Audi has updated the A4 compact executive sedan and its performance-oriented S4 counterpart to keep both nameplates fresh--and just in time for the 2012 sale of all-new models from one of its Teutonic competitors.
Leading the changes to the refreshed A4 include a bonnet with a more pronounced arch, the tapered upper corners of the grille and a three-dimensionally-highlighted cross ribs and Audi logo. The front bumpers have been redesigned with more angular air inlets and flat front fog lights while the headlights have also changed with a slight wave at the bottom edges to go with the re-arranged assembly. The signature LED daytime running lights now form a narrow, optically-homogeneous band that remain open in the vicinity of the xenon lens.
The taillights mimic not just the shape of the headlights as they also have homogeneous strips of LEDs. The bumper with its diffuser insert was also redesigned, with the exhaust system always terminating in two tailpipes.
Audi worked on the A4's interior as the German carmaker offers a wide selection of new steering wheels with chrome and high-gloss inlays, with the premium-leather sport steering wheel also featuring a flattened lower rim. The steering arm and the ignition key have also been modified while high-gloss applications and the slender chrome trim on the controls add elegance to the interior.
The upholstery range has also been revised, with Fine Nappa leather replacing Valcona leather. The new, single-part cluster trim has been adapted in color to the interior, while the inlays are available in Aluminum Trigon, walnut dark brown, fine-grain ash natural and Beaufort oak plywood.
Other improvements concern operation of the automatic transmission, the efficient air-conditioning systems, Audi drive select and the multifunction steering wheel. The seat heating and air conditioning are now directly operated at the respective buttons.
For both sedan and avant models, Audi offers any of six TDI and four gasoline engines, with 23 possible engine-transmission combinations. All engines are supercharged direct-injection systems with both the start-stop and energy recovery systems as standard.
Of the diesel variants, the 2.0-liter, 136hp A4 TDI is the most economical running up to 23.809 kilometers on a liter of fuel. For the gasoline engine-equipped models, it's the 1.8-liter mill with an output of 170hp and 320Nm of torque, and an average mileage of 17.857 kilometers per liter.
Continuing to power the high-performance S4 sedan and avant variants is the same 3.0-liter TFSI engine used by the pre-facelift model with an output of 333hp and 440Nm of torque, allowing the S4 to accelerate from zero to 100kph in five seconds before it reaches its electronically limited top speed of 250kph.
Transmission choice for the refreshed A4 are a six-speed manual transmission, a continuously variable multitronic box and the seven-speed S dual-clutch gearbox.