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The Warsaw Voice » Society » July 9, 2008
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Audi A4 2.0 TDI: The Car I've Always Loved
July 9, 2008 By Bartosz Grzybiński   
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In the 1970 Polish cult comedy Rejs, directed by Marek Piwowski, one of the main characters, Engineer Mamoń, confesses, "If you ask me, I only like songs that I've always liked." Well, I'm like that too: I basically love cars that I've always loved. Such as the Audi A4.

The Audi A4, next to the BMW Series 3 and Mercedes C-Class, is one of the three big players in the mid-range Premium segment. These three German brands have always competed with one another, setting the standards in their part of the market.

The first Audi A4 was unveiled in the fall of 1994 to replace the Audi 80. That first-generation A4, marked with the factory code B5, was produced until 2000. Then the corporation from Ingolstadt followed up with a second-generation model, the B6. Four years later the car was updated and received a thorough facelift. In 2004 the Audi designers came up with the marque's trapezoid-shaped grille and oblong taillights.

The newest A4, bearing the B8 code, was unveiled last year. Even though at first glance it makes you think of its predecessor, this new model is much larger. The new A4 is 12 centimeters longer than the previous version, which makes it the largest car in its segment. The vehicle is 4,703 mm in length, 1,427 mm in height, and 1,926 mm in width. Along with the larger body, the wheelbase was increased from 2,648 mm to 2,808 mm. Thanks to this the car easily accommodates five adult passengers and 480 liters of baggage.

The passenger cabin is not only spacious but also meticulously finished with top-quality materials. The dashboard is easy to use, and all the indicators and controls are ergonomically planned. The shape of the instrument panel is similar to that in the A6. Standard equipment includes ABS/ESP systems, a full set of airbags and window curtains, an audio/CD system, a complete electric package, automatic air-conditioning, and aluminum wheels. With this level of equipment, the car costs around zl.122,000. However, for the true fans of the brand, this is only where expenses begin. My test-drive model cost much more because it additionally featured leather upholstery, wood inlay, xenon headlights with daytime driving diodes (sensational effect!), heated and electrically adjustable front seats, satellite navigation, Bang&Olufsen audio equipment, Audi Media Multi Interface (MMI), and reverse sensors with a camera. Metallic paint alone will set you back zl.3,680.

The test-drive unit was fitted with a turbocharged Common Rail diesel engine. Finally! Previously the corporation used injection pumps in its diesels. Even though those engines were responsive, they were too loud and not flexible enough. The new TDI engine is free from these drawbacks. It is quiet and at the same time responsive and flexible. The 2l unit delivers 143 hp. A maximum torque of 320 Nm in the 1,750-2,500 rpm range makes it possible to accelerate the 1,460 kg car from standstill to 100 kph in 9.4 seconds and achieve a top speed of 215 kph. Fuel consumption is moderate at 5.5l/100km, according to the producer's technical data, though during the test-drive average consumption was much higher, 7.4l/100km.

Power is transmitted to the front wheels by a six-speed manual transmission. The mechanism is well geared and suited to the engine. The gear shift lever lies well in the hand, though I would personally prefer a slightly shorter and more precise stick. But this impression may be because I previously test-drove a Honda Civic in which the transmission worked like clockwork. On the other hand, the Audi's springy multi-arm suspension system deserves special praise.

Overall, the Audi A4 is not just a car for fans of the brand and those who, like Engineer Mamoń, have always liked this model. First-time Audi buyers will also appreciate the car's sporty style, quality design and extensive equipment combined with advanced technology.
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