For 2006, the Audi A4 is all-new, with new engines and models spread over three body configurations: a sedan, Avant wagon and a carried-over cabriolet. New engines are a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder and 3.2-litre V6.
Changes on the sedan and Avant include new dynamic suspension; a new braking system with larger discs and automatic brake disc wiping for better performance in wet weather; advanced front lighting with available pivoting front lights; advanced rollover and on-road stability; a new key fob; redesigned exterior; 17-inch wheels standard on 3.2 models; electronic fuel door release; new centre console with two cupholders and extra power outlet; new aluminum or wood trim; standard multifunction three-spoke steering wheel; six-CD changer with satellite radio prep; auto door locking; advanced airbags; a tire pressure monitoring system; and optional rear side airbags.
The cabriolet, which retains its 1.8-litre turbocharged engine and 3.0-litre V6 from 2005, receives a new phone prep with Bluetooth, sport suspension, standard wood trim, 17-inch wheels, standard four-spoke multifunction steering wheel, new beige/grey interior, and optional rear parking sensors, heated rear seats and an S-Line package to replace the Sport package.
Both new engines use Fuel Straight Injection (FSI), which combines higher horsepower and torque with increased fuel efficiency. Audi claims the 2.0-litre is the world’s only turbocharged FSI direct injection engine.
The 2.0-litre sedan is available in Canada with FrontTrak front-wheel-drive and an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT), or with Quattro all-wheel-drive; in wagon form, it’s Quattro only. The 3.2-litre is available as a sedan or Avant in Quattro with a six-speed transmission only; a 3.2-litre with FrontTrak and CVT is available only in the U.S. market.
The 2.0-litre FrontTrak includes a six-speed manual transmission that can be optioned up to the CVT, along with 16-inch alloy wheels, heated washer nozzles, power mirrors, front and rear fog lamps, dual-zone automatic climate control, power locks with remote, automatic heated mirrors, manual adjustable seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, cloth upholstery, six-CD changer and anti-theft alarm.
The 2.0-litre Quattro sedan and Avant add leather upholstery, heated front seats, 12-way power driver’s seat, full-size spare on alloy wheel and cruise control.
The 3.2-litre Quattro sedan and Avant add 17-inch alloy wheels, power passenger seat, and genuine wood trim.
The cabriolet uses a carried-over 1.8-litre turbocharged engine with a CVT and front-wheel-drive, or a 3.0-litre V6 with five-speed automatic transmission and Quattro all-wheel-drive, and features the 2005 styling. The 1.8-litre comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, high-pressure headlight washers, heated washer nozzles, fog lights, dual-zone climate control, a master switch that lowers all windows simultaneously, central locking, manually adjustable seats, ski sack, leather upholstery, six-CD changer and first-aid kit.
The 3.0-litre cabriolet adds larger rotors, and power driver and passenger seats.
The A4 now offers a wide range of choices – more if you consider its sibling S4 – in both front- and all-wheel-drive, and in three different body styles. All feature Audi’s trademarks of superb fit and finish, rock-solid feel and responsive steering. Audi’s Quattro system is pretty much considered the benchmark, along with Subaru’s symmetrical system, and adds to the appeal. And if the new large-nosed corporate face isn’t to your liking, you still have some time to grab the more conservative cabriolet’s styling.