One sip at a time: 2017 Audi A4 Ultra is surprisingly good on gas

As it should be, considering the whole point of the Ultra trim is to provide superior fuel efficiency.

Audi first applied the "Ultra" badge to a variant of its Euro-market A3. It was powered by a 1.6-liter diesel engine, achieved a whopping 73.5 mpg on the European cycle and would go more than 900 miles between fill-ups. Since diesel is a bit of a sore topic here (and everywhere), it's rolling out a new kind of Ultra for the US, and it's still pretty darn efficient.

Based on the 2017 Audi A4, the A4 Ultra is all about fuel efficiency. It features a revised version of its 2.0-liter gas engine that the EPA rates at 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. Audi was able to make this happen by raising the compression ration to 11.7:1 from 9.6:1. It's front-wheel-drive only, and the sole transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch unit.

With its 27/37 rating, it trounces other cars in its segment. The BMW 320i only achieves 23/35, the Mercedes-Benz C300 is rated at 23/35 and even its most thrifty competitior, the Volvo S60 T5, hits just 25/36.

The A4 Ultra will be available in two trims, Premium and Premium Plus, which cost $34,900 and $38,700, respectively. You can still load it the hell up with fancy equipment like Audi's Virtual Cockpit and a 4G LTE modem with hotspot connectivity. Low-speed autonomous emergency braking is standard, as is three-zone climate control and LED ambient lighting.

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