The marketplace is awash with well made, fun-to-drive, small midsize sedans today. I recently tested one of the best, the new 2011 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro sport sedan equipped with Audi’s Premium Plus and Titanium Sport packages. Wow! What fun it is to pilot this sedan around town, on the freeways and around curving roads in the mountains.
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With the Premium Plus and Titanium Sport Package you get the best of world worlds – a more sporty, more aggressive drive experience, and luxury features not found in most small midsize sedans.
The Premium Plus Package includes Xenon plus headlights, LED daytime running lamps and LED rear taillights, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface, three-zone climate control, heated front seats, HomeLink universal garage door opener, split folding rear seat back, Audi music interface that replaces the auxiliary-input, rain-light sensing wipers, a driver information system with trip computer and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass heading.
The Titanium Sport Package includes aggressive 19X8.5in. titanium-optic 5-spoke aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with wheel-well stuffing 255/35R19in. Dunlop SP Sport Maxx GT low profile performance tires, black exterior single frame grille surround, black greenhouse surround and black rear diffuser, 10-way power adjustable deeply cut sport bucket seats with power lumbar adjustment, a sport-tuned suspension, a 3-spoke, leather wrapped, manual tilt/telescoping steering wheel, black piano decorative inlays on the doors and dashboard, and a black headliner.
One other option on the car that I tested was polished stainless steel dual exhaust tips. This new A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro looks more menacing that a base A4 2.0, handles more precisely and features a more luxurious interior. It puts an edge on the A4 to better compete against all other small midsize import sedans.
The ‘formed from a solid piece of metal’ exterior styling features a solid, taut muscular presence denoted by strong shoulders and a dramatically racked roofline that has become synonymous with the Audi name.
The potent, high-revving 2.0 liter TFSI, DOHC, Directed Injected, Inline 4-cylinder engine is a work of art. A small displacement energized with an exhaust based turbocharger and intercooler brings total horsepower to 211 at 4,300-6,000rpm, and the important torque spec of 258lb.ft. at just 1,500-4,200rpm, giving you an instant rush of power at nearly any engine speed. The iron block, aluminum head engine is so smooth and quiet that you don’t even know when it is idling. More importantly, the 2.0 liter TFSI turbocharged engine takes advantage of forced induction to increase both horsepower and torque without the penalty of added fuel consumption.
The new A4 2.0 liter TFSI model is available with two amazing transmissions. I tested the smooth shifting, short throw 6-speed manual transmission and there is an all-new optional Tiptronic 8-speed automatic transmission. More than a standard automatic transmission, Tiptronic allows you to select the ideal gear manually either by pushing the stick shifter up or down, or with the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. I like the manual shifting more because you are really changing the gears and you feel more a part of the car traveling forward.
While the smooth ride quality and athletic driving feel of the 2011 A4 Quattro are enhanced by an incredibly rigid body design and extensive use of lightweight steel and aluminum, the advanced sport-tuned suspension is the real star of the show. The Audi A4 2.0 TFSI comes standard wit an advanced five-link front suspension with upper and lower control arms, gas-charged mono-tube shocks, coil springs and anti-roll bar. In the rear an independent trapezoidal suspension with gas-charged mono-tube shocks, coil springs and anti-roll bar helps provide world-class handling characteristics that enthusiasts have come to associate with the Audi brand. Each individual link is crafted from high-quality aluminum to reduce weight at each wheel, and a strong crossmember is made of the same metal to enhance rigidity without sacrificing the Audi A4’s lightweight character.
The Quattro AWD system further enhances your direction and capabilities when attaching sharp curving roads. The standard self-locking center differential and electronically locking rear differential manage the 40:60 front-to-rear bias and the available sport rear differential increases road holding ability by actively controlling the distribution of torque between the two rear wheels, effectively overdriving the outside wheel in corners. This ‘forces’ the front end of the A4 into the corner, thus eliminating understeer and creating more attainable excitement for the driver. All of these innovations are controlled by the standard Electronic Stability Control.
The 2011 Audi A4 offers extremely precise power-assisted, rack & pinion steering thanks to a steering box located lower and further forward than on other comparable models. The effect is noticeable immediately, giving the A4 a light and agile dimension. The speed of the reaction to my input into the steering wheel is amazingly fast and precise.
Quickly slowing the new A4 down from speed are large, power-assisted disc brakes. Up front are 12.9in. vented discs clamped with four-piston calipers while the rear solid discs measure 11.9in. and are clamped with single piston calipers. Braking control, power and distribution of braking forces are further enhanced with standard ABS, EBD, and Brake Wipe.
As I mentioned before, my test A4 came with the Titanium Sport Package and the big footprint of the 19X9in. Dunlop SP Maxx GT low profile tires that only add to the traction of the car, further enhancing its outstanding handling capabilities.
The A4’s interior follows suit by offering a design that is spacious and inviting. The A4 is driver oriented, while also catering to passenger comfort. From the driver’s seat, it is apparent immediately that the A4 shares DNA with the luxurious all-new A8. The cockpit incorporates a center stack tilted slightly toward the driver, and brilliant, race-styled, easy-to-read gauges hint of an athletic nature.
The long-standing Audi commitment to craftsmanship and quality materials is obvious in the new A4. Supportive front bucket seats are executed in high-quality leather, while brushed aluminum accents throughout the cabin draw the eye from one flowing surface to the next.
The A4 continues to offer buyers more interior space than any of its direct competitors. Occupants are treated to expansive legroom, thanks in part to the A4’s overall length of 15.4ft. Buyers also can take advantage of the 60/40 folding rear seats to transport even larger baggage, including skis and snowboards. Despite the generous interior space, the A4 remains light on its feet thanks to an ever-present focus on a lightweight, rigid body construction.
All buttons, switches, levers and dials are within easy reach of the driver and fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel. Standard features aboard not mentioned above includes a center console with two cupholders and two power outlets, a glass electric sunroof, all power windows with one-touch up/down, power door locks, electronic cruise control, electrically adjustable/heated outside sideview mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror with compass heading, power driver’s seat/passenger seat adjustment with driver lumbar support, Audi Concert AM-FM-SIRIUS satellite radio/CD player with 10-speakers, SD card slot and auxiliary audio input, dual map lamps, grab handles above each door, remote trunk release, pull-down rear seat center armrest with dual cupholders and storage, storage slots in each door, a center console with a deep storage bin and padded armrest, air-vents at the back of the center console to direct air into the rear seat area, electronic parking brake, dual lighted vanity mirrors, thick cut-pile carpeting with floor mats and a full-perimeter floor mat in the trunk.
Safety and security are high priorities at Audi and coming standard are driver and front passenger advanced, two-stage airbags, driver and front seat passenger seat mounted side airbags, 3-point safety belts at all seating positions with front seatbelt pretensioners/load limiters, Sideguard curtain airbags front and rear, LATCH system for child seats, anti-theft vehicle alarm and ignition immobilizer, front and rear crush zones, and steel beams in each door. You couldn’t be safer if you are hit front or side.
The new 2011 Audi A4 with the Premium Plus Package and Titanium Sport Package has it all, even with a low end model as the A4. Sales are up for the best-selling Audi model in the U.S. and for good reason as once you take a test drive you are fully convinced that this is the sedan for you, for your growing family, and for fun and excitement on the road with excellent gas mileage specs.
The base price for the new 2011 A4 starts at $32,850.00 and the nicely loaded model with the two upscale packages was stickered at $39,255.00 including destination charges.