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Audi A4 Generations: Through the Years

As the B10 Audi A4 gets closer to production every day we’re looking back at this long and successful history of the model from 1994 through today.

Audi A4 Through the Years

The Audi A4 is somewhat responsible for reviving the Audi brand. It came online during a time when Audi wasn’t anything close to the brand that we know today. Since its inception, not only has the A4 grown in size and features, but Audi itself has expanded to become one of the major players in the luxury automobile space. Today, we look back through the generations of the Audi A4.

B5 Generation Audi A4 (1994-2000)

1994 Audi A4 - audi.com
1994 Audi A4 - audi.com
  • The A4 arrived as a replacement for the Audi 80 in 1994 and shares a platform with the Volkswagen Passat.
  • That platform, dubbed B5, loosely gives the A4 its main generational code name.
  • At launch, it arrived with front-wheel drive in sedan form only.
  • In 1996, it came to the U.S. market with either a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 2.8-liter V6.
  • The 1.8-liter turbo engine made 148 hp. While the 2.8-liter V6 made 172 hp.
  • A five-speed manual gearbox was standard, a five-speed automatic was also available.
  • The four-cylinder was available with front or all-wheel drive but every V6 came standard with AWD.
1999 Audi S4 Avant - audi-mediacenter.com
1999 Audi S4 Avant - audi-mediacenter.com
  • In 1999, Audi gave the A4 a facelift and added a new 30-valve version of the V6 along with a more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder.
  • It also introduced the Audi S4, a performance variant with a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and a six-speed manual gearbox.
  • The S4 made 261 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque.
  • An even more extreme version called the RS4 came out in other markets and made 376 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque.
  • The generation also saw the inclusion of a wagon body style dubbed Avant.
  • It phased out of production in 2001 while the second generation began, thus both generations are available as 2001 model-year vehicles.

B6 Generation Audi A4 (2001-2003)

2001 Audi A4 - carsforsale.com
2001 Audi A4 - carsforsale.com
  • When the second-gen A4 arrived it took styling cues from the outgoing A6. The body was less angular and more rounded.
  • A 1.8-liter turbocharged engine continued in the lineup as the base engine and a manual six-speed gearbox was standard as well.
  • Instead of a 2.8-liter V6, the B6 received a 3.0-liter V6.
  • The five-speed automatic was no longer available and instead, Audi offered a continuously variable transmission.
2003 Audi S4 - audi-mediacenter.com
2003 Audi S4 - audi-mediacenter.com
  • In 2003, the S4 joined the lineup with a 4.2-liter V8 and pumped out 339 horsepower and 302 lb-ft of torque.
  • Notably, the S4 V8 used a flat plane crank which allowed it to rev to 7,000 RPM and produce an outstanding exhaust noise.
  • For the first time, Audi experimented with a two-door cabriolet version of the A4.
  • It served as a direct replacement for the 80-based Audi Cabriolet that ended production in 2000.
  • The A4 was also available as a wagon.

B7 Generation Audi A4 (2004-2007)

2006 Audi A4 Cabriolet - audi-mediacenter.com
2006 Audi A4 Cabriolet - audi-mediacenter.com
  • In 2004, the B7 came out with a new generational name but mostly as a heavily updated version of the B6 A4.
  • Again, the A4 exterior design heavily followed the A6, in this case, the C6 by utilizing a similar grille shape.
  • The three body styles, sedan, cabriolet, and wagon remained unchanged during the B7 generation.
  • The biggest changes came under the hood where a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder became standard.
  • It made 197 horsepower and came standard with a five-speed manual gearbox.
2006 Audi S4 Cabriolet - audi-mediacenter.com
2006 Audi S4 Cabriolet - audi-mediacenter.com
  • A new 3.2-liter V6 was offered and made 252 horsepower.
  • Quattro AWD remained available as well and came standard with a ZF six-speed automatic gearbox.
  • Front-wheel drive A4s with the automatic gearbox used a CVT rather than a conventional automatic.
  • The S4 continued with updated bodywork and interior but with no significant powertrain changes.
  • An updated version of the RS4 debuted in 2006 with a twin-turbocharged version of the 4.2-liter V8.
  • The RS4 made 420 horsepower and sent power to all four wheels via a six-speed manual only.

B8 Generation Audi A4 (2008-2015)

2014 Audi A4 - audi-mediacenter.com
2014 Audi A4 - audi-mediacenter.com
  • Unveiled in 2007, the B8 A4 arrived on an all-new platform with an all-new design.
  • The new platform allowed a shorter front overhang without changing the overall wheelbase.
  • That allowed Audi to increase interior space substantially without increasing the overall size of the A4 as dramatically.
  • The Cabriolet version ceased production in favor of an all-new model, the A5.
  • The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine continued as the base option but now it made 200 hp and 206 lb-ft of torque.
  • As was the case in previous generations, it was available with front or all-wheel drive.
  • A 3.2-liter V6 was also available with 265 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque but came standard with all-wheel-drive.
  • It was only available for a single year, 2009, and could even be had with a manual gearbox.
  • In 2013, Audi introduced a flex-fuel version of the four-cylinder that made just 177 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque.
  • A 3.0-liter supercharged V6 with 333 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque did duty in the S4 variant and was available with an automatic seven-speed or manual six-speed gearbox.

B9 Generation Audi A4 (2016-Present)

2016 Audi A4 models - audi-mediacenter.com
2016 Audi A4 models - audi-mediacenter.com
  • When the latest generation of the Audi A4 arrived in 2016 it came with two new four-cylinder engines.
  • One engine runs on gasoline and makes 201 horsepower while the other takes diesel and makes 188 horsepower.
  • A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox is now standard.
  • In 2017, Audi debuted its Digital Cockpit in the A4, a fully digital gauge cluster with tons of configurability.
  • In 2018, Audi launched the latest version of the S4 now with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that made 349 hp.
  • It came standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The manual gearbox was no longer available.
  • The wagon version largely disappeared but one option, the Allroad, remained.
  • Overseas, Audi released a B9 RS4 Avant with 444 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
2023 Audi A4 - audi-mediacenter.com
2023 Audi A4 - audi-mediacenter.com
  • In 2019, Audi released an updated front fascia on the A4 in America that more closely resembled the RS4 styling.
  • As of 2023, the base engine makes 201 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque while incorporating a mild hybrid system.
  • A V6 is no longer available on the Audi A4 but a more powerful 261 hp version of the four-cylinder is.
  • The latest A4 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winner and has a five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA.

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Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers is a car enthusiast who loves all things built with passion, extending to nearly all car cultures. After obtaining an occupational studies degree in sports medicine, Stephen turned his attention to sports cars. He was employed as an auto shop manager, spent time in auto sales, and worked as a software developer for a racing company, but Stephen began writing about cars over 10 years ago. When he's not in front of a computer screen, he's racing his own Bugeye Subaru WRX in as many autocross and rallycross competitions as he can.

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