It's easy to forget about the Audi A4. The current generation has been with us since the 2009 model year and it really hasn't changed that much. The exterior still boasts a simple, rounded shape with clean lines. But the A4 remains a competent model with an impressive interior and a decent set of standard features.
The current A4 gets a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 220 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Before the 2014 model year, this engine produced 211 horsepower. You can get front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT), or opt for Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system with the choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.
Standard equipment for many A4 models includes 17-inch wheels, xenon headlights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, tri-zone climate control, leather seats, an eight-way driver's power seat, Audi's MMI infotainment system and controller and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Higher trim models get 18-inch wheels, heated front seats, memory for the driver's power seat, keyless entry and ignition and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The options list is quite extensive and includes features like navigation, a 14-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, Bluetooth audio connectivity, a backup camera, front and rear parking sensors and blind spot monitoring.
Competitors to the Audi A4 include the BMW 3-Series, Cadillac ATS, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The first-generation Audi A4 was introduced for the 1996 model year as a replacement for the aging Audi 90 sedan. Offered in both sedan and Avant (wagon) body styles, the A4 proved to be a popular model for the brand. In its first year, the A4 came with a 2.8-liter V6 producing 190 horsepower. You had the choice of five-speed manual and automatic transmissions, as well as front-wheel drive and quattro all-wheel drive. A year later, a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with 150 horsepower was introduced. Again, you had the choice of five-speed manual and automatic transmissions, as well as front- and all-wheel drive.
The second-generation A4 came in 2002, and received a punchier version of the turbocharged engine with 170 horsepower. There was also a new 3.0-liter V6 with 220 horsepower. Front-wheel drive models got a new "Multitronic" CVT. Other additions include dual-zone climate control and an in-dash six-disc CD changer. The A4 Cabriolet debuted for 2003, which first offered the 3.0-liter V6 and front-wheel drive. A V6 version with quattro and a model with the 1.8-liter engine followed later. 2005 saw a mid-cycle refresh that included a new front end treatment and an updated dashboard.