You might think that living in the BMW 3-series' shadow would be tough, but the Audi A4 looks no worse for the wear. In fact, its great looks -- inside and out -- are the hallmark of this luxury car. And if indeed the Audi is even second to the BMW these days, it needs to apologize for nothing. The rear-wheel-drive Bimmer is still the easy choice for driving purists, but the A4 is a brilliant alternative for realists. Audi was among the first to the downsizing-for-fuel-economy party, and the A4 comes with an unusually refined turbocharged four-cylinder engine that plays surprisingly well with many of its competitors' sixes -- in fact, Audi claims the A4 is the "biggest, fastest, and most-fuel-efficient vehicle in the sport sedan category." And if being merely fast isn't enough, there's the blisteringly fast S4, which uses a supercharged V-6 and all-wheel drive to terrorize its competitors. The sexy A4 Avant station wagon is available solely with all-wheel drive, but base sedans can be had with front-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission. Four-wheel-drive models come with a six-speed stick, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (S4), or an eight-speed automatic (A4.) The most important option, however, is the $850 Bang & Olufsen sound system, which transforms the stunning Audi into a rolling concert hall.
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