2020 Audi A4 first test drive

The new 2020 Audi A4 will arrive in dealer showrooms in the first quarter of 2020. This model is billed as a mid-cycle refresh, something automakers typically do to keep the buying public interested in a car that’s been in showrooms unchanged for a few years.

2020 Audi A4 test drive

Most mid-cycle changes usually included revised grilles, tail lights and a reworked headlight arrangement.

For 2020, Audi has restyled pretty much all the body panels on the mid-sized A4. Front and rear corners now boast swollen fenders with a clear horizontal line, that pays homage to the Quattro race cars of the 1980’s. The sporty detail adds a more muscular appearance to the A4.

The front grille and headlight arrangement are also revised with a wider, lower single frame front grille. The LED headlights are also redesigned and integrate well into the sweeping lines that flow back from the air intakes of the front clip.

At the rear, a new defuser and a wider tail light array add a feeling of width to the sedan. You get the sense that the tail lights are stretching to meet in the middle, which is an Audi familial design cue, started with the range topping A8 and has now spread to the majority of the sedan and SUV lineup.

2020 Audi A4 rear lights and rear diffuser

Inside the cabin, the most obvious change is a large 10.1 inch LCD touch screen display that is slightly angled towards the driver. The interface is quite familiar to anyone who has used a smartphone, as the touch screen functions with similar inputs. As one would expect, the Audi MMI system fully integrates with Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto systems on your smartphone.

The driver input and information systems remain the same and the wonderful virtual cockpit allows the driver to choose between an array of system gauges, vehicle information readouts or the full overlay of navigation maps and directions on the LCD screen, fitted where a conventional instrument cluster would sit.

2020 Audi A4 CockpitWhile European models are heavily focused on diesel models, North American models retain gasoline engines, the 245HP, 2.0 TFSI engine in regular A4 models and the 368HP, 3.0L V6 TFSI power-plant on the S4 models. The 2.0L engines are paired with Audi’s 7-speed S-Tronic, dual clutch, paddle shifting transmission. The sporty S4 models will apparently connect to the 8-speed Tiptronic transmission and thrill with 0-100 km/hr times of 4.7 seconds, topping out at 250 kms/hr.

An interesting change to the 2.0L TFSI engine is the addition of a 12V mild hybrid system. The system is a scaled back version of the 48V system found on the A8 sedan and on larger diesel engines in European markets.

The 12V system uses a belt driven alternator/starter to feed a 12V lithium-ion battery. At speeds between 55-160 kms/hr, drivers can lift off the accelerator and coast with the combustion engine shut off for up to 10 seconds. The battery powers the required electrical and safety systems onboard while the engine is off.

The vehicle also features the now commonly used stop/start technology but ups the ante with onboard cameras predicting when to activate the engine as it detects traffic in from moving off. All this novel technology results in lower fuel economy and CO2 output. Under normal conditions, Audi reports a savings of 0.3 litres per 100/kms.

All Audi A4’s currently slated for North America will be fitted with Audi’s famed Quattro all wheel drive system. The 2.0L models will feature the Quattro Ultra, on demand system, while the S4 models will have the mechanical, variable all-wheel-drive system.

Our road test of the 2020 Audi A4 took place high in the Italian Alps, around Bolzano in the region of South Tyrol. Needless to say, the focus of the drive route was to see how the vehicle handled tight mountain roads and the famous alpine passes in the region. After hours of twisting around bends and flying up and down the Autostradas in the 2.0L TFSI models, the common sentiment among the other journalists I spoke with, was how competent this mid-sized sedan really is.

Although this is Audi’s second most popular vehicle these days (the #1 is the Audi Q5, as one would expect in the SUV centric world we live in), it is usually overshadowed in terms of accolades by vehicles bathed in high performance features or battery electrification, Truth be told, the A4 easily handles anything the average driver can throw at it and will outperform a few performance oriented models.

We were also shown the Audi A4 allroad model, which adds the utility of a wagon or Estate configuration. For anyone who appreciates the handling and additional safety that the lower centre of gravity offers, the allroad is a suitable choice when looking for an all-wheel-drive performance utility vehicle.

As mentioned earlier, look for the new A4 early next year and although pricing will be confirmed closer to the release date, packages and pricing should be quite similar to whats on offer at present.