The Audi A4 is a series of compact executive cars that have been in production since 1994 and are manufactured by German carmaker Audi, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. There have been four different generations of the A4 built and it uses Volkswagen’s B platform. The first generation of this vehicle was succeeded by the Audi 80, though the vehicle is numbered so as to continue the Audi 80 lineage. The initial A4 was designated as the B5-series as well as the B6, B7, and B8 series later on. The B8 A4 uses the Volkswagen Group MLB platform which is also used with a number of other Audi models, including the Porsche model.
The layout of the Audi A4 consists of a longitudinally oriented engine in the front as well as transaxle-style transmissions which are mounted in the rear. These vehicles are mostly front-wheel drive, except those which use the “Quattro” all-wheel drive. The A4 can be purchased as a saloon/sedan as well as an estate/wagon. Both the second and third generations of the A4 include a convertible version, though the B8 version of the convertible became an option with the Audi 5 when the carmaker decided to start getting back into making compact executive coupes.
The B5, or Typ 8D, is the first generation of the Audi A4 and it was launched in October of 1994 with production beginning in November of the same year. This vehicle went on sale in Europe in January of 1995 for the 1995 model. North American dealerships began selling the A4 in September of 1995 for the 1996 model. This vehicle was built using the Volkswagen Group B5 or PL45 platform, which was also used for the fourth generation Volkswagen Passat. This vehicle has a front-mounted longitudinal engine as well as front-wheel drive. There are a number of variations of the A4 available with the Quattro four-wheel drive system. The A4 was first introduced to the public as a four-door sedan/saloon, and the Avant estate/wagon came onto the market in February of 1995.
The B5 A4 received somewhat of a facelift in 1997 and appeared at the Frankfurt Motor Show for the public to see. This freshly updated Audi went on sale in Europe in early 1998 and featured a 2.8 liter 30-valve V6 engine which replaced the 2.8 liter 12-valve. A 2.5 liter V6 Turbocharged Direct Injection diesel engine with 150 PS, which was a standard feature. There was also a 6-speed manual gearbox available with this vehicle. There were some cosmetic updates as well, including new rear lights, door handles, headlights, and some other minor changes that were made to the exterior.
The 1.8 20vT engine became available in places outside Europe in mid-1998 with a power increase up to 170 PS or 168 horsepower. The KKK K03 turbocharger, which came before this one, received a few significant revisions on the turbine side in an effort prevent cracking due to massive amounts of heat accumulating. The 12-valve V6 was eventually replaced by the 30-valve unit which had been available in countries throughout Europe for a full two years.
When it comes to safety, the Audi A4 has scored a Euro NCAP rating of 3/5 stars for adult occupants and 2/5 stars for pedestrians for pre-2002 models. This vehicle underwent another major facelift in 2012. The newly facelifted A4 includes resdesigned LED headlamps and taillights as well as twin exhausts, front air dam with fog lamps, and a new interior with a three-spoke steering wheel as well as a redesigned ignition key. The new A4 has a 1.8 TFSI engine with a power output of 170 bhp and 320 Nm of torque.