Periodic Table | Audi A4 2.0 TFSI quattro

BY Azfar Hashim

This bigger-engined A4 comes with all the bells and whistles you'd need, surpassing Mercedes-Benz's and BMW's offerings

Photos by Azfar Hashim

It’s understood that if you are doing well climbing up the corporate ladder, you get yourself either a C-Class or 3 Series. Well, that was the norm a decade ago, until it came to a point where Audi presented their A4, Lexus the IS, Volvo didn’t want to miss out by giving the S60 and even Jaguar came with their – cough, cough – X-Type. Suddenly there were choices; but even then, the C180 and C200, together with BMW’s 320i and 318i still outsold everyone else.

2008 was the year for Audi though. They blew their marketing budget introducing the all-new, B8-generation Audi A4, slapped on a competitive price tag and to cut the story short, gave both Mercedes-Benz and BMW a very, very tough time. And how can you not be attracted to the car? It came with a 1.8-litre turbocharged engine that delivered a good balance of both performance and fuel economy, handles beautifully, offered a cabin that had the biggest legroom compared to its peers and lastly, gets MMI as standard — that last bit was once reserved only for the flagship A8 and a fancy feature not available in both C-Class and 3 Series.

(I reckon three months’ worth of sales was already enough to recoup the budget spent on launching and marketing the car.)

Back then Audi launched the 1.8-litre TFSI variant alongside the 3.2-litre V6 quattro first, before they decided to quietly introduce the 2.0-litre TFSI quattro.

And they repeated the same tactic this time around with this new B9-generation A4. At the earlier part of this year, Audi introduced the — despite not looking that far off its predecessor — largely new A4 with a 1.4-litre turbocharged TFSI (you can read our review too) lump. This 2.0-litre TFSI quattro you’re seeing here was just recently introduced.

No foglamps here, but sensors to assist the semi-autonomous driving

No foglamps here, but sensors to assist the semi-autonomous driving

Let me be honest: There’s quite a lot to like about this variant here. I’ll begin with the equipment list. Audi Singapore did mention that most of the equipment fitted on this test car are cost options, but they’re something you would probably want. And to a certain extent, need.

This little stalk controls the ACC

This little stalk controls the ACC

Firstly, the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). If you take the MCE/KPE on the regular, the good thing about this feature is it gives you a, well, semi-autonomous driving experience: Set the cruising speed plus distance you would like to keep from the car ahead and, voila, all you need to do is just steer. Oh, and at the same time sensors also ensure you are constantly in lane; the moment it detects the car straying into the next lane, it steers you back within and then warns you to keep your hands on the steering wheel.

The only moment it won’t interrupt your maneuvers is when you indicate to swap lanes — seemingly an effective tool at getting you to use your indicators…

Secondly, a pair of LED headlamps with (also) LED daytime-running light. Now, if you’ve driven along Malaysian b-roads at night you would’ve probably wished for super shiny light to brighten your path. Audi heard you and thus, fitted them here at no extra cost for this variant.

Unlike the 1.4 TFSI, this 2.0 TFSI gets Audi’s latest MMI Navigation Plus along with a high-resolution TFT screen - ‘Virtual Cockpit’ in Audi speak - placed right smack ahead of the driver. Besides displaying the usual car info, the best bit is using the GPS; you get both good view and info so if you’re driving into Tuas for the first time, you can only blame yourself for getting lost.

Complimenting this is the standard Apple CarPlay, which also allows the usage of apps like Spotify while on the road.

Since we’re at the topic of the A4’s interior, this latest iteration is the largest in terms of length and width compared to the 320i and C250. Wheelbase wise, it comes second after the C250 (20 mm separating the two) — which is a surprise considering the Audi seem to have the larger legroom. Then we come to the boot — looks like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi had a gentlemen’s agreement looking at how the trio shares the same 480-litre capacity. Hmm…

Now lets get down to the business of powaaah. Mind you, there’s a longitudinally mounted - for better weight distribution - 2.0-litre turbocharged powerplant under the bonnet. On paper, Audi claimed a maximum power output of 252 bhp and 370 Nm of torque, the latter available from as low as 1,450 rpm. Meaning this car is an effortless worker when you need it to be first off the line; 0-100 km/h takes only 5.8 seconds, making it fastest in class.

A norm for all Audi models, the A4 allows you to drive the car in different modes namely Auto, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual. Left in Dynamic, the Audi blazes from point to point in a hot-hatch sort of manner; heck, if this country doesn’t have any sort of speed limits, this thing would probably fly from one end of the island to the other without a hiccup. The 7-speed S-tronic seem well calibrated in this mode too, but for a purist who can’t afford a purist car, driving it via the paddle-shifters remained a satisfying notion.

Handling wise this car errs on the stiffer side of things, which is a given looking at the fact that it came fitted with a set of 19-inch alloys wrapped in bulimic-profiled rubbers. But that said, when you doubt this car’s capability around sharp corners, it surprises you by delivering a high level of grip and good weight at the helm. Even when taking aggressive racing lines, body movements are within good control; thanks to the quattro all-wheel drive system — the only one to offer it in this class — understeer is almost non-existent and you know the rear won’t twitch nervously.

As a whole, the Audi A4 2.0 TFSI quattro is way ahead of its nearest competitors, delivering brilliant driving dynamics, practical and friendly cabin, topped off with an extensive equipment list. Being the fastest next to the C250, 320i, XE, IS 200t, S60 and Q50 definitely helps as well.

480-litres of space; also offers 60:40 fold

480-litres of space; also offers 60:40 fold

Only one thing will hold back buyers from signing on the dotted line: The asking price. Even in this S-Line trim, at S$236,200 with COE and without some of the goodies mentioned above as standard, both the C250 AMG Line (S$235,888) and 320i Sport (S$202,800) seem to sound more appealing.

If power is a higher priority, the 245 bhp S60 T5 Drive-E (S$172,000) sounds like the most bang-for-buck option too.