Audi’s premium sedan looks to be getting a much-needed facelift

An updated version of the Audi A4 sedan is making the test rounds in Germany, looking every bit like a model that’s on the receiving end of a few facelifts. The premium sedan is expected to be released a little earlier than expected as rumors continue to swirl around the current model’s sales struggles. If true, we can expect the updated Audi A4 to get a quick turnaround date, possibly as soon as the latter part of the year or maybe in early 2019.

Exterior

2019 Audi A4 Exterior Spyshots
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If you’re looking to see an all-new Audi A4 with a completely different look to it, then you’re going to be very disappointed

If you’re looking to see an all-new Audi A4 with a completely different look to it, then you’re going to be very disappointed. The A4 that we see in these spy photos is barely hiding anything, a hint that there aren’t that many things to hide in the first place. The headlights are carried over from the current A4, though new graphics should be added in once it draws closer to production. The front bumper is the only section that’s covered by the camo bits, so if there are going to be any updated body parts, that’s where it’s going to be. For its part, the grille looks to have received a slightly new shape while the air intakes have been redesigned altogether.

At the back, the rear bumper gets an updated version, and if you look closer, you’ll notice that the exhaust tips also come in a new design. The rear lights are still the same, but like its counterparts in the front, expect a few changes there once the production model arrives. You should also notice the nameplates found at the back. Apparently, this particular A4 is the long-wheelbase A4L, a version of the model that will be exclusively sold in China. It makes sense because just above the new “45 TFSI” nameplate sits a bunch of Chinese characters that I don’t understand.

Interior

2016 - 2018 Audi A4 High Resolution Interior
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The new A4’s interior should also benefit from having the usual array of tech goodies, including the 8.3-inch display that’s sitting atop the dashboard and the new MMI system

The Audi A4’s interior received wholesale changes only a few years ago so don’t expect the same thing to happen when the facelifted A4 arrives. If anything, there’s a better chance that Audi keeps the whole thing intact because the new design and layout it introduced were derived from a slew of technological developments that preceded it.

In addition to its design, the new A4’s interior should also benefit from having the usual array of tech goodies, including the 8.3-inch display that’s sitting atop the dashboard and the new MMI system that’s made up of a suite of new features like navigation, touch capability, LTE connectivity, WiFi, and free-text search function. If there are changes that can be expected on the facelifted A4, it could manifest in things like turning the heads-up display and the Digital Cockpit into standard equipment. The Bang & Olufsen sound system and the tablets located in the rear section could be also be offered as standard items on the new model. Other than that, it should be status quo as far as the interior of the car is concerned.

Drivetrain

2019 Audi A4 Exterior Spyshots
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The current engine lineup could be transferred to the new model without any changes in the oven

There’s been no mention of any changes in engine offerings or power increases on the new Audi A4. That means that the current engine lineup could be transferred to the new model without any changes in the oven. Should that be the case, though the facelifted A4 would still get a number of engine options, including the base e 1.4-liter TFSI unit that produces 148 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A more powerful 2.0-liter TFSI should also remain, producing outputs that vary from 187 horses and 236 pound-feet to 248 horsepower and 273 pound-feet.

Diesel units are also expected to continue. That means that in markets where they’re still popular, Audi could launch the updated A4 with either a 2.0-liter four-banger or a 3.0-liter V-6 TDI. The four-cylinder is capable of producing 148 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque while the latter comes with an output ranging from 215 ponies and 295 pound-feet to 268 horses and 443 pound-feet. It is interesting that the test mule being used is the 45 TFSI model. Using Audi’s new and admittedly confusing naming structure, this version could be using the 2.0-liter TFSI gas engine.

Prices

2019 Audi A4 Exterior Spyshots
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The current base model of the Audi A4 starts at $36,000 and can go all the way up to $50,000 depending on the variant. Given the minimal changes that are on the pipeline for the facelifted A4, don’t expect Audi to start jacking up the price of the sedan. On the contrary, incremental increases could be seen as an alternative, bringing the base level model’s price up to around $38,00 and extending it all the way up to $54,000 for the range-topping units.

Competition

BMW 3 Series

2016 BMW 3 Series High Resolution Exterior
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No matter what people say, there really are just two models that compete directly against the Audi A4. One of those models is the BMW 3 Series, considered by many as the bar that Audi and Mercedes measure their models against. The 3 Series earned that distinction after years of quality offerings, and the current version that’s on the market is no exception. It draws its power from a number of engine options, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 180 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque, a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 making a respectable 250 horses and 258 pound-feet, and a new turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline-six that can uncork 320 horses and 330 pound-feet of twist. The 3 Series also has a diesel offering in the form of the 328d, a model that cranks out 180 horsepower and 280 pound-feet. All units mate to either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW 3 Series.

Mercedes C-Class

2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Exterior Interior
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The other model in this three-pronged rivalry is the Mercedes C-Class. Like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, the C Class is a titan in the segment. It was redesigned in 2015 and has carried a compelling and competitive package since. It has one of the best interiors in the market, and it complements that by having its own array of engine options, including a 2.0-liter turbo-four unit that produces 241 horsepower and a biturbo, 3.0-liter V-6 with 329 horses on tap.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes C-Class.

Conclusion

2019 Audi A4 Exterior Spyshots
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It’s understandable for Audi to push for an updated version of the A4 in a short span of time. The 3 Series and C-Class are so strong in their packages that Audi needs to keep up or get left behind. It’s even more imperative to do it at a time when sales of the sedan are lagging, putting the German automaker in an unenviable position relative to where Bimmer and Merc are. It’s too early to judge the facelifted A4 because it hasn’t arrived yet, but if Audi wants to make up ground, the sedan should be worth the money people will end up paying for it.

  • Leave it
    • Not everyone likes the current model
    • The BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class are serious rivals
    • Not as sophisticated as its rivals

Further reading

2016 - 2018 Audi A4 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the current 2018 Audi A4.

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Read more Audi news.

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