The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

SEE ALSO: Audi Buyer's Guide

Audi A4 Quattro

by Mark Fulmer
Editor In Chief
The Auto Channel

My first reaction to this '96 Quattro was to its color: pearl. It stands out even in a crowded movie theatre parking lot with a rich marine luminescence. Very nice. Smooth, clean lines enhance the visual experience. A very nice package, indeed.

Entering through its extra large doors, I found myself in an interior that is cleverly designed to have the look and feel of a larger space than it actually is. The leather seat seemed much firmer than I expected, but even after a few moderately long rides, it proved to be quite comfortable.

Instrumentation all seemed fine with the exception of tuning the radio which seemed to have a life, language,and lunacy all its own. Equally lunatic are the little plastic cupholders. Fortunately, the wood inlays, consols, and carpeting all felt like cars costing much more. For the folks riding in the back seat, there is similar comfort although very limited legroom.

The story changes when you fire up the 172-horsepower 6-cylinder engine. If you've ever had the chance to ride a quarterhorse (for me this was at the Kipahulu Cattle Company on the Hana side of Maui) then you know about responsiveness. The 5 speed automatic transmission provides very quick kickdowns, and even at altitude maintained healthy rpm. The power plant had no problem at all supplying passing power all the while maintaining a cool engine temperature despite California Valley Summer heat. The all wheel drive system is transperent until needed, and since I never needed it, I can't honestly say how it performs under adverse conditions.

The folks at Audi have given you a serious alternative to luxery vehicles costing 8 to 10 thousand dollar more than the A4. It made me wish I lived in Utah to find out what the second half of the speedometer felt like.

 Acceleration (0-60 mph): 8.4 sec. 
     Braking Distance (60-0 mph): 134 ft. 
     Roadholding Index: 0.76 
     Base Number of Cylinders: 6 
     Base Engine Size: 2.8 liters 
     Base Compression Ratio: 10.3 
     Horsepower: 172 hp @ 5500 rpm 
     Torque: 184 lbs./ft. @ 3000 rpm

Fuel Tank Capacity: 16.4 gal. 
     Luggage Capacity: 13.7 cu.ft. 
     Fuel Injection Type: SMPF 
     Fuel Tank Capacity: 16.4 gal. 
     Manual: City = 19 mpg Highway = 27 mpg 
     Automatic: City = 18 mpg Highway = 28 mpg 

Standard Equipment:

2.8 liter 172 HP V6 engine (incls variable intake path geometry and fully electronic engine control system, knock sensors, electronic idle control, hydraulic valve lifters), hydraulic engine mounts, engine/automatic transmission oil coolers, front-wheel drive, 5- speed manual transmission, EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) system (functions as an electronic traction assist), rack and pinion power steering, front four-link coil spring/shock absorbers (gas charged) with upper and lower control arms, front stabilizer bar, rear torsion beam linked trailing arm axle with stabilizer bar, rear coil spring/shock absorbers (gas charged), 7J X 16 5-spoke forged light alloy wheels, 205/55R16H speed rated all-season tires, power assisted 4-wheel disc brakes, vented front brakes, ABS5 (anti-lock braking system) with electronic rear brake pressure regulation, asbestos- free brake and clutch linings, hot-dip or electrogalvanized sheet steel unit body (all panels coated on both sides), cathodic dip primer coating, hot wax cavity filler, PVC under sealant, body color front/rear bumper aprons, body color outside mirrors, body color door handles, body color protective bodyside moldings, flush mounted glass and door handles, aerodynamic 3-way halogen headlight assembly with variable focus reflectors/integrated low beam/high beam and fog lights/polycarbonate lenses, rear fog light (integrated in left rear light cluster), retractable high pressure headlight washer system, fuel cap hanger feature, foldable windshield wipers, 5-mph bumpers, right outside convex mirror, "Facette" weave seat upholstery, 8- way power driver's seat with lumbar adjustments, polished walnut wood inlays for instrument panel/center console/door panels, folding clam shell front center armrest with height adjustment, fold-down rear center armrest with storage bin, full-length center console with fold-out can holders/storage bin, bin/rear ashtray, front head restraints, partially retractable rear head restraints, driver/front passenger air bags with knee bar (supplemental restraint system), front 3-point safety belts with height adjustment and automatic tensioners (pyrotechnic), rear outboard 3-point safety belts with angle adjustment, rear center seat belt retractor, rear and right front passenger belts with automatic locking (ALR) for child seats, leather-wrapped 4-spoke steering wheel, folding overhead assist handles, individual passenger reading lamps, front seatback storage pockets, low glare red backlit instrumentation (incls tachometer, 160-mph electric speedometer, coolant temperature gauge, fuel gauge, voltmeter, engine oil pressure gauge, oil temperature gauge, trip odometer, outside temperature gauge, analog clock), instrument cluster mini-check system (incls low fuel, seat belt, brake/oil pressure warning lights), driver/passenger illuminated vanity mirrors, illuminated glove box/trunk/lighter/ashtray, lockable glove box, retained accessory power for windows and optional sunroof, interior lighting with courtesy delay feature, ignition key with integrated light, front/rear color-coordinated carpet floor mats, full-width trunk lid liner, pre-wiring for Motorola telephone and 6-disc CD changer, tilt and telescope adjustable steering column, anti-theft vehicle alarm system (incls horn and lights with interior monitoring sensors), CFC-free refrigerant, fully automatic climate cotnrol with sun intensity control and pollen filter, heat and AC vents to rear footwell, all-around tinted glass, windshield with tint band, rear window defogger with automatic timed shut-off feature, electronic cruise control with resume and speed-up features, power windows with child safety lock and pinch protection, one-touch down feature for all windows, one-touch up feature for front windows, dual power outside mirrors with defog feature, power central locking system (incls trunk and fuel filler door [operable from driver and passenger front doors]) selective unlocking trunk with driver master switch, child safety rear door locks, electronically tuned AM/FM stereo cassette radio (incls anti-theft coding RDS [displays station format and call letters], GALA [varies volume based on vehicle speed], CD changer operation capability and key-off function), 6-speaker sound system with active rear speakers, rear window antenna with signal booster, 2-speed wipers with intermittent mode, gas strut supports for hood and trunk lid, 60/40 split-folding rear seatback with individual locks.