The Audi A4 3.2 Quattro (Auto) last had a manufacturer update on 11/14/2007. The A4 returns for 2008 with several improvements, both mechanically and technologically. Revisions include a new four-link front suspension, a retooled AWD system, and modified powertrain configurations. Roadjet technology has also been added certain interior features, including the seats and sound system.
Standard luxury amenities across the board include automatic climate control, alloy wheels, an alarm system, keyless entry remote, and a stereo system with a six-disc CD changer. Available options on the A4 include Bluetooth Wireless technology, a DVD-based navigation system, unique interior wood trim, and rear side impact airbags. The optional Sound Package includes a Bose AudioPilot sound system and a Sirius radio feature. The Audi A4 3.2 Quattro (Auto) saw minor changes in 2005, and is expected to be redesigned in 2009.
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Here’s what’s certain. The next-gen A4 is bigger than the current car, as well as its German rivals. The wheelbase has been stretched 6.3 inches to 110.6, overall length extends 4.6 inches to 185.2, and width increases by 2.1 inches to 71.9. Only the height—56.2 inches—is unchanged.
The net of all this expansion is the roomiest sedan among the Germanic trio, says Audi, as well as slick styling (0.27 Cd) with reduced front overhang. Audi also claims the size increase does not entail a corresponding increase in mass, thanks in part to the use of aluminum for the multilink front suspension.
Audi lists curb weight for the A4 3.2 FSI Quattro—it will be the first to reach U.S. showrooms in the fall, to be followed by a 2.0-liter turbo four—at 3500 pounds, a total that includes a six-speed Tiptronic automatic and is about 150 fewer pounds than the claim for the outgoing car. Less weight should mean more go. Audi forecasts 0-to-62 mph in 6.2 seconds. An ’05 V-6 A4 Quattro test car managed 60 mph in a tepid 7.5.
This is the most technically sophisticated A4 yet, with a new automatic damping system, a clever new variable-ratio rack-and-pinion steering system, and variable timing and lift in the valvetrain, raising output of the V-6 from 255 horsepower to 265 and, according to Audi, increasing fuel economy by 12 percent.
The dynamic elements noted here—variable damping, variable steering ratio, and variable transmission shift points—fall under the heading of Audi drive select, an option that gives the driver three modes, ranging from boulevard comfort to back-road action.
We won’t know what the bottom line is until September. Audi hopes to hold the line on pricing, but that, like the sportiest saloon claim, remains to be seen.