Since it replaced the model 90 in 1997, the Audi A4 has reigned as one of Europe’s best sport sedans. But in all autos of an agile nature, a little more performance is always welcome. So with the redesign of the A4 for 2005, Audi has pumped up the power and the prowess. So let’s see if that means an even more desirable A4.
More potential is a time honored recipe to make a car more desirable, and the 2005 Audi A4 definitely has the added power and handling hardware to make it so. That power comes from potent new engines utilizing direct injection technology and Audi’s new demand-controlled fuel supply.
The A4’s top engine is a 3.2-liter dual-overhead-cam V6 that pumps out 255 horsepower, 35 more than the previous 3.0-liter, and 243 pound-feet of torque. In addition to direct injection, there is a variable intake manifold and continuous camshaft adjustment.
It’s backed up by a larger 2.0-liter turbocharged four that makes 200 horsepower, 30 more than last year, and 207 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter is the first use of direct injection and turbo charging in a gas engine, a combination previously reserved for diesels.
Power runs through either a 6-speed manual gearbox, or a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic. Unfortunately, the V6 is automatic only.
The power hits the pavement through either the front wheels, or Audi’s latest Quattro all-wheel-drive system which is included on our V-6 automatic. That combo clocked a best 0-to-60 time of 7.2 seconds; 8/10ths quicker than its predecessor. The quarter mile wound up in 15.4 seconds at 92 miles-per-hour; almost a full second faster.
As expected, the all-wheel-drive Quattro launches cleanly with no drama. There’s a lot more bottom end pull than the earlier 3.0-liter engine, the 3.2 also revs faster and smoother to its 6,800 rpm redline.
On a more practical level, the 3.2 boasts improved EPA fuel economy ratings of 19 city/26 highway. Our test car delivered a good average of 23 miles per gallon in mixed driving.
Of course the engineers at Audi know there is more to improved potential than just powertrain. So, the chassis has a similar leap in upgrades. For 2005 the A4 platform loses weight but gains strength, thanks to extensive use of aluminum and magnesium. Lighter aluminum components also feature prominently in the multi-link suspension, which gives the A4 superb balance and very quick reactions to driver input.
Front plow is very mild for an all-wheel-drive car. There’s more body roll than we expected with the optional sport package, and steering feel is on the light side, but neither detracts from the A4’s surefooted and sporting character. It’s hard to induce drama here thanks to a standard Electronic Stability Program.
The A4’s all-disc ABS brakes are also quite capable, with stops from 60 averaging 125 feet. The car tracks straight and true, with just a touch of nose dive. A unique wiping program helps keep the discs dry in the wet for surer braking.
On road performance complements the A4’s track abilities, with a typically Audi ride. The car feels very solid, soaking up all kinds of road surfaces without difficulty. And it’s quiet inside, thanks to excellent control of noise and vibration.
It’s also very luxurious inside, with all of the equipment and comfort that one expects in a top-level Euro sedan. Safe too, thanks to standard side impact airbags for the driver and front passenger, new active head restraints, and side guard head curtain airbags front and rear.
The wrap-around dash is clean and well organized in a typically Teutonic fashion, its optional wood trim adding a touch of warmth. Leather is also standard in the 3.2 Quattro, along with 12-way power adjustments and heat for the supportive front buckets.
Our car came equipped with upgraded electronics, in the form of a DVD-based navigation system, plus a Bose premium sound system with a 6-disc CD changer and XM satellite radio.
Rear seating is also high end, with leather, heat, and a 60/40 split seat back. But we’d trade the leather for a bit more leg room. A ski sack in the backrest allows you to carry both passengers and sports gear, while a healthy 13.4 cubic-feet of trunk space will swallow plenty of baggage.
An A4 purchase can swallow a few dollars as well. Prices for the 4-cylinder 2.0T start at $28,070 for a front-drive manual gearbox car. Go the Quattro route, and the price is $30,170. If you want the 3.2 V6 Quattro, the price jumps to $36,120. Our fully loaded example carries a hefty tag of $43,820.
Of course you get what you pay for, and with refined direct-injection power, a dynamic chassis, and premium accommodations in the 2005 Audi A4, you definitely get one of Europe’s finest sport sedans, now made more desirable than ever.
Engine: 3.2-Liter Dual- Overhead-cam V6
Torque: 243 Lb Feet
0-60 MPH: 7.2 Seconds
1/4 Mile: 15.4 Seconds @ 92 MPH
60-0 MPH: 125 Feet
EPA Mileage: 19 MPG City 26 MPG Highway