Click the A4 Avant for a high-res gallery The A4 is Audi's bread-and-butter, representing half of the brand's volume in the US market. So, when the premium brand from the Volkswagen group introduces a new version of its volume leader, it's a big deal. That's why Audi invited a contingent of American media over to Europe this week to play with the new A4 -- first on its home turf in Deutschland and then bombing around the Spanish resort island of Ibiza. The completely redesigned B7-platform A4 debuted in sedan form last September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, while the Avant wagon dropped last month in Geneva. As is typical for most German cars, European customers get a much wider array of powertrain choices than we Americans do. With the US dollar in free-fall against the Euro, brands like Audi have to cut costs in order to be able to sell their vehicles here at a competitive price point. A big part of that means simplifying the number of product combinations that get shipped over. That means US Audi dealers will get sedans with either a 2.0L TFSI four-cylinder or a 3.2L FSI V6. The wagons will only get the four banger. All models will use a new fast-shifting ZF six-speed autobox, and only the front-wheel-drive 2.0L will be available with a shift-it-yourself six-speed with a third pedal. The automatic will of course be equipped with paddle shifters for those inclined to pretend they are Dindo Cappello. Follow the jump to find out what's new about the latest A4 and what it's like to drive with some of the European engines that most Americans will never get to sample. %Gallery-19894% Photos Copyright ©2008 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc. In the summer months, Ibiza is the vacation playground of large numbers of British and German tourists who fly down to hang out on the sunny beaches and dance and drink all night in the clubs. Early April is definitely the off-season, but it provided a great opportunity to thrash some German metal on switchbacks that wind their way through the mountains on the northern part of the island. Don't be too jealous, though -- from the time our plane landed until we took off again, we were only the island for about 21 hours and beaches were not part of the plan. Before we jetted to the Mediterranean, though, we got to play with the A4 on its home turf. Following our visit to the R8 factory in Neckarsulm, we jumped into a fleet of A4 sedans for a run to the home office in Ingolstadt. The cars for that journey were a mix of 2.7L and 3.0L TDI V6 units with your humble narrator opting for a 3.0L manual transmission quattro variant. If you want to understand why Europeans love their diesel engines, just fly into Stuttgart, rent an A4 3.0 TDI quattro and make the run to Munich via Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt. Do you that and you may …
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|MPG||21 City / 27 Hwy|
|Power||211 @ 5300 rpm|
|Drivetrain||quattro all wheel|
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