By on September 22, 2008

Over the last few years, the last generation Audi A4 was growing increasingly stale. Updated offerings from BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, everyone but Volvo have overtaken Ingolstadt’s brot und butter model. To keep the faith– or at least the faithful– Audi’s engineers initiated a massive redesign of the A4. Obviously, it’s a better car. Vorsprung and all that. But can the new A4 leapfrog the luxury brat pack? Or is it more of the same? Yes.

If the new A4′s front end looks vaguely familiar, it’s because you’ve already seen it (essentially) on the A5. I’ve never been a fan of the A4’s slightly bulbous looks (too much like a fancy-schmancy Passat). The new version is a cheeky twist on the old one, like a sci-fi cinematic remake that acknowledges its predecessor even as it blows it away. The new car’s wider track gives the A4 a more menacing look than before, and the rest of the design returns Audi to its recent understated aggression remit. Now, if they only modified Billy the Big Mouth Bass for U.S. license plates…

Inside, the A4′s impresses at one of the most important touch points: the steering wheel. Granted, the fat helm isn’t as ergasmic as the GTI’s tiller, but I’ll have what she’s having. Unfortunately, the rest of the Audi driver’s zone has been afflicted with the same button-itis infecting Acura’s offerings (paging Steve Jobs). Learning to master the farrago of functions puts drivers on a learning curve on par with differential equations. Fortunately, the A4′s fit and finish maintain Audi’s unique selling point. And thanks to a longer wheelbase, the A4′s rear compartment finally offers what Americans call “legroom.”

As before, the A4′s engine bay packs either a 2.0T four or a 3.2 V6. Despite making a class trailing 265 horsepower, the six-pot’s been tuned to deliver more of what pistonheads like at lower rpms. Combined with direct injection, both fuel efficiency and driveability are improved; there’s none of that nasty lag commonly associated with drive-by-wire throttles. Not even when you’re trying to recreate the official zero to sixty sprint of six point nothing seconds.

The A4′s automatic transmission is a very fine thing indeed. The six-speeds come and go with such ease that you’d be forgiven for thinking the A4 was packing a DSG instead of ye olde Tiptronic. Better yet, the slushbox rev-matches downshifts so smoothly they’re literally imperceptible. So, wafting.

The A4 sits on the model’s first new platform since the Manic Street Preacher’s singer walked away from his Vauxhall Cavalier (1995). There’s a better balanced body and a new Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The latter now splits torque 40 percent front/60 percent rear, making the A4 feel more like a rear wheel-drive car. While understeer isn’t banished entirely, it’s no longer the A4′s defining dynamic response.

And then there’s “Audi Drive Select.” At the touch of a button you can modify the vehicle’s throttle response, shift points, suspension, power steering boost and steering ratio. Switching between ‘comfort’ and ‘dynamic/sport’ changes the A4 from comfortable cruiser to corner carver. No really. You can also let the car decide: automatic mode reads your inputs and tightens or loosens all those variables as the car sees fit. Or, you can customize all your settings (good luck with that).

Audi brags that they adapted the A4′s steering system from the NASA moon rover program. On the dark side, you’re good to go. At speed, the ECU reduces the steering ratio such that barely a half turn of the wheel is required to follow even the tightest of hairpins. In “dumb down mode,” on long straight stretches of road, the A4′s steering wil leave you craving the slightest hint of gravity. Yes, the system eliminates the over-correction some sports-oriented sedans experience during an ‘OHSHIT’ situation. But Quattro or no Quattro, on-center feel is something Audi should, finally, fix.

It’s really too bad that you can’t buy/lease a BMW 335xi for the same amount of money as the A4 3.2 and have the fist of an angry God under-hood. But you can’t, so there. Besides, who needs all that power (other than you and me)? And the Lexus, Infiniti and the Caddy equivalents lack Audi’s Germanic, uh, stolidity. Anyway, the Audi A4 still has a big question mark over its reliability, but it’s a fine steer. And it no longer carries the stigma of offering less for more. It is, once again, a sensible choice for sensible people who want to appear slightly sporty in a sensible way and might, on the rare occasion, in bad weather, be late for a dentist appointment.

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95 Comments on “2009 Audi A4 3.2 Quattro Review...”


  • avatar

    I’ll have an initial result for reliability as soon after a few dozen owners sign up to participate in TrueDelta’s research. Know an owner? Send them here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    So far the 2005.5-2008s actually have been holding up well.

    I drove the 2.0T a few weeks ago, and came away decidedly less impressed. But then the 3.2 should eliminate the non-premium noises of the 2.0T, and the Drive Select Package eliminates the all-over-the-map base steering. The bargain basement door pulls should carry over, though. Seems the 2.0T might warrant its own review.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    It’s $45,000 and sensible. Forgive me for sounding like I’m complaining about star inflation, but is it really that much better than the very long list of cars that can be had for $45,000?

    Perhaps I need to see the interior in person to convince me. The old A4 interior was ergonomic and solid, but the sheer wall of black plastic did nothing in terms of visual interest for me. In pictures the new interior seems hardly less boring, but maybe that changes from behind the drivers’ seat.

    In the meantime, that’s a lot of dough for not enough go. If I’m going to put up with Audi reliability and Audi dealers, shouldn’t there be some special reward in the driving experience? Or will I melt too when it winks its LED eyelashes at me?

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Brian E :

    I feel the exact same way about this car. I have never really seen the point of the A4, it’s sporty, but not really. It’s not slow, but not exactly fast either. It looks good, but not great. It’s comfortable, but not that comfortable, and the interior that people rave about strikes me as utterly boring and drab. The rear seat has always been tiny too, but I guess the newer version has rectified this issue.

    I think the closing line says it all-if I wanted to “appear slightly sporty in a sensible way” and was late to a dentist appointment in bad weather then this might be the perfect car. Otherwise, there are a ton of other cars at this price point I’d rather drive.

    It just seems like an alright car that does nothing particularly well. This goes for pretty much every Audi (R8 included) except the A8, which seems like a truly comfortable, well-appointed cruiser in a class where corner-carving takes a back seat (literally) to comfort.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Anyway, the Audi A4 still has a big question mark over its reliability,

    From what I’ve seen in CR, Audi is getting better. They’re not Lexus, but they’re not awful, either. I’d wish I had the ability to see how these are holding up five to eight years from now.

    But Quattro or no Quattro, on-center feel is something Audi should, finally, fix.

    This seems like another case of German “Technology for Technology’s Sake”; Audi’s doing this because BMW has “Active Steering” and we can’t let a bullet point be left undefended.

