Mild hybrid represents that toe-dipping in the EV pool that automakers are convinced is the best strategy for coaxing our ICE-addicted world into the quieter, less-polluting age. Like other automakers, Audi is currently straddling major investment in near-future electric-vehicle R&D and production on the one hand—the company has about $16 billion earmarked for EV development—and staying consumer-relevant in the present tense on the other. Enter the 2020 A4.
Mild hybrids sell on a marketing platform of quasi eco-responsibility and reduced operational cost, which makes entry- or mid-level models natural options for the mixed powertrains. And Audi’s new A4 fits right in, with a reasonable base sticker (the 2019’s is under $40K), sporty European looks, and a very competitive suite of tech features. The S4 offers more power and an all-around more premium option.
The updated looks include more streamlined headlights—now LED—as well as profile lines that are adequately if not entirely engaging. The cabin is designed to make the daily commute that much easier, and it gets quite a bit of attention, with a MMI system that’s got a 10” touchscreen for a figurehead; a nice change from the old knob. Driver assist features include an interactive navigation system that can ‘speak’ to online traffic info, another way Audi’s appealing commuter car can help drivers beat end-of-workday road blues.
The engine choices available in the U.S. are not yet finalized. Six turbocharged engine options will be available in Europe, and three of them will be part of hybrid powertrains.