2016 Audi A4 L
Audi has finally updated the A4L for the Chinese marketby Robert Moore, on
Cars have become status symbols for people of all cultures and backgrounds. Here in the U.S., driving something like a Mercedes C-Class puts you higher on the totem pole than someone driving, say, a Chevy Cruze, for instance. Over in China, on the other hand, important people don’t drive – they ride. And, that is exactly why there are so many weird long-wheelbase cars that have debuted at the Beijing Auto Show.
If you stroll the show, you’ll find long-wheelbase variants of the Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class, and even the BMW X1 (crazy, right?). As odd as it may seem, it’s completely true, and that’s also why we’re looking at an updated, long-wheelbase version of the Audi A4.
The whole idea behind something like a long-wheelbase A4 is that the rear passengers have more legroom and maybe some extra cargo room. And, that is exactly what makes up the Audi A4L. As you would expect, the A4L took on all of the updates that came with the standard, 2016 A4 and is even available with Audi’s virtual cockpit. The A4L is built primarily for the Chinese market, so don’t expect to see one in the U.S. anytime soon. So, with all of that said, let’s dive in and take a look at the new Audi A4L.
Continue reading to learn more about the Audi A4 L.
2016 Audi A4 L
On the outside, the A4L is identical to the standard, drive-your-self A4. That means that the A4L benefits from the new grille and headlamp designs, and the slightly reshaped hood. It also benefits from the new rear fascia and slimmer taillights. And, since the A4 seems to grow with every generation, the A4L has also gotten longer. The A4L has an overall length of 15.8 feet and a wheelbase of 9.5 feet. That is an increase in wheelbase of 1.6 inches over the previous A4L.
When compared to the standard A4, the A4L is 3.6-inches longer overall, while the wheelbase is three inches longer
When compared to the standard A4, the A4L is 3.6-inches longer overall, while the wheelbase is three inches longer. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re riding in the back of a vehicle, three inches of legroom can make the difference between comfortable and uncomfortable.
As far as options go, the A4L can be optioned with the gloss package. It includes chrome strips on the Singleframe radiator grille, window surrounds, side sills, and the rear end. Furthermore, the car can be equipped with Matrix LED technology with dynamic turn signals for a premium. The car comes standard with Xenon plus headlights. Just like the standard A4, the A4L has a drag coefficient of just 0.23, which means it’s the most aerodynamic A4 yet.
There isn’t a lot going on in the interior that we haven’t already seen in the standard A4. The rear passengers have more leg room and cargo room in the A4L clocks in at 17.0 cubic feet. Cargo room in the A4L has actually be decreased. Compared to the standard A4, the A4L has 0.8 cubic feet less cargo space, which surely makes for a roomier experience for rear passengers. According to Audi, “the new Audi A4 L carries its passengers in comfort that is worthy of a full-size car, and space is correspondingly in abundant supply.”
The most important option is Audi’s virtual cockpit, which trades in the standard analog instrument cluster for a 12.3-inch, high-resolution display screen
As odd as it may seem for something like the A4L, most of the available options are catered more to the driver than the rear passengers. The most important option is Audi’s virtual cockpit, which trades in the standard analog instrument cluster for a 12.3-inch, high-resolution display screen. It is said to have brilliant graphics and the virtual gauges are updated 60 times per second to ensure accuracy.
As will all models equipped with the virtual cockpit, the system is controlled by the multifunction controls on the steering wheel. Another big option up front is the MMI infotainment system and MMI navigation plus system with the 8.3-inch display screen. Both systems allow phone connectivity, voice control, and a smartphone like menu system. The car comes standard with a seven-inch MMI color display.
There are also some options that benefit rear passengers as well. Starting the list is the Bang & Olufsen sound system with 3D sound, 755-Watt amplifier, and 19 speakers. Furthermore, Audi Connect brings an LTE connection into the A4L and offers up a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is a must for those who like to ride instead of drive. The A4L can also be equipped with discreet contour lighting that illuminates the doors and center console at night.
The biggest news here is that the A4L also benefits from the updates that the standard A4 got for the 2016 model year. This means that the center stack is now cleaner to look at, and the car comes standard with LED lighting on the inside. Automatic climate control also comes standard.
The A4L is designed for the Chinese market, which means it is offered with just one engine – a 2.0-liter TFSI, four-cylinder. It does come it two different flavors, however. On the base side of things, the 2.0-liter delivers 190 horsepower, but higher trim levels can have the 252 horsepower variant. The 190 horsepower variant has actually uses a completely new combustion process that Audi says “combines sport power with superlative efficiency.” Power is sent to the wheels through a seven-speed S Tronic transmission, which is also said to be a new development. The biggest news here is that the car is primarily front wheel drive, but customers can opt for the quattro all-wheel-drive system for an additional premium.
Power is sent to the wheels through a seven-speed S Tronic transmission, which is also said to be a new development
As far as the chassis goes, the A4L has a newly designed five-link suspension system in the front and rear. It is a lightweight suspension system that offers sensitive response characteristics that, in coordination with the electromechanical power steering system, should make the A4L a dream to ride in or drive if you’re spending time behind the wheel. There are even more standard features in the safety department, bringing things like Audi’s Pre Sense City with automatic full braking, park assist, collision avoidance, active lane assist, and adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go and traffic jam assist. These may benefit the driver more than the rear passenger, but at least you can ride in the back with a better sense of safety.
Audi has yet to announce pricing for the updated A4L, but a quick trip to Audi’s Chinese website tells us that the current A4L goes for ¥289,900, which converts to about $44,640 in American greenbacks. That said, I would expect pricing to increase just a bit, maybe up to ¥299,000, which would be just over $46,000 here in the U.S.
Unless you live there, you might not know it, but Mercedes offers a “long” version of its C-Class sedan in the Chinese market. It is offered in five different trim levels: C180 L, C200 L, C200 L 4MATIC, C300L, and C350 e L. The base C180L comes with a 1.6-liter that produces 156 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. All of the other trim levels come with a 2.0-liter, but there are different flavors to choose from.
The C200 L and C200 L 4MATIC delivers 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet, while the C300 L delivers 245 horsepower and 272 pound-feet, and the C350 e L delivers 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. The 62-mph sprint can come in as fast as 6.6 seconds with the C300 L or as slow as 9.3 seconds with the base, C180 L. Pricing starts out at ¥325,800 for the C180 L and climbs to as much as ¥599,000 for the C 350 e L. At current conversion rates that puts pricing in a range of $50,168 and $92,237.
Read our full review on the Mercedes C-Class L here.
To be honest, I don’t get what the folks over in China have about being driven around so much. I personally enjoy driving, so the idea of being hauled around in an A4L, or any other long-wheelbase model, just seems boring to me. That said, if I was going to be hauled around for all my daily errands, I’m not sure I would want to sit in the back of something that has so many driver-oriented features. I wouldn’t need a Bentley or Rolls-Royce to be happy, but I better have more than some ambient lighting and extra legroom if you’re going to keep me happy in the back seat.
That said, I think Audi has failed a little bit with the A4L – just because there’s nothing spectacular for the rear passenger. Where’s the rear infotainment system, or the retractable foot rests? Obviously, it is an affordable or entry-level, long-wheelbase model, but there should be more options for the rear passengers. Aside from that, I think as far as “limos” go, the A4L is pretty affordable. And, if you wanted to be hauled around all day, the A4L would certainly do it within a tight budget, so I guess maybe Audi didn’t fail so bad after all.