The 2011 Audi A4 appeals on a variety of levels, including its sporty drive, high-grade interior, sleek design, excellent gas mileage, long list of available features, top crash test ratings and available wagon version.
Although competing with rivals often outfitted with six-cylinder engines, the A4 sticks with its turbocharged four-cylinder that's good for 211 horsepower. This has not proven to be a disadvantage, however, as the A4's acceleration is nearly as good (or better in many cases) while still offering superior gas mileage performance as well as additional safety assurance with the availability of all-wheel drive.
And the A4's high quality and luxurious cabin is again class-leading. It also has a dgree of actual practicality as well due to its respectable back seat room for passengers as well as a decent-sized trunk.
The overall drive is a nice blend of ride comfort and handling. Those who place a higher value on aggressive performance would likely be satisfied with one of the several available sport packages.
New for the 2011 model year is an optional 8-speed automatic transmission for even better fuel economy. Also new is the Titanium Sport package that adds 19-inch wheels and black trim to the regular Sport package, parking sensors and a rearview camera are now standard on the Prestige trim and the Navigation package now comes with HD radio. The Driver Assist package has been dropped this year, however, it has been replaced with an optional blind-spot warning system.
The 2011 Audi A4 is available in both sedan and wagon (Avant) forms, each offered in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trims.
Standard features on the Premium trim includes leather upholstery, 8-way power front seats, a sunroof (panoramic on Avant), automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, a tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, foglamps, cruise control, a dash-mounted Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI) and a 10-speaker audio system which includes satellite radio, a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. Available options on the Premium include an iPod interface, Bluetooth and heated front seats.
The Premium Plus Package ($3,450/$3,209 MSRP/Invoice) then adds three-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded trip computer, LED running lights, automatic bi-xenon headlights, automatic wipers and an auto-dimming mirror. The Navigation package ($2,550/$2,371) adds navigation with real-time traffic, digital music storage, voice controls, a console-mounted MMI system, a color trip computer screen, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera and HD radio.
The A4 Prestige Package ($8,600/$7,998) comes with the Navigation package, driver memory functions, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, keyless entry/ignition, 18-inch wheels and a Bang & Olufsen premium audio system (optional on the Premium Plus). The Avant Prestige trim ($9,100/$8,464) also includes a power tailgate.
Available optional features for the Prestige model include adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot warning system, manual rear side sunshades, a power rear sunshade and the Drive Select package ($2,950/$2,743) which provides driver-selected suspension settings.
The Sport package ($1,450/$1,349) adds a sport-tuned suspention, 18-inch wheels on the Premium Plus and 19-inchers on the Prestige, automatic transmission shift paddles, a three-spoke steering wheel and more aggressively bolstered seats. The S Line package ($2,450/$2,279 - available on the Prestige only) is basically the Sport package with faux-suede seat accents and unique exterior and interior trim pieces. Lastly, the Titanium Sport package ($2,000/$1,860 - Premium Plus and Prestige only) is basically the Sport package with 19-inch wheels and some darker trim accents.
Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:
Powering the 2011 Audi A4 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 211 horsepower and a robust 258 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) come with the sedan's Premium and Premium Plus trims (called the 2.0T FrontTrak). All trims can be outfitted as the 2.0T Quattro (all-wheel drive) with either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 8-speed automatic. The Avant wagon is only offered with Quattro and the 8-speed automatic.
The EPA-estimated gas mileage for the front-wheel drive 2.0T stands at 22 mpg city and 30 mpg on the highway, very good for a luxury sedan. Even the 2.0T Quattro does very well, coming in at 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with the automatic and 21 and 31, respectively, with the manual.
Standard safety features on all 2011 A4 models include stability control, traction control, antilock brakes (ABS), front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. In addition rear side airbags are optional on both the Premium Plus and Prestige, while a blind-spot warning system is optional on the Prestige. The Prestige also has an available "Active Braking Guard" feature that is integrated with the optional adaptive cruise control system and alerts the driver as well as primes the brakes when an imminent collision is detected.
The 2011 A4 also excelled in government crash tests, earning the highest possible ratings of five stars in every category of frontal-impact and side-impact occupant protection.
The A4's cabin has long been considered a class benchmark, and the 2011 maintains this standard. The overall look and feel is attractive and refined, the materials quality is topnotch and the standard leather upholstery bests the vinyl leatherette in base BMW and Mercedes models. It should be noted that the MMI information and entertainment controls are more user-friendly when placed on the console on those models equipped with navigation (models with navigation also get an upgraded version of MMI). Otherwise, the MMI is on the dash, making it a little less convenient and easy to use. Other controls, however, are well-placed and generally easy to operate.
The seating is comfortable and supportive both front and rear. Even the back seat has adequate legroom for most adults, making for easier accommodations on longer trips. The A4 sedan's trunk has a useable, and about average, 12-cubic-feet of cargo capacity. Those with greater needs may want to consider the Avant's 17.3 cubic-feet ( 51 cubes with the seatbacks folded down).
The 2011 Audi A4's handling is confident and capable with a well-balanced combination of ride comfort and performance. While not intended to be a dynamic sport sedan, the A4 will likely satisfy the handling requirements of most drivers while also providing the smoothness and comfort expected from a car in this class. The A4 is especially assuring in all-wheel-drive form.
While the A4's turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides segment-competitive acceleration, and the vehicle's overall performance is quite capable, those seeking additional athleticim should consider the very dynamic Sport package, although the ride quality degrades somewhat (particularly with the 19-inch wheels) due to the stiffer suspension.
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