I shopped this model with the BMW 5 and Mercedes E class. I chose the Audi for its overall styling, great use of technology, and gas mileage. If you commute like I do, to get the power of a V8 in an economical V6 should be a factor in a new car purchase.
This car is a head-turner. I get compliments on it everywhere I go. I consider it to be one of the luxury "sleepers". One has to drive it to really understand all that it offers. The use of LEDs everywhere in this car really make it a standout.
Extremely comfortable across 3 different chassis settings and 1 customized option. Even with the 20 inch wheel and low-profie tire options, this car is smooth under on highways and surface streets. The standard Quattro in this car grips the roads in all driving conditions. It really begs to be driven.
Reliability & durability
I have just under 20,000 miles on this car (January, 2013) and it has not presented one problem in ownership. There have been a couple minor factory proactive remediation items, but otherwise consistent day in and day out.
The one surprise with this car is the hatchback and rear cargo room. The back seats fold down in this 4 door sedan and it is quite convenient to have the capacity to carry items you could not do in a typical sedan. This space is available without sacrificing comfortable seating for both front and rear passengers.
Materials & workmanship
I have read reviews bashing the interior choices on this sedan. I think they are top-notch. The real wood finish (not that heavily lacquered kind you find in most luxury cars) stands out in the very refined cabin.
Audi has across numerous models overlooked the cupholders. While they exist, they are an after-thought in my opinion. The size and engineering of the holders limits the flexibility in containers. More specifically, the center console limits the use of larger containers and getting the containers in and out of the recepticals can be difficult without a spilling incident.
Don't listen to the critics, get out and test drive this car. You will be pleasantly surprised with what Audi has brought to the market with this model.
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