    Electric power steering isn’t bad in and of itself, and it does reduce fuel usage, but why Mazda and Honda (well, at least the Fit) are the only makes that do it right is surprising.

    And the Lexus, Infiniti and the Caddy equivalents lack Audi’s Germanic, uh, stolidity

    This is something I’ve always liked about Japanese cars, and it’s sad to see that Lexus, for example, dialled the rawness out of the IS and Infinti civilized the G35. Japanese cars feel light, European cars seem heavy. I like the relative lack of composure this is implies, but the market seems to be going the other way.

  • avatar
    IGB

    The new A4 looks marvelous. Having owned a first gen A4, I agree design has been lacking. Visually, the A4 is back.

    The A5 comes with a 6 speed. I don’t see it with the A4. Is it planned for the US or has Audi thrown in the towel on the enthusiast?

    Is Audi no longer competing with BMW and setting sights on lazy Lexus drivers? Even Mercedes has thrown us a bone with a manual in the C class.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Please note, this is for the 3.2 Quattro with the Audi Drive Select Package. It is absolutely amazing to drive but I can’t speak for lesser-equipped models. Michael, the 2.0T should definitely have a separate review.

    It is pricey, but Audi’s engineers have made it worth every penny. If you have that many pennies.

    And as far as star inflation goes, let’s face it kids, cars aren’t getting *worse*. It’s harder to find a one-star car than a four or even five-star car anymore.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    The 2.0T base car with sport package at $35k is well-priced and a good value. The tester here, a 3.2 V6 Prestige package with Drive Select, is over $50k. That’s S4 (and 335xi) territory. You have to be careful of optioning this car out of contention.

    Also, note that Audi is having huge supply problems, and the sport/S-Line packages are not available for order yet.

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    I really want to like the new A4 as I’m intending to downsize from the Acura TL. Too bad Bimmer’s are so overpriced.

    I do like the styling of the A4 wagon though. Go figure. What to do…?

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Since I live in a state that requires a front license plate the Audi grill is a deal breaker. Audi can design some sexy sheet metal curves, why can’t they get the bumper/grill to jive with my plate?

    I’d be interested in how many vehicles Audi sells in N. America vs. Europe. Seems mighty arrogant to design the nose without considering the license plate size in the largest global vehicle market.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    Electric power steering isn’t bad in and of itself, and it does reduce fuel usage, but why Mazda and Honda (well, at least the Fit) are the only makes that do it right is surprising.

    This trend amazes me. Even Honda can’t quite get it right. The Fit is go, but the new TSX steers like it’s had one too many Red Bull and vodkas – a marked change from the sublime directness and precision of the old hydraulic setup. The GTI is decent and offers a more linear feel, but VW confuses effort with feedback.

    What’s the advantage that is gained from these systems? Is the net effect on fuel economy really that great? Are they cheaper to design or manufacture? Really, I don’t get it. It seems like gadgetry for the point of gadgetry to me.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I know stars are a very subjective thing, and I doubt that anybody is going to base a purchase solely on the number of stars a car gets in a review, but I don’t see 4 stars worth of difference between the A4 and the similarly-priced STS. They both seem to be throughly unremarkable but competent cars

  • avatar
    saikyan

    I have to say, the 5 star rating confuses me. 5 stars is a perfect score, but the review reads like a 4-star car. It’s not really glowing, its more like, “good, but room for improvements.”

    Speaking on the DSG, I wonder why they opted to use a conventional automatic instead… On a car with so many features for driver customization, you’d think they would want to throw the worlds greatest “flappy paddle gearbox” in there. Having experienced the joys of the DSG myself, I feel it would be a significant selling point.

    And while this car has a lot going for it, I still think the G35/37 is offering more for your money.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    seoultrain

    The one I drove was about $45k… not as tricked out as it could have been, and I think you can actually get the drive select on a less apportioned version for closer to $42k.

    Brian E

    That was the best description I’ve ever seen of the GTI’s steering.

    thetopdog

    Go flog one around for a while and see what you think. If you honestly thing a lame duck caddy deserves the same rating as a brand-spanking-new A4 with all the fun toys, then you’re smoking something.

    saikyan

    Read the star ratings. I do the stars separate from the review and directly compare the car to its competitors, then take the average of those at the end. Yeah, I’m going to find a few things to whine about in the review, but they’re not deal breakers, especially when you consider it’s all stuff the A4′s competitors suffer from as well (button-itis, numb steering, etc). Go get yourself a G35/37… the A4 feels like it was designed by people that actually cared about driving, not just accountants trying to make a car look great on paper by cramming a big engine in it.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What’s the advantage that is gained from these systems? Is the net effect on fuel economy really that great? Are they cheaper to design or manufacture? Really, I don’t get it. It seems like gadgetry for the point of gadgetry to me.

    It’s significant, especially on smaller-engined cars. The engine doesn’t have to run the pump constantly, which is quite a load even for a blown four.

    You’ll see more of this as hybrid powertrains become more prevalent, allowing manufacturers to transcend the limits of the twelve-volt automotive battery. Electric AC compressors will be next

    This trend amazes me. Even Honda can’t quite get it right.

    But Mazda can. Consistently. I don’t understand Honda’s take on the TSX, but I suspect it’s the same as the Germans: too in love with their own engineering prowess to step back and see the system as a functioning product.

  • avatar
    JJ

    The rear looks way better in person than on that picture.

    From what I’ve read in other reviews though, I heard the steering and suspension is less ‘sporty’ compared to the previous model, which I really liked. Mind you though, those reviews almost always were based on the lesser models that are more relevant in Europe (2.0 TDI, 1.8T, 2.0T).

    Another thing I don’t like about the new A4 is the styling of the Avant version. It always used to be the one to go for, but now they made it ugly somehow. Shame, cause the A6 wagon looks great IMO.

    All things considered I’d prefer the dreier. Those I6s are pure gold.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    @ Megan:

    What would you rate the 335xi? I realize its more money but who needs awd anyway? At the end of the day the Audi still has a fwd layout, although I do appreciate Ingolstadt’s compromise on engine placement, has questionable reliability w/o a free 4 year/50K maintenance program, and less engine. IMHO, it looks nice, ok much better than the Bimmer, but doesn’t compare otherwise.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    It’s not that expensive when you compare it to the A6, which is slower, uglier, older, and less technologically advanced!

    Just think of it as a cheap, slightly smaller A6 with a Stormtrooper hat?

    Sounds like a wonderful car, though.

