Long-term introduction: Audi A4 1,4T FSI S tronic Sport
Since the departure of my BMW long-term test car, there has been an M235i-shaped hole in my life (you can watch my video wrap-up here). The prospect of driving any other car suddenly seemed unappealing … until a Florett Silver Audi A4 rolled into the CAR garage and caught my eye.
Editor Steve Smith must have seen me sniffing around the newcomer to our fleet and, a few days later, he handed me the keys and asked me to be its caretaker for the next year. I accepted his offer without hesitation because I’ve never had an Audi long-term test car. To date, the list includes vehicles from Renault, Seat, Mini, Fiat, Honda, Toyota and BMW.
Audi’s evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, design strategy has created a car that most onlookers don’t peg as an all-new A4, which undersells this sedan. Despite being the entry-level model of the new A4 line-up, the 1,4T FSI variant is indistinguishable from the 2,0-litre model. This fact was underlined when we had a 2,0T FSI on test recently and the only visible cue was the different registration numbers and a Drive Select button inside on the latter.
“My” car has the S-line exterior package as well as 18-inch five-spoke alloys. There are a few other non-standard items, which I’ll highlight at a later stage, that lift the price of R492 000 to R582 760.
The exterior may be conservative, but the interior treatment is among the best in this class. The choice of materials, perceived build quality and optional virtual cockpit digital instrument cluster are all top-notch and make the A4’s cabin a great place in which to spend time. I’m also a big fan of the excellent noise insulation.
My new steed has Audi’s slick-shifting S tronic dual-clutch transmission. Some have questioned how such a small engine as the 1,4-litre can propel such a large car, but thanks to the turbocharger, there’s a handy 110 kW on offer and an even more impressive peak torque value of 250 N.m; that’s nearly 180 N.m per litre.
I’ve been really impressed with the ride quality thus far, even on the optional wheels. The power delivery is typical of modern forced-induction units – there’s a wide powerband from just above idle speed. The ECU has a tendency to shift up through the seven-speed transmission really quickly, unless the shift lever is pulled down to sport mode, which I avoid in my daily commute. Obvious benefits to this strategy are lower fuel consumption. Audi quotes an incredible 5,1 L/100 km, although I suspect I won’t get close to that number.
After 1 month
Mileage now: 1 846 km
Fuel consumption: 7,68 L/100 km
We like: beautiful interior
We don’t like: staid exterior