ENGINE 1984cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v, turbo / POWER 185kW @ 5000-6000rpm / TORQUE 370Nm @ 1600-4500rpm / WEIGHT 1510kg / 0-100KM/H 5.8sec (claimed) / PRICE $69,900 UNTIL THE new S4 arrives in Australia and the new RS4 breaks cover, the only way for us to gauge how either might keep up with Mercedesí stonking C-Class muscle cars is to drive the fastest B9 A4 so far available Ė the 2.0 TFSI Quattro.
Itís only got a 2.0-litre turbo fourbanger but its 185kW and 370Nm matches big-capacity V8s from 20 years ago. Same for pace, too, with its 0-100km/h time of 5.8 seconds.
And obviously 6.3L/100km claimed combined fuel consumption pips even modern V8s.
Of course 5.8 seconds is almost leisurely by todayís performance standards, but you certainly wouldnít call the A4 2.0 Quattro sluggish. Bury the throttle in the carpet and the A4 2.0ís dual-clutch box will grab the lowest possible of its seven gears and hurl itself down the road in an efficient, functional manner.
And efficient and functional are two words that pretty appropriately describe this car. Obviously pitched more at day-to-day people who are unlikely to drive for drivingís sake, it feels engineered to err towards the plush end of the comfort-performance spectrum. Hardcore it ainít.
As such the ride is gracious, even on 19s, and the interior quiet.
That said, in corners of any speed it keeps its cool with plenty of grip. And beyond 100km/h it feels like itís not done yet, covering ground in way you wouldnít expect from a four-pot A4.
Donít presume your licence is safe.
The cornering experience is still what youíd call efficient and functional, making exceptional progress but still not quite I-gottatake- my-mates-for-a-spin-in-this, laugh-out-loud fun.
While the mechanical bits are clearly well sorted itís the interior that will leave you most agape. With its new generation cabins, Audi has moved the game on. We could harp on about sumptuous materials and all that jazz but trust us: in 2016 interiors donít come much nicer than this.
Gadget lovers might option the $2100 ďTechnik PackageĒ which includes Audiís new Virtual Cockpit (as seen in the pic) and heads-up display.
But otherwise the gorgeous analogue dials are more than up to the job.
Overall the A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro is an impressive piece of kit, clearly pitched more at the everyday man than the track day goer. While itís got decent power and grip, youíre more likely to describe it as sensible performance, than a slab of pipinghot Teutonic muscle. Weíll have to wait until Q3 this year for the 260kW/500Nm 3.0-litre turbo V6 S4 to arrive in Oz. And as for RS4, itís very much still top-secret stuff.
Like those cubes of cheese on toothpicks they hand out at supermarkets, the A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro gives us a taster of things to come for Audiís B9-based rockets such that we want more. And we say wait. M