The January 2012 event also saw the debut of an even more important product: the 2013 Audi A4, an update of Audi's long-popular sedan. Audi has, over the years, become the benchmark for European automotive design, and it's clear the maker saw no reason to make any major changes.
The 2013 A4 is a mid-cycle update, so the revisions are relatively modest, particularly from a visual standpoint, starting with the 2013 sedan's skinnier, sleeker headlamps, which are framed by a revised version of Audi's trademark LED accent lights.
The grille now adopts the single frame design used on other recent Audi updates, and shifts to a more hexagonal shape, with larger lower air inlets adopting a more distinctive parallelogram-like design.
Rear changes are equally modest, with slight tweaks to the lamps and fascia.
As to the interior, the place where Audi has long established a reputation for its trendsetting design, the revisions are subtle, with new color combinations and additional wood and alloy metal offerings. There's also a new track-inspired, flat-bottom steering wheel.
Audi's primary focus with the 2013 A4 has been on improving functionality: streamlining the controls on its Multimedia Interface, or MMI, which now displays Google Street View on its navigation display. The maker traditionally likes to let new features migrate down-market and the A4 is no exception. It gets the new Audi Connect system first seen on the A8, then A7 and A6 models. The system serves as a mobile hotspot, not only providing the Google Street View maps but also allowing up to eight WiFi-enabled devices to get a high-speed link to the Internet.
Also available for 2013: The German maker will offer its Audi Driver Assistance package, which adds an array of new features, such as active cruise control, active lane assist and Audi Dynamic Steering, which can vary both the ratio and boost level of the A4's power steering system. The system is capable of detecting obstacles, such as a car ahead suddenly coming to a stop, and applying full braking power at speeds up to 19 mph.
The 2013 A4 will feature Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged TFSI powertrain, making 201 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. For those who demand more performance, Audi introduced the updated 2013 Audi S4 sedan, which features a 3.0-liter supercharged TFSI V6 that bumps the horsepower count to 333 and torque to 325 lb-ft.
Newly enlarged air intakes on the S4 are the big change for the performance model, which otherwise follows the basic design cues of the mainstream sedan.
Audi plans to come back to the market with another A4 variant, the next-generation Allroad, which will be available in the U.S. market for the first time in seven years. The Audi Allroad replaces the more traditional A4 Avant wagon and gets a full 7.1 inches of ground clearance. The idea is to give it a more rugged, ute-like look than the classic Avant, a trick that Subaru found effective with the Outback series. Functionality is key, and the A4 Allroad's oversized cargo compartment holds anywhere from 17.3 to 50.5 cubic feet of stuff when you start folding down seats. Other visual cues for the Allroad include flared wheel arches and round headlamps.