New Car Review of the 2006 Audi A4 Mid-Size Sedan
Base MSRP Range: $28,240 - $55,840
Base Invoice Range: $26,043 - $51,428
MSRP As Tested: Not Available
Versions: 2.0, 3.2
Vehicle Category: Mid-Size Sedan
Engine Location: Front Engine
Fuel Economy (city/hwy): Manual 23/34, Automaitc 22/30 CVT 24/32.
Fuel Economy (city/hwy): Manual 17/27, Automaitc 19/27 CVT 21/29.
Standard Safety Features: Dual front airbags, Front side airbags, Curtain side airbags, Antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, Brake assist, Antiskid system, Front-seat active head restraints, Power central locking system with safety unlock feature if airbag deploys, Child safety rear door locks.
Competition: Acura TSX, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CTS, Lexus ES 330, Infiniti G35, Saab 9-3.
Audi scores again with its 2006 A4. With a spacious, luxuriously-appointed interior, sophisticated exterior lines, and a host of safety features, the A4 far exceeds its brother vehicle, the Volkswagen Passat - and every other car in its class.
The two model choices - the common 2.0-liter Turbo and 3.2-liter V6, (not to mention the fabulous but more expensive, BMW M3-like S4) - can all include Audi's famous Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Indeed, there is so little wrong with this car, we would highly recommend it to anyone from the sporty young adult to the comfort-minded senior citizen.
The Audi A4 2.0-turbo combines their FSI Direct Fuel Injection system with a Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) turbocharged engine to create a whopping 200 horses and 207 lb.-ft of torque off of just four cylinders. The FSI includes variable valve timing and intake manifold. All of this combines for a 0 to 60 MPH time of 7.1 to 7.5 seconds (depending on whether the transmission is manual or automatic, and whether it's a Quattro).
It's a fuel saver, too, getting an average of 23 miles to the gallon in town and 33 on the highway.
The 2.0-liter Turbo is offered with four transmission systems: the 6-speed manual transmission includes FrontTrak front-wheel drive; the Audi Multitronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with FrontTrak front-wheel-drive; the 6-speed manual with Quattro all-wheel-drive; and the 6-speed Tiptronic transmission with all-wheel-drive. We recommend the Quattro-equipped versions; after all, it is what Audi is known for.
The 3.2-liter A4 adds two cylinders and removes the turbocharger from the 2.0-liter engine, but adds 55 horsepower (at 6,500 RPM). The V6 puts out 243 lb.ft-of torque (at 3,250 RPM), and cuts the 0 to 60 MPH time to 6.7 seconds.
Of course, all this means a less fuel-efficient car (19 MPG in the city, 26 on the highway), but is, of course, nothing out of the ordinary in the jump form I-4 to V6.
The fully-galvanized steel unibody chassis (in all models) provides a safe and strong but lightweight base for the dynamic suspension system. In the front, Audi utilizes four-link with upper and lower control arms, a stabilizer bar and separate coil springs/shock absorbers. Around back, the suspension is fully independent trapezoidial-link, with another stabilizer bar and separate coil spring/shock absorbers.
The result is a firm grip on the road that finds a great medium - not too tight, but also not slipping all over the place around corners.
Like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus and the other luxury brands, Audi spared little in the standard safety feature department.
The Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is vacuum-power assisted, and includes Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD), and hydraulic Brake Assist and a disk-wiping feature, all of which maximize braking power in virtually every driving situation.
Sideguard head protection airbags are included for both front and rear occupants, along with driver and front passenger dual-stage and dual-threshold airbag supplemental restraints (with occupant sensors). Of course, also included are driver and front passenger seat-mounted chest side airbags.
The power central locking system will automatically unlock all doors if the airbags deploy, meaning that even if the worst happens and the car starts on fire, or if it ends up in the water. Before even hitting the water, the doors will be unlocked before the moisture can short out the locking mechanisms and trap the passengers in a very dangerous situation. Even after minor accidents, this feature is both helpful and important for a variety of safety reasons.
Also part of the supplemental restraint system are the three-point safety belts with automatic pretensioners and force limiters, as well as height-adjustable upper mounts, in the front seats. The rear seating area also features three head restraints and three three-point safety belts with pretensioners.
Back up front, the driver and front passenger have active head restraints, which help support the head and reduce the likelihood of serious injury due to whiplash by lifting up and forward in the event of a collision.
Also important to have in the event of a collision is Audi’s first aid kit, located in the rear center armrest. Seconds matter in so many accidents, so the kit’s basic items can prove invaluable while occupants wait for help to arrive.
Children will be safe in everyday driving with the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children), as well as child safety locks in the rear doors. All doors will automatically lock once the A4 reaches 8 MPH.
The A4 practically handles itself, with a load of technology that's so cool, the driver barely knows it's there. The suspension system mechanical components work together with the Electronic Stabilization Program for a very balanced feel, even in the tightest of corners.
Audi's Servtronic vehicle speed-sensitive steering adds to the already-fantastic handling, with a steering wheel that feels like it's wired to the driver's brain. It also provides a turning circle of just 36.4 feet.
An all-weather vehicle - especially with the Quattro all-wheel-drive - the A4 is, simply put, a lot of fun. We like the V6 engine for its increased horsepower and quicker response times, although the 2.0-liter is definitely a fantastic choice, as well. It’s just a little slower, particularly with the Quattro system, being as the power is routed to all four wheels and thus had a reduced amount of actual, real-time horsepower.
