STILL AUDI AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, May 4, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
The original A4 was the car that brought Audi back from the brink of extinction. It’s the car that Audi introduced the Porsche-licensed Tiptronic manumatic transmission. And it’s also the car that introduced the 1.8T engine to the world—deemed one the 10 best at the time. Today, the Tiptronic is an 8-speed, and the turbo four has evolved to two liters, but it’s just as highly regarded. Editor John-Fredrik Wright takes on this most modern of A4s to see if it still rises to the occasion. By John-Fredrik Wright I have a favorite place where I can get a quick overview of a vehicle’s handling. It is an upward sloping 270-degree ramp connecting two 40mph roads. There is good visibility coming onto the beginning of it and the curve is fairly tight, definitely tight enough to make the anti-spin or ESP engage in most cars if you gun it. The fact that it is upward sloping makes it harder for the car to get going too much, and easier for the driver to rein in the horses, if need be. This is a great place where, without breaking any speed limits or other laws, I can test a car’s handling in a quick, tight turn. The Audi A4 Quattro is the first sedan where I had to let off the gas because I was running out of road before it started to slip.
Using the Tiptronic, I shifted down while setting up in the right lane. Looking up to make sure the ramp was free, I accelerated and sharply turned the wheel. At about the one-third marker I usually start to see some under steer as the corner tightens and the car has picked up some speed. There was none. At about two-thirds through, I had to let up on the accelerator to make sure I did not come speeding out of the ramp. The Quattro had kept the car going where I pointed it through the entire turn, even with me intentionally accelerating as the corner tightened. I am impressed. I mentioned shifting down before hitting the ramp. Let’s make one thing clear; when driving in Tiptronic mode with 8 gears to choose from, the driver better be really good at remembering what gear they are in or they will be spending a lot of precious time looking at the indicator. The eight gears allow for miserly gas consumption on the freeway, and when you are cruising around town there is plenty of power in the 2.0T. It will pull strongly in any gear you might be in. The shifts are fast and extremely smooth, both in Tiptronic and sport mode. In the “normal” Drive mode, emphasis is on smoothness (this car cruises forward with barely noticeable shifts), but the quickness and sportiness of an Audi is definitely on display. The 2.0T undeniably has a large “T” in it. The turbo kicks in and offers the driver an extra edge of fun without always guzzling gas. Drive the A4 very peacefully and you’ll get superior gas mileage, yet whenever you need it, or want it, the turbo will kick in and get you up and going in a heartbeat.
The A4 interior is typical Audi - robust and stylish. A sporty steering wheel with paddle-shifters sets the tone for the driver. The seats are sporty yet comfortable, and include a piece that extends out towards your knee; excellent support for the long-legged. The knobs and dials to control the Audi infotainment system take a while to get used to. Maybe not as intuitive as one would hope for, but it only takes a day or two to get used to the German way of thinking. The Audi A4 is not made for four adults on a long road-trip. The back seat is actually quite a bit smaller than what I had expected. Maybe it’s because I see the A4 as a full-size sedan, when it really isn’t, but I was expecting to be able to seat two adults in the back seat for longer stretches with no problems. The seats are comfortable and all that, there just isn’t enough legroom for larger occupants to move about. Around town there will probably be no problems, but on longer trips the rear occupants better be children or at least rather small adults. Headroom in the front is normal, but the sloping style of the A4’s rear takes its toll on the headroom for the rear passengers. There are actually small indentations into the ceiling of the rear seat to increase, albeit incrementally, the space for an adult head. The back seat does, however, have the luxury of their own fan, so comfort in the form of air and seat cushion might make up for the lack of head space.
In my mind, the exterior of an Audi never disappoints. The A4 is no exception. From the front spoiler looking sporty, classy, and refined all at once, all the way back to the third pillar swooping from the roof down to the trunk and on to the double exhaust pipes on one side of the vehicle, the A4 is all-around appealing. The relatively new daylight running lights (DLR) that have become iconic of the Audi line-up, are as always, very appealing. The DLR, together with the spoiler and sleek lines of the hood, amplify the great stance; yet also exude a great amount of class. All at once. In summation, the Audi A4 is all you ever wished for. A great drive with lots of goodies. The Audi Music Interface with iPod integration (who doesn’t have an iPod nowadays?), is a great way to access your pod while on the road. The sunroof has incremental steps, just in case you can’t make up your mind if you want it open or not. The trunk is spring-loaded, making it very easy to open, and if you need more space than what the trunk offers; just fold down the rear seats (either, or both) and voila, you’ve got space for even a surfboard. For more information on Audi products, go to audiusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS: Name of vehicle: 2011 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro Tiptronic Sedan Price: $34,140 (base) $40,470 (and as tested) EPA fuel economy rating: 21 mpg (city)/29 mpg (highway) Engine size and type: 2.0 liter turbocharged with intercooler, DOHC in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine with FSI® direct injection, variable valve timing and Audi valvelift system Horsepower: 211 @ 4300-6000 rpm Torque: 258 lb-ft. @ 1500-4200 rmp Transmission type: 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic and Dynamic Shift Program Drive configuration: Quattro permanent all-wheel drive system with rear torque bias Steering (type): Servotronic speed sensitive power steering Suspension (front and rear): Dynamic five-link front suspension Dynamic trapezoidal link, fully independent, rear suspension Brakes: ABS with Brake assist Automatic brake disc wiping Wheels and tires: 17’’ Alloy wheels, 225/50 all-season tires Dimensions Length: 185.2 in. Width: 79 in. Height: 56.2 in. Curb weight: 3715 lbs