The Audi A4 uses the Volkswagen B platform for inspiration. As you look at the A4 history, you will notice that every generation has its own chassis designation, beginning with B5, to make it easier to tell various generations apart without looking up model years. The A4 remains among the smaller Audi autos as a compact car and has been available in multiple body styles over the years. Depending on the year you look at, you can find a two-door cabriolet, four-door sedan, wagon, and front-wheel drive, or Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system.
The first generation of the Audi A4 lasted from 1994 to 2001, although development for this auto started back in 1988. The B5 generation offered a 2.8-liter 6-cylinder engine at release, with Audi adding a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine in 1997. The now-famous Tiptronic transmission first made its debut in the A4, letting the driver take advantage of manually selecting gear ratios or using fully-driven automatic operation. The A4 B5 models also offered 5- and 6-speed manual transmissions, depending on model year, plus the choice of standard front-wheel drive or Quattro all-wheel drive.
Running from 2001 to 2006, the second generation of the Audi A4 was known as the B6. The exterior of this A4 was based on the bigger A6. Throughout this generation, there were numerous new engines, such as a 3-liter V6, a 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, and a 3.2-liter 6-cylinder. This is also when the cabriolet body style arrived and a CVT became an option.
The third generation, or A4 B7, lasted from 2005 to 2008. It got a revised exterior plus multiple technological advances to keep this Audi competitive. Just some of the new features worth mentioning include electronic stability control and an infotainment system. The third generation A4 also got a new engine; a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged powertrain with direct injection. The CVT transmission was updated to include a mode for “selectable 7-speed” while the Tiptronic automatic transmission became a 6-speed gearbox instead of 5-speed.
The Audi A4 entered its fourth generation in 2008, which unsurprisingly came with the designation of B8. It arrived at the Frankfurt Auto Show and has a longer wheelbase and a lighter weight than the previous generation. It was available as a four-door sedan or a five-door wagon/estate known as the Avant. The transmissions in this generation saw the differential moved to be next to the clutch. This generation also introduced an 8-speed automatic. This generation ended with the 2016 model year, and during that time, just some of the standard equipment included LED daytime running lights, the MMI system for infotainment, and an electronic hand brake.
Current Fifth Generation
The Audi A4, now in its fifth generation, is known as the B9. This version made its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show but started with the 2016 model year. According to Audi, this latest generation is about 260 pounds lighter than the B8 despite being larger. It also comes standard with LED ambient interior lighting and standard leather.