Story: Jonathan Millstein
Fresh off their domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi recently showcased their popular B-segment in the mountains outside of Denver. A fleet made up of numerous A4s and 5s, S4s and A5s and the new allroad insured that the invited journalists left feeling they were ready for Le Mans themselves.
The most anticipated car of the drive event was not the sportiest, but rather a throwback to an Audi staple, the wagon. While wagons don’t generate images associated with performance, that’s all about to change as the 2013 allroad more than held its own running with the rest of the B-segment. The allroad tops out at 130 mph thanks to a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine producing 211 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. If these numbers seem familiar, good memory; they’re identical to the A4′s motor. The similarities don’t end there. The allroad is almost identical in size to the A4, meaning that the drive you’ve come to expect out of an Audi sedan is the same as in the wagon—while affording you over twice as much trunk space in the allroad.
While the allroad provided something new to be lusted after, the remainder of Audi’s B-segment cars remain predominantly unchanged, as this was not a major redesign year for them. While I certainly can’t wait for the redesign to take place, I’m more than content behind the wheel of the current A4, A5 and their S variants. Behind the wheel of the A4 and A5, you won’t notice much difference between the two, as the instrument cluster and center console have been streamlined to compliment each model. The biggest thing you will notice at start-up is the lack of engine noise inside the car; you may even have to roll down the window to ensure it’s running.
Silence can be golden, but the roar of an engine is always best, and for that you should be seated in one of the S models. In the driver’s seat of the S4 you see the racing inspired details of the wheel and cockpit, but more importantly you hear it and you feel it. With 122 more horsepower, 67 lb-ft more torque and about a 1.8 second faster 0-60 time than the A4, the S4 leaves the lesser car in the dust. Although traversing through the mountains it was often hard to really open it up, but moments arose where I was able to get it sideways, showcasing the handling in addition to the power.
The most impressive change came in the form of the Audi Connect system, now found across the B-segment line. Teaming with T-Mobile, Audi has given their B-segment cars Internet connectivity allowing the driver to check live traffic, weather, gas prices, and news. The connection to the car also will double as a Wi-Fi hotspot for those onboard. Teaming luxury interiors with racing performance is what we expect from Audi, and they continue not to disappoint.