models are often now more appealing for company-car drivers.
A more powerful, 201bhp version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine is also available with standard quattro all-wheel drive. Badged 40 TDI, it promises fuel economy of up to 54.3mpg. Other engine highlights include a 2.0-litre 35 TFSI petrol with 148bhp, which is capable of up to 46.3mpg and is the least expensive engine in the range to buy.
There are further petrol choices, as you can order an A4 with either 201bhp or 261bhp. While these are very smooth, they're best for low-mileage drivers as fuel economy is up to 44.8mpg and 35.3mpg respectively. They're also only available with more expensive trim levels.
After the first year's CO2-based road tax (generally included in the on-the-road price), all Audi A4s cost £150 a year to tax. Those with a list price (including options) of more than £40,000 are liable for an additional surcharge of £325 a year in years two to six, bringing the annual bill to £475 during that period.
The entry-level petrol 35 TFSI sits in group 23, while the 40 TFSI in Sport trim climbs to group 29. The 30 TDI starts from group 22 out of 50, while the range-topping diesel S line 40 TDI quattro is in group 30.
Audi's warranty looks a little stingy in the face of its competition; its three-year/60,000-mile cover is pretty standard fare, with BMW and Mercedes providing unlimited-mileage cover over the same time period. The standard warranty can be extended to four years/75,000 miles for around £400 or five years/90,000 miles for just under £1,000.
Audi offers fixed service intervals of 9,000 miles or once a year, or flexible servicing that can see drivers cover up to every 19,000 miles or two years for the major between services. Flexible servicing is recommended for drivers with a high annual mileage, while fixed servicing better suits town and city drivers making frequent, short trips. Audi offers owners a range of fixed-price service deals.
Audi A4 saloon - Engines, drive & performance
The Audi A4's handling and performance has been much improved over its predecessor
One of the biggest complaints about the old Audi A4 was its rather numb steering. That car didn't exactly feel great to drive, which was why we recommended the BMW 3 Series or Jaguar XE for more enthusiastic drivers.
The latest generation is a big improvement in that regard – the steering is sharper and offers more feel and feedback, but it's still very light.
Although Audi has made the A4's suspension slightly softer and more comfortable than before, there's very little body lean, so you won't get thrown about inside if you go around a roundabout too enthusiastically. It’s still not the outright driver’s choice, though – the A4 feels a bit characterless next to rivals like the BMW 3 Series, Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE.
Selecting the optional adaptive suspension system's Comfort mode improves the ride quality further, although whether it's worth spending the extra cash on depends on how much you value a soft ride. We’d recommend the upgrade, as the standard car is noticeably firmer than many of its rivals, especially over rougher roads. S Line trim versions are firmer again, with sports suspension that lowers the car by 23mm.
As always, Audi offers its ‘quattro’ four-wheel-drive setup on some models in the A4 range. This ensures there's always enough traction, which could be useful in rain-soaked Britain, but the standard front-wheel-drive version should be more than competent enough for most buyers.
You can choose between a six-speed manual transmission, a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox with steering column-mounted shift paddles – or a more conventional eight-speed automatic with the more powerful engines. The S tronic is a particularly good gearbox, offering quick shifts in manual mode and smooth changes in auto mode. It's the only option for most of the range, as the 35 TFSI is the only engine where the manual gearbox is offered.
Audi A4 petrol engines
The Audi A4 petrol range has simplified and been thoroughly worked over. A 148bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine called 35 TFSI kicks off the range, joined by two higher-powered versions of the same engine - producing either 187bhp or 242bhp, and badged 40 TFSI and 45 TFSI.
All three engines are very smooth and remarkably quiet on the move and the 40 and 45 TFSI feel fairly potent. Audi predicts the 35 TFSI will be the strongest seller in the range, and it has just enough performance to suit the car, without being hugely thrilling on a fun road.
