By Al Vinikour
Having grown up amidst enough dysfunctional families I’m fairly skeptical about automakers who refer to their vehicle lines as families. But after spending time with Audi’s new A4s, I realize how important the right gene pool can be.
2005 Audi A4 AvantEnlarge Photo
The A4 is Audi’s best-selling model, having first entered the North American market in 1995. The most recent change came three years ago when the A4 grew larger and longer. This time around, the compact sedan (with the A3 coming, it’s no longer the entry-level Audi) acquires the new corporate single-frame grille already found on its larger siblings, the A6 and the A8.
Audi says the A4 sits comfortably in the premium mid-size segment. That is, as comfortable as it can considering its competition: the Volvo S60, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Infiniti G35 and the Acura TL. Like the majority of Europeans in the class, the A4 comes in two models — the four-door sedan and the Avant (wagon).
There are two powertrains available in the ’05 A4s, the 3.2-liter V-6 FSI, which made its production debut in the new Audi A6 last November, and the 2.0T FSI four-cylinder.
The V-6 pumps out 255 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque. What makes this naturally aspirated V-6 so unique is that 90 percent of the engine’s peak torque is available between 1900 and 5900 rpm. Coupled to it in the A4 are a new six-speed automatic transmission and quattro all-wheel drive. Don’t get any ideas about launching yourself into orbit — despite the additional power offered this year, the governed top speed is 130 mph.