Car Reviews

2020 Audi A4 and A4 Allroad review

2020 Audi A4 and A4 Allroad review in Australia, including price, specs, interior, ride and handling, safety and score.

The Audi A4 has been the core of Audi’s brand in this country for nearly twenty years. The company is at great pains to remind us that even in this SUV-mad world, over forty percent of cars are still normal passenger cars.

Times, obviously, are a-changing and that’s before a vicious global pandemic started stinking the place up. The A5 Sportback is now increasingly popular, eclipsing its sedan brother and the Q-line is now the real bedrock of the range. Last year Audi Australia ploughed what it said was another nine grand of “value” (stuff that used to be options) to prop up the flagging A4 sedan and Avant range.

In 2020, the A4 has had a mild facelift and had even more stuff thrown at it. The range is slightly slimmer, with an all-petrol line-up and the demise of the 40 TFSI hardly anyone bought. Always a good looker, it looks even better, is loaded up with gear and you can choose two A4s for less than sixty large, which is a fine proposition in this crowded part of the market.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

You can have a an A4 in sedan or Avant bodystyles as well as the high-rider faux-SUV Allroad. Kicking off at $55,900 is the A4 35 TFSI. That car goes without quattro all-wheel drive but has 19-inch wheels, adaptive LED headlights, keyless entry and start, reversing camera, 10.1-inch MMI screen with Apple CarPlay, DAB, wireless charging, leather seats, electric driver’s seat, three-zone climate, ambient interior lighting, storage package and bluetooth for two phones.

Spend another $4000 and you get the S-Line, with various styling bits, the 12.3-inch Virtual Cockpit plus setup, electric passenger seat and multifunction steering wheel.

The 35 TFSI has a $1900 Assistance Package to bolster the safety gear (see below) with adaptive cruise, active lane assist and high beam assist.

The biggest seller in the range will be the 45 TFSI quattro, which adds to the 35’s spec (along with the Asssitance Package as standard) with different 19-inch rims, a 10-speaker sound system, memory for drivers seat and mirrors, different steering wheel and aluminium trim pieces for $68,900 for the sedan and $71,400 for the Avant. Both are nearly $2000 cheaper than before.

The $2900 Assistance plus package can be added to both the 35 and 45 which adds head-up display, 360-degree cameras and park assist. And you can spice things up with the S-Line interior package for $2100 which brings very nice Nappa leather, black headlining, colour ambient lighting, contrasting stitching and alloy pedals among other things.

Matrix LED headlights are optional at around a thousand dollars.

The Allroad is based on the 45 TFSI spec and adds hill descent control, it’s own set of 18-inch wheels (and optional 19s) and off-road mode. You can have it in 40 TDI diesel for $69,900 and 45 TFSI petrol for $72,900, both cheaper than the outgoing car and cheaper than the Allroad’s 2016 launch pricing.

All of them have the new Audi Connect Plus, which is a handy thing that helps you find things like petrol stations and prices, various conveniences and connects to a phone app allowing you to lock and unlock, close the windows and other useful things. You can also get the app to tell you if your ratbag kids are driving it and go outside of a geo-fenced area. This would be hilarious fun for me.

WHAT’S THE INTERIOR LIKE?

Updating a cabin as good as the A4’s is a tough job, so not much has happened in here. The new MMI touchscreen is a whopping 10.1-inches and means that the centre console is rearranged to go without the old control hardware, replaced by a covered storage bin. The seats are nice in any spec, but the sports seats are obviously the nicer ones. And the Nappa leather of the S-Line interior is lovely, compared to the harder stuff in the base spec.

It’s bright, airy and comfortable for four – five is a squeeze – with rear seat passengers doing very nicely with their own climate control zone. It’s beautifully built and is very quiet no matter what you’re doing, even with big wheels and wide tyres making a bit of a racket on some surfaces. You’ll rarely hear the engine in any spec.

