I find the price on this car a bit offensive, but then again most of the options seem superfluous to me. Getting the price back at $40,000 shouldn't be difficult. The $1450 for 19-inch wheels seems especially steep, unless Audi plans to deliver the standard 18-inch wheels to me as well. There's also that irritating trend of navigation prices creeping upward rather than downward, as technology should and almost always does.
Clear your mind of pricing, though, and it becomes very easy to connect with this car. The gearbox and engine are a delight to work, inviting you to push hard into the boost and shift quickly. That this car is missing two cylinders on most of the competition is hardly noticed. I do wish that second and third gear were a bit shorter to keep the revs up and boost on tap when driving aggressively, but not to redline. On back roads, I downshifted to third more than once and was surprised just how low the revs were sitting at 55 mph.
The steering, as in several other recent Audis, also bothers me. Most irritating is the huge range of power assist between parking lot speeds and high-velocity travel. The immense difference in steering effort smacks too much of trying to be all things to all people, and it isn't working. At the risk of offending a few gingerly buyers, effort at parking speeds needs to be noticeably higher. BMW has never apologized for a weighty wheel and it certainly hasn't hurt them.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor