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- Highs High-tech cabin, spacious rear seat, unflappable handling.
- Lows Some rivals are more entertaining to drive, best infotainment features cost extra, oddly-placed volume knob.
- Verdict The handsome A4 deftly walks the line between sportiness and luxury and offers a tech-heavy cabin that is sure to please.
The 2018 Audi A4 is perhaps the most well-rounded car in the entry-luxury sedan segment, thanks to its compelling combination of athletic performance, a comfortable and well-built interior, high-tech features, and handsome exterior design. It excels in almost all areas of our testing, outaccelerates its rivals while sipping fuel, and cocoons its occupants in a quiet, spacious, and well-appointed cabin. The suspension admirably walks the thin line between sport and comfort, providing valiant cornering confidence when pushed hard and a relaxed experience when cruising long distances. Throw in a smattering of cutting-edge technology by way of the optional digital gauge cluster, onboard Wi-Fi, and advanced active safety tech, and the A4’s myriad qualities elevate it to near the top of its class.
What's New for 2018?
A handful of changes to its offerings mark the A4’s second model year since its major redesign. The Black Optic Plus package is newly available on all-wheel-drive Premium Plus and Prestige models; it blacks out much of the A4’s exterior trim including the grille, window surrounds, wheels, rear spoiler, and mirror housings and adds a sport steering wheel, glossy black trim, and subtle red upholstery stitching inside. The base Premium trim gains standard heated front seats and a complement of S line exterior enhancements. Midrange Premium Plus models benefit from standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and the top-spec Prestige trim now comes with more advanced active safety gear, including adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, and traffic-sign recognition. In an attempt to hush the interior further, Prestige models also gain acoustic-glass front windows. The detuned Ultra engine is now available in all three trim levels with front-wheel drive.
- Premium: $36,975
- Premium Plus: $40,175
- Prestige: $46,475
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
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While some competitors offer myriad engine choices, including hybrids and diesels, Audi keeps it simple: a 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four gasoline engine and a detuned eco-focused version of that engine called the Ultra, which makes 190 horsepower. Transmission options include a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic; front-wheel drive is standard, and Audi’s famous Quattro all-wheel-drive system is optional. The Ultra engine option promises improved fuel economy but is not offered with all-wheel drive. We had the opportunity to strap our test gear to a 2018 A4 2.0T Quattro with the six-speed manual transmission. It outaccelerated its automatic-shifting equivalent from last year in our zero-to-60-mph and quarter-mile tests by a mere 0.1 second. Otherwise, we were pleased with the manual’s smooth action and communicative clutch, making it our pick of the range. The A4’s 252-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four is eager and energetic. It responds instantly to throttle inputs and gets the A4 up to speed quickly and seamlessly. Responsive acceleration, a composed ride, and athletic handling give the A4 an unbeatable combination of refinement and excitement. It’s simply unflappable in nearly all driving situations, whether you’re charging down a back road or taking your in-laws out to dinner. As good as the A4 is, however, it’s still not as engaging as the beguiling and irresistibly Italian Alfa Romeo Giulia, with its raspy turbo four and sweet steering.
EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the Compare Side-by-Side tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The A4’s modern-looking cabin does a good job of balancing form and function with high-quality materials and easily accessible technology features. Opting for the new-for-2018 Black Optics Plus package on all-wheel-drive Premium Plus and Prestige models adds a sport steering wheel with a flat bottom, glossy black interior trim, leatherette-covered armrest and center console lid, and red contrast stitching on the upholstery. Base Premium models now come with heated front seats; the top-spec Prestige trim gets the leatherette-covered armrests and center console lid even without the Black Optics Plus package and also gains dual-pane acoustic side-window glass. As in most Audis, the dashboard design is clean and simplistic, almost like a piece of modern art. Most of the A4’s buttons and switches, including climate-control knobs and the MMI central infotainment controller, are right where you want them to be and feel substantial when you use them. The exception is the volume knob, which is placed inconveniently on the passenger side of the center console. Aluminum trim is standard on most models, with optional wood accents available for those who prefer a warmer appearance.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Although there are no changes to its infotainment offerings for 2018, the A4 remains one of the better-equipped sedans in this class. Last year’s Technology package, which included the Virtual Cockpit gauge display, navigation, and a larger 8.3-inch infotainment screen, is renamed the Navigation and Telematics package. The A4’s infotainment system has clear graphics and well-organized menus, making the system simple to understand and operate. An optional Virtual Cockpit instrument-panel display shows tons of useful information directly in the driver’s line of sight, a boon for avoiding distractions. The A4’s standard setup consists of a 7.0-inch center screen that’s controlled by a rotary knob on the center console. Standard features are generous and include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and voice command. Navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, and in-car Wi-Fi are included in various option packages, as is a more powerful Bang & Olufsen audio system with 19 speakers and 755 watts of output.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
For more information about the Audi A4’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.