I always look forward to my trips to other cities with great enthusiasm. I’ve always been an explorer, and embarking on a journey to wander around a place I’ve never been to before is something I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. A big part of this enthusiasm and excitement comes from the rental car experience. Yes, as sick as it sounds, I enjoy browsing rental car websites in search of the perfect car that will become my steed during my travels. The good thing is that it’s not too difficult to find interesting things to rent. For example, the two C7 Corvette’s I’ve rented from Avis over the last two years (one of which I drove from coast to coast) were tons of fun and a lot more interesting than a base model Ford Focus. I’ve also rented several Camaro SS’s, a BMW 3 series, and even a Mercedes E350 in the past year.
I recently traveled to Calgary (way up north in Canada, eh), and my ride for this trip ended up being a 2015 Audi A4 courtesy of Avis rental car at the Calgary airport. To be honest this wouldn’t have been my first choice if there were some more “fun” options available, but it was slim pickings at pretty much any of the major rental car establishments. But it wasn’t all that disappointing of a choice – I’ve had very little experience with Audi in my life as of yet, so I figured this would be a great opportunity to get to know this brand a bit better.
I created three videos describing my experience with this car. First up was a short video about my first impressions:
Next, I filmed a segment about all the things that I liked about the A4:
Finally (since no car is perfect), I filmed a segment about the things that I really hated about the car:
And now, on to my full written review of the Audi A4 complete with gobs of pics.
Right off the bat, I love how relatively small and compact the A4 is compared to other mid size four door sedans. I’ve complained a lot about the size of my 2012 Mustang GT, so there’s no need for me to go on a rant about how ridiculous it is that cars are getting so big these days. All I’m gonna say is that walking up to that Audi A4 was a refreshing experience. It has a very nice (compact/stout) presence from the outside.
Four simple words sum up my feeling of the interior of the A4: that magnificent steering wheel! Yes sir, the steering wheel in this car is one of the best I have ever wrapped my paws around. I’m not talking about driving feel – I’m literally talking about the feel of the wheel itself, from it’s thickness to the quality of leather that it’s wrapped in. The smaller diameter combined with the thickness all around is perfect for my average-sized hands. It felt absolutely perfect.
The rest of the interior is nice. Not nearly as amazing as the steering wheel, but the dashboard is elegant and clean with just the right about of sportiness to make it interesting. The gauges are clear and bright, and the contrast during the day was good. My only complaint here is the fact that the gauge cluster was perhaps a bit too simple. These are simple analog gauges with a small electronic display nestled in between them, and not much else is there. The electronic info center is decent, though small and limited with the amount of content it provides.
My biggest disappointment with the interior of the 2015 Audi A4 is the front seats. This particular car featured the base seats (there are sportier options available), and I found them to be too flat and much too unsupportive. It did seem odd that the seats were so plain and generic while the steering wheel was so sporty and comfortable.
When it comes to putting down the power, the Audi A4 is one of the most deceptive cars I’ve ever driven. It felt really strong, responsive, and torquey as I was pulling out of the parking garage and onto the main road out of the airport, but out on the open freeway it felt like it was gasping for breath above 3000 RPM. Full throttle accelerations were highly anti-climatic and dare I say it: slow. Almost as slow as my 2010 Honda Fit! I’m not going to go on too much of a rant about this, however, as this was the base model A4 after all. It was perfectly adequate to get up to highway speed and to cruise comfortably, but hard acceleration was simply not possible.
On the other hand, the power delivery and engine feel was nothing short of buttery smooth. While not much faster than my Honda Fit, it was significantly smoother and more refined in the way it put power to the ground. Everything they say about fine German engineering is true – it felt (and sounded) like a fine-tuned machine.
Even before seeing the A4 in person, I knew I was in for a treat. Everything I’ve heard about Audi over the years had led me to believe that it was one of the best cars that money could buy, and I went into this review with that thought flying around in my brain.
The good news is that I’m happy to report that this car lived up to the hype, and I was not disappointed (much) during the 250 miles I put on this car. Sure, it would be nice if the base engine put out more power. And yeah, those base seats leave a lot to be desired. But the rest of the car – the way that it feels, sounds, and responds to user input is everything I personally want in a car. I want an Audi A4. I really do. As long as I can get it with the biggest engine of course…