With over five million Audi A4s built, it's no surprise that the 2012 Audi A4 is the latest version of a model that has become the brand's best-selling car. The A4 first debuted in the United States in the 1995 calendar year. Before the arrival of the A3 hatchback, the A4 long served as the entry-level model that competed with other compact luxury cars including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series.
Perhaps the biggest draw to the A4 is its high-quality interior that boasts soft-touch plastics, modern design, and a quiet ride. Leather is standard, while navigation and Bluetooth are optional. The A4 is also a safe vehicle, with six standard airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control.
The A4 is available with one engine, a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine rated at 211 hp. Depending on drivetrain configuration, transmission choices include a continuously variable transmission, an eight-speed automatic, and a six-speed manual. The A4 is offered in three trims: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The Premium package is fitted with 17-inch wheels, while Premium Plus and Prestige come standard with the S line trim, which includes 18-inch rims, and glossy black accent pieces.
Customers needing more space should opt for the A4 Avant wagon, which should provide plenty of room for five passengers and all their cargo. Those wishing for more power can always consider the S4, Audi's more sporty A4 that features a supercharged V-6 engine.
Body styles: Sedan, Wagon
Engine: 2.0L I-4
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic, Continuously variable transmission
Models: A4 Premium, A4 Premium Plus, A4 Prestige
There aren't many changes to report for the 2012 Audi A4. Premium Plus and Prestige trim now come standard with the S line exterior package, which includes gloss black front grille trim, roof rails, and marble-black window surrounds. Inside, the S line treatment includes brushed aluminum (instead of wood), and S line seats. Also standard for the Premium Plus and Prestige trim are 18-inch wheels. Finally, the Prestige model now gets standard adaptive front lighting. The Audi A4 will receive visual upgrades for the 2013 model year.
The Audi A4 features a modern yet understated exterior design. The front fascia is dominated by the Audi corporate nose, which includes a trapezoidal grille with the four-ring logo affixed to the middle. The Premium Plus and Prestige package adds daytime running LED lamps. The optional trims also make use of LED for the taillights. The A4 Avant is a wagon that casts an as sleek shadow, courtesy of its sharply raked rear hatch. The base model comes standard with 17-inch wheels, while 18s are available on high trim levels.
Interior design and build are Audi’s strong suits and the A4 doesn't disappoint here. The A4 is a mix of luxury and high-tech gadgetry with standard features that include leather, wood trim, an infotainment screen, premium sound, and a sunroof. Opting for the S line package replaces wood trim with brushed aluminum. The A4 is a compact car that provides 40 inches of headroom for front passengers and 37.5 inches for rear passengers. Total cargo space for the sedan's trunk is 12.4 cubic feet, while the wagon provides a cavernous 50.4 cubic feet when the rear seats are folding down.
Turbocharged engines have been a common powerplant for the A4 and the current 2.0-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder puts out a healthy 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Three drivetrains are available: a CVT transmission driving the front wheels, an eight-speed transmission that sends power to all four wheels, and a six-speed manual also with four-wheel drive. The engine, which is both economical and powerful, launches the A4 from 0-60 mph in a tad over six seconds. Steering is a bit vague, but the optional Audi Drive Select improves handling characteristics with adjustable throttle response and dynamic suspension.
The A4 comes standard with six airbags for front, front side, and curtain side protection. All five-passengers are secured by three-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners, while a standard LATCH system keeps child seats anchored in the rear seats. Also standard are four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake pressure distribution, hill hold assist, electronic stability control, and brake assist, which senses emergencies and applies added brake pressure to cut down stopping distances.
A4 Sedan FWD: 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway
A4 Sedan AWD Manual: 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway
A4 Sedan AWD Automatic, A4 Avant Wagon AWD: 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway
Optional adjustable suspension
No manual transmission option in the wagon
Single engine choice
A great mix of sport and luxury.
BMW 3 Series