  • avatar

    I drove the 3.2 at an Audi Driving Experience day at Summit Point in August, against a number of competitive AWD vehicles: Lexus 250IS, BMW 328xi, MB C300 (I think).

    We got to compare these on the autocross track and then took the A4 out on the big track for a few higher speed laps. Tons of fun and a great way to do some head-to-head comparisons quickly.

    I drove with a couple who hadn’t made up their mind yet and were cross-shopping all the vehicles we drove. Consensus was that the BMW interior was the worst, but handled great. The MB cabin had some cheap-feeling bits and mushy brakes. The Lexus had the best-feeling interior, but was sloooow. The Audi had more pep then we expected and I was very happy to see the interior room improved from the B7 models.

    While I’m biased toward Audi (’06 S4 owner), I thought it was the best vehicle out there, as did my co-drivers, who came away as likely buyers.

    The price is something that Audi should be worried about, though. The pre-drive presentation of the vehicles showed the A4 to be significantly more expensive than the Lexus, and over the sticker of the MB and BMW. If they are indeed targeting the lazy Lexii driver market, price is going to be an object.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    And thanks to a longer wheelbase, the A4’s rear compartment finally offers what Americans call “legroom.”

    Thank God. Most German cars have terrible rear legroom, but the A4 was exceptional. I think the A3 was more commodious.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    Megan Benoit :
    The one I drove was about $45k… not as tricked out as it could have been, and I think you can actually get the drive select on a less apportioned version for closer to $42k.

    At the moment, ADS is Prestige-only, but you’re right, ADS can be had for $46k. But good luck finding a top-level trim with no other options. Sport Package and Nav bumps it over 50k.

  • avatar
    Wulv

    Nice review, enjoyable read.

  • avatar
    sean362880

    romanjetfighter -

    It’s not that expensive when you compare it to the A6, which is slower, uglier, older, and less technologically advanced!

    Yeah, but you can easily get a 1-year old A6 with the 4.2 V8 for $40k. That’s more car and faster than the ’09 3.2 A4, and for less cash.

    Bottom line, the new A4 3.2 is overpriced. Nice car though.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Almost forgot this:
    Speaking on the DSG, I wonder why they opted to use a conventional automatic instead… On a car with so many features for driver customization, you’d think they would want to throw the worlds greatest “flappy paddle gearbox” in there. Having experienced the joys of the DSG myself, I feel it would be a significant selling point.

    I may be wrong but I don’t think the current wet clutch DSG can handle as much power as this one puts out. Maybe when they get the new dry clutch DSG going they’ll drop it in the A4 quattro.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    The A4 should never cross over $40k, period. It’s a freaking (very fancy) smaller Passat.

    And those LED lights? Reminds me of the emo kids clustered together in the cafeteria. They’ll grow out of it.

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    Psar, I’m sad to say that even Mazda may have messed up the steering in their new Mazda6. I died a little inside when I turned that wheel for the first time.

  • avatar
    ajla

    @Megan:
    Go get yourself a G35/37… the A4 feels like it was designed by people that actually cared about driving, not just accountants trying to make a car look great on paper by cramming a big engine in it.

    Obviously not a big fan of the G lineup?

    Good review. That Audi Drive Select system sounds like alot of fun for the owner (assuming it doesn’t break). BMW has something similar in the $90K M5 and M6 don’t they?

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Megan Benoit :

    I never suggested the A4 and STS drive the same, I just said I don’t see 4-stars worth of difference between the two cars. I do understand that two different people reviewed the two cars so the stars aren’t directly comparable, but from what I’ve read the STS seems like a 2/5 and the A4 3/5. Admittedly I haven’t driven either (although I’ve driven an older A4 and STS, and sat in the new STS), but I don’t need to because neither of these cars appeal to me enough for me to even consider buying one. Especially with so many other great cars (both new and used) in the $40-50k range

  • avatar
    ash78

    Nice review. I think the smart money will be on waiting a couple of years and buying a used 2.0T 6MT for around $20k, then chipping it for an instant and reliable 250hp and 32mpg (give or take). Best of both worlds.

    Don’t get me wrong–I love a nice, smooth V6 (I’ve got the Audi 2.8 in my car), but I’d love to be able to help the balance and the economy, all while saving some money.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I don’t like Audi’s but this Audi is exceptional.

    I never seen an Audi so nice and so different from other Audi. The rear is so different and front end is so 21st century.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @Megan Benoit
    I may be wrong but I don’t think the current wet clutch DSG can handle as much power as this one puts out. Maybe when they get the new dry clutch DSG going they’ll drop it in the A4 quattro.

    The dry clutch DSG can handle even less torque than the wet-clutch one from the GTI and 2.0 TDI. The wet-clutch one would handle this engine nicely, but is not made for longitudinally mounted engines. The DSG for longitudinally mounted engines just debuted on the Q5. The A4 will probably get it at the next refresh, but since the US Q5 will have a conventional slushbox, the A4 will probably follow that path as well.

    @alja
    Good review. That Audi Drive Select system sounds like alot of fun for the owner (assuming it doesn’t break). BMW has something similar in the $90K M5 and M6 don’t they?

    Opel has something like that in the Astra. Volkswagen has in the Scirocco. It’s not that special.

  • avatar
    John R

    Go get yourself a G35/37… the A4 feels like it was designed by people that actually cared about driving, not just accountants trying to make a car look great on paper by cramming a big engine in it.

    I guess I must have been smoking something. The G35s was a freakin’ riot when I drove it. The Z lives in that car.

  • avatar
    healinginfluence

    I agree it’s a great car but in my opinion the exterior styling is mundane. But that’s just me.

  • avatar
    Mark Morrison

    I so want this car to be great because I drive a 3 series, love the car but am tired of the caricature of a brand image it drags along as baggage. In addition I don’t like a choice of one for a small sports sedan / wagon.

    The 2.0T seems like a good performer, but call me snobbish, I prefer more cylinders to be at my beck and call. I would love a 300bhp supercharged V6, quatto Avant for $40K, but then I woke up.

    Megan, is the new A4 finally a 3-series alternative for the enthusiast who must also drive in the real world or are we destined to be inexorably pulled in by the 335, baggage be damned?

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Mirko Reinhardt

    Easy to say until you’ve actually driven it. It may be in theory the same thing, but the whole package is unique in the marketplace and you cannot compare it. Speed adaptive steering is not new, how Audi does it is (how responsive/unresponsive it depends on not just your speed, but what mode you are in, how hard you are pushing the car, etc).

  • avatar
    ajla

    Opel has something like that in the Astra. Volkswagen has in the Scirocco. It’s not that special.

