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Audi A4/S4/Allroad

Its looks could thrill.

You might think that living in the shadow of the BMW 3-series would be tough, but the Audi A4 looks no worse for the wear. In fact, its great looks — inside and out — are the hallmark of this luxury car. For 2013, those looks have been tweaked slightly, with a new grille, bumpers, hood, and LED running lights. With regard to its BMW rivalry, the Audi has no need to apologize. The rear-wheel-drive Bimmer is still the easy choice for driving purists, but the A4 is a brilliant alternative for realists. Audi was among the first to downsize from a six-cylinder to a turbocharged four, a strategy that the BMW 328i and the Mercedes-Benz C250 have recently emulated. The A4’s 2.0T four-cylinder makes 211 hp and can be had with a CVT and front-wheel drive or (our preference) Quattro and your choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. The blisteringly fast S4 is Quattro only and uses a supercharged V-6 that is ultra-smooth if a little understated. Alas, the graceful A4 Avant wagon has departed, replaced by the functionally identical but more rugged-looking Audi Allroad. The Allroad comes with a single powertrain: 2.0T, eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive. New for the Allroad is a 1.5-inch-higher ride height, lower bodyside cladding, and a stainless-steel front skid plate.

COMPETITORS

Cadillac CTS

BMW 3-series

Lexus IS

Mercedes-Benz C-class

new for 2013

In addition to the new Allroad, 2013 sees the arrival of Audi Connect for the navigation system, which uses a 3G connection (monthly fees apply) to add Google Maps functionality, Google Voice Local Search capability, weather radar, and other functions, including the ability to make the car a wireless hot spot.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, front side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; and traction and stability control are standard. Adaptive cruise with brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive headlights, and rear side air bags are optional.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 17–24

HWY 26–31

PRO

Styling and build quality

Performance (S4)

Interior design

CON

Front-heavy handling

Rear-seat space

Avant replaced by less handsome Allroad

Base Price Range: $33,495–$56,145

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel, 4-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: 2.0T Premium, 2.0T Premium Plus, 2.0T Prestige, 3.0T Premium Plus, 3.0T Prestige

BODY STYLES: Sedan, wagon, 5-passenger

ENGINES: 2.0L turbo I-4, 211 hp, 258 lb-ft (E85 capable)

3.0L supercharged V-6, 333 hp, 325 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 6-speed manual, 7- or 8-speed automatic, continuously variable

PASSENGER VOLUME: 90.0–91.0 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (sedan) 12.4 cu ft; (Allroad, rear seats up/down) 27.6/50.5 cu ft

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