By KBB.com Editors
With so much to love about the 2008 Audi A4, it's hard to find a reason not to own one. From a driving enthusiast's point of view, the A4's quattro all-wheel drive and energetic turbocharged four-cylinder engine make it the nearly-ideal car, while young status seekers crave it for its upscale pedigree and reasonably affordable price. Audi even nails the little things many of its competitors overlook, such as backlighting every switch and control regardless of importance. If it weren't for the A4's somewhat cramped rear quarters, we'd almost be tempted to call it the perfect sedan.
If you like the idea of paying thousands less for a European sports sedan that is as frugal with fuel as it is quick off the line, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better choice than the A4. Optional quattro all-wheel drive is a bonus for snow belt residents.
If you think a bona fide premium sports sedan has rear-wheel drive and a normally aspirated, non-turbo engine -- like the Mercedes-Benz C350, Infiniti G35 and Lexus IS 350 -- you may find the Audi A4 a little impure for your tastes. Taller folks might also find the driving position somewhat confining.
All A4s receive the S line package as standard equipment. The package includes aggressive front and rear fascias, larger side moldings and an integrated trunk spoiler.
Driving Impressions We drove the six-speed automatic and six-speed manual versions of the 2008 Audi A4, each with the four-cylinder turbo engine and quattro all-wheel drive. While the automatic model was a...joy on the highway -- delivering a quiet, comfortable ride, inspiring stability and with plenty of power to pass -- the transmission magnified the engine's turbo lag in the stop-and-go of city driving. The manual car, on the other hand, was equally impressive on the highway while also providing more of the kick we expect from a sports sedan. When sunny skies turn to rainy weather the all-weather traction advantages of the renowned quattro all-wheel-drive system are much appreciated and, even in dry weather, we could feel its calming influence while negotiating curving on-ramps and the like.
Even when we expect a vehicle to have four one-touch up/down windows, we're still delighted with their ease and convenience. They make life a little easier.
The simple and intuitive touch screen fits nicely into the dash. Behind the flip-down screen you'll find two SD memory card slots, which can be used to play MP3-formated music files through the audio system.
The A4's rear seat can be tight on legroom for some, and the front armrest can interfere with the parking brake lever. Beyond these minor points, however, we find the A4's comfortable, stylish and well-crafted cabin nearly without fault. The textured aluminum is one of the finest examples of interior metal trim we've ever seen, and every surface and seam is pleasing to both the eye and the touch. If you're looking for a nice place to spend a commute, you won't have to look beyond the A4.Exterior
From the side, it wouldn't be hard to mistake the 2008 Audi A4 for the last-generation car (model year 2002 to 2005). And if your vision isn't what it used to be, you might be excused for confusing the two from the rear. But only from a mile away, on a moonless night in the middle of the Black Forest, could you mistake the two models from the front. At first, we thought the Audi family's trapezoidal big-mouth grille looked less graceful on the A4 than when we first saw it on the larger A6 and A8. But, like its big brothers, the A4 seems to embrace its identity a little more warmly every time we see it.
The base A4 powertrain includes a four-cylinder turbo engine, six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive. In addition, the well-equipped entry A4 features an AM/FM stereo with in-dash six-disc CD changer, one-touch up/down windows, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth seats, leather-wrapped wheel/shifter/handbrake, four-way adjustable/multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, fog lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety equipment includes a sophisticated anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control, active front head restraints and front, front-side and two-row head-curtain airbags.
In addition to an impressive list of standard features, the A4 also features a long list of options, including a choice between leather and premium leather seating, DVD-based navigation, premium sound system, heated seats, driver-position memory, rear-window sunshades, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, wood trim, Homelink, auto-dimming/power-folding outside mirrors, bi-xenon adaptive self-leveling headlamps, retractable high-pressure headlamp washers, 17-inch wheels, a sport suspension and rear side-impact airbags.
The A4's available four- or six-cylinder engines come with sophisticated FSI Direct Injection technology designed to deliver increased power and better mileage. The V6 is the smoother and more powerful engine of the two, but the four-cylinder turbo is lighter (promoting better handling), less expensive and delivers better fuel mileage. Also available in varying combinations are front-drive and quattro all-wheel-drive systems, plus six-speed manual, six-speed Tiptronic automatic and continuously-variable transmissions. The front-drive V6 A4 comes with the automatic transmission only.
2.0-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1800-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/31 (FWD, manual), 21/30 (FWD, automatic), 20/28 (AWD, manual), 19/27 (AWD, automatic)
255 horsepower @ 6500 rpm
243 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (FWD, automatic), 15/25 (AWD, manual) 17/25 (AWD, automatic)
By January on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is the best car I have owned. It is great in snow and handles well on dirt roads. Ignition switch has been a problem; at times it is hard to unlock the steering wheel; this is the only complaint I have had."
By Lars on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great aesthetic, peppy engine, turns on a dime"
Cons: "Expensive parts and maintenance"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car pre owned with 17000 miles on it. This is one of the few purchases I've never had buyers remorse over. It drives beautifully, I love how peppy the engine feels for only being 200 hp. I get great gas mileage for the performance. And the overall aesthetic of the car is great, the interior is incredibly ergonomic, the longest road trip I've taken it on was 1200 miles and honestly I was the most comfortable I've ever been after driving 10 hours, just can't say enough good things about it. The only downside is the cost of audi parts, maintenance is definitely not cheap..."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By carguy on Monday, May 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 107,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "well built, incredible engine,comfort, handling"
Cons: "repair cost"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"this car is my second audi, and if you can handle the higher cost of upkeep, it is unbeatable.Drive one in Michigan in january if you do not believe me."
7 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Kinapela on Sunday, April 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 165,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, power, space/convenience, looks."
Cons: "Cost to maintain (more than a Honda, but...)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this car new and I have loved it every day since. It's a classic now, and as such isn't really logical for a long-distance, every-day commute. Which makes me sad. As soon as Audi brings a reasonable diesel replacement to these shores, I'll swap for it."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By lighter1234 on Wednesday, March 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks nice, fun to drive"
Cons: "high maintence--I mean beyond regular oil changes"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"These cars encounter all sorts of maintenance issues. They are beautiful cars that are fun to drive, but from a mechanical and electrical issue, they were built pretty poorly in the long run. I expect they run well into the 50,000 mile mark, then the issue start to accumulate. At this point, I have had to repair power steering pump, gaskets on the engine, driver window needs a new motor, timing belt needs replacement, tune-up is recommended, water gets into the oil which I was told by a mechanic is typical with these engines, and they tend to have oil problems. If you're looking for mechanically sound, stay away. Take your chances if you want, but, personally, I am going to stay away (and keep my friends and family away) from used Audis."
14 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Kel on Tuesday, March 04, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "sporty, quick, AWD, MPG's, bad weather performance"
Cons: "tight back seats, maint. costs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Bought the 08 A4 used with 25,000 miles on it. 50,000 miles later it has been a joy to drive and almost no problems. The turbo goes through oil which took me a while to get use to, but it's done great otherwise. Regular maintenance is more expensive, but other vehicles I've driven in the past have racked up repair bills much larger usually at this point. Hopefully it will last for another 50 K!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful