2012 A4 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A4 is a superb road car with all-wheel drive, a compliant, well-tuned suspension and high-quality interior trimmings. A premium compact, the A4 comes equipped with leather, automatic climate control and a range of options associated with larger luxury cars.
Audi A4 is available in four-door sedan and Avant wagon versions. They come with a smooth 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers solid mid-range power for good drivability around town.
Audi S4 is a high-performance version of the A4 featuring a 333-horspower V6, a specially tuned quattro all-wheel-drive system, a sports suspension, and special trim.
2011 Audi A4 models come with a new 8-speed automatic transmission, replacing last year's 6-speed automatic. The navigation system on 2011 A4s includes HD radio, an upgrade over last year. Audi side assist is available. The beige birch wood trim has been replaced by Nutmeg Laurel for some cabin colors on 2011 models. Also new for 2011 is a Titanium Sport package with black trim, 19-inch wheels with performance tires, sport seats, and a sports suspension. Audi completely redesigned the A4 for 2009, and it is as closely related to the A5 as it is to the pre-2009 A4 models.
2011 Audi A4 models come in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim, but all share the same 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Sedans are available with front-wheel drive and continuously variable transmission (CVT) or all-wheel drive and either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed Tiptronic automatic.
The Audi A4 Avant wagon comes exclusively with the automatic and quattro all-wheel drive, and so it starts at a somewhat higher price.
We've found the A4 models a delight to drive. They are compliant enough to soak up bumps like a larger car but firm enough to feel solid and stable to its electronically limited top speed of 130 mph.
Comparing two-wheel-drive models, the front-wheel-drive A4 is not as precise as a rear-wheel-drive BMW 3 Series. But Audi's quattro is among the best all-wheel-drive systems in the world, and an Audi A4 quattro more than holds its own against the other all-wheel-drive cars in its class, and it's more adept in the rain or snow than other sports sedans. Audi A4 quattro competes with the BMW 328iX, Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic, and Lexus IS250 AWD. The A4 generally offers better fuel economy and more passenger room than those models.
The 2011 Audi A4 is available as a four-door sedan or Avant wagon. The high-performance Audi S4 is offered as a sedan only.
Audi A4 2.0T Premium sedan ($31,950) is the entry-level model, and comes with a 2.0-liter, 211-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission (CVT) and front-wheel drive. Also standard are single-zone climate control, leather front seats with power adjustment, aluminum interior trim, AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary input and Sirius Satellite radio, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant controls, moonroof, fog lamps, alarm, and 17-inch wheels.
Audi A4 2.0T quattro Premium sedan ($32,850) is equipped similarly, but with all-wheel drive and 6-speed manual transmission. An 8-speed Tiptronic automatic is optional ($1,290). The A4 2.0T quattro Premium Avant ($35,940) also comes with an Open Sky panoramic moonroof and a split-folding rear seat. Premium options include a Bluetooth/HomeLink package ($700); Sport 18 package ($1,450) with sport seats and suspension, 18-inch wheels and performance tires, shift paddles on automatics; heated front seats ($450); iPod integration ($300); Walnut or Nutmeg wood trim ($350); rear side airbags ($350).
Premium Plus adds three-zone climate control, iPod and Bluetooth interfaces, heated front seats, driver information display, HomeLink, rain-sensing wipers, bi-Xenon headlights, LED running lamps and taillamps, 60/40 split-fold rear seat, and chrome window trim. Options include 18-inch wheels and all-season tires ($800); metallic paint; Sports 18 package; Titanium Sport Package ($2,000) with 19-inch wheels with summer tires, black exterior trim, sport seats and suspension, shift paddles on Tiptronic models; navigation with rearview camera ($2,550); 505-watt 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system ($850); rear side airbags and wood trim.
The Prestige package adds to Premium Plus with 18-inch wheels, driver memory system, auto-dimming outside mirrors, keyless start/stop/entry, and the Bang & Olufsen stereo. Prestige options include chrome wheels ($300); a 19-inch Sports package ($1,450) that includes special wheels, tires, seats, suspension; S line package ($2,450) with unique 19-inch wheels, S line bodywork and cabin trim, sports suspension, sport seats with Alcantara and leather upholstery; 19-inch Titanium Sport package ($1,650); Audi Drive Select ($2,950); Audi side assist ($500); adaptive cruise control ($2,100); manual rear side and power rear sunshades ($500); metallic paint; rear side airbags; and wood trim.
Audi S4 quattro is powered by a 333-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6, and available with 6-speed manual ($46,600) or 7-speed S tronic ($48,000) transmission. Standard trim for the S4 is Premium Plus; also standard are high-performance tires on 18-inch wheels, proper seats and S4-specific steering, brakes and suspension. Prestige trim includes all the Prestige goodies plus 19-inch wheels. Options include navigation, 19-inch Titanium Sport pack, Bang & Olufsen audio system, sport rear differential, Nappa leather upholstery, rear side airbags, metallic paint and carbon fiber, gray birch, or stainless steel trim. Audi Drive Select ($3,950) includes the sport differential.
Safety features for all A4s include two-stage driver and adaptive passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, active headrests; electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, and tire pressure monitors. Rear side-impact airbags are optional on all models. As noted above, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, rear camera, and park assist are available on some models; quattro all-wheel drive is standard on Avant and S4, and available on any A4 sedan.
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