The 2017 Audi A4 is all-new with improvements on every front. It boasts a more powerful engine, a refined transmission, design updates, and Audi’s dazzling virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch color display.
What is it?
Sports sedans are the middle ground between sexy sports cars with barely enough room for two and full-size sedans that can easily sit three adults in the rear seats. You can fit five people in a sports sedan only if three of them don’t mind getting to know each other a lot better. The focus isn’t on passengers, it’s on providing an engaging and invigorating experience for the most important person in the car – the driver.
Pricing and trims
The Audi A4 is offered in Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trims with a choice of front-wheel drive or quattro all-wheel drive in every trim. Its 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is offered in either 190 or 252 horsepower variants in the Premium and Premium Plus trims while the Prestige comes only with the more powerful engine.
Front-wheel drive models come only with a seven-speed automatic transmission while all-wheel drive models also offer an optional six-speed manual. Pricing ranges from $34,900 to $48,000.
Our test model was the A4 Prestige with quattro all-wheel drive with a base price of $48,000. This top trim level received a few extras that brought the final price up to $54,275.
Standard safety features include multiple airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability control, and rear view parking camera.
Advanced safety features are available through the Drive Assistance Package for $1,800. This adds adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, active lane assist, high beam assistant, and traffic sign recognition.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2017 Audi A4 top marks with its highest score of Good in all crash tests. It was also rated Superior for crash avoidance and mitigation technology, Good for child seat anchors, and Acceptable for headlights. Its strong performance was enough to earn the 2017 Audi A4 a coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating for the 2017 model year.
The 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine in the A4 offers 29 more horsepower and 14 more lb-ft of torque than last year’s model. It’s paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission that takes full advantage of that power with smooth shifts that let the revs go high enough to create a responsive drive while still being composed.
There’s also Audi drive select, which lets you adjust gear shift points, damper control, and steering assistance through one of four settings. Choose from comfort, auto, dynamic, or individual to get your perfect drive experience.
Sports sedans are supposed to be fun, exhilarating cars made for people who like to drive. The A4 provides exactly that experience with a powerful engine that adjusts to the driver’s demands quickly. Composed, quiet, and reserved at cruising speeds, it’s not afraid to show-off when pressed for a burst of speed.
You’ll find yourself pressed back into your seat when you hit the gas hard and breeze into highway traffic. Even under hard acceleration, the A4 is never brash offering only a hint of engine noise that lets you know it’s ready for whatever you have in mind.
There’s a new seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission in the A4 and it’s well-timed to make good use of the engine’s abilities. There’s no hesitation, only an instantaneous response as it quickly selects the best gear whether slowly accelerating or mashing the pedal.
There are paddle shifters, but if that’s still not enough control for you, then there’s a six-speed manual transmission. It’s offered throughout the lineup, but only on models equipped with quattro all-wheel drive.
Ride and handling
The ride is smooth and quiet with muted engine noise and a suspension system that keeps the car controlled and evens out any roughness beneath the wheels. Road and wind noise are also kept at bay, making the Audi A4 a comfortable car even for longer rides. Handling is precise despite limited road feel with responsiveness that makes it more fun the more winding the road ahead.
The front seats are sporty with the heavier bolstering you’d expect in a sports sedan. This hugs passengers enough to provide a snug fit without being tight and uncomfortable. Lots of leg room gives plenty of space for even those over six feet to stretch out and relax.
Those in colder regions will appreciate the heated seats that provide warmth that radiates well up the back of the seat to truly ward off the chill on frigid days.
There’s enough room for three in the back, but only if you’re all very good friends. Two people is ideal with enough head and leg room for most adults. Slide the front seats fully back, however, and legroom becomes tight.
There are 35.7 inches of legroom and 37.4 inches of headroom in the A4. The competing BMW 330i x-Drive has 35.1 inches of legroom and 40.3 inches of headroom while the Infiniti Q50 comes in with 35.1 inches of legroom and only 36.8 inches of headroom.
Cargo capacity isn’t the strong point of a sports sedan, but there’s a decent 13.0 cubic feet in the trunk of the A4. This is the same number you get with the BMW 330i, while the Infiniti Q50 edges them both out slightly with 13.2 cubic feet of trunk space.
Infotainment and controls
Audi has what they call a virtual cockpit that features a 12.3-inch screen that turns the instrument cluster into an extension of the infotainment system. You decide how you want it to look with everything from traditional gauges to a panoramic map. The information you want is always right in front of your eyes.
The infotainment system includes either a 7-inch or 8.3-inch screen mounted on the center of the dash with AM/FM/MP3 and optional navigation. There’s also an optional 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system and several USB ports tucked in the limited center storage cubby.
Control the infotainment through Audi’s MMI rotary dial on the center console. It is surrounded by quick reference buttons for commonly used functions and there’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity to make using your smartphone easy.
The all-new 2017 Audi A4 has minor styling changes along with improved technology and a more powerful engine. It also has a beautiful and comfortable interior.
Those seeking a sports sedan will find just what they’re looking for in the A4 with its balance of refinement and power.
The drawbacks are a rear seat that is a tight proposition for those who often have more than one passenger along for the ride and advanced safety technologies which are unfortunately limited to the higher trim level.
2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Prestige
Base price: $48,000
Price as tested, $54,275 including $950 destination charge:
Manhattan Gray Metallic: $575
Driver Assistance Package: $1,800
Warm Weather Package: $1,450
Adaptive Damping Suspension: $1,000
Cold Weather Package: $500
- Responsive Engine
- Sporty Handling
- Upscale Interior
- Sober Exterior Styling
- Tight Rear Seats
- Limited Advanced Safety Availability