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2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Sedan
The small luxury vehicle segment is among the most highly contested in the entire auto industry. The BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class and Lexus IS all compete in this wonderful segment, and so too does the Audi A4.
The A4 is Audiís best-selling vehicle in the U.S., and it boasts best-in-class size and fuel efficiency. The engine of choice is the 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a turbocharger. The combination leads to 211 horsepower, which doesnít sound like a ton of power but feels fantastic when youíre in control of the throttle. The secret is 258 pound-feet of torque, which makes the A4 feel like a sports car when taking off from a stop. The engine is a lot of fun, but you wouldnít know it by looking at the fuel economy. The sedan manages 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, even with Quattro all-wheel-drive.
The all-wheel-drive system makes the A4 perfect for any climate, and at the same time easier to drive in a spirited manner. The reason? You always have plenty of tire grip at all times. Thatís a safety advantage, too, especially when the weather goes south. And speaking of safety, the A4 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, with top scores in front, side and rear crash protection. The sedan also features electronic stability control, which is necessary if you want a top honor from IIHS.
When it comes to interiors, Audi does as nice a job as any automaker in the price range. The A4 is no different, as passengers are treated to top-notch materials everywhere you look and touch. And at 185 inches in overall length, the A4 is the largest sedan in its class. That means the interior is a bit larger, too, with 35.2 inches of leg room for you and your pets. The back seats arenít roomy enough for most kennels, but most any dog can be properly fastened with a safety harness. The trunk is a bit of a sore spot, as Audi only supplies 12 cubic feet for you and your gear. Thatís not exactly spacious accommodations.
When it comes to technology, the A4 has just about everything. The only problem is that everything comes as an option. For example, if you want an MP3 player USB interface, it will cost you $300, or more than the cost of your iPod. Bluetooth cost $700 and heated seats are another $450. You can get all of these things standard on a base Hyundai Elantra. The optional MMI navigation is a $2,550 option on the mid-level Premium Plus model, and while the system works perfectly fine, itís a bit difficult to use at first.
Our overall impression of the A4 is that itís a terrific driverís car with outstanding looks and terrific safety. The only thing keeping us from barking more about the A4 is some shaky technology options that price this outstanding sedan through the roof.
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