The 2003 Audi A4 offers as much as any rival in the entry-level luxury car class. While it is very competitive with BMW’s offerings in this segment, it does so for thousands of dollars less, at least in terms of base sticker price- options can get costly quickly. The A4 gets excellent safety scores, offers fine luxury and many amenities can be fitted with all-wheel drive and performs well with solid and stable handling making for a very safe and comfortable vehicle that, when properly equipped, can handle all weather situations.
Body Styles: sedan, wagon, convertible
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 3.0-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, six-speed manual, CVT, five-speed Tiptronic automatic
Models: sedan- Audi A4 1.8T, Audi A4 1.8T Quattro, Audi A4 3.0, Audi A4 3.0 Quattro; wagon- Audi A4 1.8T Avant Quattro, Audi A4 3.0 Avant Quattro; convertible- Audi A4 1.8T, Audi A4 3.0
For 2003, the major change is the addition of the A4 Cabriolet, a convertible version of the A4 sedan. The A4 Cabriolet is available as a front-wheel drive with the three-liter, V-6 engine and continuously variable transmission or as a 1.8T version and a 3.0 Quattro model. All other models in the A4 line-up receive equipment upgrades. Leather and 12-way power front seats are now an option on all 1.8T models. All 3.0s will come standard with leather and more deluxe leather is optional. Previous stand-alone options for the 3.0, including xenons and satellite steering wheel controls, have been bundled into the Premium Package. A new cold weather package includes seat heaters and a ski sack, and 17-inch all-season tires are now a stand-alone extra.
The 2003 Audi A4 is available as a sedan, wagon or convertible. The sedan comes in four trims: 1.8T, 1.8T Quattro, 3.0 and 3.0 Quattro. The wagon can be had as 1.8T Avant Quattro or 3.0 Avant Quattro. The convertible can be either a 1.8T or 3.0. Quattro indicates all-wheel drive and the numbers 1.8T or 3.0, indicate engine size. Basics include heated mirrors, power mirrors, headlight cleaning, dual exhaust and limited slip differential. A spoiler and other goods are available as stand-alone options or in packages.
The cabin of the Audi A4 is rather luxurious and offers many features. Standard gear includes power gear, climate control and a/c, speed control, memory seat, tilt and telescoping wheel and leather trim. Options, either stand-alone or in a package include heated seats, am/fm cassette and cd player, leather upholstery and wood and leather trim. Some options are standard on higher trims. Emergency communication system and navigation system are some of the high-end options available for all trims.
Performance & Handling
A turbocharged, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque powers 1.8T versions of the A4. An aluminum 220-horsepower, three-liter V-6 that makes 221 lb-ft of torque is used in 3.0 editions. A five-speed-manual gearbox is standard with the four-cylinder engine, while the V-6 hooks up to a six-speed manual. The CVT unit is available only in A4 models equipped with FrontTrak, but sedans with Quattro all-wheel drive may be equipped with a five-speed Tiptronic automatic. All wagons use Quattro all-wheel drive.
The A4 offers a lot in the way of standard safety equipment including curtain-type airbags that deploy from above the side windows and cover the entire side-window area. These airbags stay inflated for about 5 seconds to provide head protection in rollovers. Other standard gear includes side-impact airbags for front occupants, dual front-impact airbags, all-wheel antilock brakes, child seat anchors, remote anti-theft system, emergency braking assist, Front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, stability control, traction control and electronic brakeforce distribution. Rear side-impact airbags are optional. Wagon models get an Electronic Stabilization Program that incorporates Brake Assist, a system that provides enhanced emergency braking power. In NHTSA testing the A4 earned five out of five stars for side impact front safety and four stars in all of the other tests. In IIHS testing the A4 received the highest rating of ?Good? for frontal offset crash safety. The A4 is an excellent choice for buyers wanting superior occupant protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
Audi A4 1.8T sedan: 20/29 mpg city/highway
Audi A4 1.8T Quattro sedan: 18/26 mpg city/highway
Audi A4 3.0 sedan: 18/26 mpg city/highway
Audi A4 3.0 Quattro sedan: 16/24 mpg city/highway
Audi A4 1.8T Avant Quattro wagon: 18/26mpg city/highway
Audi A4 3.0 Avant Quattro wagon: 16/24 mpg city/highway
Audi A4 1.8T convertible: 20/28 mpg city/highway
Audi A4 3.0 convertible: 18/25 mpg city/highway
- Solid handling
- Available all-wheel drive
- Amenity-filled interior
- Crash test scores/safety
You Won't Like
- Options get pricey
- Needs more low-end torque
Affordable and sporty entry-level luxury car for all seasons.
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