Test Drive: 2013 Audi A4

So, bad news, I got a ton of yellow paint on my car. I had to take it into the dealer… but the good news is they’ve given me an 2013 Audi A4 as a loaner. I figure I’d give it a little review since I’ve never driven a new Audi.

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The 2013 A4 is a 2.0 Liter 4 Cylinder Turbo, and it’s considered to be an upscale midsize sedan focused on luxury/performance. After driving it for a day, it feels like a large performance sedan trying to feel like a small practical one.

Power
So is the myth true, are A4’s powerful? Only when the turbo’s kick in. While the car’s spec claim a 258lb torque at 1,500 rpm, it doesn’t feel like it. The acceleration is actually kind of pathetic, and I’m shocked that a car with that kind of spec drives in such an awkward way. The way to hp/torque set up is probably most appropriate for passing cars between 40-70mph. The power’s there, but it feels like an old school turbo spooling up. Once the boost kicks in, it feels alive.

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Handling
Handling is a little strange. When I say strange, I mean that it’s a big car that has a ton of assisted power steering. I can literally drive the car with my pinky. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not—I personally prefer a slightly heavier feel in my steering. Same goes with the brakes… for whatever reason, they’re very sensitive. Almost artificially too sensitive. I literally touch the brakes, and the car’s weight shifts forward immediately. I’m not sure if this is good for performance driving—you want to avoid throwing the weight of the car around, especially around the turns. On a positive note, the car feels planted at higher speeds and seems to handle better once you get momentum.

Comfort
So, for a sporty sedan, the seats are pretty loose. I’m sliding all around in the turns. The seats are comfortable, but are not performance oriented. Even the steering wheel position is off—it’s too far away from the driver by default. I will say that there are a couple of cool features… for example, the way the car starts is interesting—you have to push the key in, with your foot on the brakes to start it. To turn it off, you have to push the key inward. When I say key, it’s a fat piece of plastic that sticks into a giant numb to the right of the steering column. At first I disliked it, but it was actually really convenient, and clever.

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Style
So the A4 is a sharp looking sedan. It’s modern, but conservative. It has a sleekness that most cars try to achieve. It’s a good looking sedan, and I believe it’s ahead of the curve in terms of styling.

Conclusion
So is the myth true? Is the A4 a powerful beast that rivals a BMW 3 series in terms of performance? The answer is no. It doesn’t feel like a drivers car in terms of the seat, driving position and overall handling characteristics. However, some people really like the styling enough to overlook performance. I’d describe the A4 as being practical and stylish. But I could see myself getting bored with it after a while.