Our hard-earned dollars would go to the basic 2005.5 Audi A4 2.0T quattro with the manual transmission because it offers some decent features, including 4 years or 50,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance, for a palatable price. Or, more likely, we’d opt for one of the more rewarding competitors.
When considering a 2005.5 Audi A4, there are two basic choices: the 2.0T and the 3.2, both of which are offered in sedan and Avant (wagon) form. The 2.0T sedan is available with or without Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system and buyers can opt for one of three transmissions: A six-speed automatic, a Multitronic continuously variable automatic transmission, or a Tiptronic six-speed automatic with manual shift and sport modes.
As the 2.0T designation would suggest, power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine that uses premium fuel to generate 200 horsepower at 5,100 rpm and 207 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,800 rpm. Other hardware includes ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes; an independent, multi-link front suspension with upper and lower control arms and an independent, trapezoidal link rear suspension; front and rear stabilizer bars; vehicle stability and traction control systems; and speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering. More obvious are the standard 16-inch alloy wheels rolling on 215/55 all-season tires, front and rear foglights, and alloy trim surrounding the window frames.
Inside, the 2005.5 Audi A4 2.0T buyer is treated to a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, heated mirrors, a 12-way power driver’s seat, a 60/40 split rear bench seat, a six-disc CD changer, and steering wheel mounted audio controls. Option packages are numerous and include features such as a power moonroof, leather seats, sport suspension, xenon headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, satellite radio, a 200-watt Bose sound system, birch or walnut wood trim, and a navigation system. Base prices for the 2.0T start at $28,070; adding quattro capability raised the price to $30,170 and the Avant goes for $31,170. All prices include a $720 destination charge.
Shoppers looking for more power and a longer list of standard features will be interested in the 2005.5 Audi A4 3.2, with a starting price of $36,120 for the sedan and $37,120 for the Avant. Regardless of which body style you choose, your A4 3.2 will be fitted with quattro all-wheel-drive, the Tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission, and 17-inch alloy wheels wearing Pirelli P6 235/45 all-season tires. Under the hood is a 3.2-liter, 24-valve V6 that ponies up 255 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 243 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,250 rpm. Added standard features include a 12-way power passenger seat, a trip computer, and leather seats (premium leather is optional).
The tally on our 2005.5 Audi A4 2.0T window sticker read $39,965, a lofty figure that covered the destination charge; $450 for gray metallic paint; $2,100 for a Premium package with a power sunroof, leather seats, and a Homelink universal transmitter; $1,950 for the Audi navigation system; $1,425 for a Lighting package, complete with adaptive xenon headlights, auto dimming interior and exterior mirrors, driver memory functions, and more; $1,000 for the Bose sound system and XM satellite radio; $750 for heated front and rear seats and a pass-through ski bag for the trunk; $500 for 17-inch alloy wheels and Pirelli P6 tires; and $150 for headlight washers.
Whew. In a matter of seconds, that entry-luxury level German sedan goes from reasonably priced to expensive, especially when you consider the unrefined nature of that turbo engine, the pleathery-feel of those cowhide seats, and the availability of the A4’s corporate cousins, the redesigned 2005.5 Volkswagen Jetta and 2006 Passat, models that have lower starting prices, and in the case of the Passat, more available power. Move outside of the family for a more powerful Volvo S40 T5 with all-wheel drive and a lower starting price or an Infiniti G35x that offers 280 horsepower, more than the A4 2.0T and A4 3.2. Yet, if the 2005.5 Audi A4 proves too hard to resist, our hard-earned dollars would go to the 2.0T quattro with the manual transmission because it offers some decent features for a palatable price, as well as Audi’s four years or 50,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance.