If you were expecting the all-new Audi A4 to blow you away with a revolutionary new design, separating itself from not just the old model, but also other current Audi models…tough luck.
Look, there are two very different ways in which we can view the new Audi A4. Let’s play a little “Good Cop, Bad Cop” and be objective and downright annoyed at the same time, shall we?
Good Cop: Having reached its 5th generation, the A4 has matured into a modern, elegant saloon (and Avant), which doesn’t stray too far from Audi’s current design language. You will instantly recognize it as an A4, and not just because of its dimensions, which have grown, but primarily because of its looks.
The Audi A4 is an exceptionally popular car. Even on its last breath, the old model (B8) was selling just about as well as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class last year with 124,170 units in Europe versus the Merc’s 136,474. That’s really impressive for a car that was, let’s face it, pretty outdated.
This is a “two men enter, one man leaves” type of segment and people tend to go with either one of the three German brands, before turning their backs on the other two. So, then how do you make an already successful car even more successful? Well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, that’s how!
A new generation will always help boost sales – sometimes even by a very large margin. The all-new A4 is bigger, looks a bit more modern because of its thinner design lines, wider, and most of all, has an awesome interior. Regardless of what you think of that exterior, the A4’s cabin looks spectacular thanks to that 12.3″ TFT display, 8.3″ center display as well as the overall cockpit design.
Furthermore, the car will be more economical, will have more performance, will be more fun to drive and so on. At least, that’s what Audi is saying and they pretty much always deliver on these types of affirmations.
As for the Avant, it’s easy to argue that it’s actually much better looking than the B8 Avant. It kind of looks like the all-new Q7 if you only stare at the rear, although those large new taillights have a more dynamic design than those on the Q7, which are a bit more rectangular.
So make no mistake, once you get behind the wheel of this car you should forget about the old model almost instantly. It’s bigger, looks more modern, has an amazing cabin, new tech and better performance.
What more could you want?
Bad Cop: What more could I want?! I’ll tell you what I want! I want to be able to look at it and see a completely different car. Do I need a completely different car? No, but here’s the thing.
Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz went “to town” on their latest 3 Series and C-Class models. They have very little if at all in common with their previous generations. The F30 3 Series looks nothing like the E90, while the C-Class is, let’s face it, from a different planet compared to the old one – completely different design philosophies.
So then why did Audi simply modernize the B8 from a visual perspective. The all-new B9 really does feel like an intricate facelift (as my colleagues have pointed out). It has absolutely no “wow-factor”. And yes, I’m aware that Audi doesn’t really do “wow-factors” lately, but you could argue that when the latest A6 came out, people were very impressed. Not to mention the A7!
Even if in and of itself, the A4 is a great car but when compared to its rivals it feels like Audi didn’t try hard enough to make it look a lot more dynamic, why should we buy one? This is one very relevant point of view.
When you buy a new iPhone or a new Android phone, do you just look at the specs and go for it, or do you compare it with its direct rivals and you go for the complete package – something that has both looks and specs and doesn’t feel dated.
Why do you think HTC is struggling to sell their One M9 flagship? They struggled with the M8 as well…and it wasn’t because it didn’t look good. They have excellent build quality as well as fast UI’s and capable specs. The problem was that it felt like you were buying the same phone over and over since the original HTC One.
Yes, people still buy them, but you lose ground against your rivals in overall sales numbers whenever a new product fails to live up to expectations.
Anyway, let’s get back to being a bit neutral here and consider the facts. Regardless of what we think, the new A4 will definitely be successful. Actually, I can’t wait to drive it and you guys probably feel the same way.
And still, it’s perfectly understandable to be annoyed with Audi right now.
Poll: How do you feel about the all-new 2016 Audi A4?