The Audi A4: Interior

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October 2, 2007

Source: Audi AG

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More space, greater comfort and sporty elegance – Audi’s development teams have given the new A4 a bright, spacious interior ambience, with distinguished visual details, as always no compromises in the quality of workmanship and controls that can be understood and operated intuitively. At the customer’s request, a whole series of high-tech features previously encountered only on larger luxury cars can be added to the specification. Above all, whoever takes a seat inside the new A4 experience an effect typical of Audi – a feeling of being absolutely at home there from the very first moment on.

The generous dimensions naturally make a big contribution toward this sense of well-being: the interior of the new A4, for all its generous space, is tailored to the occupants’ needs rather like a well-fitting suit. The interior is distinctly larger than the previous model in every dimension: 20 millimetres longer at 1758 mm, 10 mm wider at 1410 mm and with a rear-seat width at shoulder height of 1380 mm, an increase of 23 mm.

Generous: more space everywhere

Headroom at the front and rear seats has also gone up by a few millimetres, though there is still ample space between the seat occupants’ heads and the roof lining. At the rear of this five-seater, even heavily built passengers will appreciate the freedom of movement that Audi has provided. Legroom is now 908 mm, a useful 29 mm more than before and a figure worthy of a car in the large luxury class. The rear seats, with their slight individual contouring, are also notable for sporty comfort: the seat cushions are soft but the side sections slightly firmer; there is plenty of space for the occupant’s feet under the front seat.

Thanks to the length of the doors and the wide angle to which they open, the rear seats can be reached and exited in comfort. The cup holders recessed into the door pockets can even hold large one-litre bottles. The rear footwells are illuminated, and a fold-out centre armrest provides extra comfort. Optional extras include an electric rear-window roller blind and manually operated blinds for the rear side windows.

Many welcome features have been provided for the front seat occupants. In addition to the cup holders in the large door pockets, there are two more cup holders of different sizes on the centre tunnel, a holder for sunglasses in the interior light module in the roof lining, a parking ticket clip on the sun visor and an unusually large glove box. An optional storage package includes a cup holder in the rear armrest, two compartments under the front seats and nets on the front-seat backs.

A luxury extra for the front seats is a centre armrest that can be moved forward and back and varied in height. It includes a storage compartment and two useful 12V power sockets, and takes the place of the open tray on the tunnel. As a further option, the rear socket can be changed for one with a 230V output (110V in certain countries). 12-millimetre thick foam padding gives the centre armrest a pleasantly soft surface. This entire element is of such generous size because the new Audi A4 has an electromechanical parking brake, so that no space is needed for the conventional handbrake lever.

Installed low down and of ample dimensions, the front seats integrate the driver and passenger perfectly into the car’s sporty ambience. Occupants of every size and stature feel immediately safe. Thanks to their ergonomic contours and upholstery, they support the occupant’s body perfectly. Body mountings of complex design and the high quality of the foam upholstery filter out any vibration caused by the road surface. Height adjustment is a standard feature of these seats, and their head restraints can be pulled well up if necessary.

At the touch of a button: electric seat adjustment

In addition to the manually adjustable seats, Audi offers an electrically operated version with push-button control of height, fore-aft movement and seat back angle. The four-way lumbar support – a device that can also be ordered separately – is also operated electrically. A position memory function is available: it stores two preferred settings of the seats and outside mirrors. The optional seat heating, which thanks to Audi’s typical attention to detail has six output settings, heats the seat cushions and seat backs; if leather or sports seats are specified, the side sections are also heated.

On all seats, the visual impression and feel are enhanced by the neat seams, stitched with great precision and careful workmanship. The sports seats have particularly elaborate quilting, with boldly contoured side sections for good body location. The seat base can be altered in angle and the cushion extended forwards. On these seats, the electric four-way lumbar support is a standard item.

