|Revving up: Acceleration in the Audi A4 3.0 TDi is effortless and you can drive around town all day with ease
There is not much difference between the Audi A4 3.0 TDi and the regular A4 — on the exterior, only the 3.0-litre badge on the boot-lid helps you tell the difference between them. Even the wheels and tyres are the same size as on the A4 2.0 TDi.
The badge is a symbol of the 2967cc V6 diesel, breathing through 24 valves, making 240bhp and a huge 51kgm of torque at 1500rpm. Audis famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system (FWD) with a 40:60 front/rear split is standard, making sure that all those horses are headed in the intended direction.
The torque on hand makes the car react like a racehorse out of the gates every time you stomp on the throttle pedal. Its what makes it growl past the 100kph mark in just 6.7 seconds. Its so quick that it pretty much makes a light appetiser of the A4 3.2 petrol, eats the Porsche Boxster for lunch and makes dessert of the BMW 530d.
In the quest to find the fastest car, I went through archives to find three automobiles — two are powered by big 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8s and one has a supercharged 3.0-litre motor under its hood. All of these run on petrol.
This one is diesel, which means you take into account diesel running costs. Its the result of taking the 240bhp 3.0-litre motor from the Q5 and slipping it into a car that is 175kg lighter.
It means that this Audi can deliver a mighty knockout punch if needed. Because it makes its torque so early in the rev band and has a six-speed automatic gearbox instead of the Q5s DSG, theres almost no lag between you pressing the throttle and the car lunging ahead.
Acceleration is effortless. It will potter around town all day, and all it takes is a simple dab of the throttle to send the speedo needle arcing towards high numbers on the dial.
The engines wide powerband allows the car to pull hard and strong almost all the way to its redline. Gearshifts are smooth and the gearbox is pretty accommodating. Keep your foot down and itll fly past the 160kph mark in a brisk 16 seconds. But the best part is the way this car expresses its aggression in a calm, composed manner.
The engine is very smooth and quiet when youre not being silly with the throttle. Once its spinning fast, you can only hear a muted growl from the motor, with absolutely no vibration. Its the refinement and free-revving nature of this Audi that makes it stand out as something really special.
The rest of the car is typical A4 (which is in no way a bad thing). The Quattro system gives it phenomenal grip. Body roll is negligible and the extra power lets you enjoy the cars high limits to the fullest.
Happily, none of this is at the expense of the ride. Despite its low-profile tyres, the Audi rides comfortably and does a good job of isolating the passengers from the road.
The cars interiors ooze classic Audi style. The seats are large and comfy, and space is good. While it is pretty well specced, this car didnt have paddleshifts, which were really missed.
Also optional is Audis drive select system, which gives you adjustable dampers. The car rides and handles well without it, so lighten your wallet by Rs 2.45 lakh (what it costs) only if you want to add that extra edge to your drive and handling.
The 3.0 TDi costs Rs 36.40 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), which makes it a lakh dearer than the 3.2 petrol. But for its sports car performance, diesel economy, four seats and a large boot, you wont feel the need to complain. Powerful and practical. Could you possibly want more?
AUDI A4 3.0 TDi
Price: Rs 36.40 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai)
Turning circle: 11.5m
Kerb weight: 1655kg
Engine: 6-cyls in vee, common-rail turbo-diesel, 2967cc
Installation: Front, longitudinal, all-wheel drive
Power: 240bhp at 4000-4400rpm
Torque: 51kgm at 1500-3000rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed auto
Fuel tank: 64 litres
Brakes (F/R): Ventilated discs/solid discs
Tyre size: 225/50, R17