Face it—most of us will never drive on the track (though Derek did with this A4 and came away suitably impressed, especially in the rain). But most commutes likely involve a few turns, some freeway, and bouts of bumper to bumper. The Audi delighted in all scenarios. In the twisties, there is very little body roll. Put the controls into “dynamic”, and you get lower shift points/higher RPM, with a cinched down suspension. Put it in comfort and you can cruise along at 80+ or in bumper to bumper ensconced in luxury.
The power was very good; 0-60 in 5.7 seconds according to Car and Driver. However, the similar BMW 335i with its twin turbo six and even my old A6 with the 4.2 V-8 feel more torquey at any point in the rev-range — though the A4 was not a slouch by any means. Additionally, this A4 enables the driver to shift (and hold) first gear; many Audi’s that are equipped with the Tiptronic® transmission don’t hold first gear and upshift quickly to second.
Amazingly, despite my heavy-footedness, the Audi returned a remarkable 22.6 mpg during my stint (recall that I averaged just 22 mpg in the miserly Honda Fit). This is well above the 18 mpg city it’s rated for. Nice job!
As stated, the A4 had very little body roll and the steering feedback was excellent under most conditions. However, I have a “favorite” 110 degree off-camber turn that challenges all comers. In this case, the computer-aided suspension was a bit “fooled” when its 3800+ pounds and physics kicked in; the mass shifted abruptly making the car turn wide.
Additionally, though the car has 4.5 inches of ground clearance, the long wheelbase led to scraping of the underside in our gently sloped driveway. This is a bit of a nuisance.
From the front, the eyebrow LED lights, a la the R8, look very cool. But from there, the car is a bit of a styling let-down. It seems to combine elements of the latest (bland) BMW 3-series plus the large Audi grille with slab-sided sides that lack visual appeal. As with many Audis, I find the Avant (wagon) versions to be better looking. My wife was totally unimpressed with it.
The A4 starts at around $33k. As tested, though, this A4 came out at a breath-taking $50k. Frankly, that is too much money. A similarly equipped BMW 335i is $4k less, is faster, handles better at 10/10ths, and offers more rear seat room. Compared head to head to the BMW, sad to say that the Beemer is a better value. This being said, the A4 pricing starts at $33k and features a 4-cylinder turbo engine that offers more torque with slightly better fuel economy. This seems like the A4 to buy.
Who should buy it?
This is an exceptionally well-refined car that offers great handling and power with the safety and versatility of all wheel drive. It is a pleasure to drive, though the sticker price (as tested) may be a little hard to swallow.
I’m a pretty devout Audi fan. The levels of refinement and handling were impressive in this A4. However, the $50k sticker was over priced; if pressed I’d save the $4k and go for the BMW 335i. Better still, I’d try to find an A4 with the 4-cylinder turbo and save $10-$15k.
|The official Audi of America website – www.audiusa.com|
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