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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Vermont has a strange effect on visitors — and we’re not just talking a predilection to don Aran sweaters and snuggle over non-Starbucks coffees. Once we crossed the border from this tiny Massachusetts burg, home to Williams College and TCC’s own Sue Mead, we were possessed to visit every pay phone we could.
We weren’t looking for spare change. We were looking for contact with the outside world beyond the Green Mountains. They’re pretty spectacular, but they also swat down cell-phone signals with antediluvian glee. Technophobes, here’s your nirvana.
On the other hand, the Vermonters we passed showed some appreciative glances for the new A4 we flung across the hilltops during a recent press drive. It wasn’t only the cosmopolitan weekenders that noticed the ’02 model’s lithe shape as our train of vehicles mamboed through Bennington; the locals were throwing looks of amiable envy, too.
And for good reason. The A4 is a sensual treat, even more affirmation that Audi’s tough times are behind it and that confident, car-loving engineers are being given uncharacteristic free rein somewhere in southeastern Germany.Strong footing
The last-generation A4 was the wedge in the door of recovery. It’s been the mainstay of the Audi lineup since the times when it was known as the 4000. Since it was revamped and renamed the A4 in 1994, it’s seen its sales increase every year.
2002 Audi A4Enlarge Photo
The 2002 model moves the needle yet again, in some interesting ways. If the last A4 summed up neatly what Audi was all about, this vehicle is about expanding its envelope to bring in some others who think more interior room and innovative transmission technology aren’t addressed by the ilk of BMW and Lexus and Acura.