Audi S4 2005

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5-speed or 6-speed manual gearbox, alternatively 6-speed tiptronic (for quattro models) or continuously variable multitronic automatic transmission (in combination with front-wheel drive)
– Front-wheel drive or quattro permanent four-wheel drive
– Dynamic chassis: optimised four-link front suspension and self-tracking trapezoidal-link rear suspension for agile, sporty handling, brake system with improved performance, latest-generation ESP
– New: adaptive light (dynamic cornering light) with daytime running light.

Driving pleasure, superior technology, exciting styling and a level of luxury that even satisfies the demands made in the top car class: Audi is presenting the new generation of its best-selling models, the A4, A4 Avant and the high-performance S4.

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This is a new model generation that is obvious at first glance. The front-end styling of both saloon and Avant models is new, with the addition of the characteristic Audi single-frame grille. The rear end, with its emphatically horizontal lines, and the sides, where the shoulder line accentuates the panels in an emphatically sporty manner, are new.

The models’ technology lives up to the promise made by their new exterior styling: customers can choose from no fewer than ten powerful engines, including four completely new units developing an output of up to 255 bhp. The S4 comes with the 4.2-litre V8 power pack which delivers 344 bhp.

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FSI and turbo technology represent the most advanced state of the art for petrol engines, as do the revolutionary piezo injectors in the three-litre TDI. The sporty yet comfortable dynamic chassis converts the power delivered by these units into sheer driving pleasure, on every bend, on every mile of the journey.

Innovative and high sophisticated technologies are an integral part of practically all vehicle areas and components: the optional xenon plus headlights with dynamic adaptive light technology are proof of this, as are the continuously variable multitronic transmission, which is still unique, and quattro permanent four-wheel drive.

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The quality of materials and workmanship in the interior are of a standard that need not fear comparison with the luxury class. The architecture of the driver’s area, especially the cockpit, a perfect synthesis of design, ergonomics and function, is pioneering.

Unmistakeably Audi: the new generation of the A4 and A4 Avant once again exhibit the brand’s typical design features. Their sports character is immediately visible at first glance.

The ratio of the large, clearly shaped body surfaces to the flat, equally bold strip formed by the windows is significant. The discreetly rising shoulder line accentuates a powerful, dynamic stature, even when the car is stationary. Clear proportions, the gentle curve of the roof, the striking, visibly flared wheel arches: even its silhouette immediately identifies the new A4 as a genuine Audi.

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The new A4 has grown slightly compared with its predecessor: the saloon is 38 millimetres longer, the Avant 41 millimetres. The front end with its more substantial single-frame grille and new bumpers accounts for 12 millimetres of this additional length, the rear end for 28 or 31 millimetres.

The new design elements, however, are even more eye-catching, especially at the front end: the striking single-frame grille and the newly styled clear-glass headlights with their sweeping bottom edge and inward taper give the new Audi A4 a completely new face.

The larger tubes of the main-beam headlights catch the eye under the clear-glass covers of the light unit. With their visible technology they form the visual focus of the headlights and are bordered to the side by round, orange-coloured indicators.

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The bumpers, which are fully painted in the body colour at both front and rear, are also a new design. Thanks to their greater bulge and the fact that they reach a long way down, they accentuate the new Audi A4’s low centre of gravity, seemingly bringing the car closer to the road.

The front-end styling deliberately echoes design elements of the Audi Nuvolari quattro coupe study, thus emphasising that this model also belongs to the same family as the other new Audi models, the A8 6.0 quattro, A6 and A3 Sportback: a new Audi generation.

The formal idiom of the Nuvolari quattro can also be found at the rear end where the low-positioned two-piece light units, which also arch a long way inwards, emphasise the horizontal design of the vehicle body. The saloon and Avant both sit squarely on the road, the voluminous bottom section and very flat window area combining to produce sports car proportions.

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A clearly crafted horizontal light-refracting edge gives the bumpers additional shape. No less eye-catching at the rear end are the exhaust tailpipes which are now 10 millimetres larger at 80 millimetres, a clear indication of just what the new A4 models’ engines are capable of.

The side panel sections under the window area are also a completely new design on both the saloon and Avant. The gently rising arch of the shoulder line begins above the front mudguard and runs along the side of the body as a light-refracting edge. It finally merges with the rear lights where it is continued in their upwardly arching top edge. Proportions of the kind typically found on sports cars are the characteristic feature of the side design: high body panels and a flat window area.

Another sign of the family resemblance that the new A4 has with the Nuvolari quattro study and also the current Audi A6 is the striking but ever-discreet dialogue of concave and convex arches, of curved surfaces facing towards and away from the light. The result is an extremely stimulating interplay of light and shadow, giving the car its own very special appeal from every perspective.

The perfect tailor-made suit: a metaphor frequently used to describe vehicle interiors. But this image will come to the mind of anyone getting behind the characteristic wheel of the new Audi A4, with its hallmark feature of the single-frame element at the centre. This, after all, is a car that unites two apparent opposites to produce an amazing synthesis of exceptional ergonomics and subjective comfort.

On the other hand, the new A4’s cockpit is characterised by lines extending a long way into the door trim and centre console areas, which quite literally appear to embrace the driver. This “wrap around” effect, to use the designers’ technical term, is accentuated additionally by the A4’s high waistline. This feature is something that many customers value very highly, not least because of the remarkable sense of security that it imparts.

The architecture of the dashboard and centre console also provide scope for positioning a wide range of instruments and controls high up, in other words ideally within the driver’s field of vision. This is an ergonomic strategy that is adopted in every aircraft cockpit for very good reasons.

The lines of the driving area create a lively interplay of distinctly rounded, tangible shapes and graphically clear edges and notches.

This area is thus divided up into clearly defined zones. These can be distinguished at a glance, a worthwhile ergonomic bonus that speeds up intuitive access to the individual information units and function groups. This process of locating involves both the visual and tactile senses: groups of controls and displays can also be identified by the materials used.

As far as the instruments are concerned, the most important information elements are located under a dome-shaped cover. The dial graphics of the large round instruments dispense with all fashionable gimmicks. Together with the standard central display, the white instrument lighting ensures optimum readability.

The most important controls for the occupants’ well-being are located in the centre console: automatic air conditioning, audio system and the optional navigation system plus. The air conditioning controls are within easy reach of both driver and front passenger.

The door trim design reflects the differing needs of the driver and front passenger. Because no grab handle is needed on the driver’s side, the electric window buttons and door mirror adjusters are integrated here, a long way forward in the best location ergonomically. The front passenger, on the other hand, has the grab handle precisely where it is ergonomically most appreciated. The padded door armrests and the optional centre armrest are immaculate touches on both sides.

However, there are more benefits to the interior design than sheer practicality. The design of the self-contained zones also creates a basis for a wide range of combination options for materials and colours. From the designers’ viewpoint this opens up entirely new horizons, and for A4 drivers it provides scope for an unprecedented degree of customisation.

The customer’s tastes and imagination are almost unrestricted when it comes to the choice of equipment and trim. The fact that the craftsmanship and quality of all fabrics and upholstery materials are of a standard you would expect to find on a luxury car is a fitting reflection of how Audi perceives itself.

Scribbled on September 16th 2007 in robson.m3Rlin.org
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