Now that I've traded a VW Jetta for a new Audi A4 Avant I can really get a sense of how the two sibling brands are differentiating themselves from each other. Before the VW pulled off, the first thing I noticed was it seemed beefier than the Audi, even though the Jetta is about half an inch narrower. But the big difference is in the overall design and the price of course. The A4's starting point is the top price for the Jetta.
The new nose is much more appealing on the sleeker and longer hooded A4. And the lack of chrome is a welcome omission. The rear taillights might be a bit awkward but at least the Audi doesn?t look Japanese in any way. So when they say the two design teams didn?t know what the other was doing I want to believe them.
I?ll quit comparing the two vehicles at this point and talk about the fantastic base engine the A4 is now sporting. A new liter 4-cylinder turbo engine produces 200 horsepower (up from 170) and gives it to you with gusto. My first trip, to run errands and get the rooftop images, proved to be quite exhilarating. This thing feels fast with plenty of boost and a nice six-speed manual transmission. On the trip out I found third gear a bit hard to hit, as the shifter naturally moved to a point between first and third. By the time I was returning home my right arm had learned the proper movement on its own.
This is just a refreshening for the A4. Unlike the completely redesigned A6, the A4 gets new engine choices, brakes and the new looks but everything else stays the same. After hitting a fun ,banked road on the way home, that?s not a bad thing. The sport wagon took the curve flawlessly and pretty fast. There was a bit of body lean that surprised me, but it wasn?t horrible.
The video is still wmv when I convert it with Super AVConverter to AVI it becomes HUGE. Like 397 MB. Please let me know if anyone has suggestions to fix it.