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2011 Audi A4 Comfort & Quality

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On Comfort & Quality
The interior of the 2011 Audi A4 is quite comfortable, attractive, and well-appointed, though it's still a bit snug in back. With the Audi A4's last redesign for 2009, its back seat became usable for adults, while the front seats are still among the better seats in this class.

The base front chairs are supportive if a bit flat across the bottom cushion, with power adjustment and leather upholstery, but the upgraded seats included with the Sport Package are excellent. Most controls are easily reached, and the steering wheel tilts and telescopes to provide even tall drivers with the chance at an optimal driving position. There is much more backseat room, but the seat itself could use more bolstering and a taller bottom cushion height for better comfort. The backseats fold down for trunk access and for carrying long objects, and a pass-through for skis hides behind a fold-down armrest.

Cargo space is excellent; the trunk is very large on sedans, and the wagon (Avant) has enough room—17.3 cubic feet behind the rear seat—to carry four roller suitcases plus a couple of soft-sided bags. The A4's built with tight seams and a uniformly high level of fit and finish inside and out, but there's plenty of black plastic on the dash and a few buttons and controls with less than perfect feel-though Audi's steering-wheel mounted rollers should be the new standard for audio controls.

The 2011 Audi A4 feels comfortable and well-made, though its backseat space is still limited and the engine can get surprisingly thrashy.

The Audi A4's interior a few years back was a trend-setter in its class—and the new model still leads the pack when it comes to design—but the materials look and feel less remarkable this year, with some of the metallic plastic trim feeling like exactly what you'd find on some much less expensive vehicles. But build quality is still astounding—our editors couldn't get a single creak or rattle from the interior, despite a short stint on a gravel road.

The A4 has a very firm ride—to firm for some, perhaps, with the upgrades included in the Sport Package, which brings 18-inch sport wheels, high-performance tires, and a sport suspension. The one thing that left us wishing a bit was the way the engine sounded—way too coarse in our opinion for a vehicle in this size and price class. Provided you're in one of the higher gears and the revs were below 3,000 rpm, you don't hear the engine, but rev past the 4,000 rpm mark especially, and it gets boomy. There's also a surprising amount of vibration, as well as a tickling of the gas pedal at a resonant frequency around 70 mph.

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