2017 is the first model year for the 5th generation of the Audi A4 sport sedan. But, wait a minute, if you throw in its Audi 80 ancestry, it’s actually the 9th gen b-series architecture for Audi. Regardless, over the years all those cars just keep getting better and better. So let’s find out if it’s b-car business as usual at Volkswagen’s premium brand.
The 2017 Audi A4 may be on the smaller side of four-doors, but it is both big-time polished and potent; boasting technology above any flagship luxury machine of 10-years ago.
That includes a Driver Assistance package with the latest safety technology; cameras to read road markings and even road signs, and of course automatic braking. So, you have to work pretty hard to crash it. We tried, but it stopped just shy of our barrier every time; applying the brakes in full, almost immediately after a warning chime.
As for interior technology, there is still a large MMI display on the dash; but it’s largely redundant if you opt for the huge 12-inch all-encompassing virtual gauge cluster as well as a new full color Head Up Display. With all pertinent info right before your eyes, and controls right there on the steering wheel; there’s no need to look or reach elsewhere.
Those are just highlights of what is a fantastic interior, fully upholding the lofty standards we have for Audi.
Leather seating is standard, and space is up over last year in all seating positions. Trunk space is very good at 13.0 cubic-ft.
Power sneaks up a little, with a revised 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 252-horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque for both front and all-wheel drive models. Now, that’s only 32 added ponies, but it feels like much more than that.
Possibly because weight is down slightly, but more likely because the 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission has been tightened up as well. No manual is available.
The exterior design is clearly an evolution of the previous A4, combined with style indicators from the larger A6-7 and 8. A4 suspension is 5-link independent all-around, with upgraded sport tuning available, as is adaptive damping, integrated into Audi Drive Select.
Our car’s optional, rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive aids that sporty feel as well, with its self-locking center differential and selective torque control.
With quattro, understeer is minimal, challenging the best of its rear-drive competition. And while the A4 has once again gotten bigger, it surely doesn’t drive like it. Though, we will stop short of saying its loads of fun to toss around; it’s more of a case of sterile mechanical precision.
Steering is very light at lower speeds, but firmed up quickly here at our track as the pace increased. After some slight lag off the starting block, the power eventually started getting put down in a smooth and steady fashion; ushering us to 60 in a fine 5.8-seconds.
There’s a nice growl from the engine, but not much from the exhaust, while the transmission keeps the gears coming quickly; clearing the 1/4-mile in 14.3-seconds at 99 miles-per-hour.
Braking was most impressive, a 104-foot average from 60; with rock steady stability and zero fade.
In everyday driving, everything about the A4 is smooth; as it absorbs bumps and pavement imperfections more like a full-size sedan than any compact. The dual-clutch tranny is mostly seamless, with the only hiccups coming during low-speed maneuvering.
Ride quality can be dialed to your liking, but even in full comfort mode, body control is well managed, and it never feels soft.
The low seating position will not endear it to those crossover inclined, but visibility is excellent all around.
Though very well-equipped in standard Premium trim, Prestige is where you want to be with 18-inch alloy wheels, S-line aluminum trim, and full LED lighting outside; along with Bang & Olufsen surround sound and heated seats for inside.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 25-City, 33-Highway, and 28–Combined, with our average coming in at a fine 29.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. For an average Energy Impact Score, of 11.8-barrels of oil burned yearly, with C02 emissions of 5.2–tons.
Pricing starts at $35,850, that’s just a bit more than a base BMW 3-series, but significantly less than a base Mercedes-Benz C-class; Prestige trim with quattro however, will have you at $48,950.
And while those other German sport sedans are certainly the logical competition for the 2017 Audi A4. To us, it’s more in the spirit of the Cadillac ATS with luxury, performance, and technology addressed in equal balance. So, it is indeed business as usual; with another solid small-ish sedan from Audi.
Engine: 2.0 liter
Torque: 273 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.3 seconds @ 99 mph
EPA: 25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 11.8 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 5.2 tons/yr