by Joe LaMuraglia
Every once in a while the stars align and the car I am assigned to fits perfectly with a trip I have planned. The latest celestial calibration featured the arrival of a 2009 Audi A4 Avant 2.0 T quattro the day of my departure for Vermont for the Christmas holiday.
My assignment as uncle had me responsible for shuttling the gifts for my sister’s four ankle biters, 6 cases of Belgian beer for my brother-in-law (PALM – you should try it!), plus the luggage for two gay men that despite millions of miles of travel, can’t seem to pack lightly. The weather had been nasty a few days prior and the forecast called for more wet stuff falling from the sky. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect match; the A4 Avant’s wagon profile provided all the cargo room I needed, the quattro system was there in the event of more snow or slippery roads and the fuel efficient 2.0 turbo four-cylinder engine delivered an impressive 27 MPG during the 4.5 hour trip.
Our Brilliant Red sleigh has about every available feature. We found our way to Ludlow using the Navigation system, the Bang & olufsen premium sound system kept us entertained, the power lift gate facilitated easy cargo and the Audi side assist lane change assistant kept me safe when changing lanes in crazy NYC Metro traffic. Those are just a few of the features in the $7,800 (!) Prestige model package that our car came with. That package plus the $2,950 Audi Drive Select, which features adjustable suspension, throttle inputs and steering feel, brought the MSRP of our little red avant to $48,975. Santa has gone upscale this holiday!
I’ll be adding more as the week with the A4 progresses. In the meantime, enjoy your holiday!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I am back in NJ after a few relaxing days in VT. Oddly enough, I never set either of my feet in a pair of ski boots but had an amazing time nonetheless. There is something about clean,crisp winter air and snowy vistas that is relaxing to me.
The Audi spent it time shuttling my partner and me from the house to the slopes to watch my niece and nephews ski. Each trip we became more enamored with the bright red wagon. The house is situated about one mile up a country road that in the right conditions could be a ski slope itself. While it was heavily sanded, never once did the A4 quattro lose grip or even hint at being uncomfortable. In fact, we couldn’t help but comment on how smooth it was riding over the heavily grooved road. Credit goes to the adjustable suspension in “auto” mode. It gave a really smooth ride without feeling too isolated. If anything, I drove faster than I would have with a normal suspension setup.
When it came time to say goodbye to the family and ski country, the Audi A4 migrated seamlessly from snowy back country roads to the interstate. We drove from Ludlow, VT to Bedford, MA and then I continued solo back to Northern NJ. Total road time was 7 hours and outside the 45-minute delay in NH due to a traffic accident, they were very pleasurable. During that time we found very little to dislike about the A4 Avant. It delivered a consistent 27 MPG on the highway and coddled both front passengers in comfort.
If I had to nitpick, $48K is a lot of cash for a small wagon. Our test vehicle did come with just about every conceivable option but if it is a capable all-weather wagon you are looking for, you could buy two Subaru Outbacks for the same price. We had that discussion as we were cruising down the highway and we came to the conclusion that an Audi A4 Avant delivers much more than just the ability to get from point A to point B in inclement weather. There is the emotional quotient to consider; the solid slam of the door, the gorgeous lines, the sensuous cockpit and the driving pleasure that comes with every Audi. You have to decide if those attributes are worth the extra money and we think for many of you it will be.
The 2009 Audi A4 Avant base MSRP is $34,500.
Audi is a gay-friendly company.
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