2009 Audi A4

2009 Audi A4
Cool New Car Models
Ask most folks on the street what Audi is all about, and you probably won't get the same answer twice. Arch rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz enjoy clearly defined identities, while Audi suffers from a distinct lack thereof. Too bad, since behind the four interlocked rings stands a 100-year-old company with an illustrious racing program and a pool of extraordinarily talented engineers and designers.

Audi has plans—big plans—boldly proclaiming it will outsell Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz by 2015. But Audi's visions of world domination will be clouds in its coffee unless it nails the launch of the all-new version of the sedan that has been the cornerstone of its product line since 1997: the compact A4. Overstating the A4's role in the establishment of Audi's hegemony throughout the world would be impossible.

Subtle yet Effective Restyle

Imagery doesn't do justice to the new A4. At first blush it appears to have been shorted by the design team, which certainly outdid itself on the A4's luscious platform-mate, the A5/S5 coupe, but bestowed much less of that car's swoopy curvaceousness on the four-door version. On the road, however, the A4 has infinitely more presence, and not just because it's 4.6 inches longer and two inches wider than before. To help optimize weight distribution and thereby neutralize the A4's notoriously pushy handling, the engine-and-transmission layout has been smartly reengineered, allowing the front axle to be moved forward 6.1 inches. This in turn created a shorter front overhang; a longer, sexier hood; and a more aggressive road stance.

Also appreciable in the flesh are several subtle details such as an upswept lower-body contour, tastefully swollen fenders, and ribs running from the headlamps to the mirrors. And although various iterations of the A4's grille, arching window line, and sculpted lighting elements front and rear are found throughout the Audi range, the LED eyeliner should still be a novelty by the time the A4 arrives in the U.S. next August as an '09 model.

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