When a buyer first dips their toes into luxury sedans, they tend to start small. As a result, the compact-lux segment requires automakers to put forth a solid effort in order to keep those first-time buyers coming back for more. To that end, the 2021 Audi A4 brings a ton of kit to the table in an effort to stand out from the crowd.
The most notable update for the 2021 Audi A4 is the addition of a 12-volt mild-hybrid system, as well as replacing the base front-wheel-drive setup in favor of AWD across the board. Both the base 40 and the higher-output 45 variants receive this upgrade, as well as a small power bump -- not that either version necessarily needed it. My tester packs the beefier version of Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, which now produces 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.
The A4 45 might not be a proper sports sedan like the peppier S4, but holy heck, it can still scoot. Between the mild-hybrid system and the engine's own low-down torque, this four-door will jump off the line like a dog that just heard the word "outside," especially if I swap out of the standard Comfort mode, which softens throttle response in order to highlight smooth, efficient driving. The mild-hybrid system does a great job in the background, helping cut the engine earlier in deceleration while starting it back up smoothly. The seven-speed automatic transmission is a little slow to respond in certain situations, but otherwise it's content to hang out behind the scenes. Light steering and easy-to-modulate pedals further enhance the experience.
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