    Do you mean “It’s not that special” as in “It’s not much fun”, or as in “It isn’t a very unique feature because lesser cars have something similar”?

  • avatar
    Ashkan

    I saw one of these a couple of days ago. It looks awfully boring. Audi has taken the same sausage-different sizes syndrome to a new level.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Megan, is the new A4 finally a 3-series alternative for the enthusiast who must also drive in the real world or are we destined to be inexorably pulled in by the 335, baggage be damned?

    Tricked out like the one I drove? Yes. Without the ADS? Ehhhh…

  • avatar
    rpenna

    I really want to like this car. But, if you’re going to deck it out to “enthusiast” level at over 45 grand, I can’t help but look at cars that are $10,000 cheaper that could outperform it in acceleration and handling with 2-3 grand in mods.

    That being said, it sure is a great looking car. If they got that engine up to 290-300hp, it’d be worth a look. At 265, direct injected or not, it should be 38 grand.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    Megan -

    I find this interior to be easily best in class, yet you write, “Unfortunately, the rest of the Audi driver’s zone has been afflicted with the same button-itis infecting Acura’s offerings”

    What don’t you like about it? I think it’s stunning in execution, detail, and lack of drabness and cheapness. Ok, maybe the lexus IS series has a better interior….but I think the new A4/A5 is more exciting.

    Regarding the 2.0T….this is no longer the same engine as previous. Supposed to have significantly better fuel economy (i.e. around 12-15% I believe) and it puts out ~211 HP and 258 lb/ft of torque.

    That torque should feel very nice in the parasitically-dragged upon AWD drivetrain.

    Joe

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Joe O
    There’s too damn many buttons! Trying to sort out how to do anything requires way, way too much time. But all the other luxury cars are the same way, I just like to complain about it. I gave it 5 stars, what more do you want?

  • avatar
    Johnson Schwanz

    So this car is highly rated because it’s not as fast as the 335xi, has a cluttered dash, and finally gives legroom that is expected at its inflated (45K for “entry-level” luxury) price?

    To answer a question posed on this site a few weeks ago, I think the star rating, like MSNBC and recent US government spending, has indeed become very, very liberal.

  • avatar

    Personally, I feel Audi’s are cheap BMW’s. And I’ve driven the best of their line. The A8L and the W12.

    Audi is a cheaper product but they do succeed in spots BMW fails, like in making the MMI better than the i-drive.

    I just can’t get excited about an Audi. That’s why I chose a S550 over the A8.
    The BMW 750 drives better than all the rest though.

  • avatar
    saikyan

    Go get yourself a G35/37… the A4 feels like it was designed by people that actually cared about driving, not just accountants trying to make a car look great on paper by cramming a big engine in it.

    I guess I must have been smoking something. The G35s was a freakin’ riot when I drove it. The Z lives in that car.

    My thoughts exactly, John R. When I think of an accountants car, I think of the Acura TL. The G35 is immensely competitive in all respects… it doesn’t just look great on paper, it’s glorious to drive and the big engine is standard across the line. Unlike the rest.

  • avatar
    Jim K

    I also had the opporutnity to drive one of these at the Audi Driving Expereince, both autocross and a high speed (relatively) track session at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

    The car is nice, but not $46k nice. Definite sticker shock. I would like to see what a 2.0T Quattro S-Line model will sticker at. $35-38k would be much more palatable.

    In all honesty, if I was writing the check for this car or any of its competitors it would be the MB C300, and that’s coming from a BMW guy. The new C-class is very nice in this price range.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    At $45K and 17/26, I’ll pass.

    Audi reliability is such that this is too big a bet. Depreciation will make these a good buy used.

  • avatar

    In the cars I’ve driven with fly by wire, they haven’t had any lag – they’ve been razor sharp to a fault. Especially the G35, it feels like you are stepping on a detonator button for the first half of the pedal travel, then it softens up towards then end of the travel. Fun at first, then a pain in the ass because you can’t waft when the engine gives nothing less than 25% throttle, RIGHT NOW, no matter how light you are on the pedal.

    Now they are sticking these doodads on motorcycles. Oh goody. All I need is even less connection to the machine to make me happy /sarcasm.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Can’t wait for the electronic gremlins.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Megan,

    GREAT comment on the third picture!!! That’s Audi’s ying to BMW’s yang, ain’t it?

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    Woah, just noticed RS4 rims in the pictures. Those are definitely not stock American market. Where’d you guys get those shots?

  • avatar
    DearS

    I think this may be the perfect car for me. I hope I can test drive one and one day afford it. For the time being I’ll just fun my E30 and become a better driver. The new A4 sounds like the car I wanted. Man am I no were near $45K though! There are a bunch of whips out there for much less money. Even the C300, 328i and CTS a good bit much less. Still resonable substance is hard to come by, this car might really convince me to pursue a newer vehicle.

    Thank you for the review.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey all, wanted to share my story – looked at M-B, BMW, Infiniti, Acura and Lexus (C-Class, 3-series(x), G35X, TL/RL, 2XX) – and ultimately chose a 2009 A4 3.2 Quattro. I live in Minnesota, where bad driving weather is a given for much of the year – and Audi’s AWD is hands-down better than anyone else’s. Audi’s reputation for quality interiors is well-deserved. Way better than the BMW and Japanese options. The A4 drives, as someone put it earlier, like the designers actually care about driving; by comparison, the Japanese models – esp. the G35 – feel like soul-less cars with big engines and video-game interior and steering. The A4 is much bigger inside than these competitors as well, and I have twin 5-year olds to carry around. The other brands certainly make bigger cars, but not in my price range. Finally, the A4 gets the best mileage of any car in its class, which matters to me. How often are you drag racing these days, anyway? The A4 blows away even 3-series in slalom, which ought to be as important as horsepower. People who would opt for the G35 or BMW simply have different preferences/needs than mine, and I respect that, but for me this was not that hard of a choice, esp. given I can buy 4 years of maintenance from the dealer for $800 and not have to worry, and, buying used, I got this car for about 25% less than 2009 sticker. Try to find any car better in this class, I dare you. To get a BMW at that price you’re looking at 30K+ miles and a smaller, more sparse interior. Oh, and a lot of Yuppie brand baggage, too. No, I’m good with the A4, thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      MrSatoV

      Amen brother, well said.

      I can tell you that reliability isn’t going to be that great, but won’t suck either. That’s probably the only area the Lexus might win in. I’ve had Bimmers and I can tell you that it won’t be better than the Audi – about the same. In every other regard, the A4 is king of its class.

