Audi A4a

Audi A4 40 TDI quattro

Have you noticed that Audi have changed the nomenclature of their new cars?

The what? The nomenclature. That means the numbers and letters that tell you what sort of engine a car has.

So if find yourself following an old Audi A4 2.0 TDI it has a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine with fuel injection.

Other car companies sensibly still follow the same route.

So, if you’re chasing a car with a 3.0 V6 turbo badge chances are you won’t be chasing it for long.

The owner would let its engine do the talking.

My window cleaner Richard was drinking his coffee out of my BMW mug last week when he spotted the badge on the Audi A4 that was outside my house.

“Blimey,” he said. “I bet that goes a bit with a 4.0-litre engine under the bonnet.”

I explained to him that Audi have changed the numbering system used to identify their cars.

It may have had 40 TDI in its full name of A4 40 TDI quattro 190PS S line, but in fact it had a 2.0-litre engine.

Richard’s BMW mug had a big letter M on it followed by the words: “The most powerful letter in the world.”

At least that’s simple enough to understand.

Any BMW with an M badge deserves to be feared.

Mind you, that should now read: “Was once to be feared,” because the way car companies are throwing letters around they could mean anything.

You’ve now got M-Line cars which are no more than lookalikes.

Then there’s Mercedes’ use of their once all powerful AMG badge.

Now it’s appearing all over the place on AMG-Line cars so much that it’s become meaningless.

It’s at this stage that I will let Audi explain how their new numbering system works.

I’ve read it and I’m still none the wiser. In fact, I’m totally baffled.

Here we go: “The Two numbers replace the current engine type designations, using the power output of the individual unit in kW as the reference value.”

Hang on, so the HP figure, which previously used to be the BHP figure (and still is in some cases) is now the kW figure. That’s ridiculous.

Audi then use the following examples to “explain” the new badging.

“25 TFSI (70 kW), 30 TFSI (85 kW), 40 TDI (140 kW), 50 TDI (210 kW).”

Well that’s as clear as a pint of Guinness now.

Audi simplify (ha, ha) things by saying: “The classifications increase in increments of 5, and the two-digit numbers begin at 25 and extend to 60 in the current line of models.

“RS, R and S models are not integrated into the new system, and will in future be identified without the engine reference on the vehicle (TDI, TFSI).”

I’m glad I’ve been able to clear up the whole issue for you. Now I’m sure you want to know what the Audi A40 TDI was like.

Stunningly beautiful, delicious to drive and as confusing as its new nomenclature.

I’m sure owners will soon get to grips with its radio, which doesn’t come on when you switch on the ignition.

Instead it spends some time “Inititalising” before it comes to life.

When it does, finding a radio station quickly is a job for someone with more than a few minutes experience.

Still, complaining about the radio is like criticising something for my own stupidity, instead I’ll tell you that the A4, in S-Line trim, is utterly beautiful.

The leather and Alcantara “Rock grey” interior of the car Audi loaned to me look more like an upmarket penthouse studio than a car.

Matching different shades of light and dark grey, with contrast stitching on the seats, steering wheel and gear-lever gaiter, along with slashes of light, almost white, silver, made it incredibly swish.

Its combination of light colours, all set under a black cloth roof is terrific, leaving a roomy, bright, spacious feeling.

And it’s not just great to be in, it’s so quiet it’s uncanny.

It may be a diesel but just hearing it is unlikely, even at speed, where it cruises in total silence at 70mph, with the engine turning over at just 1,500rpm in the seventh gear of its standard automatic box, while returning 45mpg.

Make no mistake, the A4, despite having big brothers the A6 and A8, isn’t just beautiful, it’s not a small car either.

With a boot that’s 107cms (3ft 6in) deep there’s more than enough room for all the luggage for a family holiday, but fold down the rear seat backs and it turns into a 173cm (6ft) deep luggage lugger, limited in height to 46cm (18in) by its fixed position saloon car rear parcel shelf.

By the way my 40 TDI also came with four wheel drive as standard. Its boot badge said “Quattro” on it.

At least I understood that.

Audi A4b

IMAGE RATING

A4 40 TDI quattro 190PS S line S tronic.

REAR MIRROR MONSTER: Anything with four circles at the front has to be seen as a threat, but the new A4 has beauty to go with it. Sculpted bonnet tops off its fabulous design.

BACKSIDE BEAUTY: Boot lip acts as an effective spoiler but the huge twin exhaust pipes are there for show only. The left one has much smaller exhaust pipes in it while the one on the right is blocked off.

PLAYTIME PLEASER: Touchscreen 10.1-inch MMI with aerial view sat nav, three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors with camera, trip computer, heated seats with electric lumbar support, keyless start and entry, auto folding heated door mirrors with blind spot warning, auto dimming headlights, phone charging tray, double-glazed windscreen, 19in 10-spoke alloys, Audi music interface with Bluetooth, twin USB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

NAUGHTY NIGGLES: Those 10-spoke alloys will prove a nightmare to keep clean. Trust me, I used to have a set.

TASTY TOUCHES: Giant digital and adjustable cockpit display permanently shows the speed limit, which is easy to ignore in such a silent car. Twin fold out shopping bag boot hooks. What looks like a coin holder by the driver’s right knee turns out to be as long as your arm.

FAST OR LAST: Thinks for a second before moving off from a standstill, then turns into a quiet and quick cruiser.

WONGA WONDA: Seems frighteningly expensive until you begin to examine its quality.

WOULD CHANTELLE LIKE IT? Chantelle in an Audi? Only if it’s second hand.

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