Audi A4 quattro 2017 Review

As the bestselling model in Audi history,this all-new 9th generation A4 shoulders great responsibility.Compact sedans do much of the heavy liftingfor luxury marquees and Audi considers the A4 representative of the best in every detailthe brand has to offer.In this crossover-happy world, the Q5 is byfar Audi’s most sought after vehicle but on the car side of the ledger it’s stillthe A4.Popular German competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benzdouble up the A4’s sales, but those who’ve experienced the joy of four rings know they’vemade the right choice.With greater street cred than xDrive or 4Matic,quattro all-wheel drive has long since been the A4’s ace in the hole and my tester isso equipped.But no longer are all A4s using the same quattrosetup.If you consider yourself a knowledgeable carshopper there’s much to know about the new A4.All of them get the 2.0-liter turbo but certainfront-drive models receive a detuned, more fuel efficient version designated as ‘ultra.’ Confusing matters is the fact that all quattroequipped models can be specified with a 6-speed manual transmission.But those cars get quattro with ultra technology” a new take on Audi’s storied all-wheel drive system that’ll likely upset some loyalists.Quattro with ultra is designed to preservefuel economy by decoupling the rear axle until the car’s computers determine the rear tiresneed to join in.But this car still uses the original self-lockingcenter differential crown gearheads have come to love with its rear biased drive configurationand torque vectoring for wheel-specific power distribution.If it were mine, I’d swap out these all-seasonPirellis for a set of rubber with more grip in the winter but even so, this A4 alwaysfeels hooked-up and contributes greatly to driver confidence in both slippery and dryroad conditions.And considering there are a number of highperformance variants in the pipeline, this A4 delivers a benchmark level of capable handlingand comfortable ride to build upon.The 2.0-liter engine has been redevelopedto significantly increase output, now capable of 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque,the S tronic 7-speed transmission from the S4 displaces the previous 8-speed automatic,and despite a small increase in passenger and luggage volume, the A4’s aluminum hybridconstruction reduces vehicle weight.0-to-60mph takes only 5.7 seconds;.5 secondsquicker than before.And though it no longer accepts E85, thisengine now returns 27mpg in combined driving on premium compared to the previous 24.The A4 possesses a newfound premium feel toits wonderfully compliant ride quality and a sophisticated smoothness to its powertrain.This car is sneaky quick and the dual clutchtransmission is as automatic-like as they come.The sport seats are perfectly balanced forgrip and comfort and fun behind the wheel still abounds.The optional sport suspension takes this lowslung sedan and makes it even more so and the standard drive select includes 4 modesfor driver customization.But despite not having the optional comfortadaptive suspension ” available only on the Prestige trim ” this car drives as ifit’s on a pillow of air, with direct, hallmark Audi steering, paddle shifters with lightingquick shifts and stop dead brakes with stellar pedal feel.Other than an underlying burble from the exhaustunder acceleration, the cabin is luxury quiet, too.If only the interior design impressed as muchas the rest of the car.This new shifter has a very awkward park settingI can envision causing problems, the MMI infotainment system is feature laden but doesn’t includea touchscreen so controls can be cumbersome at times and the rear seats feel a littletight.The optional Audi virtual cockpit is thiscar’s oh-wow moment, allowing you to reconfigure the high-res display including this brilliantnavigation setting.But despite this tester’s Premium Plus,Technology and Sport packages, the A4 can’t match the panache of the C-Class.It’s very comfortable but just doesn’tlook as fancy.This heavily optioned mid-trim 2.0T quattroS tronic model starts at about $40,000 and totals $48,725 as seen here.A delightful car in most every way, the newA4 continues its winning attitude.SHARE

Aly Chiman

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