With the latest generation Audi A4, the luxury brand has continued their art of evolution rather than revolution to continue polishing their top selling sedan.
All-new from the ground up, the 2017 Audi A4 Quattro 2.0 we tested came to us in Prestige trim and chock full of options to the tune of $52,325, a price not all the way to the top but close to it.
For this sum we got a well equipped all-wheel drive sport sedan with impressive performance and refinement both around town and on the highway with a wide array of technical features commensurate with its price.
Growing just an inch in length in the new redesign, the 2017 Audi A4 comes across as a bit more conservative than before in its styling. A large single frame grille has more detail in it as does the S Line lower fascia.
Because ours was optioned with the Driver Assistance Package what looked like fog lights in the lower air dam were actually radar sensors cleverly placed. Also optioned were the LED headlights which have a handsome look in their daytime running lamps and adjust at night.
Wheels are 18-inch alloy with painted pockets that looked handsome with the optional Moonlight Blue metallic paint. At the rear, conservative lines continue the theme to a built-in deck spoiler and dual exhaust tips.
The interior in typical Audi form and function is down to business and laid out with good ergonomics. Genuine aluminum trims span the dash, center console and door panels and leather lines the heated front seats nicely.
Surprising was the level of harder plastics found here and there, something not as expected in past Audi sedans. Switchgear however was still of a high tactile feel and comfort from the seating and driving position quite easily attained.
Ahead of the driver here is the Audi Virtual Cockpit in place of a traditional instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch LED screen backed by NVIDIA graphics that gives you a multitude of customizable graphic layouts that are handsome and well worth the uptick in price.
Center stage is the Audi MMI infotainment, audio and navigation system that also serves up sharp and bright graphics on its screen. Audio from the Bang and Olufsen sound hardware is phenomenal but using the console mounted interface has a steep learning curve and isn’t very intuitive.
Rear seat passengers will find reasonable space and comfort though some in class do offer more space. The rear seats do fold down in a 60/40 split to allow long items from the trunk, itself plenty spacious and lined with high quality trims.
Powering the A4 Quattro is a next-generation 2.0 liter TFSI four-cylinder engine mated to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. With 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque it moves the A4 from 0-60 in about 5.8 seconds according to Audi which feels about right by our seat of the pants.
The transmission does a fine job of shifting on its own or can be snicked off manually via the console lever or paddle shifters. The engine itself revs freely and happily and remains refined right to the redline. Those wanting one can still option a 6-speed manual.
In our tester the EPA rates efficiency at 24 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. We achieved an impressive 30 mpg combined in our week of testing which actually leaned more city than highway driving.
Handling was crisp and taut while set on Dynamic with the Audi Drive Select modes most of the week. Its 5-link front and rear suspension is refined and athletic, never losing its poise even over rougher pavement on our back road jaunts. On the freeway it’s quiet and stable, feeling like a solid slab of granite rolling down the road.
With competition from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Lexus and Infiniti all offering something a little bit different this year, Audi continues their own theme of understated, down to business driving pleasure. We like it, enough so it goes on our “Id Buy It” list for 2017.