Three diesel options are now available, all with a capacity of 2.0 litres and fitted with an S tronic dual-clutch automatic gearbox. With either 134bhp, 161bhp or 201bhp, the 2.0-litre engines are badged 30, 35 and 40 TDI respectively and should be powerful enough for most drivers. They boast a smooth power delivery and are quieter than the diesels fitted to the previous A4. For many drivers, the 35 TDI is likely to be the pick of the bunch, offering reassuring performance when overtaking or driving on the motorway. It gets from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds with front-wheel drive - quattro is only available for the 40 TDI, where it's fitted as standard.
Audi A4 saloon - Interior & comfort
The Audi A4's interior is impeccably built and there's loads of technology on board
The Audi A4's interior is awash with gadgets and technology, featuring equipment and design ideas from other recently revised Audi models like the Audi TT coupe, Audi R8 supercar and Audi Q7 SUV.
The 2019 facelift means the A4 has even more of this technology as standard, with analogue gauges now a thing of the past. Not every move is positive; the touchscreen-only infotainment system isn't as easy to use while driving as the old control wheel.
Audi A4 dashboard
Audi has removed as much clutter from the dashboard as possible in recent years, with the A4 featuring a minimalist layout inside. It also has an incredibly well built interior that just oozes class and sophistication. It's still a more sober design layout you get in the rather flashy Mercedes C-Class, but Audi's penchant for creating classy interiors has been maintained in the A4.
The 'Virtual Cockpit' instrument cluster has been updated and now comes as standard - and it's the best in the business for clarity and ease of use, with all the controls at your fingertips on the steering wheel. The only buttons that remain on the dashboard operate the climate control and essential features. The automatic versions have an aircraft-throttle-like gearlever, which looks smart and doubles as a wrist-rest.
The central vent that's fixed into the dashboard is called an 'air shower'. It's meant to diffuse air gently towards occupants, rather than simply blowing it in your face like traditional air vents.
Audi’s 10.1-inch infotainment system comes as standard, with high-definition graphics and touchscreen operation. After many years, Audi has decided to drop the wheel selector in the centre console, but this feels like a backwards step when driving as it can be tricky to prod the screen on the move. Instead, it's better to use voice commands once on the move.
The built-in sat nav system uses Google Maps and loads with lightning speed, which is partially due to a super-fast processor that gives the most technically advanced computers a run for their money. Overall, it's not quite as user-friendly as the latest BMW iDrive system, but it comes very close.
Trim levels are called Technik, Sport Edition, S line, Black Edition and Vorsprung, and even the entry-level version is well appointed. There are 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated front seats, three-zone climate control, sat nav, DAB radio and a rear-view camera.
Sport Edition adds bigger wheels and some extra style, which is improved upon again by S line. S line also drops the suspension by 23mm, so be aware it won't ride quite as smoothly - an issue exacerbated by 19-inch wheels. Tinted glass is also added, along with sports seats embossed with the 'S' logo and trimmed in leather and Alcantara.
Based on S line, Black Edition replaces exterior chrome with black trim for a stealthy look. while Vorsprung adds features such as adaptive sport suspension, Matrix LED headlights, a sunroof, driving assistance features and a head-up display.
Options include adaptive cruise control, adaptive dampers, LED 'Matrix' headlights, styling packs and a huge range of accessories. However, they are pricey. A Comfort and Sound Pack bundles features such as keyless entry and a powered boot, a Bang & Olufsen stereo, 360-degree camera view and extended LED lighting around the interior.
The current A4 is the most advanced yet when it comes to technology. Everything is controlled on a slick touchscreen that sits above the air vents. You can also control various functions through the 'Virtual Cockpit' screen that takes the place of traditional dials in the instrument cluster. It's a 12.3-inch screen that comes as standard and allows you to view maps, media functions and other things like the trip computer in place of the analogue dials of older models.
It's an incredibly slick system and, in combination with the bright central screen, makes using the A4 very easy. A colour head-up display also comes fitted to the Vorsprung trim, which appears to hover in the windscreen, making it easier to check your speed and navigation instructions without being distracted from the road ahead.
There are various USB ports, SD card slots and auxiliary inputs, so you can listen to music in a variety of ways, as well as over Bluetooth, which is very quick to pair with your phone. The A4 can also come with Audi Connect, which allows you to download apps that can show you the weather forecast, petrol prices and even your Twitter feed, plus the car can act as a wi-fi hotspot for up to eight devices.
