Every element of the thoroughly revised 2009 Audi A4 supports the brand’s aggressive ambition in the compact sport sedan segment. Bulked up, hunkered down and broad-of-beam, the A4 projects swagger and attitude.
The 2009 Audi A4 is five inches longer and nearly two inches wider between the wheels. Its new styling seems intent on emphasizing the wider track, and the upswept “character line” that sweeps rearward under the doorsills conveys a sense of speed and strength. Visually, there’s nothing compact about the A4, and that’s big news!
The new styling and proportions give the 2009 A4 a sportier appearance with shortened overhangs front and rear to make the most of the stretched chassis. In a major engineering move, Audi has swapped the locations of the differential and clutch (torque converter on the automatics). This allows the front axle to move forward 6.1 inches, effectively putting the mass of the engine further behind the front wheels. The result, Audi claims, is better weight distribution over each axle for precision control and handling.
Naturally, the A4’s larger dimensions translate into a longer and wider cabin. Front- and rear-seat occupants enjoy more room in all directions. The 17-cubic-foot trunk volume exceeds that of any competitor. The A4 is bigger, which is good, but it has to weigh more, too, which is bad, right? Wrong! The Audi engineers did their homework and created a frame and body shell with stronger geometries and higher-strength grades of steel. According to Audi, the bare body shell of the redesigned 2009 model weighs 10 percent less than the body shell of the previous model.
Under the hood, the 2009 Audi A4 gets a new standard powerplant, an all-new turbocharged, 2.0-liter four. It generates 211 hp and 258 lb/ft of torque. Front-wheel drive models use an automatic Multitronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The all-wheel drive quattro versions get Audi’s Tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission. The upgrade option is a 3.2-liter V6 with 265 hp and 243 lb/ft of torque teamed with the Tiptronic automatic. The 2.0-liter four gets an EPA mileage estimate of 23 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, a quite decent tradeoff for more than 200 hp.
The A4 suspension is adjustable with an electronic control called “Drive Select” with Sport, Standard and Luxury modes – part of the adaptive suspension, which includes variable steering rates, throttle mapping and changing shift points in the transmission that adjust to your driving style.
Running gear on the A4 gets upgraded for 2009. For example, composite spheroidal-graphite and aluminum calipers squeeze new high-performance brake pads that are 20 percent larger for improved brake feel and reduced stopping distances. Audi says the latest generation of ESP (stability control) offers a smoother regulating action for less intrusive feedback for the driver. The 2009 A4 introduces the Audi Dynamic Steering System. The system is speed sensitive and further impacted by the driver’s choice of driving mode. The steering ratio is more direct with greater power boost at low speed and less direct with decreased boost at highway speeds. Nothing new with that, you say, but the A4 takes dynamic steering to a new level since the steering input is tied in with ESP. Should the A4 begin to oversteer, often caused by a violent accident avoidance maneuver, the steering helps with the correction, working faster than an experienced rally driver would react to get the car under control. In an understeer situation, the system prevents the driver from turning the tires beyond their ability to grip the road. It’s all automatic. The A4 has your back!
Crash protection in the ’09 A4 involves six standard airbags. Driver and front passenger are protected by front and side airbags while curtain airbags protect all outboard passengers. Two rear-side airbags are optional.
The new A4 borrows liberally from Audi’s flagship, the A8. For example, a Driver Information System (DIS) that displays information about audio, climate and vehicle settings is now standard on all V6 models. The A4 also features an electro-mechanical parking brake (like the A8’s) operated by a small electronic lever. The space formerly occupied by a handbrake has been replaced with additional cabin storage with twin 12-volt power adapters. When ordered with a navigation system, the Multi-Media Interface (MMI) is integrated into the center tunnel and the information is displayed on a seven-inch color screen. The car audio system is by Bang & Olufsen. A 505-watt, 10-channel amplifier feeds 14 speakers. You’ll feel like a member of the band!
The 2009 A4 wagon, called the Avant, also grows in size and packs similar content to the sedan. Although longer than last years model, it is more rigid and about 10 percent lighter.
Prices for the A4 sedan start at an MSRP of $32,700 equipped with the all-new 2.0-liter TFSI-four feeding the front wheels. Quattro AWD is available on the 2.0-liter model along with Audi's six-speed Tiptronic transmission. The Avant (wagon) body styles get quattro as standard equipment. Avant prices begin at a $34,500 MSRP. If you choose the 3.2-liter FSI V6, the six-speed manumatic and quattro are standard.
All we can say about the 2009 Audi A4 Sedan and Avant is “WOW!” These new Audis must be seen and driven to be fully appreciated. Please give us a call and we’ll get you a test drive and look-see.