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Audi: Why Exactly?
Why would you choose an Audi A4? I mean, it's not as popular as the typical luxury car brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. You barely hear people talking about it and if you do, they'd opt to deviate from the topic and go back to Bimmer or Merc. If I'm being brutally honest, I'd take the latter two as well.
Who buys Audi for the sports-luxury feel? You're better off with a BMW for that. And who buys Audi for the sheer luxury? That's what Mercedes-Benz is for. When you buy an Audi, what are you saying about yourself? That you've decided to choose the esoteric choice instead of the mainstream? Bollocks if I know.
However, there are a few things I love about this car brand which don't seem to be around the other two German brands.
For one thing, the looks. I know, it's got an oversized front grille like a basking shark and BMW has the oversized kidney grille but at least it provides a front end that's cheaper to produce. And it's more symmetrical as well. Since there are only three large holes in the front for cooling, your trypophobia won't necessarily trigger itself.
I don't suffer from trypophobia and if you do, DO NOT GOOGLE IT. Or you decided that you can Google it and face the consequences, whatever. Moving on.
The next thing I love about this car is that it seems to come standard with the 7-speed S-Tronic dual clutch transmission, which is superb. Now, I know everyone says that DCTs are among the worst for slow speeds because they're a bit jerky when you're moving below 10 or 20 miles an hour.
But because it's got a dual clutch, it's great round the track. Similar to my BMW M235i xDrive review, this thing seems to fit the bill at a slightly lower cost. Does cheaper mean lesser performance and luxury? Come and have a look.
Similar to Mercedes-Benz and BMW, the cheaper models of sedans always come with fake air vents. I noticed that right away as the Audi representative made me sign the papers for the test unit I requested.
It seems that most people choose silver or gray for their A4, though the unit I requested came in black. Not a fan of dark colored vehicles, but it's here so the show must go on.
Inside, you're greeted with relatively comfortable seats for the price. Mind you, these things seem to come standard with all-wheel drive and they're cheaper than BMW or Mercedes. I mean, I see the badging on the back and it says Quattro despite being just under $40,000 on the U.S. website. And, being a Quattro sedan, it's got TFSi.
For those of you who are wondering, TFSi stands for Turbocharged Fuel Stratified Injection. No idea how it works and I don't care. All that matters to me is the ride and bang for your buck while features are secondary.
I heard these things have a sort of wireless charger for your phone in the center console between you and the front passenger but regrettably, the unit I got didn't have it. No matter, there's still a few things that are nice.
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The interior is posh and lavish in beige leather; quite the opposite of the outside. I do have one quibble about this car and that's the infotainment touchscreen system.
I suppose it's for ergonomics and ease of use for the driver, but the menu buttons are on the left side of the screen. Add to that a very annoying ringing sound when you press them every time.
To give you an idea of how annoying the sound is, have you seen the 2014 film Interstellar? Ok, good. Did you see the part where they were in a water-filled planet and it was seven years per hour on the planet? Excellent. Now, I'm sure you've heard the ticking sound of a clock? That's the sound I'm talking about. It's haunting to a point; cringeworthy.
Under the hood of this car sits a 2.0L inline four that produces 250 horsepower. That's Lancer X RalliArt territory. Add to that a 7-speed dual clutch instead of the RalliArt's 6-speed DCT, it's only capable of launching itself from a standing start to sixty miles an hour in just 5.8 seconds. That's also faster than the RalliArt's 7-second mark. Granted, it's a decade later but still, you can have a ton of fun.
I'm a bit nervous taking this thing to the track but we've got to do it. You cannot review a car without giving it a sort of thrashing. As always with modern cars, there's launch control and we know the procedure.
Right on to the straight, downshifting and braking into the corner and I can hear the tires hitting the chicane as I take it too sharp because the Quattro AWD system is giving me this advantage. Lo and behold, there's an M235i behind me and he's flashing me. Let's give him a run for his money, shall we?
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!
Mashing the throttle on the straight and we're neck and neck and is he gonna make it through? Sod it, he did and he's pulling away, the bleeding sod! I'm able to keep up with him a bit because I'm drafting right up his heinie. Can't overtake as we've got to downshift into the 180 hairpin turn - whoops, I felt a bit of body roll and traction control taking over - mashing the throttle again and drafting now and we're neck and neck again.
Ooohhh, I'm not fast enough unfortunately, but I'm keeping up with him nonetheless. Bloody hellfire, this is great fun! It may be a cheaper alternative Mercedes and BMW but it's a helluva lotta fun driving it on track.
The brakes feel solid and the downshifts and upshifts are instantaneous thanks to the DCT. The Quattro system keeping me in a tighter line than usual makes my spleen hurt just a tiny bit as the G-forces push my body the other way from the car.
I'm now in a coffee shop in another part of town finalizing my blog about this car and I have very few things to complain about. In fact, aside from the annoying ringing sound the infotainment touchscreen makes whenever you touch it, I am actually, genuinely struggling to find something wrong with the car.
The roof hole perhaps? I know, everyone calls it a sunroof but that's basically what it is. Or maybe the fake air vents? Make no mistake, the car is absolutely gorgeous to look at. I know, I'm looking at it from my window seat. I never thought something so overlooked could be so..... refreshing? The BMW had stiff suspension but this was a bit softer. It's refreshing to get into a car where you can drive anywhere and savor the moment.
Driving this car has been one of the most soulful drives I've had in a long time and I think I'm in love.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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