Audi A4 35 TFSI

Run of the mill Audi A4 won’t steal headlines, but it’s a more than able daily driver.

Probably the very core of the Audi range, the A4 is also pretty much the stone on which the brand is built. The spiritual successor of the very first modern Audis after the brand was transformed from Auto Union, each if its logo’s four rings represent one of the original Audi, DKW, Horch and Wanderer marques. But it was only in the early ‘70s that the 80 became a thing alongside the 100.

The 80 lives on as the Audi A4

Well, today that 80 lives on as the A4, as it’s been since the latter 1980s. And this is the latest version of the veritable model, which underwent a major makeover late last year. You may not notice all the changes at first, but they’re aimed at keeping it sporty and aligning it with the brand’s latest design language. A4 also ushers Audi’s latest cutting edge tech in at this level too.

The new look brings a broader, flatter single frame grille, new LED headlights and muscular traits including those notched accent lines along its haunches. Talking headlamps, our 35 TFSI sampler came with low beam-high beam DRL LED headlamps. Our white A4 was shod with a smart set of face-polished wheels.

The biggest news is that the new A4 steps up to MMI high-resolution TFT display infotainment. This basic 35 lacked the haptic-touch, but it did pack in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone interface, MMI navigation plus and all-new Car-to-X connectivity. Add ambient LED mood lighting, leatherette trim and Audi’s optional phone box.

Cool HD display Dials

Ours also had the multifunction steering-run 12.3-inch HD display instrumentation with three designs to choose from. But we missed the haptic double touch of some of this cars upmarket siblings’ infotainment systems though — old school touchscreens like this should never have got into cars inthe first place.

Our 110 kW 270 Nm turbo petrol A4 35 gains what Audi calls mild 12 volt hybrid electrification. Solid on the road and pleasing to drive, it can be a little underwhelming when asked, but does the job well. Ride is plush and that cockpit, albeit on the junior side of the option list is pleasant and comfortable enough never to notice.

Performance is on the better side of adequate too. That being said, it is still some way off the likes of a compatible BMW 3 or Mercedes C, both of which were well over a second quicker in our tests. But then of course you can get a quicker A4 too. We were more than impressed with the A4 35 TFSI’s fuel economy though and that’s one bouquet that this one keeps.

Will they ever find it?

The chassis is a little remote but the brakes are conversely perhaps a touch too sharp and difficult to modulate. The A4 is also packed with a raft of latest driver aids that some may find comforting and reassuring, but which we abhor. That we had to google how to switch it all off at the touch of a button at the end of the indicator stalk was a bit much, too.

Made us wonder how many owners will never find that secret but so simple solution? But if you know it, all cool!

The run of the mill Audi A4 has never stolen headlines. And it likely never will. But it’s a solid and sophisticated enough choice in a competitive market. It may not deliver a killer quarter mile, but it offers less confrontational owners a fine, safe and more than sophisticated enough daily driver. The Audi A4 35 TFSI certainly remains worth a look. — Michele Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Audi A4 35 TFSI Advanced Line
Engine: 110 kW 270 Nm 2-litre turbo petrol I4   
Drive: 7-speed double clutch auto FWD
0-60 km/h:        3.51 sec
0-100 km/h:       8.25 sec                     
0-160 km/h:       20.98 sec         
400m:             5.9 sec @ 141 km/h    
80-120 km/h:      6.04 sec
120-160 km/h:     9.23 sec            
VMax:              225 km/h            
Fuel:              6.1 l/100 km
CO2:               140 g/km
Warranty/Service:  1y unl./5y 100K km      
LIST PRICE:        R685K              
RATED:             7
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