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2012 Audi A4 TFSI quattro Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

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2012 Audi A4

SEE ALSO: Audi Buyers Guide

SEE ALSO: Comparison of Four 2012 Audi A4 Models

By John Heilig
The Auto Channel


Model: 2012 Audi A4 TFSI quattro
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged I4
Horsepower/Torque: 211 hp @ 4,300 rpm/258 lb.-ft. @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic with sport and manual shift modes
Wheelbase: 110.6 in.
Length/Width/Height: 185.2 x 71.9 x 56.2 in.
Tires: P245/45R17
Cargo volume: 12.4/34.0 cu. ft. (rear seat up/down)
Fuel economy: 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway
Fuel capacity: 16.9 gal.
Curb weight: 3,704 lbs.
Sticker: $38,850 (includes $875 destination charge, $3,375 in options)

Top 5 Reasons to buy this car
1. Performance
2. Styling
3. Luxury
4. Handling
5. Relatively good value vs. BMW 3-Series

The Bottom Line: The Audi A4 competes favorably with the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-class. Of course, it's also competing with large compact/small midsize cars, but Audi is more concerned about its German brothers than the others. It has a good engine, awesome 8-speed automatic transmission, great handling and those iconic LED driving lights.

The only trouble with Audi quattro all-wheel drive is that you need opportunities to use it. Dedicated Audi racers will tell you that it's good to have AWD because it gives you a better grip on the road, but in normal circumstances, you need inclement weather to gain the benefit of AWD.

It snowed the day after we returned the Audi A4, so we didn't get a chance to enjoy the advantages of AWD. We did, however, get to enjoy most of the other features on this car, so we weren't too disappointed.

For example, under the hood of the A4 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that delivers 211 horsepower and a diesel-like 258 lb.-ft. of torque. This connects to the front wheels primarily and all the wheels when quattro is engaged through am 8-speed automatic transmission. Now I'll be the first to complain that eight speeds may be a bit much, but that gearbox sure was smooth.

You didn't have to keep the transmission in automatic. It also had a manual mode, so you can blip the gear lever forward or backward to upshift or downshift. There's also a sport mode to the transmission that changes the shift points.

Front passengers have very good leg and shoulder room. the seats are comfortable with minimum side support. There’s a small console between the front seats with a 12-volt outlet inside.

The rear seats, however, are tight. Fortunately, there are indents in the backs of the front seats so your knees aren't too smashed. There’s also only room for two passengers back there. they appear to have more side support than the fronts.

Further back there's a useful 12.4 cubic foot trunk that explodes to 34 cubic feet when the rear seat backs are lowered.

Our tester didn't have a navigation system included, but there's still a large screen in the center of the dash. This is primarily for audio and HVAC readouts, but when it's dark (and at night) there isn't this bright screen to distract the driver.

Watch TACH's exclusive Audi A4 promo video

As with many luxury models, there is a master control on the dash that switches among the various functions. It is sometimes confusing to use, but once you realize there are instructions on the screen telling you which button does what, you're fine.

The glove box is small, but there are useful cubbies throughout the vehicle that help. For example, there's a "cell phone" cubby on the center console. Inside the glove box itself is an iPod cable, and there are water bottle holders in the doors.

Starting the A4 is interesting. You insert the key fob in a slot on the dash and push to start. To stop, you reverse the procedure, although sometimes it's hard to get the fob out. I tore the strap on the fob on an earlier Audi.

The Audi A4 is a comfortable car to drive. It has the power and handling you'd expect from an Audi, along with comfortable seats. And if you see one coming at you on the road, you'll recognize it by the cool LED running lights.

2012 The Auto Page