2010 A4 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A4 must be doing something right. The sedan version alone sells more than 40,000 units annually in the U.S., while competing against the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, and a growing list of domestic and Asian rivals. In a segment where engineering excellence sells cars, Audi claims the turbo-four A4 delivers best-in-class fuel economy, while posting quicker 0-60 mph acceleration times than six-cylinder, all-wheel-drive competitors such as the BMW 328iX, Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic, and Lexus IS250 AWD. The A4 also has on average more passenger room than the BMW 328, Mercedes C300, or Lexus IS250.
Audi completely redesigned the A4 for 2009, and this latest generation is as closely related to the recent A5 coupe and cabriolet as to the previous A4 sedan. At once familiar as an Audi yet obviously new, the A4 was changed most in ways you can't see. The current A4 is wider and longer but no taller than its predecessor. It's larger inside with the most notable improvement to rear-seat legroom, and it has a more usable trunk that is easier to load. A large increase in wheelbase, which is more than six inches longer than before, increases cabin space and improves ride quality and handling. And an adjustable suspension similar to that used on larger Audis is now available.
Despite its modest size the A4 comes well-equipped with leather, moonroof and automatic climate control as standard. Features normally associated with big luxury cars are available, such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and a half-kilowatt surround-sound system.
2010 A4 Prestige models come with voice-control navigation, and all navigation-equipped A4's feature third-generation MMI (Audi's Multi-Media Interface) and Sirius traffic updates. A Bang & Olufsen audio system is optional on Premium Plus as well as Prestige models; and Premium models package Bluetooth and Homelink as a single option.
All three 2010 A4 trim levels (Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige) now share the same engine, a 211-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four. Sedans are available with front-wheel drive and a CVT automatic; or all-wheel drive with either a six-speed manual or six-speed Tiptronic automatic. The A4 Avant station wagon comes exclusively with the six-speed automatic and quattro all-wheel drive, and so it starts at a somewhat higher price. EPA ratings range from 18/27 to 23/30 mpg.
For 2010, Audi has re-introduced the truly high-performance S4 sedan, packing a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 positively rippling with 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque; and pawing the pavement through a rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive and 18-inch wheels. Unique appearance items inside and out guarantee that neither you nor your neighbors will forget what you're driving.
We've found these latest 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. This latest-generation A4 rides like a larger car than did the pre-2009 models, but it also handles better than it did before. The front-drive A4 is not as delicately precise as a rear-drive 3 Series. But the quattro holds its own against the other all-wheel-drive cars. It more than holds its own in the rain against other sporty cars as well.
The 2010 Audi A4 is available as a four-door sedan or wagon (which Audi calls the Avant). The high-performance S4 is offered as a sedan only.
The A4 2.0T Premium sedan ($31,450) is the entry-level model, and comes with a 2.0-liter, 211-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, continuously variable transmission (CVT), front-wheel drive, and speed-variable Servotronic power steering. Also standard are AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary input and Sirius Satellite radio, single-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with redundant controls, leather seats with power adjustment up front, aluminum interior trim, split folding rear seat, sunroof, fog lamps, alarm, and 17-inch wheels.
The A4 2.0T quattro Premium sedan ($32,350) is equipped similarly, but with all-wheel drive and six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed Tiptronic automatic is optional ($1,200). Yet another variation is the A4 2.0T quattro Premium Avant ($35,350), an all-wheel-drive wagon with Tiptronic transmission. The Avant comes standard with the Open Sky panoramic sunroof.
The Premium Plus package ($3,550) for all the above models adds three-zone climate control, iPod and Bluetooth interfaces, heated front seats, driver information display, Homelink, rain-sensing wipers, automatic xenon headlights, LED running lamps and taillamps, and chrome window trim. A Sport package ($1,450) adds 18-inch road wheels, three-spoke steering wheel (with shift paddles on automatic cars) and sport seats and suspension. Other options include heated front seats ($450), iPod interface ($300), Bluetooth/Homelink package ($700), dark walnut or almond beige ash interior trim ($400), floor mats ($200) and exhaust tips ($130). Offered only with the Premium Plus package is a Bang & Olufsen stereo ($850); the 18-inch wheels and tires without the Sport package ($800); and a navigation system with 3G MMI, voice control, rear parking sensors, rearview camera, and color display ($2,500).
The Prestige package ($9,200) includes 18-inch wheels, the Bang & Olufsen stereo with DVD player, advanced keyless starting, auto-dimming mirrors inside and out, memory for driver's seat and mirrors, compass, and voice-control navigation with 3G MMI. The Driver Assist package ($800) with lane change assistant, rear parking sensors and rearview camera; 18-inch chrome wheels with summer-performance tires ($850); adaptive cruise control ($2,100); the Drive Select package ($2,950) with driver-adjustable adaptive steering and suspension damping; the S-Line package ($2,450) with sport seats featuring Alcantara inserts, brushed aluminum interior trim, black headliner, unique bumpers and side sills, sport suspension and performance tires on 19-inch wheels; and sunshades for the rear and rear-door windows ($500).
The S4 quattro sedan, powered by a 333-horsepower supercharged 3.0-liter V6, and available with six-speed manual ($45,900) or seven-speed S tronic automatic ($47,300) transmission. Standard trim for the S4 is Premium Plus; also standard are high-performance tires on 18-inch wheels and S4-specific steering and suspension. Prestige trim ($6,100) in this case includes all of the A4's Prestige goodies plus 19-inch wheels. Choose the Driver Select package ($3,950) for S4, and you can also opt for an electronically controlled rear differential ($1,100) which communicates with the Driver Select electronics. Exclusive interior options includes Silk Nappa leather seats ($1,000) and Carbon Atlas ($500), Stainless & Piano Black($750), or gray birch ($500) inlay panels. Otherwise options are similar to A4, albeit sometimes priced higher.
Safety features for all A4s include two-stage driver and adaptive passenger frontal airbags, side-impact airbags, curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, Backguard headrests; electronic stability control, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, and tire pressure monitors. Rear side-impact airbags are optional ($350) on all models. As noted above, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, rear camera, and park assist are included in specific option packages; and quattros are equipped with all-wheel drive.