1999 A4 Product Freshening Changes

Owners and potential owners have been speculating for some time about the changes that are being made to "freshen" the A4 for 1999. European delivery has already started and North American delivery is expected by late February or early March. During our tour of the Ingolstadt plant we saw '99 A4's rolling off the assembly line in every configuration. European spec, North American spec, UK (right hand drive) models, TDI's, Avants -- they are all built on the same line.

A confidential Audi of America memo has been circulating since late last year that supposedly documents the North American changes. We found that most of these changes were indeed present on the North American A4's being produced in Ingolstadt. Until Audi releases official information, however, the following can serve as a guideline for expected changes. Notice that our impressions are included.

New headlights (A6 style projector)

This feature was present on all the '99 A4's we saw. The projector looks great on the car. The corner lamps are completely clear on Euro spec cars, while they still have a small orange section on Northe American models.

Foglights moved to lower front bumper

Based on what we saw the foglights have been moved on A4's being produced for delivery everywhere in the world. The foglight move is obviously necessitated by the change in headlights. There is a slight cosmetic impact to this change; it simply looks "different" than previous model A4's looked.

New tailights

Audi has now changed the tailights on the car in both '98 and '99. This change should make it to North America.

Washer jets removed from the hood

Presumably this change will come to North America; we didn't notice. We did notice that the headlight washers were flush on the bumpers of Euro spec A4's, but not North American ones (due to differing bumper regulations).

New rear deck lid (Avant only)

The new rear deck lid accomodates the change in tailights and is also a slight cosmetic change. No functionality change that we know about.

Aluminum door sill trim with Audi script

You've got to see these door sills to believe how great they look! The aluminum piece is set down into the black plastic and is really a classy touch.

A6-style outer door handles

Functionally these handles don't present much of a difference, however we like the slight change in "look."

Revised outer mirror shape

Ever think it was funny that the passenger mirror was smaller than the driver's? This will be changed for North American A4's only in 1999.

Steering wheel in dashboard color

At times it was difficult to see into the cars coming off the assembly line. We have every reason to believe that this change is worldwide, however.

New CD Changer installation

We did verify that North American A4's will not have the in-dash CD player.

Revised grille

The new grille is very much more "S4" looking than the old one. In other words there is more depth and detail to the rings. Again the change is subtle, but works well.

White side turn indicators

This change will be included on all A4's. The old orange signals are replaced by clear sidemarkers.

Revised center console and climate control panel

Audi of America has confirmed that the center console and climate controls will be revised in the North American version. However, neither the new stereo nor the Navigation Plus system will be available in North American in 1999.

Power passenger seat + power lumbar for both (2.8 models only)

A welcome addition to the A4 -- this change should have been made long ago. Now if they'll add memory features next we'll all be happy!

Dampened grab handles in headliner and rear light modules

This new feature is more of a novelty than anything else. If you've been in a pre-1999 A4 and then a 1999 one you will definitely notice the difference.

B pillar trim in high gloss material

We were not aware of this change enough to notice the difference. Perhaps that is saying something all by itself -- it is a subtle change.

There have been other changes released by Audi for Euro spec A4's. We were unable to verify whether or not these changes would be included in North American models. These changes included:

  • Ambient lighting in headliner for dash and center console
  • Illuminated air vent controls
  • Revised cupholders
  • Revised tool kit (as on A6)
  • Interior upholstery/ trim changes
  • Larger A6-style sunroof
  • Various mechanical changes and upgrades

The changes to the 1999 A4 are all improvements, but do little to modify the overall look and feel of the car. For many people this minor tinkering will really be appreciated. Buyers can get the same basic styling in the car, and yet see some cosmetic and functional changes at the same time.

Copyright (c) 1999 A4.Org