The Ironman Triathlon is quite possibly one of the toughest, most demanding sporting events in the world. During competitive events, triathletes are required to swim a distance of 3.86km, ride a bicycle for 180.25km, and run a 42.20km marathon. One after the other, with no time off for rest. German athlete Jan Frodeno holds the current world record for setting the fastest time ever, completing a full triathlon in just 7:35:39. Impressive, right? Of course, Frodeno trains hard for competition, cycling 700km, running 130km, and swimming 20km per week. All of that, yes, in the same week.
Why, you might think, am I talking of triathlon in a review of the new Audi A4? Well, in terms of the breadth of its athletic ability, the A4 could well be a professional triathlete if it were a human sportsperson. Sure, the A4 isn’t as powerful as an Audi R8 or as off-road-capable as a Q5 or even as luxurious as an A8. But what really matters for most car owners is all-round capability, and that’s where the new, fifth-generation A4 shines. To start with, there’s a new engine under the hood. Audi has done away with the earlier A4’s 1.4-litre engine, and has replaced it with a 2.0-litre TFSI turbocharged petrol inline-four, which produces 190 horsepower and 320Nm of torque. Those are respectable figures for a car that weighs around 1,500 kilos. Indeed, with the power going to the front wheels (no quattro AWD here, sorry) via a 7-speed ‘Stronic’ automatic, the A4 accelerates from zero to 100pkh in 7.3 seconds, and hits a top speed of 241kph. Some might be surprised to know that these power and performance figures are roughly in the same ballpark as those of an early- 1970s/late-1980s Porsche 911 Carrera, but such is the relentless march of progress.
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