TO THE POINTWhat’s New? The 2005.5 A4 gets the massive grille, new and more powerful engines, added features, freshened styling, upgraded underpinnings. Selling Points: Available quattro all-wheel drive and 17-inch alloys, standard traction and stability control systems and a four-year/50,000-mile free scheduled maintenance. Deal Breakers: Unrefined turbo engine, low-quality leather, schizophrenic transmission, and a hefty price tag Our Advice: Buy it for looks, free maintenance, and quattro capability. Otherwise, consider the 2006 VW Passat.
With each passing day it becomes increasingly evident that lowered expectations are in order. Spend $500 on a six-hour, cross-country flight and be rewarded with half of a soft drink and a menu that includes an overpriced sandwich. Relocate to a high-rent condo, only to discover that your well-paid neighbors have an affinity for cranking Beastie Boys tunes…at midnight. A cynic would quickly suggest that you’ve got your sights set a tad too high, my friend.
At least that was the prevailing feeling after a week with the 2005.5 Audi A4 2.0T quattro. Shining proudly in the sunlight, the Quartz Gray turbocharged sedan, with its clean, rounded body lines finished off with attractive alloy wheels, suggested a prime example of sport and luxury living in true harmony.
But, sometimes optimistic suckers aren’t the cynics they probably should be, so it may take driving the new A4 for a driver to realize that he’s been had, a moment poignantly marked by a slap to the forehead and utterance of Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!” With an as-tested price teetering on $40,000 and that promising turbo badge on the engine cover, as well as a long list of standard and optional features, this Audi had a lot to live up to, and in the areas of styling and handling at the limit the A4 passed with varying degrees of success. In the end, however, lackluster performance from the unrefined engine, leather seats that would look more at home in a Hyundai, and a poor value equation when compared to the competition.