The A4 is due for a complete overhaul later this year. While the popular sports sedan still holds its own against much of the larger-displacement competition, the car's imminent cabin-tech upgrade can't come soon enough.
Audi's iPod interface is one of the worst we've seen. It works by reading a connected iPod as a huge CD changer. No information is given on the currently-playing track nor is there a means of selecting individual tracks, artists, or albums.
One of our favorite features of the cell phone integration on the A4 is the way address book entries can be called up on the driver information display in the instrument panel, using the buttons on the steering wheel.
We like the quality of the Audi navigation system's maps and direction graphics, but we're less enamored of the destination-input interface, which requires drivers to enter letters one at a time from a rotary letter dial.
The 2008 Audi A4 is available with an optional 10-speaker Bose branded audio system ($1,000), which includes a subwoofer and Audiopilot noise compensation technology. The upgraded system sounded very good, with a rich, deep reproduction of bass, clear high and mid-range separation, and crisp vocals.
With an MP3-equipped SD card inserted, music is selectable via the SD/CD button, which gives users the option of either iPod (select CD) or SD card (select MP3). Audi's MMI interface provides a straightforward means of browsing and selecting MP3 folders and files by name. One minor gripe that we had with SD card playback in the A4 was the fact that the "close screen" button is hidden from the drivers view when the LCD is opened, meaning that you will have to grope your way around under the screen to put it back up again.