Audi A4 TDIe Car Review
Audi has released the cheapest, and most efficient, A4 in the range. The new A4 TDIe is also the most efficient car in its class. It has an official fuel consumption figure of 4.8 litres per 100km and C02 emissions of 124 grams per kilometre.
Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder diesel engine with 100kW of power and 320Nm of torque.
The TDIe is the 22nd model (out of 70) in the Audi range to have an average consumption figure below 7.0L/100km.
The new model has many fuel saving technologies including start-stop - where the engine cuts out at traffic lights and restarts when you take off - energy recovery, a driver efficiency program, aerodynamics measures and higher gear ratios.
Currently the TDIe is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. However, Audi says an automatic version is under development.
The new A4 model is 0.6L/100km more efficient than the BMW 320d and 1.5L/100km more frugal than a Mercedes Benz C220 CDI Blue Efficiency. It is also the cheapest of the bunch, with the BMW carrying a tag from $58,300 and the C220CDI priced from $61,400.
16-inch alloy wheels, eight airbags, electronic stability control, electric park brake, automatic climate controlled air conditioning; cruise control, light and rain sensor, Milano leather trim, multi function leather steering wheel, speed sensitive power steering.
Rear parking sensors, $900; Blind spot warning system, $1324; Audi lane assist + blind spot $2542; Metallic paint, $1695; keyless entry and start, $1483; sunroof, $2330; Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime driving lights $2224; adaptive headlights $847; auto dimming interior mirror, $530; adaptive cruise control, $2754; electric seats, $2277; navigation package, $3390.
Comfort Package includes electric driver's seat adjustment plus lumbar support on the front seats, three-zone deluxe automatic air conditioning, mobile phone preparation with Bluetooth costs $2754.
The new technology changes the way the 2.0 TDIe model drives compared with a regular 2.0 TDI.
The most noticeable is the stop-start technology. When you come to a stop, put the car into neutral and when you take your foot off the clutch the engine cuts out to save fuel and cut CO2 emissions. The engine restarts as soon as you put your foot back on the clutch to put the car in gear and you move off as you normally would. The stop and restart of the engine is very quiet and you barely notice it after you've been in the car for a while.
The TDIe has 5kW less power and 20Nm less toque than the TDI. In normal driving you are hard pressed to notice the difference.
The higher gearing was more noticeable as we found it was necessary to change down a gear earlier than you would have normally if you want to overtake and the TDIe struggled to pull out of a side street in second gear even when you are rolling and we had to go back to first.
The driver efficiency program helps you to drive more frugally. It advises you which gear to be in to get the best fuel economy.
For many of us though this goes against everything we've ever learnt. Driving off this guide, for example, the indicator was telling us to change into 3rd at about 30km/h, 4th at around 40km/h, 5th at around 50kmh and we even saw 6th at 60km/h.
Most of us have always been told to never labour a car's engine as it is bad for the bearings and the drivetrain - such as the clutch and even the gear sets in the box. However, use the Audi's driver efficiency program (and others that use the same technology) and you can hear the engine struggling to pull the load. Hopefully Audi has used some measure to stop this from affecting the life of the mechanicals.
In the real world, drivers be warned. Cruising along at 60km/h in 6th gear is not going to give you the speed to instantly accelerate to change lanes or maintain pace with surrounding traffic if you're going up a hill. We'd suggest that driver common sense should prevail over the gearshift indicator.
According to Audi the indicator also tells you when you change down although in our 600-odd kilometres we didn't see that once.
The driver efficiency program also incorporates three other useful fuel saving displays. There is an instantaneous and average fuel reading display, an average fuel and litres used display and also a helpful hint screen that works real time. So, if for example you turn the air conditioning on but still have the windows down it will tell you to put the windows up.
On our drive from Adelaide to Broken Hill (the long way) we averaged 4.9L/100km. It's good to see that Audi's claimed average fuel consumption is easily achievable in the real world.
The A4 TDIe is smooth and comfortable on the road although the tyres were very noisy on coarse chip bitumen.
Buying the 'economy' model doesn't mean you get the economy trim package though. While it might be the cheapest model in the A4 range the TDIe has the typical A4 quality feel inside. The equipment list is a little thin but is in-line with base Audi models.
On our first drive we covered a number of kilometres over the day but we'd still like to see how the car fares in our week long testing before making a final judgement.
|Price of vehicle tested||$49,900|
Class-leading fuel economy and C02 emissions
Tyres are noisy on coarse chip bitumen
|Country of manufacture||Germany|
|Number of cylinders||4|
|Engine size||2.0 L|
NRMA Theft Rating
|Best recorded during testing||4.0 L/100km|
|Worst recorded during testing||6.1 L/100km|
|Average on test||4.8 L/100km|
|Average based on ADR||124 g/km|
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