The Avant is even airer without the fast rear glass behind the rear passengers’ heads and the load bay is useful rather than Skoda Octavia massive, but you’re not buying an A4 Avant for ultimate load-carrying capacity, are you? That would cramp the style.

WHAT ENGINES ARE AVAILABLE?

The A4 range is all 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines all the time these days, with different states of tune to match the badge on the boot.

The starter is the 35 TFSI, spinning up a respectable 110kW and 270Nm (that figure is up on the 2019), driving the front wheels through a seven-speed twin-clutch transmission. The official figures suggest it will drink premium at 6.1L/100km.

Moving on the 45 TFSI has quattro all-wheel drive, a seven-speed twin-clutch and a healthy 183kW and 370Nm, making it the most popular engine in the range. That’s available in sedan, Avant and Allroad. The 45 TFSI uses fuel at the rate of 7.1L/100km.

Each of the petrol variants now sport a 12-volt mild hybrid system with a lithium-ion battery installed to power everything when the engine shuts off to save fuel. That can happen at over 55km/h and the stop-start system cuts in as you fall below 22km/h. Audi reckons the system is worth 0.3L/100km.

The Allroad also has a 40 TDI quattro option for the frothy fuel fans, delivering 140kW and 400Nm. The Allroad’s fuel figures are higher in both specs, with the TFSI drinking at 7.4L/100km and the 40 TDI at 5.2. Interestingly, the TDI is only 30kg heavier but also only has 30Nm more torque, so it’s a close run thing.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

When it came out in 2016, the B9 A4 was a refined, relaxed machine and that has held through this mild facelift. You won’t notice much of the mild-hybrid additions, even though the engine will fall silent on a downhill highway run. It’s so quiet in the car, with tyre noise easily drowning out the 2.0-litre petrols.

Even with your foot flat to the floor, the engine is a distant whirr and I’m sure I imagined the turbo whistle rather than actually hearing it. It’s superbly smooth with almost no turbo lag to worry about.

Predictably, I drove the 35 TFSI in very heavy rain, so can’t really comment on its dry performance but it was pretty good in the wet on number of questionable surfaces. The 45 TFSI quattro was brilliant in the wet and dry, with plenty of punch out of the corners and a relaxed vibe on all but the worst surfaces.

All of them do feature quite taut suspension, even the Allroad (we’ll get to that in a minute), but the trade-off is impressive cornering and body control. The body itself is quite stiff and is full of clever aluminium and high-strength steel bits that translate to a strong platform for the ride and handling engineers to work with.

Stepping up to the Allroad is a joke that’s funny because it’s true. The Allroad rides 46mm higher and with its chunky wheelarch extensions, features a wider track. It’s fundamentally the same inside and drives pretty well given it’s up on stilts, with the same firm but friendly feel. Obviously it rolls a bit more in corners, but it’s still nothing that will worry you and it handles bumps in an almost identical fashion to the standard car. The every day road compromise works well with the mild off-road setup.

The Drive Select system in the Allroad features an extra off-road mode along with hill descent control although the quattro drivetrain will work out if you’re on loose surface and activate the mode without your intervention. It’s obviously not a hard-core machine, but will cheerfully tackle a bit of mud and grass and lightly rutted tracks. Its most likely adversary will be snow on the road and while I didn’t get a crack at that, the extremely heavy rain I drove through didn’t bother it one little bit.

The 40 TDI is the sole diesel. It’s strong and capable but the gap is now so narrow between it and the 45 TFSI petrol, it’s a hard task to justify the extra spend for a few more kilowatts but less torque and a shorter range. However, if you don’t like diesel, the petrol is there for you.

HOW SAFE IS THE A4?

All A4s feature six airbags, ABS, stability and traction controls, forward AEB with pedestrian detection, reverse cross-traffic alert, pre-sense rear (detects someone is about to hit you from behind and closes the windows, pulls the seatbelts tight), exit warning (tries to stop you dooring a cyclist or pedestrian) and blind spot monitoring.

