2009 Audi A4 Long Term Road Test

2009 Audi A4 Avant: Is that you, Optimus Prime?

January 20, 2009

2009 Audi A4 Avant

While driving our long-term A4 Avant home at dusk the other night, I passed another '09 A4 headed in the opposite direction. The new LED eyelids really stood out, and when combined with the HID nozzles, give the new A4 a Transformers-esque visage: Are the Autobots cached among us as Audis? The radio never tuned itself to scene appropriate stations (though thanks to satellite radio, this is a manual option), and no one even partially resembling Megan Fox needed a lift on my route.

On the A4, the LED brows work well, throwing a cool even spread of bright light, but our left HID cannon always seems to run a little hot and high. As wild as Audi could have gone with the styling of the new LED beamers, they get a little credit for keeping things in check with just a mild bit of curvy whimsy. Did the little LED string need to hook under the HID beams in an inverted and slightly arched brow? Probably not, but this is Audi, who's set the bar of late for classy and understated design. What happens when the rest of the automotive world gets a hold of this stuff?

Once these slick LED lights work their way into the regular automotive supply chain, how long before designers start stringing up their cars like Christmas trees? We're likely to see headlights formed into illuminated logos, grilles outlined marquee style, or perhaps an option to have your name spelled out in the taillights ("Whoa" on the left, "Trixie" on the right). As LED technology advances, how long before we've got Lite Brite on wheels, with each corner of the car customizable from an in-dash display (if a Toyota, you'll have to be stationary, with the car in Park of course).

LED lights are likely to only get smaller and brighter, opening up an entirely new palette for car designers, and of course, marketing input. Making cars safer and more visible would be a nice perk, but how do you see this lightshow evolving?

Paul Seredynski, Executive Editor @ 6011 miles

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Audi A4 in VA is:

$134 per month*
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