All-New Audi A4 B9 vs A4 B8: Where’s The Revolution? [w/Poll]

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 That’s really impressive for a car that was, let’s face it, pretty outdated.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.

The new Audi A4 looks like an overgrown A3 Sedan with B8 A4 styling cues. That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?

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?

AUDI A4 B8 VS A4 B9 Gallery

  • Andrewthecarguy

    Unbelievable.

    I guess all those negative comments about the G11 7 Series not being a truly new model should have been reserved for this piece of work.

    • Kash

      I see about the same amount of differences between the old 7 and new one as i do the B8 and B9 A4’s. They changed almost the same things. New front, new rear, fairly new interior and slight changes along the sides.

      • rover10

        It seems fashionable for German manufactures to take small steps, rather than go for shock styling. That said, the rear three quarter photographs show a glaring design mistake. The front fender upper surfacing has a horrible break in the highlight line over the wheel arch, an unfortunate oversight. A bit like a dog’s nose?

        • Kash

          i just think that this was the year the germans calmed down on the redesigns.

          I think i see what you’re talking about in terms of the design and i think it’s from the combination of them changing the wheel arch design (it looks like they pulled it in closer to narrow the width of the front wheel and the lighting effects done in photoshop or something.

    • Outdated

      B9 actually looks more outdated than the B8.

  • pcurve

    love the new interior. I like it better than A6.

    • RCW89

      I agree about loving the new interior but I like it just as much as I like the A6/7/8. Also nothing wrong with the exterior either imo.

  • thisguyhere

    this feels souless

  • Nordschleife

    I needed the before and after pics to really see the nuisances in the design. I like the stronger front and the new interior but that is about it.

  • Rich Money

    Literally every single element of the new model is an improvement. But it’s not “different enough” for some people. Give me a break. Go stare at a Lexus IS and get a full serving of “different”. A4 has been essentially same design since the 1994 B5. In case you’re not getting it yet: Audi’s not going to change the design. This is it, man.

    • emjayay

      Yeah, but the Lexus IS is awful.

      • Rich Money

        Yes, that is my point.

    • bd

      The only thing “different” about the IS are the godawful headlights – the “Predator” maw can be found on the ES and all the other Lexus models.

      The greenhouse to the IS has a lot in common to the Corolla.

      • Rich Money

        it also has that oddball character line that dips and then swoops up. And those fancy rear taillights.

        Again, Audi has a well-defined style. Folks complain that the new model is not different enough. Other brands (e.g. Lexus, Cadillac, Nissan, Infiniti) trade on more radical changes, and eye-catching design elements/graphics. There is a place for this approach. Look at the Murano, for example. But thats not Audi’s DNA.

        Look at an A8. It is remarkably similar in theme to the original 1984 Audi 5000. Simple, elegant. The ‘same’ for 30+ years. So – when I hear people complain that the B9 is too similar to the B8, I just wonder why they’d expect anything else of Audi.

  • john1168

    I’m sorry but was something changed on this “all new” A4???

    • TheHake

      Yes, everything.

      • Miknik

        They just perfectly hide it by making it look exactly like before.

        • TheHake

          It’s new, just not different… 😉

    • Lyonel Baratheon

      “all new” not design only! 1000s other changes!

  • klowik

    Audi design is now at a perilous state of being stagnant and boring, too much sharp corners and hard straight lines make the car looks dated. Mercedes Benz is the only winner now which can break out of their old mold with surprising and bold styling.

    • joey

      Yeah, and did you see how they face lifted the A6?

    • Rich Money

      yet with this conservative approach, Audi has become the #1 selling luxury marque worldwide. Doesn’t seem that perilous to me.

  • Cobrajet

    The interior was the only thing that really needed to be updated.

    • TheHake

      And it was.

    • RCW89

      I actually agree with this, The old interior is the only thing I don’t like on the current A4/A5 range.

  • TheHake

    I think it looks great. Look at a 15 yo Audi vs a 15 yo Lexus, then you’ll see why Audi sticks to a design language.

    • c3vzn

      I look at a 15 year old IS and think wow that still looks incredibly modern today.

      • TheHake

        And the GS and LS? They looked good in their day, but now…

  • GP

    prefer the previous tailights to the new ones.

  • Six_Tymes

    I like it, a lot, looks a lot like an older version that was awesome. Now this new B9 plat form is lighter, nothing in my book not to like.

  • Alex P

    The new look is certainly not a revolution, more so an evolution and definitely different in all the right places. More dynamic yet still conservative. But I quite like it. However the interior is a huge improvement! The only thing I would probably do is option (if available) the flat bottom sport steering wheel from the S-Line..

