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Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the Audi A4 2.0T ultra Premium include 2.0L I-4 190hp intercooled turbo engine, 7-speed S tronic auto-shift manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, SIDEGUARD curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 17" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, electronic stability.
Starting at: $34,900
Making a single four-cylinder powertrain available was the sensible decision, since nothing is lacking in the 2017 A4. The turbo four has gained 29 horsepower for 2017. As a result, the A4 starts off with gratifying zeal, emitting smoothly balanced, natural engine sounds.
An evolution of earlier designs, the dual-clutch transmission has paddle shifters and complements the A4’s sporty intent. Unlike some dual-clutch units, this one exhibits little jerkiness.
Road manners are impressive, even if certain competitors pull ahead in precise handling. Most models can be fitted with adaptive dampers. Well worth the $1,000 cost, the adaptive system softens minor bumps and ensures firmer control. A new mode in the electric power steering increases boost and broadens steering angle at low speeds, easing urban maneuvering. Brake action is progressive, with excellent pedal feel.
In Sport steering/transmission modes, with automatic damping, the 2017 A4 feels most adept. Far more capable than the previous model, it responds promptly and takes corners predictably.
Gas mileage has improved. With front-drive, the 2017 Audi A4 is EPA-rated at 25/33 mpg City/Highway, or 28 mpg Combined. Adding all-wheel drive lowers those figures to 24/31 mpg City/Highway, or 27 mpg Combined.
The 2017 A4 redesign can’t be called adventurous or dramatic, but the front end does convey a more athletic stance, while the rear is taller and more emphatically wedge-shaped. The revised grille framing looks more appealing. Large glass areas taper smartly toward the roof.
Despite adopting a totally new platform, though, the basic proportions and silhouette have barely changed. Aerodynamically neat and clean, the basic body shape hasn’t changed all that much since the first A4 debuted for 1996. Rather than bedazzle onlookers, the A4 profile aims to endure. Because the new structure is a trifle longer and wider, the 2017 A4 qualifies as a midsize sedan more than a compact.
Back-seat space has been an issue in previous A4s, which suffered from a low cushion and little knee clearance. Not anymore. In 2017 form, it’s about as roomy as competitive, larger models, notably the BMW 3 Series. Audi claims that headroom has gained an inch, with 2.6 additional inches for front-occupant shoulders. Back-seat occupants now get a higher, supportive cushion.
Front seats have always provided space and support for comfortable, if snug, long-distance travel. Now, a 6-foot passenger can ride comfortably behind a 6-foot driver. In fact, five adults can fit inside, with improved comfort for each. Those up front get the most form-fitting, still rather snug, seats, with firm bolstering.
Functionality has improved. A low cowl gives the driver a greater field of vision. The steering wheel has shrunk a bit, with thumb controls easier to use.
With the available virtual cockpit, dazzling screens face the driver. Most models have done away with traditional-style gauges, in favor of changeable electronic displays that can switch from one view to another. Though displays are stunning, and they refresh quickly, the new system can be distracting initially. Base models have a 7-inch screen.
The latest version of Multi-Media Interface (MMI) accepts inputs from voice, steering-wheel controls, or handwritten letters on a scratchpad. All A4s now include smartphone-app features.
For two decades, the A4 has exemplified Audi’s reputation for taut styling and satisfying road manners, augmented by abundant technology. Adding such features as the virtual cockpit helps send the redesigned 2017 A4 toward the future. Plenty of excellent automobiles occupy the sport-sedan category, long led by the BMW 3 Series, and the latest A4 clearly belongs in that proficient group.
Driving impressions by Marty Padgett, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.
The 2017 Audi A4 comes in three trim levels, with front-wheel drive or quattro all-wheel drive. The A4 Premium ($37,300) comes with a sunroof, leather seating surfaces, power front seats, rearview camera, 17-inch wheels, 10-speaker audio with Bluetooth audio streaming, and smartphone interface. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Premium Plus ($41,100) adds 18-inch wheels, parking sensors, S line exterior trim, and a Bang & Olufsen 755-watt, 19-speaker 3-D audio system. Prestige ($45,900) gets the virtual cockpit instrument display, head-up display, surround-view cameras, blind-spot monitoring, and navigation with voice control. Prestige models can get the adaptive damping suspension, plus a Driver Assistance Package that includes adaptive cruise control and traffic-sign recognition.