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Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Audi A4 2.0TAudi's worthy alternative to BMW's venerable 3 Series.
Let's face it when take a walk though the land of a portable German sport sedan, you have to pass by this guy, the 3-series. Well, Audi has got nothing to be ashamed of these days. Let's drive the all grown up, refined and polished 2011 A4 and check the tech. First, there are 2 really big differences between an A4 and a 3-Series. An A4 is Germany speaking of 4 cylinder turbo car or as to BMW 3, all those used primarily 6 turbo and non-turbo, but as we will see, I think you will get over that, and the A4 is available still as a wagon or a van as they call it. With 3 series, not matter the C class or not. Now, one of the first thing to know about an A4 is that Audi is gonna keep telling you how big it is in this generation. It's not big car, but compared to what it was it has come up to class. You look at the car outside and say okay it's a normal size, but have really emphasized legroom. I've this car already set up with the right legroom for me, but I can really keep going and I'm pretty tall and I'm still going and I'm still going. Okay. The seats all the way back-- I'm over 6'2" and this is ridiculous. You could be 6'5" or more and you will drive this car just fine. I can't even reach the pedals right now. It's like I'm a midget. Now, our car is a Premium Plus. That's important to know off it off the bat because unless you get the top trim above this prestige, you can't get blind spot technology, you can't get adaptive cruise control, and you can't get Audi drive select, which would give a bunch of preprogrammed buttons down here to change the transmission, behavior, steering, and suspension settings. So, those 3 are off the table on this trim level. Now, let's see what we do have. Thanks to a la carte toys, we have the Audi MMI LCD and control surface down here. This is not a wide screen. It's basically a 4 x 3 aspect ratio unlike most BMWs for example, but it's got really good quality. Check out the dot pitch on that. Audi is really vague on this synthetic world stuff. You've 3D buildings there, less generic blocks. The graphics that power this are NVIDIA by the way, so things move along real nicely and that rendering is partly thanks to that good powerful graphics engine and getting around this guy is really easy once you figure out Audi's logic. If haven't seen it before, one central here to turns and that's a click on it and also has a little bit of wager, right there on the knobs. See this, you can move around with a little black knob on top. I find it little bit friendly for automotive use when you're driving along. I wish the whole thing move, but this is Audi's way of doing it and in most menus, you've got these 4 buttons that correspond to those 4 quarters. This is the Audi MMI thing, different from iDrive, different from Mercedes command, different from everybody really. Now, in terms of media, the first thing we get here because our car is premium plus is we get that guy there on the glove box. That the AMI, the Audi Music Interface. You can get a bunch of different cables that go into that master connector. In this case, we have the all popular Apple dock connector. I have my iPad touch connected in there. Now, upper right button again, it gives me source and there is my iPad. Now, we don't like about this car it scrolls things well. I don't know if it's pre caching or just accessing the device quickly with real time, it doesn't matter. Here're our SD card slots, Audi's kind of folks that are hanging on to that idea. We've got 2, SD1 and SD2, optical disc slot here of course. I've got an MP3 CD. It reads just fine, finally jukebox. I can import from either my optical disc or my SD card, just kind of nice and in terms of radio, we have AM/FM and Sirius. Sirius AM and FM are on every trim of A4 by the way. HD radio comes in as part of this navigation package. So how that sounds? Well, pretty good because we have the Bang & Olufsen audio system. Some of these Audis have Bang & Olufsen system to cost $6000. They are the ones that have the pop up tweeters. I'm never been $6000 impressed by the sound of it. However, this guy got a much more affordable $850 B&O upgrade. The speakers don't go up and down, those little twitters acoustic ones whatever hell they call them or not here, but the sound is here and it sounds good especially, but upright. As part of on that package, there's a lot rolled into this guy. We also have the backup camera. Looks like so, we've got trajectory. We've got 3-zone for proximity and we have 2 different ways to look at the parking situation using my button here in the upper right. See that ** there. I can change that to help me park parallel or perpendicular. Okay, the engine of the A4 is the same engine as all A4s, 2-liter intercool turbo and a dual overhead cam in line form. This guy got all kinds of awards, world's 10 best engines, international engine of the year. It's got direct injection, all the latest technologies. It is really an outstanding smooth mode, the numbers, 2011 horsepower, not a lot, but then that turbo kicks in 258 foot pounds of torque. That works. Get this 3600-ish-pound car up to 60 in about 6.5 seconds that will depend on the gearbox and the drive train. We'll talk about that in a minute. MPG is 2129 with a Tiptronic. You do a little better if you have a manual. Now, there are 3 things you can hook up to the back of this engine. First of all, a CVT, continuously variable transmission, that's kind of your base configuration, then you can go the 6-speed manual as I mentioned for the best 0-60 in economy or you can go with this 8-speed Tiptronic we have with the Quattro all-wheel drive. Now, one thing I'm gonna say about Audis all the is how damn smooth they are and this one is no exception even though it's relatively low on their line up. This A4 has got all the silkiness of an A8 to be honest, not the same presence and weight, but things that spin don't get any harsher here than they do on the much expensive brethren. It's a fun car to drive and I find the cabin a lot more pleasant and than A3 and much younger and more youthful than a Mercedes Cabin. Now, this engine is turbo of course. The power is ample and silky. My only gripe is at least in this configuration I catch the car flat footed all too often. Whether I'm on drive or down here in sport, it's just 6 high gears too often for MPG reasons I'm sure, but I got weight for to kick down a couple gears more than I want it too. That takes away some of the snaps, some of the responsiveness. You can put it over here on the Tiptronic gate. What if I buy a car on automatic, I don't wanna spend a lot of time shifting it to be quite honest. I wanted to do a better job doing that itself. Okay, let's price an A4, grab a cup of coffee may take a while, one of the most complicated cars in it's price range to configure based on this guy with a CVT gearbox and front wheel drive is 33,000. Then it gets complexed. Add about 2200 for a Tiptronic gearbox and quattro or close to a thousand for a 6-speed manual with quattro. Premium plus is 3450 more, which brings you the Audi music interface, Bluetooth, triples on climate control, heated front seats, and better headlights. Dip it up to prestige adding $5200 and you get the MMI interface, GPS knob, Bang & Olufsen sound, rear camera and sensors, total kilos and bigger wheels. And lastly, the blessedly the B&O audio rig on this guys is only 850 and probably worth it until it's $6000 big brother. [unk] anyway.