The Audi A4 entry-level luxury car has been redesigned for the 2009 model year. Changes include sleeker styling, a more powerful V-6 engine and an all-new interior. The A4 faces competition from the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac CTS, Infiniti G35 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The new A4's styling isn't a radical departure from the outgoing model, but it now bears a greater family resemblance to the larger A6. Like before, the A4 has a version of Audi's now-familiar grille, but the car's sides are smoother thanks to the elimination of door rub strips. The sedan has a small spoiler integrated into the trunklid, and two circular exhaust outlets poke out from below the rear bumper.
The A4's available LED running lights are an uncommon feature, but they are very good at grabbing the attention of oncoming motorists thanks to the bright, white light they emit.
Like many of Audi's other models, the A4 has adopted the German automaker's Multi Media Interface. MMI is a knob-based control system that shares similarities with BMW's iDrive and Mercedes-Benz's Comand system. It can control things like the navigation system, audio system and vehicle settings. In the A4 and other Audis, a knob and buttons on the center console are used to navigate menus and make selections that appear on a dashboard screen. MMI can be tedious to use at times, but Audi does provide secondary controls for the air conditioning system.
Available features include keyless entry and start, Bluetooth-based cell phone connectivity, a navigation system and a Bang & Olufsen high-end audio system.
Under the Hood
The A4's initial engine offering is a direct-injection 3.2-liter V-6 that makes 265 horsepower and 243 pounds-feet of torque. The V-6 teams with a six-speed automatic transmission that can be controlled via paddles on the steering wheel.
Power is sent to all four wheels through Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which in this application has a torque split of 40/60, front to rear. This rear-biased design should give the A4 dynamics that are more similar to a rear-wheel-drive car's in addition to enhanced traction on dry and slippery surfaces.
Audi says additional engines will be offered later.
The A4 has six standard airbags. Available features include Audi Side Assist, which informs the driver when another vehicle is next to the A4, and a backup camera.
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