The A4 also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the switch to a touchscreen makes these interfaces more natural to use than with the old MMI controller.
A large number of A4s serve as company cars, so a responsive and intuitive sat-nav system is a must. Luckily, the A4's system, as with other VW Group systems, is very easy to use and provides clear, easy-to-follow instructions. You can do multi-route planning as well as using the comprehensive point-of-interest search, which also has access to the internet. This gives you contact details for the destination as well as some information from Wikipedia, which is quite useful.
Audi A4 saloon - Practicality & boot space
Boot space is the same as the previous model, but there’s much more interior space in the Audi A4
The Audi A4's interior space is much improved over the previous model, while boot space remains the same. The way the car has been designed means passengers in the front and back now have more room than ever.
Audi A4 interior space & storage
Since the A4 is wider and longer than before, passengers have more room than ever. The rear seats boast 23mm more legroom, which may not sound like much, but it means that people over six feet tall can now sit comfortably in the back. Headroom is impressive, too – much more generous than you'll find in the Jaguar XE. There's also the usual pair of ISOFIX mounting points for child seats.
There's loads of adjustment in both the steering wheel and front seats, so you should find it easy to get into position quickly. There are also some big door bins that can swallow large bottles, but the glovebox and central armrest spaces aren't particularly generous.
The A4’s 480-litre boot is identical in size to the BMW 3 Series’ and Mercedes C-Class’. Unsurprisingly for a saloon car, getting larger items into the A4 could be easier, but unlike the C-Class and the 3 Series, the A4 gets folding rear seats as standard.
Stowing them expands the boot volume immensely, and the Audi's seats fold forwards in a versatile 40:20:40 configuration. Like many cars in this class, they don't lie completely flat when dropped, though.
Audi A4 saloon - Reliability & safety
The Audi A4 is safe and modern, but it hasn't all been plain sailing for owners
Audi's famed interiors continue to impress buyers, but issues with flexibility, reliability, running costs and the ride and handling lower its overall score in our Driver Power survey.
Audi A4 reliability
The Audi A4 was rated poorly for reliability in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK. Of the owners who responded, 21.0% reported experiencing a problem with their car at least once. The car didn’t appear in our list of the top 75 cars in 2020.
Exterior fit and finish was cited as the most likely problem and while the A4 scored well for its interior, infotainment, comfort and engines, low scores for running costs suggest owners struggle to achieve the official consumption figures and face high maintenance costs. Hopefully the addition of mild-hybrid technology will help the facelifted version meet expectations in this regard.
Audi as a brand finished a fairly disappointing 21st out of the 30 manufacturers rated in 2020, although this is above BMW and Mercedes. Owners praised the build quality of the company's cars but ownership costs and a lowly reliability ranking were less impressive.
One of the A4's strong points is a range of advanced technology to help keep you safe while driving. The car's adaptive cruise control is so clever that the A4 can almost drive itself in stop-start traffic. The car will also keep itself in lane on the motorway, as long as you periodically place your hands on the steering wheel. Also available on higher-spec cars are Audi's 'Matrix' LED headlights, which dim automatically when on full beam to avoid dazzling the drivers of oncoming cars.
All of this equipment contributed to the A4 getting the full five-star safety rating from independent testing body Euro NCAP, including a 90% score for adult occupant protection, 87% for child protection and 75% for pedestrian protection.
The revised Audi Q5 40 TDI SUV delivers plenty of tech and surprising value
The revised Audi Q5 offers useful updates when it comes to efficiency, performance and on-board technology. It still looks stylish inside and out, it’s well built and although it’s a bit dull to drive, it’s comfortable, refined and practical. The real surprise here in the most basic Sport trim is that it delivers impressive value for money, with a generous amount of standard kit.
Think premium SUV, and the chances are that you’ll think of the Audi Q5. From the way it drives to the way it’s built and how it looks, the Q5 has always been a solid choice. But the pace of development in this class is fast, so there’s a new version of the German firm’s mid-size SUV.
