Friday, June 30, 2006

2008 Audi A4: technical improvements

So to the technique then. The most important change for the next A4 is a small change of place between the differential and the gearbox. Small but important! This will allow the engine to be moved about 110mm to the back, hence improving weight distribution, reducing the front overhang and increasing the wheelbase. This should make miracles for the handling and comfort of the new car. On top of that, the quattro (torsen) AWD system will be improved to send more power to the rear wheels and…surprise: a pneumatic suspension is rumored to be offered as an option. Well, that’s a lot of changes and all for the better! More welcomed changes: a new DSG gearbox, a first for longitudinal engine applications and the disappearing of the pump-deuse diesel engines. All diesels are expected to be of the superior common-rail type.

Still a question remains: with all of those changes can the new A4 finally challenge the established luxury saloons from Mercedes, BMW and Lexus? Well, definitely not... and maybe yes… Let’s clarify things here: the FWD versions will not be a match for the superior RWD prestige saloons. These FWD versions will also share several 4-cylinder engines with Seats and Skodas… thus very far from luxury excellence! But the quattro versions, with more power to the rear wheels, longer wheelbase, improved weight distribution and pneumatic suspension? Maybe, just maybe Audi can finally be a true competitor.

However, and regardless of technical competence and credibility (and RWD snobbery!), the next Audi can achieve something special. If the design previewed by Huckfeldt’s photoshop turns real then Audi will be in a position to have a real winner in its hands. One of the few cars that can sell massively only because of its design, by winning everyone’s hearts. I can remember only a few recent cars in Europe to achieve such feat: Peugeot 206, VW Golf IV and BMW 3-series E46.

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