Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reworked Audi A4 leaves them in the dust

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo reviews of the latest motor vehicle models also can be seen on The Sacramento Bee’s website at

This review first appeared in the May 2017 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California While they’re close cousins sharing plenty of DNA, there are differences between power and performance.

Power, as in that put out by a motor vehicle’s engine, is pretty straightforward, with specific measurements as you run up through the engine revs.

Performance is a more nuanced.

Performance can gently press you deep into your driver’s seat or snap your neck in such a way as to create pain that lingers for a day.  And some cars have what I call freeze-frame performance.  That’s where the car’s acceleration and movements are so abrupt that everything surrounding the car appears to freeze in place.

Those of you who remember the old “Six Million Dollar Man” TV series know what I’m talking about.  Ditto if you watch current TV episodes of “The Flash.”

The extensively reworked for 2017 Audi A4 has freeze-frame performance.  Or to be precise, I experienced it in my tester: the 2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro S tronic.  Got that?  Good.

What most of that means is that my ride had a 2-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with 252 horsepower and 273 foot-pounds of torque linked to a seven-speed S tronic transmission and a very sophisticated all-wheel drive system.

Now those aren’t spectacular numbers or unique features, but the way the A4 employs them gets the heart racing.

Acceleration from a standing start is pretty exciting, but the real blast comes when the A4 is asked for more at, say, freeway speed.  Traveling among a group of cars at around 60 miles per hour, an added tap on the accelerator sends the Audi into freeze-frame mode.  It just sprints away from everything, and everything else appears to be super-glued to the pavement.

What a rush!  Naturally, I repeated this move numerous times over my week in the car.  It never ceased to amaze me.  Just for the record, Motor Trend magazine tested the A4 2.0T at 5.4 seconds in the zero-to-60-mph run.  So believe us, the performance is there.

Beyond that, the A4 sedan is a luxury liner stuffed with enjoyable comfort/convenience features and state-of-the-art technology.

Standard perks on my tester included LED lighting inside and out, a power sunroof, three-zone digital climate control and a keyless engine stop/start system.

The starting price of the tested A4 2.0T was $39,400, but it was dressed up with packages that swelled the sticker’s bottom line to $51,575.  The extras included a “Prestige” package that included heated/auto-dimming/power folding exterior mirrors, a blazing surround-sound audio system and a full color head-up display.

Exterior styling is sleek, but elegantly understated – just the right note for a luxury sedan.

And for all its performance, the fuel mileage ratings were an impressive 24 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

You’d think that with all that luxury and years of engineering genius that they could place the front cupholders in a smart spot.  Instead, they’re flush against the bottom of the center stack of controls, meaning you’re out of luck if you have anything more than a small plastic coffee cup.

That’s a minor gripe for an Audi A4 that is otherwise an A-grade car all the way.

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