2004 Audi A4

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$25,250

starting MSRP

2004 Audi A4

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Handling
  • CVT performance
  • Quietness with V-6
  • All-weather top on Cabriolet
  • Ride comfort on highway
  • Seat comfort

The bad:

  • Ride on rough surfaces
  • Snug interior
  • Engine noise in turbo form
  • Four-passenger capacity in Cabriolet
  • Cryptic radio controls in Cabriolet

9 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2004 Audi A4 trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Two engine choices
  • CVT
  • Standard six-speed manual
  • Premium amenities
  • Sedan and wagon body styles
  • Easy-operating power top on Cabriolet

2004 Audi A4 review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Volkswagen’s luxury division redesigned its compact, entry-level A4 sedan and A4 Avant wagon for 2002 and made an innovative multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) available. The power passenger seat has been deleted from the 3.0 FrontTrak sedan for the 2004 model year. The Audi A4 sedan and A4 Avant get a standard six-speed-manual transmission, a tire-pressure monitor and dual-stage front airbags. All models are ready for either Sirius or XM Satellite Radio.

Audi added another A4 series by reviving the Cabriolet (convertible) body style for the 2003 model year. Promising performance that’s comparable to its sedan and wagon siblings, the four-passenger A4 Cabriolet also is available with a CVT, and it shares basic styling touches with the A4 sedan.

The CVT promises greater fuel efficiency than that of a regular automatic transmission. Rather than have it deliver a totally continuous range, engineers incorporated a series of steps to make it feel more familiar. All three body styles come in 1.8T form with a turbocharged engine or in 3.0 guise with a V-6. Sedan and Cabriolet versions are available with FrontTrak front-wheel drive or quattro all-wheel drive. Except for the wagon body, the A4 Avant differs little from the A4 sedan and comes only with quattro all-wheel drive.

Exterior
Some styling themes on Audi’s top-selling A4 were adapted from the company’s round-profile TT sport coupe and midsize A6, but the A4 is more angular at the rear. A trapezoidal-link independent rear suspension is installed. The A4-based suspension was lowered slightly for use on the Cabriolet. Like the A4 sedan, the A4 Cabriolet has a double grille, a triple-tube headlight module, a contoured tail and chrome exhaust pipes. Flared wheel arches accent the bodysides. Brushed-aluminum trim goes around the windshield and along the waist.

Standard tires are 16-inchers, but 17-inch tires may be installed on the A4 sedan and A4 Avant. The A4 Cabriolet’s five-spoke cast-alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights, a sunroof and a Parktronic rear parking-assistance system and a wind deflector for the convertible are available.

A wide arch roofline for the convertible top enhances the body’s subtle wedge profile. Intended for four-season comfort, the fabric top is triple-layered and padded. A heated glass rear window incorporates electric defrosting. A cover closes flush with the body.

Interior
The A4 sedan and A4 Avant seat five people and have four-way power lumbar support. The seat cushions have prominent bolsters. Standard equipment includes automatic dual-zone air conditioning and an Immobilizer II anti-theft system. Audi Telematics by OnStar is optional. Audi’s navigation system, which works without a video-screen map, is also available.

Four people fit inside the A4 Cabriolet’s sporty cabin, which features aluminum rings that circle the round air vents. Audi’s Symphony radio includes an in-dash six-CD changer and nine speakers. Standard equipment on the Cabriolet includes a four-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power mirrors and height-adjustable front seats with four-way electric lumbar adjustment. Automatic dual-zone climate control works with sun and pressure sensors. Parktronic parking assistance and a navigation system are available.

Under the Hood
A 170-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine powers all 1.8T models. An aluminum 220-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 is installed in 3.0 editions. A five-speed or six-speed-manual gearbox is standard, depending on the model. The CVT unit is available only in FrontTrak models, but sedans equipped with quattro all-wheel drive may have a five-speed Tiptronic automatic that permits manual selection of simulated gears.

Safety
Standard curtain-type airbags deploy from above the side windows on the A4 sedan and A4 Avant. Side-impact airbags for front occupants are standard on all models, and rear-seat side-impact airbags are optional. An Electronic Stabilization Program incorporates Brake Assist. All seat belts have pretensioners, and LATCH child-safety seat tethers are installed.

Two bars behind the rear seats of the A4 Cabriolet deploy upward when a rollover incident is imminent. A strengthened windshield and A-pillars provide extra protection.

Driving Impressions
Audi’s A4 series has a lot to offer, but the highlight is its available multitronic CVT. Operating so subtly that the driver is hardly aware of its presence, the CVT does everything an automatic transmission promises but without any gear changes. The A4’s passing response is excellent, and because CVT operation is so subtle, most drivers should quickly get used to the lack of actual shifting.

With its gearshift flicking easily between ratios and mating to clutch action, a manual-shift A4 is also enjoyable, but the lever’s position may not please everyone. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine responds eagerly but is a little noisier than the V-6. Handling prowess is the strong point. The A4 joyfully tackles twisting roads and takes all the turns in stride. Ride comfort is satisfying due to a nicely absorbent suspension, but passengers can be jostled a bit when the pavement gets harsh. Even though the A4 is snug inside, the seats are outstanding and provide great support with absorbent cushioning.

Emphasizing luxury over sportiness, the A4 Cabriolet delivers a refined top-down experience. This car exhibits strong, confident and quick-responding performance, but it’s not quite exuberant. The convertible is easy to drive, and it stays impressively flat through curves. It maneuvers capably, but its steering isn’t the most precise. Even on imperfect pavement, the ride is comfortable as the suspension transmits minimal fuss. The seats are superb: pleasantly cushioned, masterfully supportive and snugly — but not excessively — bolstered.

 

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 9/26/03

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.3
  • Interior design 4.1
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value for the money 4.2
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 4.0

Most recent consumer reviews

4.3

Great car, definitely recommend!!

This car has all new parts isntalled on it and is a very reliable and comfortable car! A lot of fun to drive around town.

4.1

Great car fun to drive. Top up or down

Does everything but spin tires, even in the rain. Hugs the road as well as any newer car. Still turns heads in the street nobody can tell it's 16 years old

1.0

Expensive to repair

Now I know why Audi’s are cheap after use. They are expensive to maintain. They are so complicated that even a simple headlight involves a mechanic at about $ 300 dollars to do the work. What a pain! Also very unreliable and poor quality. My car has 89k miles and the AC compresor no longer works. My Toyota Sienna has over 120k miles and the AC works fine. Never again an Audi. I am sure there sucker out there that are willing to pay that kind of money.

See all 50 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Audi
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
1 year/unlimited miles after expiration of new vehicle limited warranty or from date of sale if the new vehicle limited warranty has expired
Powertrain
N/A
Dealer certification required
300-plus-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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