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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
acceleration is certainly adequate
the shifter pops fluidly from gate to gate
front-drive A4s with CVT are lazy on takeoff
better weight distribution and sportier handling
Although the A4 Audi is bit lightweight for some in terms of power, TheCarConnection.com's team finds most reviewers are satisfied with the 2008 Audi A4 in terms of overall performance.
Power comes from a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines. Standard is a 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection inline-four that generates 200 horsepower; the optional 3.2-liter V-6 is borrowed from the larger A6 and likewise uses direct injection to produce 255 horses. Cars.com reports "plenty of power hails from the V-6, in a civilized manner," but also notes "strong performance with the turbocharged four-cylinder is devoid of turbo lag, and it's a tad more spirited." Edmunds observes that A4 Audi "acceleration is certainly adequate on everything…we've found the 2.0T a little light on torque down low." However, "once the tach sees 2,500 rpm, there's plenty of pull on tap." The Audi A4 2008's V-6 is "smooth, but with only 255 hp, it lacks the motivation needed to keep pace with competitors' 300-plus-hp V6s."
The four-cylinder can be mated to either a six-speed manual or Multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) automatic in the sedan version; the wagon and all V-6 models offer a choice of the six-speed manual or a conventional six-speed automatic gearbox. J.D. Power reports that "the shifter pops fluidly from gate to gate," and Cars.com comments that "the manual gearbox shifts easily, and Audi's automatic transmission works without any harshness...Audi's ultra-smooth multitronic CVT works masterfully and subtly. After slight hesitation during takeoff, the car moves ahead with some haste." ConsumerGuide states that the Audi A4 2008 "manual-transmission 2.0T sedan did 6.8 sec 0-60 mph," but notes that "front-drive A4s with CVT are lazy on takeoff."
The two body styles of 2008 Audi A4 are available with either front-wheel or quattro all-wheel drive. “The extra traction afforded by the Quattro all-wheel-drive system is quite useful in Northern climates,” Edmunds says.
Fuel economy is better than expected in the Audi A4. Autoblog reports this year's A4 Audi as being "one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its luxury segment." EPA estimates are 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with the four-cylinder engine.
ConsumerGuide says "the base suspension with 16- or 17-inch tires provides firm control and mostly good bump absorption," noting "little difference with the S line package's sport suspension." Edmunds reports a "balanced ride and handling and a suspension that dispenses with ruts and potholes with unflappable German efficiency," calling it "a sterling daily driver." Cars.com feels “The A4 is solid and appealing, joyfully tackling twisting roads and taking every turn in stride,” but Car and Driver chides the A4 for a “bumpy ride, especially with optional sport suspension.” They, however, add, “Handling response and steering feel almost match the BMW 3-series,” though understeer is still pervasive and body control isn't perfect.
The 2008 Audi A4 accelerates smartly with the V-6 engine and manual transmission, but the CVT and the occasionally bumpy ride sullies some opinions.