The Audi A4, BMW's 3-Series competitor appeals more to the luxury market than the performance market. However, don't discount the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. After all it can churn out a good 250 horsepower. But this car's calling card is a well appointed interior and comfortable drive.
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David S. Wallens
I only spent one evening with this one, but it was the right evening: a very wet one when I had to do about 3 hours of highway driving. The Audi felt perfectly composed and was obviously in its element.
The rest of the details were perfect, too: I loved the seats, driving position, wheel, etc. The interior appointments are spot on. Push the S button on the shifter, and the drivetrain comes alive. Clutch pedal? What clutch pedal?
Speaking of that shifter, that's big thing that I’d like to speak about: The auto industry needs to standardize automatic shifters.
On the A4, it’s a lever that you kind of rock forward for reverse and back for drive. On the A3, a similar car from the same manufacturer, it’s the standard PRNL. Some manufacturers are using buttons, others use knobs. On higher-end BMWs, it’s some kind of controller from the Enterprise.
I hate to be a kill-joy, but how about if we standardize this stuff? I realize it’s all about marketing and separating one company from the past, but I’m officially putting down my foot on this one: no more novelty shifters in automatic cars. I know that we’re all about Saving the Stick, but something like 95 percent of all cars are sold with automatics—and I don’t want one accidentally running over me, my family or my friends. (Enemies? That’s okay.)
The PRNDL worked fine for decades. You want to go backward? One click down from park. Forward? It’s south of neutral. You didn’t need a tutorial to figure it out.
More than once lately I have found myself lately trying to find park. I shouldn’t have to do that, especially since putting a car in park can be a fairly important thing.
Get off my lawn, and rant off.
I am not sure why, but I just absolutely love to drive the new Audis. I had the opportunity to drive the A6 last year during some of the pre-route driving for our Orange Blossom Tour and fell in love with it. I was really excited to see how the more affordable A4 would compare.
I was very impressed with the comfort of the A4 along with the handling and performance. It just feels like a bit smaller version of the A6 to me. The exterior lines are beautiful and the interior quality is second to none. The trunk has plenty of room, enough in fact to carry my bicycle home with the seats folded down and the front bicycle wheel taken off. All the instrumentation and switches and buttons are all in the right places and easy to use. But it is those seats that I really love. I have been in many a car and these just seem to fit and feel perfect. the Infotainment center and Bang & Olufsen stereo option was awesome. The interior lighting was very pleasing as well.
The engine performance, while not A6 performance, is still very respectable. The handling is great too, especially with the activation of the different performance settings with comfort, auto and dynamic. The dynamic mode tightens things up for spirited driving. The setting that really shocked me was the comfort setting. It makes the Audi A4 just float down the road. I tried this setting on some brick cobbled streets and was just blown away by the way it floated along the bricks.
Overall I was very impressed with the quality of the Audi A4 and would highly recommend one if you are looking for sport sedan that offers performance, comfort and safety and wrapped up in a attractive package and price.
This car isn't going to blow you away with performance. It's a little on the heavy side and makes 250 horsepower. Not shabby by any means, but it doesn't give you the kick that you typically get a modern performance sedan. I'm sure the S4 version takes care of this.
But by golly is this car a comfortable place to spend some time. The interior is appointed perfectly, the stereo system is awesome, and you're swaddled in a cocoon of leather and LED lighting. Let's face it: You just feel like a big deal when you drive something like this. That's enough reason for many people to jump into one.
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