A perfect match for your digital life
Audi still breaking records, with over 150k cars sold in the UK in 2014, the premium brand has now launched the new Audi A4. The most important car in their massive fifty vehicle range.
Model driven: Audi A4 3.0 V6 TDI Quattro with 272PS
The popular A4 is now loaded with technology, enough to satisfy the most gadget craving geek. The latest Audi virtual cockpit, available in the Latest TT and R8, is now available in the A4; a must have option. Re-designing a winning combination, needs to be done carefully, with lashings of ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’.
This car utilises the latest lightweight steel car building techniques allowing sharper creases in bodywork. These new methods create better aero-dynamics, with a wind-cheating shape and best in class Cd of just 0.23. The cars are now up to 110kg lighter. The new Audi A4 has 25% more power, and across the range a 21% improvement in fuel economy. Further refinements have been made using a technique Audi have named aero-acoustics, this makes the A4 as quiet as the rather plush A8. All this with one of the finest ‘Audi Style’ innovative interiors ever seen in an executive saloon.
The fit and finish presented in the cabin/cockpit of the A4 is a very special place to be. Driving over three years, with an average of 36k miles on the road, you will spend 42 long days in your car. Exceptional comfort, connectivity and usable safety technologies are now the new game for car manufacturers; these attributes are now becoming just as important to buyers as ride and handling.
To have voice recognition work reliably is quite addictive to a geek.So back to the onboard tech, and connect me to my digital life. Initially, I just plugged in the data cable; this gives a higher data transfer speed to get you started. Then place your phone into the Audi phone Box, which also incorporates inductive charging, that’s wireless charging without a cable. Although with iPhone I am told you need a special phone case. Once connected for the first time, bluetooth takes over. This system also allows the possibility of using two phones concurrently, work phone and home phone, or probably in my case teenagers for their music and mine for messages and calls. All very clever stuff and easier to use and set up than many competitors. Also, importantly after disconnection the car doesn’t store anything personal on the system.
Using the MMI touch-sensitive trackpad built into the rotary controller centred in the dash console. And with just a few light touches on my iphone it connected to Apple CarPlay. I then accessed the latest Apple iMusic library. Dependent on what flavour your smartphone is, the latest iPhone or Android friendly car apps are presented, just like your phone, but on a better day with an 8.3inch NavPlus display.
The 755 watt 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen 3D audio system integrated with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is a brilliant solution. Many manufacturers including Audi, spent way too long trying to re-invent the wheel on connectivity, something that Apple and Android have now sewn up. Apps that we know and love are the future and more are becoming available as developers add the requirements for in-car use. Low flying CDs around the car is a bad habit from the past, at last gone.
After sending a few, the accuracy of the texts sent was impressiveThe ability to speak your texts on the move, for once actually works seamlessly, texts go to the right people, without errors and kisses. With the further ability to have them read back to you and re-sent with your voice. On iPhone, the system uses the messages app, yes you can do it on your phone, but still using Siri connected through the Audi system you can text safely at speed. I would have liked to have been able to read the text, rather than just sending, but then that means taking eyes off the road. After sending a few, the accuracy of the texts sent was impressive. I even got texts read back to me which I could easily reply to handsfree. To have voice recognition work reliably is quite addictive to a geek. Although to add kisses you have to say “ex, ex, ex”.
Trying not to be too boring about the sheer amount of useable technology in this car. With cameras and radars located all over, the Audi tested had seven driver assistance systems. I tried to use all that I could safely. Predictive Efficiency Assistant, is worth mentioning, it uses navigation data to pre-warn you of any situations, as you approach that aren’t yet visible, the system works very well and isn’t overly intrusive. As you drive towards a roundabout the system notified me to reduce my speed; I couldn’t see it ahead. In any situation, the route data is read and presented on the virtual cockpit. It is particularly useful when speed limits change. I also allowed the system to take over the speed of the car and adhere to the speed limits. Overall this simplicity can help save fuel by up to 10 percent.
Another notable, addition is traffic jam assist, adaptive cruise control on steroids, with stop and go. I used it in the traffic through Newbury. In crawling traffic as you slow below around 30mph the system takes over the acceleration, braking and…………steering. I must admit I didn’t have long enough to test it thoroughly and intervened a few times on the steering. The acceleration and braking in slow moving traffic worked really well, with the ability for the car to even steer around obstacles ahead. This is the best semi-autonomous system I have yet tried. With its ultrasonic sensors, front radar sensors, front camera and further sensors on the side and rear it takes into account many parameters of road markings and the weight of traffic. A great feature of the system is it doesn’t need re-setting if you speed up and the traffic immediately slows down again. Definitely on the shopping list if you do a lot of commuting.
Audi has put a lot of time into making these systems less intrusive so that drivers don’t just turn them off.Pre-sense City was another memorably named system I also experienced. Someone stepped into the road with a death wish. The system alerted me slowed the car, pre-warning me with a dashboard warning message. Ultimately it will brake the car to avoid a collision. It also is a great combined with the traffic jam system. It works well when people walk out between parked cars and is a winner in reducing these types of accidents.
Another safety focused systems on the car was, rear traffic crossing – warns you when reversing out of car park spaces. Exit warning -warning you not to open your door as cars or cyclists go by. Turn assist will warn and stop the car if you were to take a right turn without spotting and oncoming traffic.
Audi has put a lot of time into making these systems less intrusive so that drivers don’t just turn them off. In this car if you just work with them for a small amount of time, the safety benefits to you and your passengers are worth the effort.
On the road, this new quattro is blessed with the 3.0 litre V6 TDi, combined with the 8-speed tiptronic transmission. With 272 ps, very brisk acceleration 0-62mph in just 5.3 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. This car was also fitted with a sports steering option and overall the feeling was of a powerful sports saloon with more than enough room for the children. In the back, there is more legroom than before and an enormous 480 litres boot space.
In the three models driven and over 250 miles in the A4 models at the launch it is clear with this A4, the bar has been raised once again. Order books opened in September with deliveries from November 21st.
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