Monday, December 24, 2012
2013 Audi A4: Lots of Thrills a Minute
One of the best performance-driving luxury sedans on the mainstream market, the Audi A4 takes on some design refreshes for the 2013 model year.
The changes are most prominently up front, with the A4 getting a newly styled front bumper, new grille, hood, headlamps and LED daytime running lights.
The rear bumper has also been redesigned.
The A4 shares design language with its larger A6 and A8 siblings, with a small spoiler subtly placed on the lid of the trunk.
Standard features on the outside are the 17-inch alloy wheels (18- and 19-inchers are optional) and a glass sunroof.
Swiveling headlights are optional.
On the interior, you'll find classy new chrome accents along with redesigned controls.
This five-seat sedan still offers a pretty generous amount of room for a slightly less-than-midsize sedan.
The Multi Media Interface system has a mouse-like controller on the center console that lets you click on different menus and choose settings on the dashboard screen.
The A4 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 211 horsepower. The base model has front-wheel drive with continuously variable automatic transmission. Audi's Quattro all-wheel drive system is optional and can be linked to a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission.
The test-drive model had the Quattro system and the six-speed manual transmission. As such, it really felt as if you were driving a rear-wheel drive sports car, thanks to a 40-60 front-rear power distribution in the Quattro and a buttery smooth shifting tranny.
Accelerating, whipping through curves and corners, downshifting and sharp braking were all among the thrills to be had driving the A4.
Audi adds nice safety options to the A4, including Side Assist, which alerts the driver if a vehicle is in the blind spot areas on the sides of the car, along with a backup camera.
The A4 starts at around $34,000 and ranges close to $42,000.
As stated above, the A4 truly is one of the best driving affordable luxury sedans on the market. It's hard to beat the fun you'll have tossing this around twisty roads.
However, the thing that remains somewhat of a sticking point for recommending the purchase of an Audi continues to be its persistent difficulties in reliability ratings.
While you've got one of the four-ring marque's products and it's working well out on the road, it's a joy.
But far too often, you hear tales of woe from owners who have spent many dollars and hours at the mechanic's shop, getting the Audi healed.
Mind you, the German brand has taken steps toward improvement in the past few years.
But there's still a way to go.
If you're willing to take the risk, though, you might have many enjoyable miles ahead of you.