Audi experienced one of its worst sales-record during the early 90s. Various reasons like ageing models, outdated engineering, accident-prone cars, and recalled models, dismayed people towards the Audi brand. By 1994, this was all challenged with the release of a new model named the Audi A4, and its all-wheel drive model, the Audi A4 quattro. This new luxury vehicle reignited the missing spark the company badly needed. Today, the benefits of the A4 quattro are still being reaped. Here are a few highlights of how it happened.
First generation (1996-2001): The Audi 80 becomes the Audi A4
A rebranded Audi jumped head-on to the intense car market with the release of the luxurious entry-level Audi A4. Early models came only as a sedan, while the wagon (Avant) followed soon. It was a well-dressed car in and out. A smooth and silky finish covered the exterior while the inside had all the lavish trims one would expect from a high-end car. Other than a few quirks, like having--at best--a 190 horsepower V6 engine that was inferior to its competition, a lot of people were impressed with Audi and its A4 quattro.
Second generation (2001-2005): Big improvements for the new generation
This magnificent car had a huge makeover in the 2001 model-year. Reception for the A4's new looks, which was based on the new Volkswagen Group B6 platform, was as warm as the first's. New mechanical upgrades on the A4 quattro included a 50:50 torque distribution ratio, an electronic stability program (ESP) system, anti-lock braking system (ABS), brake assist, and electronic brakeforce distribution. The car was also equipped with an Audi-original multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) system. This type of CVT was recognized as one of the best designs of its kind.
Third generation (2006-2008): Continuing the hot start
A4 quattro's of this generation are better described as retouched rather than redesigned. Other than the expected engine and style upgrades, third-generation A4s shared a lot with the second generation. The same Volkswagen B6 platform was reused. The A4 quattro was still commended for its good looks and great performance. Even past upgrades and innovations, like ESP, ABS, and the multitronic CVT were still there. However, these weren't regarded due to laxness from the people at Audi. Rather, these were simply improvements on an already working system.
Current generation (2009): Keeping up with the giants
By this time, Audi is seen in the same level as the other major European cars of Mercedes Benz and BMW. This respect was put to good use by Audi with the release of an all-new A4 quattro. Critics weren't disappointed with the huge improvements. Bigger cabin size, higher engine output (with a 265 horsepower V6 available), and better transmission system for better fuel economy makes the new A4 one of the best cars in its class. This, along with other models, continues to keep Audi in a competitive form against other giants.