2009 Audi A4 Review
by Mark Fulmer
Editor In Chief
If you happen to be in the market for a premium small sedan, you simply must test drive the new 2009 Audi A4. It's stated goal is excellence in luxury and performance. Not only does it achieve those but it also scores high on the value meter with a starting base price of 32K.
Luxury and Styling
Drivers who see the A4 in their rearview mirror may imagine that they are being followed by a hungry whale shark (which is actually a gentle giant). The styling is lower, longer, and wider than previous versions, yet these extra inches only add 40 pounds of weight.
With a wheelbase now at 110 inches, and a 185 inch body, two things happen. First, in terms of handling, the increased distance between axels gives a more precise driveline. And second, the rear seat passengers enjoy more leg room.
The idea of using LED daytime running lamps makes a lot of sense. They use only 14 watts as opposed to 40 watts for incandescent lamps.
Also new for 2009 are adjustable suspension settings, and in the bells-and-whistles department are adaptive cruise control, and the revised version of Audi's MMI control interface.
On the subjective meter, the A4 look got nods from men and women alike. The comments from men were "cool" and "bold", while women said "rich" and "classy." The interior benefitted from terrific choice of materials and design for driver-oriented comfort, and understated elegant touches like the indirect lighting for passengers underneath the driver seat.
Tune to your style - the A4's “Drive Select” lets you change its feel from Sport to Luxury modes - which modifies not only the suspension but also the throttle, steering, and shifting processes. Nothing quite like being able to change your ride to suit your mood or the mood of your passengers.
The A4's 3.2-liter V6 provides all the smooth quickness needed for the first half, the legal half, of the speedometer (which measures up to 180 mph). Depending on your engine choice your fuel economy can range from the upper 20's to the lower 30's - an admirable feat accomplished through advanced technology and thorough dissection of each system to find ways to lighten the load.
When it comes to safety you will find all of the usual suspects in the A4 including the blind-spot warning indicator (which should be standard on all cars). And since we were in the middle of a wet winter storm,I felt compelled to test the braking system. In a large empty parking lot I brought the car up to 30 mph, pretended someone jumped out in front of me, and applied full braking. The ABS made its usual ratcheting sound and feel as the A4 unswerving, undipping, came to a complete stop. Awesome.
Should our economic climate improve this year, the A4 could go from being a winner to being a really big winner.