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Review: Audi A4 2.0 TDi
Driven August 2012
Just a few days before I wrote this, the government gifted us the single biggest petrol price hike the country has ever seen. Soon after, the nation decided to shut shop for a day to protest the hike. What followed was a rollback that was a small fraction of the hike.
Bottomline – there has never been a better time for a car that runs on diesel. Recently, the A4 went under the knife and got itself some tweaks – new headlamps, new grille, refreshed body lines and reworked bumpers.
The new A4 now comes with three engine options – a 1.8 TFSI, a 2.0 TDi, a 3.0 TDi quattro and a 3.0 TFSi in the S4. Unlike most other motors, both the 1.8 TFSI and the 2.0 TDi blocks on the A4 put out equal torque (320Nm). This time around, we strapped on our testing equipment on the 2.0 TDi to find out if it’s any quicker than its petrol sibling.
It isn’t. At 9.47 seconds, it takes almost a second more than the 1.8 TFSi to hit 100 from standstill. But for an entry-level sedan, top whack is not as important as the car's running costs.
The 2.0 TDi burnt a litre of diesel every 15km on the highway, in city traffic, it managed a respectable 11kpl. And that’s courtesy its CVT gearbox. Sure, it’s not as exciting to drive as regular torque converters or DSGs but it keeps fuel bills in check. It certainly feels quick off the mark and if you floor the throttle in D, it’ll keep the revs steady at 4000rpm while the CVT gearbox seamlessly works the pulleys and wheels inside giving you the optimum combination of power and torque.
The ride is on the softer side – it soaks up the potholes nicely at low speeds, but doesn’t feel too planted at expressway speeds, particularly through corners. The steering is nice and light at low speeds, which makes city driving a breeze. Though it weighs up as speed increases, it still doesn't feel alive the way a BMW does. Also, there's a tendency to pitch over larger undulations.
The A4’s interiors are good quality and well-built, and it has decent amounts of gadgetry to play with. The new A4 is longer and wider than its predecessor, which translates into more cabin space. Two six-footers will sit comfortably at the back; three will be a tight fit.
Until the Q3 came our way, the A4 was the cheapest Audi you could buy. And at Rs 29.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Maharashtra) it’s great value-for-money for the amount of features and gadgetry it packs in. You can get Merc’s C 220 CDI for Rs 28.03 lakh (ex-showroom, Maharashtra) but it misses out on a lot of features like reverse cam and keyless entry, which have now become a segment standard.
4 cyl, 1968cc, diesel, 142bhp, 320Nm, FWD, 8A CVT, 13.1kpl, 1515kg, 0-100kph: 9.47s, 80-0kph: 2.63s, 25.15m, Rs 29.38 lakh (ex-showroom, Maharashtra)
Possibly the best option if you want to say “luxury” and “low running costs” in the same sentence