You'll Like The 2011 Audi A4 If...
Shoppers intent on purchasing a stylish, entry-level premium sport sedan (or wagon) – one that delivers efficiency and performance in equal doses at a relatively affordable price – would be well-advised to check out the 2011 Audi A4.
You May Not Like The 2011 Audi A4 If...
The finer things in life have a price. For Audi A4 buyers who like their German vehicles equipped to the gills, that price can reach well beyond the competition. And shoppers reacquainting themselves with the A4 may long for the more compact and nimble model of years past.
In addition to a few minor updates, the 2011 Audi A4 2.0T is available with a new eight-speed automatic transmission that replaces last year's six-speed unit, a Titanium Sport package with 19-inch alloy wheels and a retuned suspension, and an HD Radio feature included with the optional navigation system.
There's more to a luxury car than a badge, a point you'll immediately realize when seated inside the 2011 Audi A4. From its vault-like feel to the generous application of soft-touch materials, this vehicle exudes quality. The MMI (multi-media interface) central dial could be a bit simpler in its operation, but the A4 should be applauded for its intuitive layout of primary and secondary controls. They're part of a cabin that also includes firm seats that provide consistent comfort over the long haul, and in the case of the A4 Avant, a cargo area measuring up to 50.5 cubic feet.
With its tall, horizontally split grille and that four-ring emblem, there's no mistaking a modern Audi A4 when it comes racing into your rearview mirror. The slight downward turn of the headlights offers the somewhat intimidating appearance of a furrowed brow, and the optional LED daytime running lights were, until recently, an Audi exclusive. Feast your eyes on the flanks and tail, and you'll see understated design that's sharp and precise, or minimalistic without being drab. Finishing off the look are alloy wheels ranging in size from 17 to 19 inches.
Slide behind the leather-wrapped, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, cozy up with the bolstered seats, and the 2011 Audi's A4 sporting intentions become evident. Put the whole package into motion and discover a slightly stiff ride around town, which thankfully translates into tight and predictable handling on winding back roads. Complementing the A4's chassis is a turbocharged engine that is virtually free of lag, and with peak torque available at only 1,500 rpm, allows for grin-inducing acceleration when the light turns green. Best of all, you'll get up to 31 mpg in the process.
Based on our Fair Purchase Price data, shoppers are buying the 2011 Audi A4 2.0T for less than the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), which starts at about $32,000 for the front-wheel-drive Premium Sedan. Opt for the capability of quattro all-wheel drive and you'll see the price climb to about $34,000. If you prefer a few added standard amenities, prepare to pay at least $36,000 for the A4 Premium Plus Sedan, or you can dig deeper into your money market account and shell out about $42,500 for the 2.0T Prestige model. Prices for the 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Wagon range from $37,000 for a base Premium model to nearly $56,000 when loaded up with options. In terms of resale value, the Audi A4 doesn't perform as well as competitors such as the BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G Sedan and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and especially the Lexus IS.
Shoppers interested in the 2011 Audi A4 have three trims to choose from, the most affordable of which is dubbed Premium. Among the standard goods are 17-inch alloy wheels, a power sunroof, Sirius Satellite Radio, and power-adjustable front seats. Climb up one wrung to the Premium Plus and you'll avail yourself to Bluetooth connectivity, heated front buckets, and LED daytime running lights. The top-of-the-line A4 Prestige variant adds a navigation system, HD Radio, a 505-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo, and a DVD player. All A4s feature six standard airbags, ABS, and electronic stability control.
No luxury model is complete without an array of must-have options. In the case of the 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Sedan and Wagon, those include a navigation system with voice controls, a rearview camera, and a new HD Radio feature; a blind-spot warning system; intelligent cruise control; and the safety of rear-side airbags. The A4 can also be upgraded with a variety of stylish alloy wheels, different types of genuine wood interior trim, quattro all-wheel-drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the Audi Drive Select system that provides four specific chassis and powertrain settings.
In a class dominated by in-line and V-6 engines, the Audi A4 stands apart with a boosted four-cylinder that delivers smooth and plentiful power as well as top-notch fuel economy.
S Line Package
For buyers who want to maximize the A4's sportiness without climbing into S4 territory, the S Line Package answers the call with 19-inch alloys wrapped in performance tires, more aggressive suspension tuning, subtle exterior enhancements, upgraded upholstery, and genuine brushed aluminum trim.
Under the Hood
Fitted under the hood of every 2011 Audi A4 Sedan and Wagon is an efficient 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that sports a turbocharger and direct injection. Front-wheel-drive versions of the A4 feature a continuously variable transmission (CVT), whereas models equipped with Audi's quattro all-wheel-drive system utilize a six-speed manual or the new-for-2011 eight-speed Tiptronic automatic. Regardless of transmission or drivetrain, the A4 continues to be among the most fuel-efficient luxury-branded sedans on the market, bettering alternatives such as the BMW 328i and Infiniti G25 Sedan, each of which offers considerably less torque than the Audi.
2.0-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
211 horsepower @ 4300-6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1500-4200 rpm
EPA City/Highway Mileage: 22/30 (FWD, CVT), 21/31 (AWD, manual), 21/29 (AWD, automatic)
Two years after debuting with a host of changes, the Audi A4 continues to steal the spotlight from class heavyweights like the BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and others such as the Cadillac CTS and Infiniti G Sedan. That level of success is attributable to attractive yet relatively subdued styling in Sedan or Avant (wagon) guise, quality materials and craftsmanship, a comfortable and inviting interior, an engaging chassis, and a turbocharged engine that balances the need for efficiency with the demand for performance. If you're in the market for an entry-level luxury car with a good bit of sportiness mixed into its DNA, don't call the deal done until you've spent some time with the 2011 Audi A4.