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.
The A4 was, for a long time, my favorite vehicle in its class of entry-level luxury sedans. Then Audi introduced the A5 Sportback, with its deliciously coupe-like profile, sporty performance and flexible liftback design, and I haven't been able to look at the A4 the same way since.
But that's all subjective. For the driver looking for a traditional compact sedan with a discrete trunk, classic good looks, plus some of the best cabin and safety technology on the road, the 2018 Audi A4 is still one of the finest choices in its class.
Like the other members of the A4/A5 family, the A4 Sedan is powered by Audi's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing a healthy 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. That torque is quite accessible, coming on smoothly and strongly from just 1,600 rpm, helping the A4 feel nice and responsive around town and nimble off the line.
The Good The 2018 Audi A4 is packed to its gills with class-leading cabin and driver-aid technology including available Traffic Jam Assist and Audi MMI with Virtual Cockpit. Turbocharged performance with Quattro is good for spirited passages while still being daily-driver friendly.
The Bad Though it’ll likely age well, the A4’s exterior design is also a bit bland relative to Audi's own A5 Coupe and Sportback models, as well as the competition from BMW.
The Bottom Line The 2018 Audi A4 sedan offers one of the segment’s best-balanced driving experiences with excellent tech, respectable performance and classic looks that fly under the radar. Looking for a bit more panache? Consider the nearly identical A5 Sportback.
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