  • avatar
    Phil Roast Beef

    Great Review, Megan except that Richey James was MSP’s main lyricist and rhythm guitarist before he disappeared. James Bradfield was and is their singer.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    “JEC:”

    Most cars use drive-by-wire throttles these days, so you’d best get used to it. They can be tuned however the manufacturer deems fit, which can be good or bad. Case in point for bad:

    I had a G35x loaner for a couple of days, and between the hair-trigger throttle, the constant drone of the engine (even when just cruising on the freeway) and the binding of the AWD sytem in parking lot maneuvers , I couldn’t wait to get my own car back.

    One other point about the new A4: between the IS, G, C, 3er and the A4, the A4 is the only one with enough room for me to sit comfortably in the back seat (I’m 6’2″/200lb), so that will make the A4 an option for people who need to use the back seat regularly. It also has a huge trunk.

    I never really understood the point of 4 door sedans that don’t comfortably fit 4 adults and a decent amount of luggage…..

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    @jksross22:

    Actually it was my comment on the third pic. But I still think it’s a rich kid car. At least in my neighborhood.

  • avatar
    jbyrne

    What is ADS?

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    I sat in the new A4 a few days ago when my A6 was in for (scheduled) service. Wasn’t blown away by the seats. My ’04 S-line has very comfortable seats with great headrests. The new A4′s seats seemed harder, and the headrests were rocks.

    As for the G35, while it has grown up somewhat, it’s still a blast to drive. The VQ lacks refinement though compared to 6s from BMW, Lexus and Audi, and the inside still isn’t great. The new gauges in the Infiniti are in some ways a step forward and in some ways a step back. The old orange color was hideous, but the gauges had a simple, elegant overall look that you expect in a luxury car. The new gauges turned into multi-color cartoons, similar to the cheesy gauges that Acura uses. Audi and Lexus still rule when it comes to simple, readable, elegant gauge designs.

    If you’re interested in the new A4 V6, WAIT for the inevitable 3.0T version. The 335i is on notice.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Megan
    I test drove the 2.0 twice in the last two weeks.
    I had hoped it would actually be a large enough car for travel.
    Indeed they did a great job with the new shape.
    BUT, after all was said and totaled…the car kept rising into the 35 n up!
    Now, I am sorry…but the moment a small entry level lux car begins to smell like big money lux cars, its over.
    Hell, the wagon was way over 45 for a luxy one so I just stopped trying.
    It was fun to drive…but so is the VW Jetta and Passat with the same engine.
    All it has going for it above these is interior.

    And why would I buy this over a great many other cars like the Genesis?
    The entry IS lexus models???
    Because, I dunno…its smaller?

    I test drove the brand new Acura TL today…and damned if this car doesn’t blow the A4 away in its basic clothes.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    maybe Megan should test the STS.
    If the Audi is a five …The Cadillac should at least rate a 3

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    I don’t understand the popularity of this artificial seam/ridge that runs along the lower portion of the sides of the car. When I look at a civic sedan, I think, ‘that’s a pretty nice looking car’ until my eyes make it down to that ridge, and then I think ‘ why did they do that?’

    New car from different continent, same shape distorting ridge.

    btw ppelico – I’ve sat in the back seat of the IS and the last generation A4 and there’s no contest – both are small but the IS is tiny! If you have a 6 footer in the driver’s seat, it’s not even adequate for children with legs that extend over the edge of the seat cushion.

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    JEC
    I noted as well that the G35 tip-in is too aggressive – makes it hard to navigate parking lots.
    I thought they were supposed to fix that a year or 2 ago.

  • avatar
    wibblywobbly

    I saw one of these on the road the other day. Nice looking, but too big. I thought it was an A6 at first.

  • avatar
    davey49

    What’s with the obsession of putting the climate controls in front of the shifter? A lot of cars are like this. They should move everything up.

  • avatar
    Uncle Rico

    I am looking to downsize a bit from my ’07 M45 (would like better gas mileage and can go a bit smaller in size) and am interested in the A4. I drive two carpoolers every day for a 24 mile commute to work and would like the rear passenger to be comfortable. Sounds like the new A4 might work in that regard. A lot of the cars I’ve thought about (3 series, G, TL feel small in the back).

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Uncle Rico :

    “A lot of the cars I’ve thought about (3 series, G, TL feel small in the back).”

    Though I haven’t compared them back to back, I’d say that the rear seat room in the new A4 is on par with the ’08 TL – decent, but not as big as your (or my) car’s. (Mine’s an ’04 A6 2.7T)

    The NEW (’09) TL, though, is supposed to be bigger yet, so you might look at that, too.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    ZCD2.7T and Uncle Rico

    I just test drove the new 09 TL yesterday and sent RF an email right away expressing my excitement at finding a new best favorite new car!
    09 TL…it is larger, and so much more.

    I have driven the new A4…very fun and roomy compared to the last.
    But pricey.
    The new MKS was better(best) lxury, but mpg was difficult to take.
    ES350 great mpg and lux, but rear size and fun factor not there.
    Avalon, great size, value and mpg…no such thing as fun.
    A6 was really good, mpg, size, fun…but expensive and really rough when compared to
    My new fav:
    The new TL.
    Ugly (well for some)
    But….
    Silent.
    Solid.
    FUN.
    26 hwy.
    Pretty good size from 08 by 2 inches, I think.
    Soft leather similar to Genesis and ES350.(Nothing comes close to MKS leather)

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I’m going to defend Megan here. The fact is that the A4 is indeed a 5-star car for Audi’s target customer… which is folks with Megan’s taste.

    If memory serves me correct, Megan has a GTI and has driven at least one Subaru. The Audi A4 is an excellent fit for someone with her tastes who wants something sporty, luxurious, European, and now has a kid or two to take care of.

    Hey, if Ford had ever decided to make the Five Hundred /Taurus into a Volvo 260 with a nicer upscale interior, I would have likely given that a five-star rating. I have a very strong bias towards Swedish engineering and the S80 underpinnings along with a great interior, and a price half as much as a current S80 would have been my ideal family car.

    I’ve never driven this Audi, and unfortunately I’ve yet to drive a modern Volvo that would pique my interest as much as my hypothetical Volvo 260 vaporware.

  • avatar
    Uncle Rico

    Thanks Z and PP…I will have to look at the new TL. I had based my opinions on the previous version TL. Agree that nothing will compare size-wise to my current M45 Sport (carpoolers always tell me how comfortable it is for them in the rear passenger spot) but nice to know there are some newer sedans that offer some space in the rear for 6 footers.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    I am with whoever said to buy a 2009 in 2011 with 2.0t and 6mt for $20,000 with CPO warranty out to 100,000 miles. Don’t even need a chip.

    Compare that to some 2011 Mazda3. Or Hyundai (I secretly want a Tiburon).

    They do ask a pretty steep premium to go from 2.0t to 3.2 non-t.

    Also, you either get it or you don’t get it with Audi. I get it. I like them and don’t care if some honda or BMW or god forbid Mercedes has 25 more HP. Enough is enough.

    Lets not talk about GM in this string.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    I was at a dinner tonight and someone asked me if I had driven the A4.
    I told them I had…and very much liked the car.
    For a car that’s not needed for largeness…it is a terrific car.
    I just wish it wasn’t so costly.
    But my wife says it is deservi ng of the price as the interior is levels above many.
    And she loved the way it drove.
    Zippy is the work she kept using to describe it.
    I told the dinner companions to visit the TTAC sight and enjoy the review.
    And then drive the car.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    I LOVE the new line of Audis. I currently have a four year old S4 Cabrio which has run flawlessly so far. Every time I drive it, I am like a grinning idiot because third gear turns it into a rocket thrillride. I can’t wait to drive the next S4 sedan or S5 Cabrio once it becomes available with the 333hp Supercharged V6. If people here think it’s a better to save $5k or so to buy a more ubiquitous car like an Infiniti or a grotesquely ugly, inherently flawed FWD Acura TL, you get what you pay for. I’d take a base CTS over a TL any day. Next Autumn, my decision is going to be between three cars, the S4/S5 or a CTS-V. I know that they won’t be the cheapest options, but for good reason. Anyway, good review. There’s much more to a car than stats on paper.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    “johnny ro

    Also, you either get it or you don’t get it with Audi.”

    Wow – what I’ve been trying to say about Audi for as long as I’ve owned one, wrapped up in one simple sentence. Thank you for simplifying my future life.

    “blue addidas

    If people here think it’s a better to save $5k or so to buy a more ubiquitous car like an Infiniti or a grotesquely ugly, inherently flawed FWD Acura TL, you get what you pay for.”

    Another great comment.

    No car is about numbers, really. They’re (for enthusiasts at least) about how they make you feel.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    I don’t compare Audi’s and BMW’s
    they are totally different cars from handling and performance.

    The Audi is more on a Rally type of a car with tremendous grip on curves. the interior I think is better than a BMW. Audi driver I think are more conservative type of people.

    The BMW is about being German that’s the only thing I can think about BMWs. The interior is never been great on a BMW and I don’t understand why Mitsubishi copied the style except the 2009 Lancer GTS has carbon fiber trim interior and paddle shifter for a econobox which BMW doesn’t have and being fast (I don’t think so)

    I noticed that BMWs drivers are more snotty.
    (Hey look at me a drive a BMW kind of mentality)

    Which I don’t get?

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    Just a quick point about the price everybody keeps complaining about. Have you looked at the US dollar lately and the financial markets? People areound the world are getting worried about the good ol’ USA but not as much as they should. That’s why the dollar is still not quite ready for its bathroom duty. But USA is as much bankrupt as the GM, Ford and Chrysler using standard accounting practices.

    This car probably costs the same in Euro so doing straight conversion, which I know some will immediately shout that that’s not proper, nevertheless, the car should cost something like 70-75K USD and without the Euro VAT 55-60K. You’re lucky this thing is listed at 45K, will probably be sold for less, possibly at a loss. Another country subsidizing US consumers.

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    So if the ‘target customer’ is a fair point as Stephen Lang suggests, isn’t the late monte carlo a five star whip for the NASCAR set?

    I drive a 08 legacy, am dead center in the cross hairs of this target market and wouldnt dream of test driving this car at $45-50K. Jaguar XF for me please.

    However, if we allow the target market argument to apply to the 5 star rating system, may I suggest another consideration that affects pratically every single family: The “other vehicle in the garage” factor. SUVs, pickups, and even minivans have never been given adequate credit for this factor.

  • avatar
    Howler

    Another great comment.
    No car is about numbers, really. They’re (for enthusiasts at least) about how they make you feel.
    This is to me THE point. Audi has completely “got it”. It being, how to sell a car by making you feel. The numbers might get you to the dealer but I’m convinced once you drive one you’re sold, as this review illustrates. Not sure what it is about european design but they understand how to make one feel special. I think it has quite a bit to do with simplicity in elegant function and design(and love of good fantasy, ya’know fairies gnomes dragons uh yeah!). As Ive mention too many times before as an owner of the latter first gen TT I am completely in love with the car. This is something I just dont think Tohonihyki or the 2.8 gets at all. They make disposable products that make you feel like a worker ant (and some people are ok with that). Granted all products are throw away these days, but rarely do you consider throwing out something that makes you feel very special every day. I was eyeing the Saab Aero X today what a frigging awesome idea for entry exit of a car, this is exactly what im talking about. You can’t put a price on good fantasy.

  • avatar
    Howler

    Gnomes…A1, Fairies…TT, Dragons…R8
    PS a company that can pull off LED eyeliner on a mom&dad mobile just rocks this world.

  • avatar
    monaco

    Long time lurker, first time poster here at TTAC. Great site by the way. I love the reviews and posts even if they are a bit short. I also agree with another poster that we’d love to see more head-to-head comparisons between comparable classes including engine tier (e.g. 335 vs A4 3.2, 328 vs A4 2.0T).

    Anyway- on topic: I’ve been excited about the 2009 A4 Avant since they announced it. My wife and I have been hoping to upgrade both the size and class of our single car household (we carpool together) from a 2004 Honda Civic coupe to the 2009 A4 Avant. We’ll take the mpg hit since the commute is relatively short, though as with many others on this site we’d be very interested in a 3.0 TDI version. (I recall rumors have that pegged for US launch in 2011 if the other TDIs for VW & Audi do well. (?))

    My main stalling point is the lack of 6MT on any of the new 2009 A4s. Of course the DSG would ease the pain if it was available, but Megan’s positive comments about the auto tranny are reassuring. I’ll make my way out to a dealer for a test drive of the sedan soon.

    I know the recently announced 333hp supercharged 2010 S4 sedan will have a 6MT, but sadly Audi says this gen won’t be available in wagon form. No matter, it will also likely be prohibitively expensive in my case.

    Speaking of price- since that seems to be the hot topic for this thread: while $45k as tested is on the high side, I’m not sure everyone noticed that the base model with the brand new 2.0T (211hp and impressive 258 ft-lb torque) starts reasonably well equipped at $32,700. Now after a couple of options, the mid $30s I can handle.

