Audi A4

The much-loved Audi A4 returns to 2018 with a new look that is a bit more angular and athletic in appearance than the last year's model. The trapezoidal "Singlegrame" grille dominates the front end, while more defined wheel arches grace the sides and a distinctive shoulder line begins at the hood, runs the length of the A4 and ends at the tail. The available Black Optic Plus package provides a sporty, striking look that is the perfect addition to the 2018 A4.

A 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder powers the A4, making 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. It runs that power through a 7-speed dual-clutch S tronic automatic transmission and can drive either the front or all four wheels when equipped with Audi's famous quattro all-wheel-drive system. Quattro utilizes a locking center differential and wheel selective torque control technology, which ensures that the wheels that need the most power receive it.

Audi Drive Select provides four modes for total control: comfort, auto, dynamic and individual. Each mode gives the driver control over transmission shift points, as well as steering assistance and damper control.

The A4 is available in Premium, Premium Plus, or Prestige trims. Standard amenities include auto-leveling xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, power adjustable heated mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, and heated windshield washer nozzles. Inside, 3-zone automatic climate control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, leather seating with 8-way power adjustability, one-touch up/down power windows, aluminum inlays, power sunroof and ambient LED lighting as standard. Standard technology includes Audi's MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch color display, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, a rearview camera, rain-sensing wipers and lights and a 10-speaker stereo system.

The Premium Plus adds 18-inch wheels and S line appearance items such as unique front and rear bumpers, body-color sills and a rear diffuser. The S line treatment continues inside with stainless steel door sill inlays, heated front seats that also include driver-side memory settings. A 19-speaker, 755-watt Bang & Olufsen stereo, SOS telematics system, heated seats and front/rear parking sensors are also part of the Premium Plus trim.

The top-of-the-line Prestige trim builds on the Premium Plus to add a heads-up display, adaptive cruise control, Audi Pre Sense accident mitigation, front and rear parking sensors with rear cross-traffic assist, LED exterior lighting all around.

Options for the base A4 include a Sport Package with lowered suspension and upgraded front seats, a Convenience Package that includes power heated mirrors, power seats and SiriusXM satellite radio and Audi Advanced Key. The Navigation and Telematics package adds Finally, adaptive cruise control, active lane assist and traffic sign recognition are part of the Driver Assistance Package available on Prestige trims.

The S4, the A4's ultra-sporty variant, includes a 354-horsepower turbocharged V6 connected to an 8-speed transmission with full-time quattro all-wheel drive. This means 0-60 times of under 5 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. The S4 comes in Premium Plus and Prestige trims, which are similar to those on the A4, but most buyers are interested in the S4's performance pedigree over technology and luxury appointments.

Standard safety features on all A4 and S4s include front, front-side and Sideguard head curtain airbags, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, stability and traction controls and a tire-pressure monitor. Rear side airbags are optional across the lineup.

Editors' Review

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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The Good ~ Comfortable and fun to drive ~ Solid consumer tech

The Bad ~ Limited storage in both cabin and trunk ~ Negligible fuel-economy change over 2020 model

The Bottom Line The compact luxury segment is rife with good cars, and the 2021 Audi A4 is one of the best therein.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 8
  • Features 9.5
  • Design 8
  • Media 9

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