NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2009 Audi A4 Preview

1/1/2009
Critical Knowledge:
  • The Audi A4 has an all-new design for 2009

  • Larger in nearly every dimension

  • Superior high-strength steel used in manufacturing

  • New and revised engines offer better efficiency and greater fuel economy

  • Engine sits behind front axle for better weight distribution

  • Adapts many luxury features found on the A8

  • Audi Dynamic Steering improves steering feel

  • High level of standard safety features
Introduction
Introduced in 1994, Audi's volume-leading A4 model traces its lineage back to the Audi 80, first launched in 1966. Now in its third generation, the A4 has grown incrementally in size and luxury offerings with every subsequent redesign-as has the competition from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Infiniti as the bar continues to be raised in this class of cars. For 2009, Audi presents an all-new fourth-generation A4 with dynamic styling, new sophisticated powerplants, and innovative technology designed to make it even more competitive.

The Chassis
When compared to the previous model, the all-new 2009 Audi A4 features entirely new, sportier proportions. Overall length is up nearly five inches and width has been increased by more than two inches. The wheelbase has been stretched, and the hood is longer. The front body overhang has been shortened, allowing the wheels to be pushed further to the edge of the vehicle. For better balance and handling, Audi has swapped the location of the differential with the clutch (or torque converter on automatic-equipped models). This allows the front axle to move forward 6.1 inches, effectively putting the mass of the engine further behind the front wheels. The result, Audi claims, is better weight distribution over each axle for precision control and handling.

Interior dimensions have grown as well. The cabin is longer than the previous models, and rear-seat passengers enjoy knee room that has grown by 1.4 inches. Headroom and shoulder room has also increased, offering additional comfort to occupants. Trunk capacity is 17 cubic feet, a volume greater than any competitor offers, according to Audi. In addition, trunk capacity remains the same whether the car is equipped with front-wheel drive (FWD) or quattro permanent all-wheel drive (AWD). Fold-down rear seats are standard.

While the body shell has grown in nearly every dimension, advanced engineering is credited with keeping the new body extremely light in weight. Various types of steel, including high-strength and ultra-high-strength, are utilized throughout the body shell. The weight savings are significant. According to Audi, the bare bodyshell of the redesigned 2009 model weighs 10 percent less than the body shell of the previous model.

Hardware
The 2009 Audi A4 will initially be offered with a choice of 4- or 6-cylinder powerplants. The standard engine is an all-new turbocharged 4-cylinder displacing 2.0 liters. It is rated at 211 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. In the FWD A4 ("FrontTrak" in Audi nomenclature), it is mated to a Multitronic CVT automatic. With Audi's quattro AWD system, it is offered with Audi's Tiptronic 6-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission. The 6-cylinder powerplant displaces 3.2 liters and is rated at 265 hp and 243 lb.-ft. of torque. The only available transmission on the 6-cylinder model is Audi's Tiptronic 6-speed automatic. All engines in the 2009 Audi A4 are more efficient, and consume significantly less fuel than the engines found in the 2008 Audi A4.

The standard 4-wheel disc brakes have been upgraded and improved on the 2009 model. Composite spheroidal-graphite and aluminum calipers clamp new high-performance brake pads that are 20 percent larger for improved brake feel and reduced stopping distances. The latest generation of ESP (stability control) offers a smoother regulating action for less intrusive feedback for the driver, Audi says.

The new A4 offers many detail designs found in Audi's flagship, the A8. The Driver Information System (DIS), a display supplying information about audio, climate and vehicle settings, is now standard on all V-6 models. When ordered with a navigation system, the Multi Media Interface (MMI) is integrated into the center tunnel and the information displayed on a 7-inch color screen.

For the first time, the A4 features an electro-mechanical parking brake operated by a small electronic lever-another luxury feature derived from the A8. It functions as a parking brake, emergency brake, and start assistant to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards when it departs. The space formerly occupied by a hand brake has been replaced with additional cabin storage with twin 12-volt power adapters. The 2009 Audi A4 is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,000-mile limited new-vehicle warranty that includes roadside assistance for four years.

Safety
Occupants in the 2009 Audi A4 are protected by six standard air bags. Driver and front passenger are protected by front and side air bags while curtain air bags protect all outboard passengers. Two additional air bags, of a rear side design, are available optionally. Sensors in the seat rails determine the actual position of the seats and regulate the deployment of the air bags and belt force limiters based on the occupant's position within the vehicle, offering additional safety for drivers of smaller stature. The new A4 is one of the first vehicles to comply with the legal safety requirements passed in Japan and Europe for vehicle/pedestrian collisions.

Technology
The 2009 A4 features another new Audi innovation: Audi dynamic steering. The system employs a special superimposed gear system to alter overall steering ratio according to road speed and the driver-chosen Audi drive select setting. Audi dynamic steering boosts power assistance, and makes the steering ratio more direct at low speed, Audi says. At high speeds, the ratio is less direct and boost is decreased for better straight-line stability, the automaker adds.

Most variable-ratio/-boost steering systems stop there, but Audi takes the technology several steps further. Working with the ESP, the system receives real-time information about the vehicle's attitude. If the vehicle begins to oversteer, such as in the case of an abrupt accident-avoidance maneuver, the steering performs slight corrective impulses-faster than an experienced rally driver could react-to help automatically bring the vehicle back under control. In an understeer situation, the system selects a more indirect steering ratio preventing the driver from turning the tires beyond their ability to grip the road. According to Audi, their dynamic steering represents leading-edge technology in this segment.

For more information on the 2009 Audi A4, watch a video

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