2004 A4 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A4 represents a line of fantastic sports sedans. They deliver crisp handling, a firm ride, and a well-controlled suspension that make for a precise, high-quality driving experience. The A4 feels like it's on rails around fast sweepers, especially when equipped with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system, one of the world's best. Beautifully finished interiors exude quality and ergonomic excellence.
Performance and driveability vary by model. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine that comes on 1.8T models delivers excellent performance when paired with a manual gearbox and it's attractively priced, but the 1.8-liter engine doesn't work as well with the available automatic transmission. The V6 engine that comes on 3.0 models is wonderfully smooth and quite strong, and it works very well when paired with the optional automatic. The V8-powered S4 delivers awesome performance and serious enthusiasts love it, but its suspension may be too firm for most drivers.
The A4 was completely redesigned for 2002. Last year, the Cabriolet (convertible) and Avant (wagon) models joined the lineup. For 2004, Audi further expands the A4 family with the V8-powered S4, plus Audi's first Cabriolet quattros, available in both A4 3.0 and S4 trim, combining high performance with top-down exhilaration.
A host of active and passive safety features help keep drivers on the road and protect passengers in an accident.
A4 1.8T models are powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. The A4 1.8T sedan ($25,250) comes standard with cloth upholstery, a five-speed manual gearbox, and front-wheel drive. Standard amenities include dual-zone climate control and a 150-watt, 10-speaker stereo with six-CD in-dash changer. The 1.8T is also available with front-wheel drive and a Continuously Variable Transmission, a stepless automatic transmission ($26,400). The 1.8T quattro is available with a six-speed manual ($27,450) or a five-speed Tiptronic automatic ($28,500). The A4 1.8T Avant quattro comes with the six-speed manual ($28,450) or the Tiptronic automatic ($29,500). The Avant adds four-way power seats with adjustable lumbar support to the sedan's list of standard equipment. A4 1.8T Cabriolet ($35,250) shares the wagon's power seats and is available only with the CVT and front-wheel drive. It also comes with a more powerful 180-watt stereo.
The A4 3.0 features a 3.0-liter V6. The A4 3.0 front-drive sedan ($31,150) comes standard with the CVT, 12-way power driver's seat, leather upholstery, an upgraded stereo, driver information display, and other luxury and trim items, in addition to the V6 engine. Quattro sedans add a 12-way power passenger's seat and are offered with a choice of six-speed manual ($32,940) or Tiptronic ($33,990). The A4 3.0 Avant comes only with quattro, and with the six-speed manual ($33,940) or Tiptronic ($34,990). The A4 3.0 Cabriolet is offered with either the CVT and front-wheel drive ($41,800), or quattro and Tiptronic ($43,550).
The S4 is a high-performance variant that shares the same three bodies, but is powered by a 4.2-liter V8 rated at 340 horsepower. The S4 is available as a sedan with six-speed manual ($45,650) or six-speed Tiptronic ($46,800) transmission; Avant with six-speed manual ($46,650) or six-speed Tiptronic ($47,800); or as Cabriolet with the same transmission choices.
Options include a 215-watt Bose sound system for front-drive sedans ($900), the same system with a choice of Sirius or XM satellite radio for Quattro models ($1,000), a navigation system for 3.0 and S4 ($1,350), and OnStar ($750).