The updates focus heavily on technology to keep pace with newer models in the class, as well as revisions to the 40 TDI diesel model we’re testing here, making it cleaner and more powerful, thanks in part to mild-hybrid electrification.
The level of standard kit has taken a step forward as well, so even this entry-level Sport model could offer everything you’ll realistically need, even if on its standard 18-inch wheels it doesn’t look quite as sharp or as aggressive as the sportier S line trim that sits above it. Sport still receives new LED headlights and the same overall visual updates, with a larger, more pronounced grille that features some silver vertical bars to help it stand out. There’s a different design for the front bumper, too, while at the rear the changes are less significant. It’s a subtle but effective facelift overall.
The SUV has also received the same treatment inside as its A4 and A5 siblings, with a new 10.1-inch central touchscreen as part of the MMI Nav Plus system that replaces the older scroll wheel on the transmission tunnel. There’s now a slightly awkward, rather shallow storage tray in its place, but build and material quality is still as good as you’d expect from an Audi, while the updated tech is sound. It works with the level of speed and response to your inputs you’d expect from a premium model, while there are lots of features, too.
There’s no real reason not to get on with the native system because the menus are fairly logical and easy to navigate, plus the graphics are great and the screen is well positioned in your eyeline (if maybe just a tiny bit too far away from the driver). But Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also fitted as standard, so you can plug in your smartphone instead if you want.
On top of this you also get heated sports seats in Audi’s twin leather upholstery, three-zone climate control, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, and autonomous emergency braking with collision warning and pedestrian detection.
The Q5 inherits its predecessor’s full five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating, which is an important feature for a family SUV like this.
Practicality is also key, and with a 550-litre boot – expanding to 1,520 litres with the useful 40:20:40 split rear seat bench folded down – there’s plenty of luggage room in the Audi. You even get a powered tailgate as standard to boost the level of flexibility on offer.
It’s not the biggest load bay in its class, but the Q5’s boot is far from cramped, and the same goes for the interior. You sit up high, as you’d expect in an SUV, and that’s possible because the seat base isn’t the longest, which brings your legs closer back towards you with a greater bend in your knees. But the Q5 offers plenty of legroom and doesn’t struggle for headroom either.
Practicality is pretty much unchanged then, and it’s a similar story when it comes to how the Q5 drives. That’s because it’s still based on the VW Group’s MLB Evo platform, with multi-link suspension all round.
Nestled under the bonnet of our test car is Audi’s updated 2.0-litre 40 TDI diesel, which produces 201bhp and a respectable 400Nm of torque. That’s 14bhp up on its predecessor thanks, in part, to the addition of a new 12-volt mild-hybrid system, which sees a belt-driven starter-generator (BSG) deliver a small hit of power and torque to assist when pulling away.
However, the mild-hybrid system has had a bigger impact on efficiency. The BSG charges a small lithium-ion battery when slowing down, which can be used to power ancillaries such as the climate control and electric power steering. In addition, the 2.0 TDI unit can cut out and coast at speeds of up to 99mph when you’re in the right driving mode, while the stop-start system activates below 13mph. It also makes things smoother when the engine does restart.
Claimed economy stands at 44.8mpg with 165g/km CO2 emissions, but while Audi is doing its best to make diesel less of a dirty word, it still feels like that in the current climate, the plug-in hybrid TFSI e will be a better bet for drivers seeking big efficiency and lower running costs.
Performance is strong, though, with some weight saving on engine components and the extra grunt delivering a 7.6-second 0-62mph time. In reality, nobody ever stretches their car’s performance to this degree all that regularly, but in conjunction with the seven-speed dual-clutch S tronic gearbox, the 400Nm of torque means it doesn’t kick down too many gears all that often when you want a more than moderate burst of acceleration.
Even if it does, the changes are pretty smooth – not whip-crack fast but well slurred to keep things relaxed – and the TDI unit’s sound is suppressed well enough that while it’s audible, it’s far from intrusive.
There’s little road noise too, helped by this car’s smaller wheels. They do look a little lost next to the big body, but they also improve the car’s ride quality.
The Q5 isn’t quite the most comfortable car in this class, but it rolls over ripples and imperfections in the road surface without too much fuss or transmitting a great level of shock or body movement, so it’s a smooth cruiser.
