2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro: Introduction
Audi is currently the fastest growing luxury nameplate in the country thanks to an ever expanding range of automobiles moving across a wide range of tastes from the high mileage A3 TDI diesel hatchback to the R8 high performance sport coupe. But Audi built all of its niche model success on the backbone of the range of A4 sport sedans that are not only relatively affordable and fun to drive but bring the fight right to the doorstep of its arch nemesis—the BMW 3-Series.
Whereas the Mercedes C-Class continues to just seem like a way station for pitiful unfortunates who can’t afford the lease payments on an E-Class, the A4 never comes across as anything less than a fully baked Audi through and through. The solidity of build and the way it takes to the road and attaches itself to the tarmac like a love hungry gecko is inimitable in the entry-level luxury sedan segment.
For 2011 Audi has gone rogue and ditched the V-6 option entirely for the A4 (a supercharged V-6 is available in the high performance S4) and added an excellent 8-speed automatic that is a master of getting the most from the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. Despite the engine’s Lilliputian size, it never struggled to motivate our full time all-wheel drive Quattro all-wheel drive test model up freeway onramps at less than legal speeds.
So what is it that makes the A4 the best-selling model in Audi’s lineup of very capable sport sedans, coupes, convertibles, SUVs and crossovers? Well, in this review we will try to explain in words what makes an Audi truly magical and why their interiors remain the standard bearers in the luxury car market. Honestly, even with all of the Volvo S60’s, Infiniti G37’s, Acura TL’s and myriad other luxury competitors you really can’t go wrong with a 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro.
2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro: Exterior
There is just something about the quiet, confident yet almost casually indifferent style of the 2011 Audi A4 sedan. It is effortlessly good looking like most of the people you find walking around celebrity enclaves like Malibu or West Hollywood. We would say Bel Air and Beverly Hills but the people who live in those parts of LA are so nipped, tucked and pulled that there is nothing “effortless” about their looking good.
Truly, the A4 sedan forces you to fall in love with it but never clearly lets on what it is about the design that affects you so deeply. Is it the wide mouth grille, the gently sloping rear pillars or the nearly trapezoidal angularity of the taillights? Who knows? This is just one sickly slick looking luxury sedan.
Driving a car like the 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro sedan is like wearing the most flatteringly form fitting, custom made Italian suit to the most important business meeting in your life. You just feel better looking, more confident and more aesthetically aware from behind the wheel of this stylish four-door sport sedan. And, yes, it does stroke the ego in just the right places.
Now, part of every luxury sport sedan purchase is a desire to demonstrate your level of accomplishment even if it is just the simple fact that you worked hard enough to deserve such an exactingly engineered automobile. So never confuse that with being a negative—cars like the ones that Audi build can make you feel good about yourself and that is a truly invaluable asset in a world that always seems to strive to make you feel less than. With the A4 you will always feel worth it.
2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro: Interior
Is it truly possible to love a car interior too much? How can a mixture of leather, Alcantara, finely-textured plastic, wood and aluminum trim cause such a primal reaction in your cerebral cortex? Yes, the 2011 Audi A4’s dashboard is similar in design and execution to the ones you find in the Q5, Q7 and A5 but somehow each and every Audi has its own magic and majesty. You may feel uncontrollable urges to let your apartment lease expire and just move into your Audi A4. It’s that comfortable in here.
Our Quartz Gray Metallic 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro was a Premium Plus model which adds $3,400 to the sticker $34,140 sticker price and gives you Xenon headlamps, Bluetooth, three zone climate control with rear seat vents perfect for keeping the passengers or pets in the backseat comfortable, heated front seats, Homelink, a USB/iPod interface, automatic headlamps and windshield wipers. In addition, we also had the 18-inch sport package which added menacing looking sport alloys with performance tires, a 3-spoke sport steering wheel, shift paddles, a sport suspension and leather/Alacantara sport seats that hug you closer than your Aunt Bertha at a family reunion.
With destination charges our total came to $40,470, which seems a tad excessive on a car that doesn’t have an in-dash navigation system but if you add a couple grand more you can get that too. Honestly, it is Audi’s options list where you can get into the most trouble, as there are so many attractive option packages. Thankfully, however, the quality of the A4’s interior makes the initial outlay definitely seem worth it.
While there are some mainstream family sedans out there on the market with more rear legroom and trunk space (12 cubic feet), none of those models have the style, panache, interior build quality or brand equity that a 2011 Audi A4 sedan possesses. But honestly it will be during your time inside the 2011 Audi A4 that you will really fall in love with your new purchase.
2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro: Performance and Safety
For 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro sedan now comes with the 8-speed automatic that is just as impressive as this German luxury brand’s iconic double clutch automatics which are so loved thanks to their involving nature that almost make a manual transmission unnecessary. But this all-new traditional 8-speed auto is so smooth and perfectly geared as to border on the telepathic. It just always seems to know which gear to be in no matter what which is amazing considering the sheer number of options on offer.
Thanks to the imperceptible work of this A4’s 8-speed automatic, the standard 2.0 liter 211 horsepower/258 lb. feet of torque turbocharged 4-cylinder never felt underpowered when compared to most of its 6-cylinder luxury brand competition. In fact, this small motor always was always eager to rev and power was plentiful as it howled its way all the way to redline. At cruising speeds this motor is also surprisingly smooth and quiet. But if you want to drive a four wheeled, leather lined tomb go out and buy a Lexus as an A4 offers up a more visceral driving experience than that.
One side benefit of this 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is the 26.4 miles per gallon we averaged over a week of a pretty even mix of freeway and city driving. EPA estimates of 21-city/29-highway, a 0-60 time in 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 130 miles per hour are also all hugely impressive figures. Premium unleaded gasoline is, unfortunately, the required beverage of choice for the A4’s otherwise cost friendly motor.
The steering, while lighter than the helm of a BMW, makes for easy progress whether you are turning into a grocery store parking lot or trying to hit the apex of an S-turn the way a crazed Scandinavian rally car driver would. It sets a nice middle balance and tracks straight and true on long freeway drive. The 2011 Audi A4 is also a very safe car should you have an accident as it has been named a “Top Safety Pick” by the IIHS.
The 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro can be terrific fun on twisting roads, it will keep you safe in icy conditions yet it will also sit back and cosset you on a long, tiring ride home from work. And that is something Audi knows how to do very well. While in the past the A4 has lacked a bit of the razor sharp handling precision to truly be called a sport sedan, this new 2011 version definitely has what it takes to keep a BMW 3-Series owner entertained.
2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro: Summary
The 2011 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro is a unique and tantalizing entry in the luxury sport sedan segment that every 3-Series, C-Class, Volvo S60, Acura TL and Infiniti G37 buyer should cross-shop. It offers inimitable style, a gorgeous interior that you can tailor to your individual taste and a driving experience that defines the concept of refined security. You couldn’t ask for a better car to bring along on weekend ski trips.
There is a clear and concise reason why Audi is so successful in this country and the formula for their success can be seen most clearly from behind the wheel of the 2011 Audi A4. So if the time has finally come to treat yourself to the luxury sport sedan of your dreams you really owe yourself a test drive.