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.
What’s Different The 2005.5 Audi A4 is based on the old 2005 model, but features updated styling, more powerful engines, and some new hardware.
Significant vehicle changes are usually reserved for regular model years, but in the case of Audi and Volkswagen, mid-year freshenings are fairly common. The latest example is the 2005.5 Audi A4, an entry-luxury sedan and wagon (Avant) that is based on the existing 2005 A4, but features updated styling, more powerful engines, and some new hardware.
Even the casual observer will notice that the new A4 wears a massive grille, now a trait common to all Audi products. The headlights are smaller yet still thoroughly effective, the taillights wrap into the trunk lid, and the alloy wheels feature new designs.
New engine choices include the 200-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and a 255-horsepower, 3.2-liter V6. The boosted four-cylinder replaces 2005’s 170-horsepower 1.8-liter turbo, and the six-cylinder fills in for last year’s 220-horsepower 3.0-liter V6. Torque is also up, and now registers at 207 lb.-ft. and 243 lb.-ft., respectively. Also in powertrain news, the five-speed manual transmission has been removed from the menu, leaving heel-and-toe downshifters with only a six-cog setup. Unfortunately, the A4 still can’t be equipped with Audi’s Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) clutchless manual transmission and its steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.
Behind the scenes are suspension systems borrowed from current Audi models – the multi-link front setup comes from the 2005 A6, and the trapezoidal rear link suspension is a detuned version of that found on the 2005 S4. There’s also a new feature that periodically dries the brake rotors in inclement weather to improve stopping capability.