    Cheers, and thanks to the contributors for the great posts and to the readers for the great comments! I always have a better time reading this site than many others!

    PS: Any chance of a ’09 328 wagon vs ’09 A4 Avant comparison article?

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    To me Audi is a Bmw for women and metrosexuals, sporty but not too sporty, with emphasis on the style, materials, details. So in a it is a direct competitor to Bmw in a sense but really aiming for a different audience.

  • avatar
    Ach

    Audi’s naturally aspirated V6 engines have always been mediocre, and this looks no different. For this kind of money, the A4 should be getting the supercharged V6 that is going in the A6.

    The sweet spot of this car will be the 2.0T 6M- more torque, manual trans and much cheaper. The A4 will do much better in the 328i vs. A4 2.0 matchup than the 335i vs. A4 3.2.

  • avatar
    wmba

    “Since I live in a state that requires a front license plate the Audi grill is a deal breaker. Audi can design some sexy sheet metal curves, why can’t they get the bumper/grill to jive with my plate?”

    Ask the dealer like I did today. A new grille is $150 with a spot for a license plate, at least here in Canada. Since some provinces don’t require front plates, it’s optional here. The one in the showroom had the big new hunk of extra plastic. Not needed in this jurisdiction, so an order mistake, but proves Audi ain’t dumb about NA laws.

    I have owned five Audis from new in the past. So they had two A4s side by side in the showroom, the new one and the old one, same color exactly, and it took a while for me to realize the cars were different, as I was nattering to the salesman I had to “persuade” to sell me my Legacy GT last winter. Known him for decades and like to tease him a bit, as he’s so serious and measured.

    Sat in the new one, and now I know what it’s like to be a panzer commander. Only my head made it above the window sill (turret). Like sitting in a coal bin. Ah yes, the power height adjustment. Now I’ve got no headroom. Same power moonroof controls as my Legacy. But the shade was sticky to operate. Way cheaper sun visors and roof panel than the Legacy, and dead cheap aluminum strip across the dash, looking like wide Xmas ribbon. Luxury not. No gravitas. No thrill. Very sober. $52,500 with every option they could stuff in except the V6, including $3500 worth of freight, PDI and Audi Plan (free service or something) That’s $13K worth of something or other. Hmmm. But nicer than my friend’s BMW 135i interior for roughly the same loot ($46K with “M” package) except for the seats. Sorry, like my Legacy’s interior better, and the thrill of just sitting in it, looking out over that hood scoop. Just seems more special.

    My dealer is also the Subie dealer, so I beat a hasty retreat to recover my car from its 18 thou km service, for which I was ripped off to the tune of a full $47.95 including taxes. Newly washed, my Legacy looked like a shark amongst the Audi minnows. Personally, I don’t find the new A4 all that good-looking, and the Avant has that flabby Jetta wagon rear as well. Actively dislike the tail-light shape.

    Much prefer my car, thank goodness.

    I wonder which car will still be working well in 10 years, the LGT or the A4? Based on my past experience….and my ’99 Impreza which I simply tired of… you get the drift.

  • avatar
    Dane whit

    OK so I’ve read the review and the comments. So tell me What is the best Mid $30′s German car that will get me 25+ MPG? I’m looking at starting my first experience with a non-American brand. I’m looking for a good looking and fun to drive car. I have no reason at all to have a car that I can do 200mph in (that’s rediculous) I’m not going to race this thing. I just need a good dependable car with style. Is this the one?

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    I hate to say it but the closest is a R32 VW Golf. The problem with this choice is that you are taking a real leap of faith when it comes to reliability.

    If I could somehow get over that, I’d ditch the Acura and get one. And, I’d then be the coolest dad when picking up my kids at school.

  • avatar
    Dane whit

    Thanks Mike
    I had already heard that the VW’s were not very good that is why I’m looking for an entry level Audi or something like that.

  • avatar
    jstnspin82

    I like the new A4. Audi always keeps it’s styling classic but always ads more spices to the mix that make them look stunning. Although I can say I have never owned an Audi, I am an avid BMW owner and Audi is a second close choice and probably would be my only other option when it comes to top end sports sedans. I have been skeptical of Mercedes Benz since they were acquired by Daimler-Chrysler although the new CL63-AMG looks stunning and sounds like it performs well. Back to the Audi A4! I like the new A4 but when in the same class I would go with a BMW 335xi. I am a bigger gut and at 6’4″ do not fit in these smaller sedans well. I previously owned a 2003 3 series and it was small and the A4 is similar in size but for many it’s the perfect fit. Bottom line I think is the new A4 is a wonderful sports sedan with plenty of power and a great look and the interior is well put together. I have to agree with the review and give it 5 stars as well!

  • avatar
    jstnspin82

    I like the new A4. Audi always keeps it’s styling classic but always ads more spices to the mix that make them look stunning. Although I can say I have never owned an Audi, I am an avid BMW owner and Audi is a second close choice and probably would be my only other option when it comes to top end sports sedans. I have been skeptical of Mercedes Benz since they were acquired by Daimler-Chrysler although the new CL63-AMG looks stunning and sounds like it performs well. Back to the Audi A4! I like the new A4 but when in the same class I would go with a BMW 335xi. I am a bigger gut and at 6’4″ do not fit in these smaller sedans well. I previously owned a 2003 3 series and it was small and the A4 is similar in size but for many it’s the perfect fit. Bottom line I think is the new A4 is a wonderful sports sedan with plenty of power and a great look and the interior is well put together. I have to agree with the review and give it 5 stars as well! Most Sedans from Germany will have a trend of receiving high reviews, go figure!

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    For a sporty, smallish sedan where steering is not yet “on-center”, where there is no option for a manual transmission, not even (which is no longer a new thing) and where many of the features described in the review are only available at the price point listed, this car is way out there in terms of value. Put me in the group that don’t get it. I tried the last generation A4 and didn’t appreciate the interior as anything special – maybe the high end models are more evocative. No, for $45k I just can’t see the 4 star rating. The only thing I can say is that I’ve seen the new S5 and love the looks. If this car looks something like that, well, then Audi has made a some strides in aesthetics.

    Thanks for the review – have been waiting to read this one.

    wstansfi

  • avatar
    Uncle Rico

    Manual transmission model A4′s will be on dealer lots (only on the 2.0T version) in Feb or early March.

  • avatar
    fraze

    Great comments. And I bought one.

