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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Audi A4 Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Audi A4 Overview

The A4-ordable Sports Sedan

In the close quarter sports sedan arena, no other car can offer you what the A4 does. From its high-end materials to its lengthy standard features list to its grade A build quality, the Audi A4 truly gives you the most for your money. This realization will come to you the first time you slip behind the wheel of a 1.8T A4 and realize that the car you are sitting in starts at just $25K. Maybe we could dismiss the price to content ratio if the A4 fell down in some other crucial area, such as performance or handling, but it doesn't. Flat out, the A4 still represents one of the best sport sedan values on the market and that includes the A4 Avant wagon as well.

To keep things simple, Audi has limited the A4 to just two models: the 1.8T and the 3.0. These numbers represent each car's engine displacement in liters; both can be ordered in either front-wheel drive or with Quattro all-wheel drive and each trim carries its own set of standard and optional equipment. The 1.8T comes with a 5-speed manual transmission while the 3.0-liter receives a slick-shifting 6-speed. Both cars can be outfitted with Audi's new five-speed automatic with tiptronic shifting. On front-wheel-drive models, you can also opt for the new CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic that improves both fuel efficiency and performance by providing an infinite number of gear ratios.

The 1.8T is powered by a four-cylinder turbo that can lay waste to many of its rival's comparably sized entry-level engines. Rated at 170 horsepower, the 1.8T is a blast to drive, especially as the turbo charger spools up and gives you that sudden rush of power that keeps giving right up to the redline. Though powerful, the 1.8T cannot match the torque and top-end acceleration of the 3.0 V6. With 220 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque at just 3100 rpm, Audi says the A4 3.0 Quattro will accelerate from 0 to 60 in just 7.1 seconds (7.9 with the automatic.) We strongly recommend that you test drive both the 1.8 and 3.0 back-to-back before making your final purchase decision. If you like the price of the 1.8T, but find yourself clinging to the belief that a four-cylinder engine cannot compare to a V6, the 1.8T may forever change the way you think about small displacement engines.

You'll find little to quibble with when it comes to the A4's performance. Turn in-the time it takes for the car to respond to steering wheel input-is not as quick as that of the A4's closest rivals, the BMW 3-Series and Infiniti G35, but it is definitely on par with cars like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus ES300. You'll find the A4's ride is smooth and stable and its handling is pretty good with the standard front-wheel drive (Audi calls it FrontTrac) and down right mind boggling with the Quattro option. A big thank you also goes to the new trapezoidal rear-end that allows each rear wheel to negotiate road surfaces more freely, less controlled by the other. For the best performance, you should order your A4 with the sport package that adds 17-inch sport alloys as part of a performance-handling package. Unless you're running autocross on the weekend, we think you will agree that the A4's performance capabilities combined with its extremely comfortable ride are more than sufficient to meet most peoples expectations.

As we mentioned before, the A4's interior is its trump card over the competition. Beyond its rich materials and stunning execution you'll find such subtle touches as sharp red LEDs that backlight just about every imaginable piece of switchgear and perfectly placed instruments that are intuitively placed. The only control we didn't feel this way about was the HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning); the panel is too low on the dash and partially blocked by the transmission stalk. A small sampling of the standard A4 equipment list includes dual-zone climate control, one-touch up/down power windows at all locations, power door locks, cruise control, 3-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 150-watt sound system with 6-disc in-dash CD changer. For 2003, the 1.8T gets some new options that were previously only available on the 3.0, including leather seats and a twelve-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support.

Some popular options include a Bose audio system, Audi's onboard navigation guide and the OnStar telematics system.

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