September 7, 2004
Source: Audi AG
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.
Comfort and space on all seats
Thanks to their micro-engaging mechanism, the front seats can be adjusted lengthwise in increments of three millimetres - in other words, practically infinitely. This new dimension to finding the ideal seat position will benefit all occupants, and not only the taller ones.
The seat surface, which is longer than the norm in this vehicle class, provides an outstanding thigh support. This applies in particular to the sports seats which, in addition to an adjustable lumbar support, come with a thigh support that can be adjusted horizontally to suit individual requirements.
The rear seats have much more the character of individual seats than of a conventional bench-type seat. This not only enhances the interior's sporty looks, but also makes for improved long-distance comfort for the occupants of the two outer seats.
There is also more room than average for luggage in the A4 saloon: with a capacity of 460 litres, the smooth-floored luggage compartment is well-equipped for tackling challenging transport tasks. And with a vast 1,000 millimetres between the wheel arches, there is plenty of room even for bulky loads.
A4 Avant: the load area
The A4 Avant's load area combines an exclusive atmosphere with optimum utility and variability. This synthesis of successful interior design and multifunctionality sets new standards.
A variable load-area floor provides generous storage capacity. With three different floor-panel positions, the load area capacity is between 377 (floor closed), 422 (floor partially open) and 442 litres (floor removed). The maximum storage capacity with the rear seat folded is 1,184 litres.
Loading heavy and bulky objects into the car is simplified considerably by the low height of the load-area floor level with the sill. This means that objects up to 1,000 mm wide can be loaded through the tailgate opening. The smooth-surfaced inner side panels have no bulges, making the load area look extremely tidy at all times. The available capacity can be used efficiently, with neither edges nor projections in the way.
Even in its standard version, the A4 Avant's load area offers a full range of ingenious details such as a net for small items, chrome-plated load-securing lugs, a storage compartment behind a cover in the left side panel, an easily accessible 12V power socket in the side panel and an active light in the tailgate that also illuminates the area behind the vehicle.
The load-area floor is at the same height as the folded rear seat backrests, thus guaranteeing an almost level luggage area. The luggage cover and the dividing net are located in a special compact, space-saving housing. This combined housing is attached to the wider part of the rear seat backrest and folds forwards with it to make the maximum storage space immediately available. In this position, the housing can easily be removed through the rear side door.
The load-area floor forms a second level in the luggage area. It is not rigidly fixed in the vehicle, but can be folded. This means that its position can easily be changed, making a useful contribution to the load area's unique variability.
Under the floor there is an easy-to-clean plastic tray attached to the body which can be used as an additional storage compartment or combined with the total luggage capacity. An optional reversible mat including fold-out bumper protection protects both the bumper and the load itself.
The tailgate opens automatically up to an overall height of 1.98 m.
Two handle recesses on the left and right inside the tailgate - handle height 1.83 m - allow it to be pulled shut from any position.
A load-area package with practical detail solutions for numerous situations is available as an optional extra. A bag hook and a luggage net to prevent objects from sliding about can be fastened in no time at all to the four lugs provided. A retaining strap in the right side trim can also be used to secure smaller objects and is adjustable to several positions.