    It is all about the target audience. The A4 suits me just right:
    It’s big enough to be practical (trunk, back seat);
    I like the exterior design;
    The interior is impeccable (I figure I’m smart enough to figure out all those buttons);
    It isn’t the fastest, but its fast enough;
    The Drive Select is appealing (sometimes I want to DRIVE and sometimes just cruise).
    Many are concerned about the price. My loaded-up A4 cost more than the Infiniti G37 but less than a comparably equipped BMW.
    Car prices are swinging a lot here in Canada – Early in ’08 companies had to adjust prices down due to our strong dollar but now the dollar has weakened and they’ll have to adjust up to stay somewhat aligned with the US market. But they are under pressure from the weakening economy. The price-value comparisons between brands can change a lot over a few months depending on when each company reacts.

    My biggest challenge shopping for a small sport sedan was driver head room! I am less than 6′ 2″ but I could not sit in a Lexus IS or GS unless I reclined the seat to an uncomfortable position. The BMW 3-series sedans and Mercedes were tolerable, but still tight.

    Otherwise…
    - I’d feel pretentious in a Mercedes and I was really disappointed with the C-series. It felt like a MB for someone who couldn’t afford a real Mercedes. The exterior is too plain and parts of the interior seemed cheap. I’ll wait to consider MB when I have more money.
    - BMW out-performs the Audi, but the interiors were a letdown. And besides, everybody seems to be driving a BMW these days (yes, ’cause they are good cars, but I wanted something a bit different).
    - The Infiniti G37 sedan was amazing for performance and interior gadgetry. Plus I believe it will be very reliable. But it had more speed than I need, was a bit tight in the back seat and I just didn’t like the sedan styling. Still, great value and a good second choice for me.

  • avatar
    carm

    Having owned an ’03 A6 I can understand the reasoning behind the good remarks about the interior. It may not look good, but after being it for a while, you understand what everyone is talking about. Everything is in the correct location and does what you expect it to do.

    As far was reliability, well that was another question altogether. I no longer own the car and the chances of me owning one in the future are dim. Besides, all that I could think of is why am I paying all this money for a glorified VW?

  • avatar
    alpenlaender

    Soon there will be a Diesel Version of the new A4 in the states. Can’t wait! Somebody know where you get the B&B Bodykit in the US? Look here: http://carzette.com/diesel/bb-audi-a4-tdi-avant-dieselrocket/

  • avatar
    shi4

    DO NOT BUY THIS CAR

    The car has a manufacturer’s defect.. it’s not on every car.. but at least in the dealership i went to there are 4 other cars with the same defect.. the defect is in the steering wheel of the car and takes away from the drive of the car. Audi claims it’s not a “safety issue” and claims that the owner should put up with driving a “luxury car” that is defective. I’m warning everyone because I don’t want you to have to go through the hell I’m going through trying to get this taken care of. I was a previous owner and loved my last A4 but this car couldn’t be less like the old A4. It has none of the luxury and none of the functionality. It’s a cheap car masked in the new “hip” body. It’s a total disappointment and I couldn’t be less happy with the car.

  • avatar
    Mockingbird

    Don’t know, Shi. I love my 2 month old A4 Avant. I had some misgiving before I made my decision, but I just loved the whole package.

    Many things swayed my decision.
    1. $40K for a premium AVANT
    2. Their 2.0T FSI engine
    3. The only one I test drove that did not threaten to wreck my cervical spine with those stupid head rest that forces the driver into the posture of the Hunchback of Notre Dame – BMW 3 excluded being the exception.
    4. I have test drove the lot – Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, but for driving fun, nothing beats a BMW3. And the A4 just happened to come second.
    5. I couldn’t quite get a BMW3 with 4-wheel drive to fit my budget and with desired options, and sadly, had to give up on that idea.

    But your warning is well taken, too late. I will keep an eye out for it. From what I hear, it may not happen until after several thousand Km – mind is 5000 Km so far.

    I love the fuel economy of the A4 though – just made a 700 km return trip, through mountain highway, and achieved 7.1 l/100. Mixed driving = 7.8 to 8.2 so far. City driving varies a lot on my right foot – 10 l/100 k if I am listening to Anne Murray, and 12 l/100 k if I have Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” playing end on end.

  • avatar
    Majed Al Nasser

    I am planning to buy the A4 3.2 Quattro S line
    Is it reliable enough? I want to keep it for almost 5-6 years.

    I have to mention that i would be driving the car in weekends only, since i would be owning 2 cars.

    if there are any problems that this car presistantly suffers please let me know.

    AND if you can think of any other GERMAN car that has a price tag of around $53K plz tell me cause that is what am paying for a fully equiped A4 3.2 Quattro S Line with exclusive leather (brand new from the agency), A BMW 3 series sedan is just to ugly for me, and the mercedes C350 sedan has bad interior in my opinion.

  • avatar
    MrSatoV

    Hotly debated for a year and a half! Not surprising. I bought (leased) the 2.0T Premium Plus in October 2008 and 100% loved it… at first. I still think it looks great, drives 2nd best to the 3 series, and still love the look and intuitiveness of the interior. I traded in an ’01 BMW 530i (loaded) when I got this car. That was my 3rd BMW in a row.

    I test drove the 328, C300, and IS250 before deciding on the A4. Technically, the A4 2.0T quattro is faster than all of those. 0-60 is .2 sec faster than the BMW 320 w/auto trans. The BMW is 2nd fastest, the IS250 the slowest. The A4 is also bigger and more fuel efficient than all the rest. I really don’t think the 3.2 makes sense for this car, considering the price, for a marginal gain in performance and pretty big loss in efficiency.

    My only problem with this car, aside from price (it was cheaper than the BMW and Mercedes, and I just couldn’t deal with the IS250), is reliability. It hasn’t left me stranded yet, but has come close. First the fuel pump started going, which the dealer replaced at no cost, and even gave me a loaner car. Then I took off around a corner to merge with traffic and the transmission freaked out – put me in the twilight zone gear and gave me a message that there was a malfunction with it, and I could continue to drive it, but with reduced power and performance (not those exact words). It just felt like I was in about 4th gear and the clutch slipped fairly easily. I pulled over, shut off the car, and restarted it and the problem went away. I’m an IT guy, so it makes sense to me, sort of. It did that one other time. Now there’s a clunk that happens when I gun it. It actually feels like something is getting out of the way because there is a slight gain in power when it happens. Very strange. I’ll be taking it in soon.

    Bottom line, I’m not buying the car out like I thought I might at the end of the lease. I’m probably going to end up going back to BMW, only back to used mode. I think that’s where the value is.


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