The Assistance Package for the 35 adds adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, high speed AEB, high speed forward collision warning, collision avoidance (helps steer you around trouble), auto high beam and turn assist (tries to stop you turning across oncoming traffic).

The Assistance Plus package applies to the 45TFSI, adds  adaptive cruise, lane keep assist, around-view cameras, high speed AEB, high speed forward collision warning, collision avoidance (helps steer you around trouble), auto high beam and turn assist (tries to stop you turning across oncoming traffic) and a head-up display.

The A4 has a five-star ANCAP rating dating back to 2016.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?

The obvious contenders are both German and both rear-wheel drive. The 3 Series’ latest incarnation is a cracker but is more expensive than the entry-level 35 TFSI. It is similarly stacked with gear, but it would want to be because you’re paying more. It does have a proper automatic transmission, though, with one extra gear to play with.

Rather more expensive again is the Mercedes C-Class range which is the oldest of the three Germans, pricier while less well-equipped but it has a longer five-year warranty.

The Japanese will offer you a Lexus IS (soon to be significantly facelifted), priced in between the Audi and Mercedes while Korean challenger (and Hyundai-owned Genesis) will throw you the kitchen sink, a long warranty and a baiting price for its G70 sedan with the four-cylinder turbo power.

THE BOTTOM LINE

With still more gear after last year’s kitchen sink throwing, sensible pricing and a high-tech feel, even the base model A4 feels pretty nice and isn’t even slow in 35 TFSI form. It’s very nice to see that Audi is still keen on the A4 and I feel the same way about it too.

Editor's Rating

How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the value?
How do we rate the controls and infotainment?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?

2020 Audi A4 Specs and Price

2020 AUDI A4 35 TFSI

Price From $55,900 (plus on-roads) Warranty 3 years/100,000km Engine 2.0L petrol four-cylinder Power 110kW Torque 270Nm Transmission 7-speed twin-clutch Drive front-wheel drive Body 4762mm (l); 2022mm (w); 1431mm (h) Kerb weight 1515kg Seats 5 Spare space-saver spare

2020 AUDI A4 35 TFSI S-LINE

Price From $59,900 (plus on-roads) Warranty 3 years/100,000km Engine 2.0L petrol four-cylinder Power 110kW Torque 270Nm Transmission 7-speed twin-clutch Drive front-wheel drive Body 4762mm (l); 2022mm (w); 1431mm (h) Kerb weight 1515kg Seats 5 Spare space-saver spare Kerb weight 1515kg Seats 5 Spare space-saver spare

2020 AUDI A4 45 TFSI quattro

Price From $68,900 (plus on-roads) Warranty 3 years/100,000km Engine 2.0L petrol four-cylinder Power 183kW Torque 370Nm Transmission 7-speed twin-clutch Drive all-wheel drive Body 4762mm (l); 2022mm (w); 1431mm (h) Kerb weight 1515kg Seats 5 Spare space-saver spare Kerb weight 1620kg/1665kg Seats 5 Spare space-saver spare

2020 AUDI A4 Allroad 45 TFSI

Price From $72,900 (plus on-roads) Warranty 3 years/100,000km Engine 2.0L petrol four-cylinder Power kW Torque Nm Transmission 7-speed twin-clutch Drive all-wheel drive Body 4762mm (l); 2022mm (w); 1493mm (h) Kerb weight 1590kg Seats 5 Spare space-saver spare

2020 AUDI A4 Allroad 40 TDI

Price From $69,900 (plus on-roads) Warranty 3 years/100,000km Engine 2.0L petrol four-cylinder Power kW Torque Nm Transmission 7-speed twin-clutch Drive all-wheel drive Body 4762mm (l); 2022mm (w); 1493mm (h) Kerb weight 1620kg Seats 5 Spare space-saver spare

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Peter Anderson

Peter Anderson