Audi A4: Veni, Vidi, Vici
One normally goes to Venice for a romantic gondola ride on the Grand Canal and explore the narrow medieval streets on foot, to drink caffè or eat tiramisu in the Piazza San Marco and to marvel at statues of famous explorers, Kings and Queens.
It’s certainly not a place you visit to explore by car as there are literally no roads – every taxi is a water taxi, and the speed limit on the canals is 7 km/h. So upon learning that Audi was launching the all-new A4 here, I pondered (albeit briefly) the possibility that the Ingolstadt car maker had been secretly developing an amphibious version of its most important model. No such luck, of course.
Venice is a veritable stone’s throw away from the Dolomites, a mountain range in the northeastern part of Italy that, besides boasting some of the most beautiful views in the world, also features some of the most fantastic driving roads anywhere. It is here, on the sinuous stretches of tarmac that rise from the shores of the Adriatic Sea, past the foothills of the Alps and ascend well into high alpine country, where Audi has laid out its latest bread-and-butter model for close examination. Over the course of about six hours, my co-driver and I take turns at the wheel, neither one of us wanting to give up the seat for the next stint.
The A4 has been the heart of the Audi brand since the mid-1990s, and the all-new 2017 models make up the ninth generation. Including the original 1972 Audi 80 predecessor, Audi has sold more than 12 million worldwide since the beginning; and the platform has helped Audi achieve greatness in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and the German touring car championship (DTM).
It doesn’t take long for the smiles to materialize. The car is taking the multitude of switchbacks with nonchalance – turn-in is crisp and precise, and grip is in ample supply despite the changing surfaces (wet/dry) as we punch through each cloud layer. The chassis stays flat through long, sweeping bends with almost no understeer to complain about; and the car doesn’t struggle one bit during the long, slow ascent to the summit.
Continue reading my review of the 2017 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro on the IGNITION MAGAZINE website.