I looked forward to a fun, responsive drive as I got behind the wheel of this little sedan, which had just been dropped off in our garage. For one thing, it was a nice change from the string of SUVs we'd gotten in recently. And for the most part, the Audi A4 didn't disappoint. Our test car came with Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, so a quick run over to San Francisco's Twin Peaks seemed like a good idea. The car held on well while pushing through corners rated at 20mph, but Audi's notorious acceleration hesitation failed to power the car out of the bend with the authority I wanted. Our reviewers noted this on the previous generation of Audis we reviewed--stomping the accelerator makes the car think for a moment before throwing torque to the wheels. At least the steering wheel does exactly what I want it to.
Looking at the 2006 models last year, I really liked Audi's MMI (Multi-Media Interface), which controls the stereo, navigation, and telephone. But over the last year, other cars have come out with better controls, and the MMI is starting to look and feel dated. I've gotten used to car stereos that support MP3 and have auxiliary inputs. The A4 doesn't read MP3 CDs, has no auxiliary input, and keeps its six-CD changer in the glove box, all things that now seem primitive. It does have a foldout screen that hides two SD card slots, a neat little innovation that makes up for the lack of MP3 CD support. The stereo in this car sounds pretty good. It's not the best, but plenty of Bose speakers set all around the cabin help the audio quality.
The navigation is functional, and the MMI makes inputting destinations pretty easy, but overall I find the system frustrating. For one, it uses nonstandard terms for destination entries, putting that function under a menu named Route. It doesn't allow you to choose a destination from the map--MMI makes it impossible to browse locations on the map, other than zoom controls. Canceling route guidance is also difficult, requiring some digging around through menus. The POI database doesn't include most retail stores, so it doesn't help out much for weekend errands.
The A4 does have Audi's Bluetooth support, which I really grew to like in the Audi Q7. Unfortunately, I couldn't get my Motorola V551 to pair with it--surprising, because this phone usually works with any car. The A4 also has a voice command system, but since it works only with the telephone system, I wasn't able to test it on this first drive.
While the 2007 Audi A4 is a fun car to drive, the electronics, which used to be formidable, are starting to feel dated. I'll have more to say about this car and more detail in our full review, which I'll post after our test period.