A wide range of engines were available to European customers, between 1.6 and 2.8litres, and a 1.9L Diesel available with VW's new "Pumpe Düse" (PD, or unit injector) technology, capable of achieving a then high power value of 110PS (81kW), although Audi's 2.8L V6, carried over from the old 80/90 was the only engine option in North America until 1997.
The Audi A4 was the first model in the Volkswagen Group to feature the new 1.8L 20V motor with five valves per cylinder, based on the unit Audi Sport had developed for their Supertouring race car. A turbocharged version produced 150PS (110kW) and 210Nm (155ft·lbf.) of torque. This technology was added to the V6 family in 1996, starting with the 2.8L V6 30V, which now produced 193PS (142kW).
Audi also debuted their new Tiptronic transmission on the B5 platform, based on the unit Porsche developed for their 964-generation 911. The transmission is a conventional automatic gearbox with a torque converter, but it offers the driver a choice of driving the car as either a fully automatic operation or with a manual override of the gear ratios.
B5 facelift (1998–2001)
A refreshed B5 A4 range appeared at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales beginning in Europe in early 1998. Besides the introduction of a 2.8L 30-valve V6 (replacing the 2.8L 12-valve), the most important additions to the range were the 2.5L V6 TDI diesel engine with 150PS (110kW) and standard quattro, and a six-speed gearbox, as well the new high-performance S4, now part of the A4 lineup (the previous S4 had been an Audi 100). New taillights, headlights, door handles, and other minor exterior/interior changes rounded out the cosmetic updates.
In mid 1998, the 1.8T engine available outside Europe had its power output raised to 170PS (125kW). The previous KKK KO3 turbocharger although fundamentally unchanged did receive some revisions on the turbine side to prevent cracking due to heat. The 12-valve V6 was replaced by the 30-valve unit that had been available in Europe for two years. In 1999, Audi debuted an even higher performance RennSport model, the RS4 Avant, like its predecessor RS2 available only in the Avant bodystyle.