The Audi A4: Exterior Design

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October 2, 2007

Source: Audi AG

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Exterior design

The sportiest car in the midsize market segment, and also a comfortable saloon model for supremely relaxed travel – the new Audi A4 has many different facets. The new, dynamic proportions are tense and emotive; the precision outlines of the body underline the leading role that Audi plays in automotive design.

4703 millimetres long, 1826 mm wide – these are the dimensions of an impressive large saloon model. The new Audi A4 exceeds its main competitors quite clearly in both length and width, though at 1426 mm its height is less than theirs. These proportions are the key to the visual dynamism of the sportiest saloon on the midsize car market.

Compared with the previous model, the new A4 has clearly grown in size, and has at the same time acquired new, dynamic proportions. The front body overhang is now shorter, whereas the bonnet and wheelbase are both longer. Seen on the road, the new A4 flexes its muscles – with a sense of greater substance and power than its predecessor possessed.

Personality: star billing for the A4

With the new A4, Audi once again demonstrates its leading role in the automotive design field. The designers have re-interpreted classic elements from the brand’s formal vocabulary and given them balance and tension. The results are taut and concentrated – a personality that takes star billing.

It is as if the saloon body’s outer skin had been modelled from the solid by a sculptor’s sure hand. The front end, passenger compartment and rear end blend smoothly into one another, and a coupé-style roof line emphasises the flowing silhouette.

The sculpted surfaces provide a contrast to the clear, dynamic lines. In its precision, the design clearly pursues Audi’s goal of no-compromise quality.

The front end of the new Audi A4 exudes assurance to a special degree. The bonnet is tautly and powerfully contoured, with bold V-pattern lines extending forward to the nose. In contrast to the previous model the Audi single-frame grille that dominates this aspect of the car is broader and lower. For cars with a four-cylinder engine and on the 2.7 TDI, the mesh grille is painted Stone Grey; if one of the two powerful six-cylinder engines – the 3.2 FSI or the 3.0 TDI is chosen, the grille is in high-gloss Black.

The edge of the bonnet intersects lightly with the tops of the headlights, a device that suggests determination and is strongly expressive. The curving lower contour provides an elegant touch, supported by a subtle fold in the metal. Audi presents the headlights as complex elements – technology as an art form.

Distinguishing features: the “wings”

Depending on the version, the headlights vary in a number of details. A strong visual impression is made by the “wing” elements in electrodeposited chrome, which differ considerably according to whether halogen or xenon plus headlights are specified. With halogen headlights, the wing has a second shorter element, whereas with xenon plus it takes the form of a single continuous curve.

A standard feature common to both systems is the daytime running light – one of the many safety technologies that Audi has pioneered. In the halogen headlights, which are rated for an operating distance of well over 100,000 kilometres, it is provided by bulbs with a rating of just 13 watts. The xenon plus units, in which mercury is no longer used, each incorporate 14 white light-emitting diodes, with a total consumption of no more than nine watts.

Audi daytime running lights are a deliberately chosen design feature. They give the front end of the new Audi A4 an original, unmistakable appearance.

The third of the significant visual elements at the front of the car are the two large air inlets, three-dimensional in shape, with the standard halogen fog lights recessed into them.

Trapezoidal and broadening at the bottom, they emphasise the line of the single-frame grille and also the horizontal features of the car’s nose. A spoiler slightly recessed below the single-frame grille completes the front-end styling.

Full of strength: the side view

When seen from the side, the new Audi A4 again communicates an impression of taut, forward-striving power, an image of sporty energy enhanced by the long bonnet with its elegant transitions to the front side panels and the set-back occupant cabin. A typical Audi styling principle is that the body accounts for two-thirds of the vehicle’s overall height, with the remaining third consisting of the greenhouse.

The outlines acquire their free-flowing character from the coupé-style silhouette. To prevent the roof, which is quite markedly lowered toward the rear, from reducing rear seat occupants’ headroom, the C-post roots are positioned fairly wide apart on the broad, muscular shoulders of the body. A small spoiler neatly included in the overall outline extends the boot lid visually. The feature line, inserted at a slight angle in the rear roof area, has the effect of lowering the greenhouse still further. The sides of the body and the roof are joined by a scarcely visible flush seam – a complex technical process that concentrates high precision in both the design and body construction areas.

An important and constantly re-interpreted tool in the Audi designers’ stylistic armoury is the interplay of light and shade, of convex and concave surfaces surrounded by boldly emphasised lines. The tornado line, a hand’s width below the windows, is a striking element in the side view.

This line, sketched in by a sure hand, runs along the front and rear wheel arches; its contour is particularly bold in the centre before tapering away at the ends. As it crosses the front door the tornado line falls gently, dividing the area above the rear wheel in such a way as to avoid any suggestion of unnecessary bulk.

The dynamic line above the door sills, however, pursues a different path: it rises continuously and also extends over the rear end of the car. The sill and the line formed by the lower edge of the windows, on the other hand, are effectively horizontal. This interplay of lines gives the side view a taut character. Substantial loop-pattern door handles, large wheels and accentuated wheel arches add to the effect of concentrated energy.

The tail of the car, with a spoiler lip that forms an elegant arc, also interprets the theme of the dynamic saloon in a subtle way. It is drawn in and thus makes the rear wheel arches clearly visible. The slim, horizontally arranged light units taper inwards and create a visual relationship with the road; their reflectors add depth to what the onlooker sees. A narrow strip at the lower edge for the flasher and reversing light adds a further sense of width at the rear. When the lights are on, the strip-pattern reflectors create a zone of light of limited height.

Dividing the rear light units vertically in the centre enables a wide boot lid to be provided. A recess of generous area is provided for the licence plate above the bumper, which has a boldly flared upper edge of trapezoidal shape that introduces its own sporty note. Below the bumper is a diffuser finished in dark grey.

Cars with a four-cylinder engine have twin exhaust tailpipes on the left; those with a V6 engine have two separate tailpipes, one on each side, with a ground finish. Both petrol-engined and diesel-engined cars have straight exhaust tailpipes, an indication that Audi TDI engines are not only sporty but also ‘clean’.

The symbol for sport: S line from Audi

Audi offers the sporty S line body package to especially dynamic drivers, with several different exterior design details. These concern the front and rear bumpers, the front spoiler, the air grilles on the sides, the diffuser insert and the sill strips.

S line badging is applied to the front side panels and the door sill strips. These emblems are also included in the S line Sport package, which includes 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels and the two exclusive paint finishes Misano Red and Avus Silver.

The new Audi A4 is available in 15 attractive colours – a bigger selection than any competitor offers. The three solid paint finishes are called Brilliant Red, Brilliant Black and Ibis White. The names of the twelve metallic and pearl-effect finishes are as follows: Dakar Beige, metallic; Garnet Red, metallic; Lava Grey, pearl effect; Liquid Blue, metallic; Phantom Black, pearl effect; Quartz Grey, metallic; Sphere Blue, metallic; Deep Green, pearl effect; Deep Sea Blue, pearl effect; Aruba Blue, pearl effect; Ice Silver, metallic and Meteor Grey, pearl effect.

The equipment, data and prices stated here refer to the model range offered for sale in Germany. Subject to amendment; errors and omissions excepted.

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At-a-GlanceExteriorBodyInteriorEnginesTransmissionsSuspensionAssistance SystemsMultimediaEquipment

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