With its all-new A4, Audi has pulled off a rare hat trick — producing a car that’s bigger, faster, and more fuel efficient.
Powering the Brilliant Red 2009 Audi A4 2.0 T quattro Tiptronic through our battery of instrumented flogging was a heavily massaged version of Audi‘s 2.0L mill that’s become a staple of the Volkswagen Group parts bin. The engine has undergone numerous incremental improvements, the biggest of which being the addition of Audi’s valvelift system.
Audi’s powertrain brains developed the valvelift system in order to allow for variable control of the exhaust valves, improving the engine’s charge cycle, according to the automaker.
Amping-up the charge cycle helped the engineers to increase torque and bring it on earlier, lifting the engine’s lb-ft of torque to 258 @ 1500 rpm (vs. 207 @ 1800 rpm for the outgoing engine). Horsepower is also up (now 211 vs. 200). Interestingly, the 2.0L’s torque figure is slightly greater than the 2009 A4’s optional 3.2L V-6 engine (listed at 243 lb-ft and 265 hp). So why would we want the six again?
The updated four-banger’s added power, in conjunction with the effective six-speed automatic, helps moves the 2009 A4 up the time sheets. Our A4 tester boogied from 0-to-60 in 6.5 sec, more than a sec faster than a 2008 A4 2.0L, on to a quarter-mile sprint in 15 sec flat at 98 mph.
Thanks in large part to its lightweight steel construction, the new A4 in 2.0 quattro trim is only 55 lb or so heavier (3715 lb vs. 3660 lb) than the outgoing car. On our scales, the car weighed in at 3778 lb with a full tank of gas on board. By holding the line on weight, as well as improving aerodynamics and updating the engine, Audi was able to score the A4 an EPA rating of 21 city/27 highway in 2.0L quattro trim, slightly better than a similarly equipped 2008 model.
The new A4’s minimal weight gain is even more impressive when you get out the tape measure. It’s roughly 2.3 in. wider and 4.6 in. longer than the car it replaces, and at 110.6 in., its wheelbase is more than 6 in. longer, helping to improve the car’s weight distribution to 55/45% front to rear. Audi claims the increased wheelbase, along with a quattro system that’s biased 40% front, 60% rear, aids the new car’s overall handling prowess.
During our test runs, which consisted of high-speed passes near the car’s 130-mph speed limiter and multiple spins around a handling loop, our testers tended to agree with Audi’s assessment — with a few caveats.
Up in triple-digit speeds, testers found the new A4 composed, never nervous — about what you’d expect from a sedan that grew up on the autobahn. Opinions differed on the handling loop. Most felt some degree of understeer and an unwelcome lightness in the car’s steering feel during extreme twisty situations. Overall impressions, though — especially out on the open road — proved positive. The A4 was widely regarded as a more than capable vehicle for everyday driving, with ample stopping power on tap (60-to-0 in 123 ft) when necessary.
Testers also played with the optional Audi Drive Select system, designed to allow the driver to adjust suspension, steering, transmission, and throttle in an effort to bias the car toward either a comfort or sport-themed character. Some thought the system gimmicky; others reported noticeable changes in feedback. Speaking of selecting, our testers lamented the lack of a paddle-shift option on the A4 test car (it did have a gearshift Tiptronic feature). Not to worry, Audi says, they’re coming.
There was plenty of applause for the A4’s bigger cabin, which proved to be nicely isolated at freeway speeds, is well-trimmed and loaded with the latest in entertainment and navigation options channeled through the nicely executed MMI interface. The cheering stopped, though, when word spread of the tester’s price, which came in at an eye-watering $46,675. Yes, the base car is $33,525, but the option list is full of stuff most luxury car buyers now take for granted.
So while our test crew hesitated to dub it a true sport sedan (sporty sedan is more like it), and carped some about the price, the consensus is the latest and greatest A4 further solidifies its position a worthy player in the midsize luxury segment.
Ten Unexpected Ways 2009 Audi A4 2.0t Quattro Can Make Your Life Better | 2009 audi a4 2.0t quattro – 2009 audi a4 2.0t quattro
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