The climate-controlled comfort seats in the front are the highlight of the seating range. Their extensive technical features, controlled in this case via the MMI operating system, introduces all the luxury of a larger saloon model to the A4. They are upholstered in perforated leather and have small fans with six possible speed settings to ventilate the seat back and seat cushion. To avoid any risk of the seat occupant catching a chill, the seat heating is actuated automatically below a given temperature limit. The electric lumbar support is standard on comfort seats.

Noble: upholstery and colour schemes

The climate-controlled comfort seats are upholstered in Milano leather and are available in four colours: black, pale grey, cardamom beige and – a new option – mustang brown. Audi offers the same colours together with luxor beige, another newcomer, if Valcona leather is chosen. The standard seats and sports seats can also be upholstered in these grades of leather. The cloth grades available for the regular seats are Cosine (black or pale grey) and Arkana (black, pale grey or cardamom beige). The sports seats can be upholstered in Empore cloth (black or pale grey) or in a combination of Alcantara and leather, also available in these colours.

All these alternatives make it possible for customers to personalise the new Audi A4 to a very great extent in accordance with their individual preferences. For those who want their new saloon to be a genuine one-off creation, however, the Audi exclusive programme from quattro GmbH, with its high standards of craftsmanship, can fulfil almost every wish.

The colours and equipment lines available for the new Audi A4 also pursue a sporty, elegant approach. On the previous model, the interior was divided into two different colour zones, darker at the top and lighter below.

In the new model the upper zone is also lighter in colour, which makes the entire interior of the car brighter and accentuates the darker surfaces in the driving area and on the centre console. A special-effect lacquer gives them a particularly soft, satiny surface.

The designers opted for strong, brilliant colours. The inlays are in Micrometallic oxide grey. As an option, a new aluminium version with a hologram look, or three types of wood – Walnut brown, Laurel nutmeg and Fine grain ash almond beige – are available. Depending on the version chosen, the roof lining is in linen beige, black or star silver. The standard door sills have a polished aluminium finish.

If the sporty S line is chosen, the interior and roof lining are in black and the floor mats have coloured piping. A choice of combined cloth and leather or combined Alcantara and leather is available for sports seats, with a further all-leather option. The door and side panel trim material is the same as the seat centre sections; the inlays are in gleaming matt or brushed aluminium, with Piano finish black or Vavona wood grey as further options.

Ergonomics: clearly defined interfaces

The sporty, clearly defined styling of the new A4 is continued systematically inside the car. The designers have aimed for an elegant form of division into specific zones and structures, in order to make the ‘man and machine’ interfaces self-evident and easily mastered.

The emotive reaction to the perfect ergonomics of the vehicle is to feel immediately at home at the controls. The driver’s hand drops instinctively to the short, sporty gear knob, and the positions and angles of the steering wheel and pedals are as if individually tailored for maximum convenience. The brake pedal is not as high as before in relation to the accelerator: only 35 instead of 50 millimetres, so that the enthusiastic driver can shift his foot from one to the other more rapidly.

The steering wheel has 60 mm of manual reach and 50 mm of height adjustment, with electric-motor locking. The sporty S line includes a three-spoke leather-covered sports steering wheel and a leather-trimmed gear-lever knob or selector lever; an aluminium gear lever knob is an option.

The standard steering wheel in the new Audi A4 has four spokes, with a three-spoke leather-covered multifunction sports steering wheel or a four-spoke leather-covered multifunction steering wheel available as optional extras. This has small drums and pushbuttons in discreet chromed frames for the basic functions of the navigation system, radio, car phone and speech dialogue system – a method of control that is as safe as it is convenient. On the A4 with automatic transmission, shift paddles located behind the steering wheel are available as an optional extra.

