After saying good bye to the brilliant Mazda, we met our next partner. The 2006 Audi A4 Avant, with the 3.2 FSI V6 that debuted in the new A6, is a different interpretation of what a sport wagon should be. Even from the exterior, the A4 offers a solid image with its broad stance and strong lines. It appears to be machined from a hunk of solid steel. Some may call it bland, but we enjoy the understated elegance. Not only does the A4 impress with visual strength, but the features list highlights technical heft as well. Would it be as fun to drive? Would there be any logical value in a vehicle like this? Would it be as engaging as other German wagons? Wait, where are the other German luxo-sport wagons?
Pulling up on the door handle, the car opens with a purposeful clunk. Sliding down into the driver seat, your heart almost skips a beat. The door closes with a well tuned thump, putting you inside a cocoon of leather, aluminum, and perfectly textured plastic. Lately, Audi has built a reputation for their interiors, and this A4 was no exception. Audi had outfitted this model with just about every option check box filled in. The S-line package brought lustful aluminum trim and a sexy leather wrapped steering wheel with ultra-cool stitching to what is already a stellar interior. We?ve never been that pleased with Audi?s steering wheel with its new-grill-inspired center cushion, but it doesn?t look that bad in this car.
The interior also features dual zone climate control, four heated seats, sunroof, beautiful leather everywhere, and the navigation system. In today?s cars, the navigation system is more like a computer than a dynamic, on-the-go navigator. Nope, in order to use it you must park somewhere, enter you destination(s) and move out. Just a quick glance through the commands and the functions reveals gobs of features. The system also has Bluetooth built-in, and you can bet your life we?re going to play with it.
The manual for this gadget on wheels is huge. Not only is the car?s owner?s manual large, but the manual for the navigation system is just as big! In this first day, it seems this car is not for the technologically challenged. That might be a strong statement, and we might be wrong. Kind words have not been bestowed on technology found in other German luxury cars, and it seems a driver could ignore eighty percent of the A4?s arsenal and still enjoy the drive. That?s our plan for the first couple of days anyway.