  • Vassilis

    After so many years I would have thought industry “experts” would understand that Audi is all about the inside, not the outside. Inside both in terms of engineering and in terms of interior. This is something like 100 kgs lighter than the previous model. That’s were the revolution is. Then you get the improved interior, tech etc. People who don’t understand that don’t understand Audi.

  • rob

    I do see some differences, the new A4 does have an A6 look. But there should be a much bigger difference and not just an update. It is almost like the A3, I love it, but it looks like a A4 from 15 years ago. But, all the car companies are doing the same thing, sticking with a design that is selling cars. I think there are a few companies that have pushed some envelopes, Hyundai, Kia, Lincoln, Caddy. I do like the dash layout of the new A4, can’t wait to test drive it, and looking forward to the A5, oh wait, never mind, it won’t be a big change from this one, i will just look at pics of the A5 through rose colored glasses.

  • LOVE FORCE ONE

    don’t be hating – that’s my motto

  • Carson

    I noticed there’s no locking glovebox anymore now but then again the car’s general security has probably been beefed up.

  • NG212

    My criticism is each Audi’s lack of design progress over time. A commenter says the A4 has looked the same since ’94. He’s right, but that’s nothing to brag about. Doesn’t help that the B9 recalls a Skoda with a bigger grille and more brightwork.

    I’m amused some believe Audi’s conservatism shows nobility in this segment. In reality, it’s a cynical business calculation, and demonstrative of a lack of imagination. But this is the company that continues to offer FWD/FWD-based AWD in RWD-based segments.

    Many commenters are indignant that Audi won’t/shouldn’t change. But Audi will change. They fired the guy who designed the B9. The Prologue was an acknowledgment that those calling for change are right — current Audis look too dull.

  • dumblikeyou2

    Well think about the deal you can get on the current A4 that really won’t look all that much different from the new one. It’s a still a decent VW, I mean Audi.
    Besides, I like the cockpit feel of the current one compared to the bench seat look of the new one.

  • AstonMartin

    The real disappointment will come in the form of the upcoming “all new” A5/S5. I can recall the B9 being delayed so its styling could better compete with its nearest rivals – a clear missed opportunity. The “Prologue” Coupe and Avant concepts are the best thing Audi has going for itself now. I hope they further align all of their models in that design direction.

    • Nordschleife

      I agree with you. If the A5 doesn’t look new or sexy it is really going to be a missed opportunity on Audi’s part. Coupé have a lot more riding on style than their sedan sedan counterpart.

  • Jaguar XE or XF?

  • purplelion77

    That’s fantastic news for Audi A4 B8 owners. The similarities between theirs and the new model ensure prospective second hand buyers won’t be able to tell them apart, so they could sell their B8 A4 for new model! That said I much prefer the new model as it is less boring than the very boring previous model and it also has a much better interior.

  • Gradaschi

    Sincerely? I don’t know what to think about it. Sometimes I think that the anterior A4 design was better and nice-looking, and sometimes I think just the opposite…

  • JayM

    As a B8.5 owner I like the subtle changes they did for the B9 especially the interior. It may not look ‘drastically’ different compared to its competitors but that’s just how Audi is. They keep the changes simple and people still buy it no matter what.

  • dinn

    Spot 10 differences 🙂

  • JoeMosely

    The fashionistas might be disappointed but I bet the motorheads will like it. Curious about the S4 powertrain.

    • Nordschleife

      That’s the point. Audi once was a design innovator so it’s hard for people who were drawn in by the original TT, R8, A5 and Q7 to see such a lackadaisical remodels.

      • JoeMosely

        Who says they were a design innovator? The original TT is an upside down clawfoot bathtub. I think of them as engineering innovators with their turbo 4 cylinders and quattro systems, as well as their S series and RS series offerings. A businessman’s sedan is a businessman’s sedan no matter how many LED lights and swales you put on it. IMO

        • Nordschleife

          While you may personally think that the original TT was an upside down claw foot tub, that model became a halo for the brand long after the amazement of the Quattro system wore off. It wasn’t my favorite either but that model, along with it interior design is what helped Audi gain favor among its German competition. Then when the second generation A6 and the first generation A4 hit the market, the majority of the commentary was based on their Bahaus style. That’s what set them apart.

  • RoadOfMajor

    You can ask any non-enthusiast and most likely they would not be able to tell which one is new, and which one is nearly a decade old.

    • RoadOfMajor

      Just asked my mom. She said, and I quote “the car on the left is the new one right?”

  • Kagan Oztrak

    someone help me, I forgot my glasses at home and today I’m going to the audi dealer. Hope they dont sell me the old one instead of the new one, BECAUSE I CANT TELL THE DIFFERENCE.

  • Adrian Aguirre

    Hermoso coche, no hay mucho que cambiar a un exito rotundo!!!! Un clasico que sigue la linea gral de la marca. Casi sin diferencia con el hermoso B8. No hay que mejorar nada, es perfecto!!!