It isn’t the most dynamic option, though. The steering isn’t quite as direct as we’d like, even for an SUV (those big tyre sidewalls probably don’t help matters), while there’s some roll. But the Q5 is dynamically tidy enough to suffice; it’s comfort that matters more in a car like this, which it delivers, but the Audi is a bit dull when it comes to any sense of engagement.
The Audi Q5 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid SUV strikes a compelling balance of performance and fuel efficiency within the updated Q5 lineup.
That many of today's plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are both the most powerful and fuel-efficient examples within their respective model ranges says a lot about the progress of vehicle electrification. For example, Audi's updated 2021 Q5 SUV lineup, where the new PHEV variant, the Q5 55 TFSI e, packs the largest power figure, and its balance of performance, fuel efficiency, and luxury place it in a compelling spot in the lineup. Although the sportiest variant remains the SQ5—but only just.
Starting at $52,995, the PHEV version of Audi's compact luxury crossover slots between the regular $44,395 Q5 45 TFSI and the performance-oriented $53,995 SQ5. Regardless of the powertrain, all 2021 Q5s receive more angular styling for their headlights and front and rear bumpers, as well as an updated grille that's more cohesive with the brand's newer models. The net effect ties the Q5's design elements together better than before, lending it a fresh but not overly aggressive aura when parked at the curb.
Audi introduced the plug-in Q5 last year, which combines a 248-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four with the hybrid's 141-hp electric motor for a peak output of 362 horses and 369 pound-feet of torque. With a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel drive, Audi says the Q5 PHEV should reach 60 mph in a fleet 5.0 seconds—only 0.3 second slower than the SQ5 with its 349-hp turbo 3.0-liter V-6.
Even with the added 550 pounds of mass of the hybrid's battery and motor, the Q5 55 TFSI e is quick for its segment. It won't rearrange your internal organs when you stomp on the accelerator, but it will remind you that instant electric torque is a wonderful thing when used correctly. The Q5 PHEV feels just as at home on the open road as it does around town. Its ride is steady and polished even when the pavement is anything but, and it corners adroitly for its size. But as with most electrified vehicles, you'll notice its extra weight as the dynamic loads increase.
The PHEV's lithium-ion battery with 11.3 kWh of usable energy nets a 19-mile EPA rating for electric driving. If that seems modest, it's even more so than it needed to be, as Audi voluntarily lowered its label value from the 29-mile figure the Q5 earned during EPA testing. While in electric mode, the Q5's already quiet interior becomes noticeably more serene. The battery can be recharged in as little as 2.4 hours via a 240-volt Level 2 charging station, according to Audi, but takes considerably longer if you plug it into a conventional 120-volt wall socket. Compared with the standard Q5's EPA estimate of 25 mpg combined, the PHEV earns a 27-mpg rating after the battery's been depleted and 50 MPGe with it in the mix.
Inside, the Q5's cabin continues to exhibit the exemplary build quality we've come to expect from Audi. The updated MIB 3 infotainment system behind the standard 10.1-inch touchscreen is high tech and nicely integrated. But we did notice some latency in its responses to commands, and we're still acclimating to not having the previous MMI setup's rotary control knob. Wireless Apple CarPlay is now available, but Android Auto connectivity requires the use of a cord. Higher trims add Audi's excellent 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit digital gauge display and its ability to sharply render full-width map data. Our main disappointment in the example we drove was the standard eight-way power-adjustable front seats, which we struggled to find a comfortable position in during longer stints behind the wheel.
The Q5 55 TFSI e is available with Audi's typical Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige option packages, with the latter pushing the plug-in's price to $62,795 with heated and ventilated seats, a head-up display with traffic-sign recognition, and a premium Bang & Olufsen stereo. Audi points out that federal and local tax credits have the potential to significantly lower the PHEV's entry point, limiting its upcharge over the standard Q5 and making the SQ5 a considerably more expensive proposition. For Q5 shoppers who can make use of its electric range, the plug-in's solid performance and luxury trappings could strike a just-right balance.