Read Sam Smith’s comments on driving the 2008 Audi A4 3.2.

Funny how the last, swan-song versions of seminal cars are often the most appealing. This version of Audi’s A4—the car that’s due to be replaced next year with a model already on sale in Europe—looks far better than its predecessors, with none of the usual late-life-facelift inelegance. The blacked-out S-line window trim and wheels look fantastic against the white paint, and the piano black interior trim is a nice, dignified touch.

Sadly, it still drives like an A4, which is to say, thoroughly uninspiring. The steering lacks the feel, feedback, and self-centering effort of an A5, S5, or RS4, and the vague clutch is difficult to be smooth with unless you’re paying close attention. Ride quality is impressive, especially over rutted Michigan roads, as is dry-road grip (especially on the snow tires that our test car was delivered with), but there’s still something missing.