Clearly oriented: the cockpit is angled toward the driver

The cockpit has a definite directional bias toward the driver, so that all the important functions are easily accessible. The instruments and the centre console, which is also inclined by eight degrees toward the driver, form a single visual entity. Complex graphics which frame the taut surfaces with dynamic lines and communicate the clear layout of the various zones are visual evidence of the athletic power and lightness that can be felt in every aspect of the new A4’s character. In the door trim, for example, the door handle, trim strip, armrest and storage compartment are combined into a functional, attractive unit.

The chosen shapes, the materials and the way they are employed, the varied but always agreeable ‘feel’ of the surfaces – all these qualities taken together make the interior of the new A4 a satisfying experience for all the senses. An example of this is the zone around the monitor screen. Three different surround trims, subtly matched together, are used here: in metallic effect, matt or with a gleaming matt grained surface. The optional electric rear-window blind is also a miniature technical marvel exhibiting great attention to detail: unlike conventional blinds it runs in fixed side channels for an effective all-round seal.

There is an optional lighting package that illuminates the interior with a large number of discreet spotlights. On the backs of the monitor screen and instrument panel, Audi has abandoned the use of cloth strips or buffers for acoustic insulation, and adopted a novel type of foam, which suppresses creaking or crackling sounds reliably over a temperature range from – 40 to + 90 Celsius. The already proverbial no-compromise standards of quality practised by the brand with the four-ring emblem call for pure high-tech methods without which the use of innovative technologies would simply not be feasible.

Precision details: even the rotary control knobs are typical of Audi

Many details in the new midsize Audi model show a family relationship with the larger A8, and achieve the same final touch of luxury as found there. All switches, for instance, have short travel and operate when a carefully defined amount of effort is applied. The rotary knobs move as smoothly and precisely as the mechanism of a fine watch, and their restrained ‘click’ is pure technical perfection interpreted in sound. Around the automatic air conditioning controls are red and blue semi-circular light-emitting diodes to identify the temperature ranges – another elegant and convincing detail.

The A4 has automatic air conditioning with a pollen and recirculated-air filter as standard equipment. This creates the best possible interior climate entirely automatically, and even takes the angle of the sun’s rays into account when determining the ideal settings. The powerful blower delivers large quantities of air quietly and efficiently.

The air conditioning system is an entirely new development, with ten percent more cooling power than the previous version and 20 percent higher operating efficiency. As a result it reduces the fuel consumption needed to operate it by an average of 0.2 litres per 100 kilometres. All the components of the refrigerant circuit together weigh only 9.4 kilograms.

As an optional extra, a luxury version, the deluxe automatic air conditioning system, can be ordered. It regulates the air temperature, airflow volume and air distribution separately in three zones for the driver, the front passenger and the rear-seat area.

An air humidity sensor helps greatly in preventing the windscreen from misting over, and separate outlets on top of the dash panel provide low-draught indirect ventilation. A further optional extra is a high-performance auxiliary heater and ventilation system that can be operated by radio remote control or programmed via the MMI operating system.

With its droplet-pattern recesses for the speedometer and revolution counter, the instrument panel exhibits several typical Audi features, although it is in fact an entirely new development. Between the two large instrument dials, which are clearly marked and easy to read, there is the driver information system; this is standard equipment in cars with a V6 engine, and is ideally placed in the driver’s direct field of view. It supplies information from the in-car computer, radio, navigation, audio or telephone systems and also shows the outside temperature and any warning messages. The standard display is monochrome, but a high-resolution colour version can be specified as an optional extra.

Seeing more: the monitor screen on the centre console

A further large display screen is standard in every new Audi A4. It is located in the upper part of the centre console, level with the instrument cluster, and is therefore extremely easy to see. The standard screen is a 6.5-inch black-and-white unit, which displays information from the audio and air conditioning systems and provides a means of configuring the CAR menu settings – the level at which the customer can use the radio controls to change various lighting and locking functions. The large switches and pushbuttons of the standard audio systems with MMI operating logic are ideally accessible between the automatic air conditioning and the ventilation outlets.

