Sunday, July 27, 2008

When in India, dial A for Audi

When in India, dial A for Audi

the right premium executive car
has always been tough because of the excellent

Mercedes C class
and the delectable
BMW 3 series.

The Mercedes C class
has always been very comfortable
with its superlative ride quality,
but this time Merc has tried to emulate the BMW
with a more communicative steering and tighter handling.

were great handlers but they decided
to go the Merc way in India by offering
the Highline models which we are told, rides better.
it has been made even more difficult
by the third and newest contender- the Audi A4.
The last generation of the Audi A4
was not taken very seriously despite
being one good all rounder.

One drive in the new A4 will reveal that
the latest generation is here to conquer.
Audis have a cool image associated with them
thanks to the number of footballers
driving around in them.
Look at the new A4.

The overall shape is classic and unmistakably
Audi but there are some super cool touches
like the diamond-string head lamps that
are derivative of the R8 supercar.
The A4 gets the Bulgarian beard that is now characteristic
of all Audis and a neat front air-dam beneath it.

The skirtings around the car add a bit
of sporty character while the simple 18 five spoke
alloys give it a sense of dynamism.
Audi has adapted what they call as the
comfort rough road package
for the suspension to cope up with the Indian roads.

the A4 has gained more room
thanks to the 2.8m wheelbase
which is the longest in this segment.
It has the most width in the segment as well.

The cockpit and the controls
are tilted towards the driver.
The MMI screen and dial takes centre stage
in the console and are intuitive to use.
The 14 speaker Bang&Olufsen music system can turn
the Audi into a concert hall at the twist of a knob.

The A4 does not have a conventional handbrake
and gets a parking brake with auto hold function as in the VW Passat.

The suspension offers three settings
which are changeable via the switches behind the gear lever.
Quality of plastics could have been better;
which is probably the only negative you can find
with the cars other-wise excellent interiors.

Under the hood of the A4 3.2 FSI
is a longitudinally mounted V6 with 265bhp and 33.6kgm of torque.
It's mated to a six speed automatic
transmission and power is sent to
all four wheels via the Quattro
which is Audi's name for four wheel drive.

Audi was the first company to use
all wheel drive in cars to improve traction
and this is where the A4 really shines.
The A4 catapults itself from
0- 100kmph in 8.1 seconds with no wheelspin at all.

The power delivery is immediate
and the throttle responses are lightning-quick in dynamic mode.
There is a surge as you floor the throttle
and the A4 hurls towards the horizon.
Top speed is close to 250 kmph.

And in corners it grips, grips more and then still more.
Carry any speed into the corners and the A4 will oblige.
Or you can shed some of it with those brilliant brakes
and then hit the throttle when you near the apex of the turn.

Overall handling can be termed as neutral
though there is some understeer when pushed
really hard. It is in the wet that the Audi feels
so reassuring and that Quattro really makes sense.

A BMW with its rear wheel drive will be more fun
on the corners but this one will make sure
that you get out of them just as fast
and more importantly safer at all times.

And in case something goes wrong, there are 8 airbags
to protect you as well.
The Audi A4
is quite simply the best performance
ex- ecutive car in the segment now.

it delivers on other key areas as well.
The ride quality despite the 40 section tyres
is reasonably pliant.
Space, comfort and safety
levels are quite up with the best
and it has a long list of equipment too.

Fuel economy
is not that good however,
which is partly due to the
all-wheel drive system that saps power.
But it is mostly due to the engine management system
which retards the ignition to suit our fuels to the
high 12.5:1 compression ratio
as a result of which fuel burns less efficiently.

This could be improved by using 97 octane fuel.
honestly we don't mind spending
a little bit more on fuel when you get that
gratifying surge with every prod of the
accelerator and leech like grip in corners.

In case you do,
Audi also has the 2.0TDI engine on offer
which has everything but its appetite for fuel.

With love from
Have a nice day

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