The Purpose of a Test Drive
A test-drive can be fun; in fact, we believe that it should be fun. While you safely – and legally – test the limits of a vehicle, the route should include a variety of roadways. If the quality of employees or the commitment to great deals does not draw you out to Cary, then the allure of an engaging test-drive should.
At Audi Cary, a knowledgeable staff armed with varied routes provides you an opportunity to build a rich understanding of how the vehicle performs. Score one for the consumer. As self-proclaimed veterans of the test drive, we at Leith can attest to the incredible difference a diverse route makes. This proves particularly true when you’re driving an Audi – don’t forget the quattro.
The 2014 Audi A4 Premium Plus
Our brand ambassador for the day was Brian Roe, and he would do us the pleasure of selecting a 2014 Audi A4 Premium Plus at our request, which was sweetened by the Sport Package and Black Optics Package. These upgrades offer several features that enhance the performance and appearance of the car. From LED running day lights to the honeycomb front air dams – and the titanium finish on the wheels, as well as the black-out door frames – you get a vehicle that looks so slick, it could almost slip through your fingers. Only, you don’t want it to.
When you see an A4, it is easily recognizable as an Audi. The proudly displayed four rings, aerodynamic build, and laser welding make every model unique from the competition; however, it is the decades of success in developing the quattro technology that truly distinguishes the brand. The 2014 Audi A4, like all Audis, is equipped with this system to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience.
The entire process of a test drive gives you a chance to learn everything about the car. It’s not all in what the brand ambassador explains; it is also within every fiber, detail, and accent of the car. Designers spent hours meticulously developing an interior scheme that maximizes space and appeals to the senses – our senses.
In an Audi A4, the first characteristic is the seating. Though the seats are not stiff, they possess a certain athletic quality that is not unlike the solid feeling of a racecar. You feel set. You feel secure. At the same time you also feel extremely comfortable no matter the length of the drive, which is far more ergonomically beneficial than those buttery leather seats in other brands.
This car boats a sleek mid-cluster with dual climate control and all of the accoutrements that luxury car buyers seek . In an Audi, however, everything is easily manageable with the buttons clearly labeled by their attribute or function. A dial navigates the menu and submenus on the crisp LCD screen. Should you feel confused while at the helm of these controls, keep in mind that the four corners of the display correlate to the four buttons that surround the dial.
Looking around the cabin, the interior complements the black and silver accents on the exterior. Silver inlays are highlighted by the black dash and leather seating, which looks both sporty and elegant – a feat for design, for most companies only accomplish one.
We won’t inundate you with the technology of this car (we’ll leave it to the pros, like Brian Roe). Some of the musical features, however, are worth mentioning. Inside the glove box are iPhone connections that allow for importing your music through the A4’s infotainment system, as well as allowing for accessing Blutooth to turn on Pandora or any number of other music applications. Regardless of your means or methods of playing music, the Bang and Olufsen system installed in the A4 thunders concert-quality sounds throughout the cabin.
Our Test Drive of the 2014 Audi A4
You don’t need exhaustive details of the exterior or interior of the car. With a quick Google search, you can view a thousand pictures that can be far more effective than a thousand-word essay. The reason that you clicked on this test drive write-up is to get an idea of how the car handles – how it performs. Does it live up to the reputation that Audi worked so diligently to establish? Can it distinguish itself from the competition?
It can. An A4 surpasses expectations for many reasons, but none more important than quattro. Audi’s all-wheel drive system that distributes power to each wheel contingent upon roadway conditions, adjusting within milliseconds to keep you safe. It is proactive, not reactive, for there is a center torque differential in addition to the front and rear differentials; this means that the car reacts with greater precision and speed than other systems. It is truly a feat of engineering.
The A4 Premium Plus comes with the aforementioned Sport Package, which offers drivers the option to drive in Sport or Drive modes. These alter the steering, suspension, and gear shifts; Sport keeps the vehicle in higher RPMs with tighter control at the wheel. We enjoyed both modes, and here is why.
In Sport Mode, drivers get the immediate gratification of throaty exhaust notes. Place a little pressure on the accelerator to relish the growl – even the most traditional drivers will notice their hands subtly wring the steering wheel, readying themselves for the drive. The A4 returns to a subdued rumble, and that hushed internal voice compels you to do it just one more time. Make it growl.
Our first portion of the test drive allowed us to govern the road, dominating the meandering suburban streets. The A4 seized the corners with relative ease. Approaching the end of each corner, smooth and powerful acceleration provides complete fulfillment of an enjoyable drive. While these roads do not have ample space to appropriately test the power of the A4, we did build a strong understanding of the car’s handling. Small movements on the tight steering wheel react immediately and precisely, and the suspension greatly mitigates the feedback of roadway imperfections.
With the suburban roads mastered, Brian thought it prudent to get us out onto route 64. Merging onto a highway in an A4 is, well, fun. Plain and simple. We still had Sport Mode engaged: the accelerator responds so well that you must be cognitive of your speed. This Audi model reached the posted speed limit with room to spare in the merging lane.
While driving on 64, Brian switched the A4 out of Sport Mode to give us an idea of the difference between the two options. Our team thought that this would create some subtle changes that wouldn’t really differentiate the feel of the drive. Incorrect. Wrong. Nope. The wheel loosened, the RPMs dropped, and the accelerator behaved in a much more refined manner – providing ample power but no longer the roaring beast. This mode surely satisfies the typical luxury consumer who wants a quality vehicle with the right amount of technology, safety options, and power.
As we approached the end of the test drive, there’s a particular spot that really allows you to test the quattro system. Allow us to preface this part that our team adhered to the driving laws and only pushed the A4 to a legal limit – so if you test drive this vehicle, we strongly urge you to be pragmatic in your approach. A sharp bend that would lead us back to Audi Cary serves as a testament to the quality of German engineering. We slowed to a crawl just prior to the curve, then quickly accelerated to see the uncanny ability of the quattro system to tenaciously grip the road while remaining even. Our knuckles whitened on the steering wheel and legs clenched because, even though we stayed within the speed limit, most cars would lean and squeal – indicating its inability to handle this style of driving.
The Audi A4 with the quattro system mastered that curve in a tempered, almost nonchalant, manner. It was absolutely incredible and well beyond words to capture it. This must be experienced, not merely read.
In all, this was a great driving experience. The 2014 Audi A4 proves that it is among the best in its class. We genuinely urge you to take one of these cars out on the road to test their capabilities. There is no better place than Audi Cary to accomplish that – and make sure you ask for Brian Roe!