If the new Audi A4 is ordered with one of the two available navigation systems, the MMI (Multi Media Interface) operating system on the centre tunnel is also supplied. Highly praised in many specialist magazines’ tests, this system (first introduced in the A8) is clearly superior to those offered by competitors.

15 large pushbuttons and a volume control are grouped around a central rotary pushbutton. They are used to select the navigation, information, CAR menu, set-up, telephone, directory, CD/TV and radio functions in a convenient and above all intuitive way; their logic is understood immediately. All information is shown on the large monitor; in combination with the high-end installation, the DVD navigation system, this is a colour screen measuring seven inches diagonally.

Close to the MMI buttons is another large switch that controls the new electromechanical parking brake, another system adopted from the large luxury-car market and already fitted to the A8. Like the conventional handbrake, the parking brake’s initial function is to prevent the car from rolling away, but it also has a number of additional functions.

The integral drive-off assistant supports the driver by releasing the parking brake at precisely the right moment when the car is set in motion. On uphill gradients, it prevents the car from rolling back. There is also an emergency brake function that brings the A4 to a standstill at a rate of no less than eight metres per second – scarcely less than a full brake application – if the conventional brake system should fail.

Audi hold assist is another optional extra. Once switched on, it provides assistance for the duration of the journey. It extends the functions just mentioned still further by assisting the driver at a standstill, in stop-and-go traffic and when setting the car in motion. After braking to a standstill, the device prevents the A4 from moving by means of brief impulses from the hydraulic brake system. If the available brake-system pressure is not sufficient, two further demands are issued by the ESP, after which the assistant actuates the parking brake. To drive off smoothly on a gradient, all the driver needs to do is to engage the clutch. This is detected by a sensor at the pedal. The computer assesses the selected gear, the gradient angle and the engine data and determines when the brakes should be released as the car starts to move.

A smart memory: the car key

The radio-operated key for the A4 is a totally new development. It has no projecting teeth and therefore cannot damage the lining of one’s pocket. To start the engine, the clutch or brake pedal is depressed and the key simply pressed into the ignition lock. The new intelligent key memorises service information and fault messages which are of importance to the workshop. This simplifies and speeds up the reception procedure when the A4 is brought in for servicing work.

Audi can also supply the A4 with the luxury advanced key option. In this case the key can remain in the car owner’s pocket; the engine is started and stopped at an elegant knob on the centre tunnel. The locks are released by the sensor as soon as the driver touches a door handle or the boot release button, and secured again by briefly pressing a button. For maximum theft protection, there is an electronic immobiliser of the latest generation and an optional anti-theft alarm.

The best view: xenon plus headlights

Audi offers its A4 customers more than one headlight system. The high-tech solution uses xenon plus headlights, which can also be combined with the adaptive light cornering system. In both cases dynamic headlight range control is an integral feature, and the beams are raised at speeds above 120 km/h for after-dark motorway driving.

All these luxury-model features in the new Audi A4 are based on intensive networking of the control units and data buses. To ensure that these highly complex electronics have no adverse effect on reliability, Audi has installed its own management system to monitor and regulate the energy consumption of the A4. The most important basic principle is that the battery should always have a minimum state of charge that is sufficient to start the engine reliably. This is ensured by a special off-load current management system that remains in effect when the A4 is parked out of use.

Dynamic Management, on the other hand, comes into use when the engine is running. It distributes the electrical energy generated by the alternator in the most effective way among the individual consumer systems. This is especially important in winter: if diesel-engine heater plugs, seat and rear-window heating and the headlights all operate together, they sometimes consume more current than the system can supply. To generate this extra current, Dynamic Management can also raise the engine’s idling speed for a short time.

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

Article Index:

At-a-GlanceExteriorBodyInteriorEnginesTransmissionsSuspensionAssistance SystemsMultimediaEquipment

B8 Audi A4 Photo GalleryAudi B8 A4 Discussion Forum

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