The interior is incredibly comfortable, with seats that cradle the body and hug passengers as well as the car hugs corners. Again - a great car for anyone: families, singles, executives, and senior citizens alike.
Audi has preserved the rounded edges and curves that have set it apart from its competitors, although this year’s A4 adds a little more panache with an updated grille that hearkens to Volkswagen’s redesigned Jetta. This means a grille rimmed in aluminum with black horizontal slats, on top of which is laid Audi’s quadruple-ring emblem.
The aluminum trim continues around the side windows, giving fellow drivers a glint of light as you pass them at speed of up to 130 MPH.
Aerodynamic ellipsoid halogen projector headlights come complete with variable focus retractors, integrated low beam and high beam tubes, and have polycarbonate covers. They add more sophistication to an already-modern look of the exterior, as do the fog lights in the front and rear. There are side indicator lights on each pf the front fenders, as well.
The windows are all tinted, with a tinted band at the top of the windshield to reduce glare. Also on the windshield are heated washer nozzles.
Choose from one of 10 paint colors, and either 16-or 17-inch cast alloy rims. The four-cylinder comes with 16’s standard, with are five-spoked with a great groove design and are wrapped in 215/55 all-season tires. Optional on the 2.0-liter and standard on the V6 are 17-inch 5 double-spoke wheels with 235/45 all-season tires. A full-size spare is included in all models.
Inside, the sophistication continues, with those great seats. The four-cylinder opts for cloth seats, while the V6 goes for leather as standard. The 60/40 split-fold rear seat opens up the rear passenger area to the trunk for everything from waterskis to 2-by-4’s.
The four-cylinder’s 12-way power driver’s seat (manual front passenger) are sporty and useful. They include driver and front passenger four-way electric lumbar adjustment, and adjustable head restraints. The V6 offers the same, but gives the front passenger the 12-way adjustable seat, as well.
The three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel mimicks the grille with trapezoidial aluminum accents and the Audi rings. The steering wheel also has mounted audio and cruise controls.
The aluminum continues in the 2.0-liter, with inlays on the dashboard and on the center console around the shift knob and door panels. Wood inlays replace the aluminum in the V6. Leather-wrapped shift knob, shift boot (manual models), and hand brake level all add to the cultured, but fun, feel of the interior.
Up on the dash, the instrument panel is back-lit with automatic brightness control, as well as fuel and coolant temperature gauges. An anti-theft alarm system features a blinking light to keep would-be robbers away.
The folding ignition key includes a panic button - in case those robbers are nearby - as well as buttons for remote trunk opening, interior lights and alarm system engagement and selective door unlocking.
A cool red ambient LED light illuminates the center console, which folds down and is height-adjustable with a storage area and two built-in cupholders. It even has power outlets. A rear center console features an armrest, cupholders and the First Aid kit.
Great lighting is also standard in the front and rear and includes a fade-in and fade-out features, as well as time delay and automatic activation when the key is withdrawn from the ignition.
The air conditioning system is also fantastic, with fully automatic dual-zone climate control with sun sensor and an activated charcoal filter. Power features are all over, of course - power windows (with a one-touch up-down button), power door locks, power outside mirrors, power fuel door release and power trunk release. In the trunk, there’s a power outlet and a flexible luggage net to keep the junk in the trunk from spilling out all over, or shifting.
And as for the sound system, the A4’s is one of the best on the market in its class. The Audi symphony II AM/FM stereo has an in-dash 6-CD changer and cassette player. It’s also got a Radio Data System (RDS) and graduated Audio Level Adjustment (GALA) - and all models are XM and Sirius-ready. With 10 speakers, including a subwoofer and center fill speaker, this Audi is practically a professional-grade sound studio.
This is one car where comfort, reliability, fun, safety and economy meet. With a starting price of $26,650 (although options can put it well over $50,000), it is one of the best, if not the best, car in its class. The Audi Advantage program guarantees the car for 4 years or 50,000 miles, and comes complete with no-charge scheduled maintenance and 24-hours Roadside assistance for four years. It also comes with a 12-year limited warranty against corrosion perforation. With such a great car at such a reasonable price, this is a hard one to beat.
Pros: Absolutely everything from the drop-dead gorgeous styling, to the ultra-sporty ride. Costs a tick less than a BMW.
Cons: Nothing of significance.
- Style: 10
- Performance: 9
- Price: 8
- Handling: 10
- Ride: 9
- Comfort: 9
- Quality: 8
- Overall: 9
Where Built: Germany
Major Options: Premium package, Sport package, Convenience package, Sound package, Cold weather package. Leather upholstery, Navigation system, satellite radio, Xenon headlights.
Number of Rows: 2.
Length in Inches: 180.6
Warranties: 4 years/50,000 miles Bumper to bumper, 12 years/unlimited miles Corrosion protection, 4 years/50,000 miles Roadside assistance, 4 years/50,000 miles Free scheduled maintenance.
Weight in Pounds: 3428 lbs.
Cargo Capacity in Pounds: Not available.
Gross Maximum Vehicle Weight in Pounds: Not available.
Towing Capacity in Pounds: Not Available.
Gas Tank Capacity in Gallons: 18.5
Destination Charge: $720