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Audi A4 PDF Print E-mail

Audi A4

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For a remarkably unremarkable car, the Audi A4 has picked up yet another award, this time from the respected Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the US.? The IIHS has given its highest rating of ?Top Safety Pick? to both the Audi A4 and A6 models.? It makes Audi the only German manufacturer with two prize-winning vehicles.

The institute carries out crash tests on behalf of the US insurance industry to establish their safety standard.? The tests include frontal, rear and side impact results. The side impact test is particularly relevant as it involves the vehicle being struck from the side by a moving barrier at a speed of 50 km/h.? The barrier itself is shaped to resemble the front end of a pick-up or large SUV.? Structural deformation as well as the kinematics and stresses to which passengers would be subjected are then evaluated.

The body of the A4 is a combination of steel and aluminum. The front is built primarily of special high-strength steel panels, where the main priority is to absorb impact energy, while within the floor area three large beams of varying thickness according to load also absorb impact forces.? The advantage of this method of construction is high rigidity but low weight.

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The A4 has been around a while now, but is still one of Audi?s most popular models.? According to market, there is a wide range of engines available, the most popular versions being the two liter gasoline model developing 130 bhp (96 kW) and the similar sized TDI diesel unit, offering 140 bhp but a mammoth 320 Nm of torque.? Respective performance figures of these two engines are an equal top speed of 212 km/h and 0-100 km/h sprint times of 9.9 and 9.7 seconds.

These models are front-wheel drive, but larger engined models can be specified with quattro four-wheel drive.? Although Audi did not pioneer all-wheel drive, it certainly perfected it at a time when other manufacturers considered the system to be heavy, bulky and unnecessarily complicated.? Audi released the original Quattro in 1980, making it both the first car to feature Audi's quattro system and the first to mate all-wheel drive with a turbocharged engine. The power plant was a 2.1?liter, overhead cam, 10 valve, straight-five originally producing 200?hp (149?kW) and eventually receiving upgrades to 210?bhp. Latterly Audi introduced a twin-cam producing 220?bhp. It was considered one of the most significant rally cars of all time, and was one of the first to take advantage of the rules which allowed the use of all-wheel-drive in competition. The Quattro was an instant success, winning its first rally on its first outing.

Total road car production of the amazing Quattro was 11,452 cars over the period 1980-1991.

The humble A4 is racing in German touring cars (DTM) but other than that, Audi?s involvement in top level sport is confined to its Le Mans? racers, which achieved victory in June 2006 with a diesel-engined prototype, the first oil-burning car to win the 24-hour French classic.? The all-aluminum V12 diesel motor produced a healthy 650 bhp, but more relevant, a staggering 1100 Nm of torque.? It was also relatively economical and required no more fuel stops than lesser cars over the 24 hours.

But back to the road-going A4:? the interior is nicely fitted out without being luxurious.? The air-conditioning though, does have separate temperature controls for driver and front passenger, and all five seats are equipped with three-point seat belts.? Dual-stage front airbags are fitted, along with side bags and full-length air curtains.? Only the front windows are power operated, but so too are the exterior mirrors.

The A4 is a solid, well-engineered and inherently safe sedan that deserves a second look.

 

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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