Audi A4 Review:
I have had a love and hate relationship with just about every Audi I
have ever driven, and the 2009 Audi A4 is no exception. Let me hit the
love side of the equation first.
I think Audi designs
and builds some of the best looking cars on the planet. The A4’s shape
is almost erotic; the curves entice you to fondle the car, to run your
hands over it. Almost nothing sticks out into the air stream, allowing
quiet passage at most legal, and illegal, speeds. The paint is of show
car quality, rich, smooth, and deep.
Audi does some amazing
things with their suspensions too. First, they start with a platform
that is very stable and stiff. Then they pay attention to the details of
the suspension. It is a juggling act to get a suspension that handles
well yet delivers a decent ride. The A4, with its 5-link, upper and
lower wishbone suspension that uses aluminum components, and its
trapezoidal-link independent rear suspension gets the job done. The A4
3.2 FSI was a joy to drive whether on winding country roads or the
The engine, a DOHC V6
uses direct fuel injection for more power and cleaner burning. The
compression ratio is an astounding 12.5to 1, a ratio that used to be
seen only in racecar engines. All of this results in 265 hp and 243 lbs.
ft of torque. The power goes through a 6-speed automatic transmission
(with Tiptronic) to Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system with its
rear-biased torque split (40% front / 60% rear) makes sure that all four
tires do their job at all times.
Even though the A4 3.2
FSI weighs 3,737 lbs. (about 10% lighter than the previous A4), it can
get from zero to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds. Top speed is electronically
limited to 130 mph. Performance is not this engine's only forte either;
fuel economy is rated at a respectable 26 mpg highway, a 10% improvement
over the previous model, thanks to the direct injection and less weight.
A quick, fast car needs
excellent brakes. The A4 3.2 FSI has 4-wheel disc brakes with 12.6 inch,
ventilated front rotors and 11.6-inch solid rear rotors. The car stops.
The parking brake is electro-mechanically activated, something I have
had doubts about in the past but over the years I have not heard any
horror stories so I guess I have to accept progress.
The 2009 A4 is about
4.6 inches longer than its predecessor, significantly increasing knee
room. Like most 5-passenger cars, four people will be more comfortable.
The front two seats are just about perfect, offering support during
spirited driving and comfort for the long haul.
The A4 has a larger
trunk at 16.9 cubic feet than any of its immediate competitors. Fold the
rear seat down and that increases to 34 cubic feet.
The driving experience
of a car includes more than how it handles, how quickly it accelerates
or stops, or how fast it will go. It includes how well and how easy
everything works. This is an area I had trouble with on the A4.
When the point of all
the electronics and computer-operated gadgets seems to be to impress
rather than actually accomplish anything, well you have to question the
Case in point is the
seat heaters. I am a big fan of seat heaters; they are a wonderful
addition to a cold morning. Generally, they are easy to use (although a
few domestic cars of the past had the switches in pretty dumb spots);
there is a little button with an outline of a seat with squiggle lines
(heat). You push the button to turn the heater on; pushing it more than
once usually changes the heat setting from high to medium, to low and
off. Not on the A4 though.
First you push the
little seat button, then a diagram comes on the central screen that is
operation center for everything, climate control, sound system,
navigation system, etc., then you have to twist this knob on the console
… Except I never could get it to work. I suppose I should have read the
owner’s manual but you know when something that should be very simple is
made difficult for no purpose, well forget it. To be fair, this is not
unique to Audi or the A4; too many automakers seem to think that
technology is the answer to everything, forgetting that it is only a
tool that is supposed to make life easier.
Audi see itself as
competition to BMW, maybe Acura and Infiniti, and they are priced
accordingly. A base A4 2.0T lists for about $40,400; an A4 3.2 FSI S
Line starts at about $46,200. The A4 3.2 FSI I drove went out the door
for just over $50,000. Only you can decide if this car is worth it to
By Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San
Byline: Audi Review provided by Tony
Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Audi Home Page
Column Name: Only you
can decide if this car is worth it to you
Topic: The 2009 Audi A4
Word Count: 898
Photo Caption: The
2009 Audi A4 3.2 FSI
Photo Credits: Audi A4
Series #: 2009 - 28
the Microsoft Word version here:
2009 Audi A4
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2009 Audi A4