First Spin: 2013 Audi A4
While some high-end automakers produce legendary sports and luxury cars, those companies’ entry-level models are the ones that bring home the bacon. A vehicle that includes the prestige of a premium name and the ownership experience associated with such a marque, but at a lower price point, is a very attractive prospect. As a result, premium brands’ mainstream entry-level vehicles tend to be their hottest sellers.
Such is the case with the Audi A4, which is the best-selling vehicle in the company’s North American portfolio. The Audi A3 is less expensive than the A4, but because it only comes as a hatchback, its appeal is more limited in the U.S.
For 2013, the Audi A4 gets revised front and rear styling and new technology features. Standard on all A4 models is a 211-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. The A4 is available with front or all-wheel drive. In front-wheel drive form, it comes with a continuously-variable transmission that behaves much like an automatic. When equipped with all-wheel drive, buyers can choose between a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic.
The A4 comes in one well-equipped model, referred to as the Premium. It includes many up-level features such as automatic climate control, a tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, leather upholstery, heated power mirrors with turn signals, satellite radio, a digital-media player connection, and a limited-slip differential. Whereas other vehicles come in different trim levels, Audi instead offers several trim packages that include a bunch of optional features. The Premium Plus package comes with LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, three-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, iPod connection, wireless cell-phone link, auto-dimming interior and exterior rearview mirrors, and xenon headlights. The Prestige trim package adds blind-spot alert, a rear-obstacle-detection system, a navigation system with voice recognition and traffic information, a rearview camera, Bang and Olufsen sound system, keyless entry/engine start, and steering-linked adaptive headlights. Optional features include sport suspension, steering-wheel shift paddles, sport seats, aluminum or wood interior trim, adaptive cruise control, power rear and manual side sunshades, the Audi Connect assistance system, and 18-inch wheels.
So, does this premium-compact car make a compelling argument? It was a best seller in 2012, but are the changes to the car enough to maintain its momentum? Read on to find out.
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