Los Angeles Times
Audi came back from the brink in 1995 to go toe to toe with Mercedes and BMW. That comeback started with the A4. The latest edition includes such “hot-off-the-workbench” technologies as dynamic steering (to provide counter-steering when the car reaches the limits of handling), lane-departure warning, and a side-object warning system. Put it in Sport mode and “get thee to a snaky country road, and quick.”

This long, wide, luxury best-seller takes aim at Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series archrivals. The basic four-cylinder, 211-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine comes with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Opting for the fully appointed, 265-hp, V6 “Prestige” ­version can boost the price to $46,625. Watch out, though: The rearview video camera becomes “nearly hysterical” when the car is squeezed into a residential garage.

Road & Track
“More evolutionary than revolutionary,” this well-balanced all-wheel-drive car corners extremely well, and can run through a slalom course at 69.1 mph—faster than a BMW 335i. Regrettably, its Engine Control Module automatically cuts power as you’re twisting fast through a back road. But the “sinister” LEDs below the headlights add to its sex appeal.