Cars

Published on April 4th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair

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The Audi A4 2.0 TFSI quattro is Actually Rather Competitive at RM315K. Here’s Why

You know how people say Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are all so closely competitive that they essentially serve up the same products at every segment? Well, that’s not quite the case for Audi in Malaysia. Playing the CBU game exclusively, their products are often a little late to the game and more expensive. But I don’t think that’s always a bad thing. Take this version of the A4, for example.

I wasn’t very impressed with the specs of the 1.4TFSI model, and the standard 2.0TFSI model too was a bit of a let down when compared to what its rivals were being sold for. But recently, I had the chance to try out the 2.0TFSI quattro model with its S-LINE kit.

Again, the pricing has become a problem. It costs RM315K! But on the plus side, Audi no longer directly competes with its rivals in this particular segment.

Had this been released in 2015, it would have gone up against locally-assembled versions of the BMW 330i and Benz C300.

But, by the time Audi Malaysia got it into showrooms, it was already 2017 and those two other models had been replaced by the 330e and C350e – plug-in Hybrid variants. On paper, many would see the A4 2.0TFSI quattro as extremely disadvantaged in terms of pricing, but I have to play the Devil’s advocate here – I think the Audi is actually a great buy still.

It might be easier to own after the warranty period

European cars are already expensive enough as it is to maintain in Malaysia, and some want to keep special cars that cost over RM250K for at least a decade.

With a relatively standard setup, your problems might be easier to manage. Maintainance should be down to changing lubricants regularly and replacing/servicing broken parts every few years.

What we’re saying is that only Audi has a non-PHEV in this category now, and some will prefer going down that route for long-term ownership concerns.

Some can’t charge their cars at home anyway

Some buyers live in condos or rented buildings that make charging one’s plug-in hybrid impossible. Those are another set of buyers who may not consider the 330e and C350e.

How to charge, dei

It is More Practical in the traditional sense

There’s also the issue of practicality. The Audi has a much bigger boot – 480 litres! The Benz gives a 335-litre boot and the Bimmer gives 370 litres.

The Audi’s also the only one here with a spare tyre. Some people just the relative convenience of a traditional temporary swap at the side of the road over the high replacement cost and noise of runflats.

It has the strongest petrol powerplant and performance

These all have 2-litre, 16-Valve, DOHC, turbocharged engines with variable valve timing.

But here are the power outputs of each (330e, C350e, A4 2.0 TFSI quattro):
BMW – 184hp, 290Nm (87hp, 250Nm electric)
Benz – 211hp, 350Nm (80hp, 340Nm electric)
Audi – 252hp, 370Nm

And here are the performance figures:
0-100km/h
BMW – 6.1 seconds
Benz – 5.9 seconds
Audi – 5.8 seconds

Here’s how much they weigh:
BMW – 1735kg
Benz – 1780kg
Audi – 1510kg

So, despite the tremendous fuel savings and torque advantage in the PHEVs, the Audi ends up being faster and lighter. You feel that behind the wheel as well. This thing is very agile.

It has the best interior

The A4 has one of the best interiors available today. Yes, modern Volvos have sophistication and minimalism down to a T. Yes, Lexus have longevity and quality. Yes, modern Benzes are downright beautiful. Yes, modern BMWs have interiors that morph under Malaysian sunlight.

But Audi is on a different level. They match the best materials with an innate knowledge of technology and the best build quality in the VW Group to create a very premium, surgical, minimalist, progressive interior.

And every square inch of it feels solid. It may not be for everyone, but the A4’s interior, to me, is the only one that feels and looks like it’s worth RM315K.

It IS, or at least WOULD HAVE BEEN competitive

BMW 330e – RM258,800
BENZ C350e – RM299,888
AUDI 2.0 TFSI quattro – RM314,900

The numbers tell a different story, don’t they? Well, to be honest, these are not direct competitors.

But THESE (330i, C300) would have been, if Audi Malaysia had brought this car in by 2016

BMW 330i – RM297,800
BENZ C300 – RM307,888
AUDI 2.0 TFSI quattro – RM314,900 (wasn’t on sale then)

For argument’s sake, let’s pretend that Benz and Bimmer were still offering those models. The Audi would have been extremely competitive in a number of aspects. Let us compare what these pure PETROL cars would have looked like next to each other.

BMW 330i – 252hp, 350Nm
BENZ C300 – 245hp, 370Nm
AUDI – 252hp, 370Nm

In terms of raw horespower and torque, the Audi matches them both.

0-100km/h
BMW 330i – 5.8 seconds
BENZ C300 – 5.9 seconds
AUDI – 5.8 seconds

It would have been just as fast as the others and been actually lighter than the Benz despite carrying around a spare tyre and an all-wheel drive system. And they still managed to bring it in at RM314,900 despite being fully-imported as well.

Of course, BMW Malaysia and Mercedes-Benz Malaysia have had a much better overall strategy. That’s why their PHEVs are priced and packaged to give consumers a much better deal in other regards. It’s also why BMW and Mercedes-Benz are continuing to have very successful years while Audi scrambles to clear stocks.

So, yes, I do see a reason why someone would still buy this seemingly ‘overpriced’ Audi. But without any solid foothold in the Malaysian market, the A4 and the rest of Audi’s lineup is always going to be forgotten children even after we show you how competitive they are in some aspects.

Maybe what they need is a fleet of SUPERIOR products? Find out what we mean here.

Audi A4 2.0 TFSI quattro with S-LINE Specifications

Engine: Inline 4, Turbocharged
Capacity: 1984cc
Gearbox: 7-speed S-TRONIC
Max power: 252hp @ 5000rpm
Max torque: 370Nm @ 1600Nm
Top Speed: 250km/h
0-100 km/h: 5.8 secs


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