4.17.2010

Audi A4 Review



When you make a nearly perfect car, you take a big risk with any revisions.

That's the position Audi was in when it updated the A4 this year.

By and large, they did okay.

                            

Styling changes are so subtle that you almost have to park an '09 and a '10 next to each other to see them.

One place where I think they missed it was the new taillamp design. I can't put my finger on it, but it reminds me of a car from years back...and it's not a good memory.

Beyond that, though, the look is still classic Audi A4, with a hint more muscle. 

Under the hood, the 2.0 model I tested has 211 horsepower....not blistering, but more than adequate, mated to a six-speed Tiptronic transmission.

                           

One worry I have is with the new A4's interior. For more than a decade, Audi's not only had the best interiors in the business, but each new generation upped the ante. This time around, it was still very, very good...but the sense of advancement was gone. In fact, a couple of surfaces...especially around the audio system drives (CD and dual SD cards) felt a bit cheap...a lower-grade plastic. I hope I'm wrong or that Audi will correct it.

The base price remains reasonable for a premium compact sedan: $33,550...but options run up the tab fast.  Our tester had Deep Sea Blue Pearl Effect paint ($475), $3500 for the Premium Plus package (Xenon plus headlights, LED daytime runninglamps and taillamps, 17" 10-spoke alloy wheels and all-season tires, a Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, three-zone climate control, heated front seats, Homelink garage door opener, exterior chrome window trim, Audi Music Interface (which replaces the auxilary input) , driver information system with trip computer and a rain/light sensor.

But there's more. Throw in $2500 for the navigation package with camera (we wouldn't...cell phones have GPS), $400 for dark walnut wood inlays and $130 for exhaust tips. Factor in $825 for destination charges and you're at $41,830.

Not cheap. But (apart from that worrisome interior plastic), not a cheap car. Still one of my favorites.

EPA estimates: 21 city/27 highway.

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