Audi has been steadily launching all their models in India and are ensuring that the Indian consumer gets the very latest as soon as will allow. Okay, so one does tend to wait a couple of months for the cars to be shipped in from abroad, but then you don't go out and buy a car everyday, do you? The A4 has been around and we really loved the zest of the 3.2 TFSI when we drove the car last year. This time round however, we were in for quite a surprise. To start with, the A4 in question here is powered by a massive 3.0-litre, V6 TDI engine which produces a maximum power of 240bhp and a mammoth 500Nm of torque at as low as 1500rpm!
This massive 3.0-litre powerhouse has a common rail valve-train with piezo injectors and a variable geometric turbocharger. Power from this oil-burner is channelled via a six-speed 'DSP' box with tip-tronic and much to our disappointment there are no paddle shifts in a car that costs on the upside of forty five Lakhs (on-road pricing). We really did miss the paddle shifts since it would have been a welcome addition in what is essentially, an enthusiasts car. The engine like most of the VW Group engines is highly refined and it's common rail (to meet the Bharat Stage-IV compliance), it's quiet even at idling (which it does at about 700rpm) with very low NVH levels. It’s during crank-up where the engine can sound a little harsh but it soon settles into a smooth idle.
In our quarter mile run, this feisty A4 galloped to 100kph in 7.3 seconds and ran the quarter mile in 15.1 seconds. It doesn’t matter whatever speed you are at - just step on the accelerator and you'll get shoved back into your seat! And that's a guarantee. For a couple of unsuspecting passengers who experienced this, the sheer shove of the acceleration brought about several sharp exclamations of amazement that can’t be reproduced. The DSP (Dynamic Shift Program) six-speed automatic gearbox is highly responsive and downshifts within milli-seconds on kickdown for some really spirited driving. In our kickdown test, the A4 took 2.1 seconds to clock 30-50kph and 2.4 seconds for 50-70kph run. This large diesel engine is fairly efficient too. We got an economy figure of 9.63kpl when we decided to go into our drive-as-you-please mode. Truth is that the acceleration is so addictive that it's really difficult to keep your right foot in check! The worst figure of 7.74kpl was during our performance testing, which is typically full throttle driving. In our highway driving cycle, the Audi A4’s mileage was an excellent 14.35kpl which really isn’t bad at all for a big V6.
Another reason why the A4 is such an excellent drama-free quarter mile star and surefooted highway star is thanks to Audi's legendary quattro four-wheel drive technology. quattro - which is basically Audi’s patent term for their all-wheel drive; meaning four in Italian. Unlike regular four-wheel drive technology, the quattro doesn’t use the conventional sun and ring gear differential and transfer case but the lighter Torsen, a Torque Sensing type of limited slip differential, to transfer torque. The Audi A4 3.0 TDI handles well, but you can tell that there's a heavier diesel engine upfront and it does tend to feel a bit heavier through corners than its petrol siblings. The ride is good at low and high speeds, and even though the steering is precise, its feedback feels a tad artificial. Dive into a sharp corner and the car will grip well (even though on some occasions it felt a little floaty) the quattro and the ESP will forgive most driver errors and will ensure that the car continues to be the safe handler that it is. Also very reassuring are the beefy brakes which bite progressively and have good pedal feel too. In our braking test, the Audi A4 came to a complete standstill from a speed of 80kph in 30.3 metres.