1 Aug 1995
Audi came of age with the A4, successor to the stylish but cumbersome 80.
Gorgeous design and a very smart interior, featuring an almost fanatical attention to detail, combined with excellent dynamics and an eager range of four and six-cylinder engines to seriously challenge BMW’s 3 Series mantle.
But like its Bavarian rival, rear seat legroom is tight. A 92kW/173Nm 1.8-litre 20-valve four-cylinder unit was the range’s mainstay and was also available in a popular 110kW/210Nm 1.8T turbocharged version.
More power came from a 110kW/225Nm 2.6 V6 or a gutsy 142kW/280Nm 2.8 30V V6 – the latter turning the A4 into a consummate highway cruiser.
Quattro all-wheel drive variants (from 1.8T upwards) were the best, with their awesome wet-weather grip aided by a sophisticated multi-link rear suspension.
Lower level cars maintained front-wheel drive and a torsion beam back end.
Body styles ran to a classically proportioned four-door sedan and a boxy wagon.
A minor specification and tail-light change occurred during 1996, while a sweet-revving 121kW/230Nm 2.4 30V V6 usurped the ageing 2.6 unit from April 1998.
A five-speed manual was available on most models, while only the base 1.8 20V used a four-speed auto – all others employed Audi’s pioneering Tiptronic five-speed version.
During the B5 A4’s time, Audi continued with the old 80-based Cabriolet, so there was no A4 drop-top until the B6 generation model arrived in 2002.