The convertible version of the A4, absent since it was redesigned in 2005, returns to the lineup in both regular A4 and high-performance S4 versions. And if the S4's 340-hp V-8 isn't enough, Audi is re-introducing the RS 4 sedan with a 420-hp V-8 and modified, high-performance suspension.
Few cars have done more for an automaker's reputation than the A4 has for Audi. First introduced in 1995, the A4 was remarkable for its small but powerful 1.8-liter turbocharged engine, optional all-wheel drive, and affordable price. The A4 was a sales success for Audi, and it put the brand back on the shopping lists of buyers looking for a serious performance marque.
The current version of the A4 made its debut in 2005. Engine choices include a turbocharged, 200-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder as well as a 255-hp 3.2-liter V-6, both with FSI direct-fuel-injection technology. Both engines are offered with front- or quattro all-wheel drive (the wagon, known as the Avant, is available with quattro only). All versions (except the front-drive V-6) come standard with a 6-speed manual transmission; quattro-equipped cars offer a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic, while front-drive cars get a continuously variable transmission (CVT). For 2007, a soft-top convertible joins the sedan and wagon. Side air bags and electronic stability control are standard on all A4s.
The high-performance S4, now available in convertible, sedan, and wagon form, features a 340-hp (302 lb.-ft. of torque), 4.2-liter FSI V-8, a choice of 6-speed manual or 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, and quattro all-wheel drive. New this year is the RS 4 sedan, with a high-revving (8,250 RPM) version of the 4.2-liter V-8 that produces 420 hp and 317 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is delivered to all four wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. Other RS 4 changes include a lowered and upgraded suspension, a mechanical Dynamic Ride Control system to reduce body movements, high-performance brakes, and unique body and interior styling.
The Audi A4 competes in the Compact Premium Conventional segment, which consists of 15 models. Buyers in this segment look for performance, exterior styling, and quality, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Avoider StudySM and the Escaped Shopper Study.SM
The top sellers in the segment during calendar year 2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM were the BMW 3 Series (120,180 units sold), Acura TL (71,348), and Infiniti G35 (60,741). The Audi A4 sold 49,862 units in 2006, an increase of 1.9 percent compared to the previous year. Other models offered in the Compact Premium Conventional segment include the Cadillac CTS, Lexus IS Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Acura TSX, and Volvo S40/V50.
|2.0T (M6)||6 speed manual||$28,240||200-hp / 2.0L 4-cyl||23/34|
|3.2 (Multitronic)||continuously variable automatic||$35,540||255-hp / 3.1L 6-cyl||21/29|