I recently had a chance to do a very quick test drive of the new A4 when I went to the recent movie event Audi had promoted, I needed a little bit more time behind the wheel to get a better feel for the car. The Audi A4 was optioned out with the Premium Plus and Technology package and dressed in Ibis White.

If you were to just quickly glance at the new A4 as it passes you by on the road, you might not be able to distinguish it from the previous generation A4. Now, if you were to get a good look at either the front end, as shown above, you’ll notice pieces of Audi’s new design language; including, the new single-frame grille is a little more squat and wider than before and the new multi-segment LED DRL headlight design. The rear end gets a bit of a nip-and-tuck and a more svelte taillight.

Where you will really notice the biggest change with the new Audi A4 is the interior. Gone is the driver oriented center stack containing the MMI display, media slots, and the AC controls; and, in is a more minimalist layout. At the very top of, what could be called the center stack, is a fixed MMI display. If you have driven one or more of the current generation Audi A6, A7 or A8 models, you would have a retractable MMI display on the dash. According to Audi, most drivers would leave the display up and would rarely have it retracted. Even if you did retract the display, using some of the features that you wouldn’t expect be connected to MMI (such as adjusting or setting the memory seats) would cause the screen to pop back up momentarily.

So, to the chagrin of some of the customers, Audi went with the fixed MMI display route in the new A4. During my relatively short time with the A4, having the screen fixed in position didn’t obstruct my view to the outside world. In the aforementioned A6, A7 and A8 models, with the screen up, it would obstruct some of the view out at times.

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But, hey... there’s a button you can press to turn off the display!

Below the fixed MMI display and the AC vents is the cluster of controls for the AC system that is very similar to the one found in the latest Audi Q7. In the A4 that I had with three-zone climate control, there two are knobs that control the temperature with little LED displays showing the set temperature. Between the two knobs are touch-sensitive flip switches that control fan speed and the various AC modes. If you run your finger on top of or below the flip switches, the LED display will show what options are available and which direction to flick the switches. There are several other buttons surrounding the knobs that control the heated seats, defoggers and air re-circulation.

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(Read the rest at AudiForLife.com)