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2017 Audi A4

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Overview (Final Score: B-)

The Audi A4 is the luxury brand's entry-level small sedan. It's been fully redesigned for the 2017 model year. In previous generations, the A4 was often the achilles heel of the Audi brand, failing to deliver on the premium brand's promise of performance and luxury. With this new A4, Audi has stepped forward with a new flagship.

The 2017 Audi A4 has a superb drive dynamic, a great powerplant and smart styling. The A4's interior also lives up to the Audi promise of luxury without ostentation, allowing form to dictate style in that Teutonic way that this German brand is well known for.

Audi has done a good job with the 2017 A4 and it definitely shows. There's everything to like about this car and not much to pan. The A4 has set a new benchmark for the small luxury sedan class. It finds a great balance between luxury sport driving and interior comfort and roominess without sacrificing much of either. High crash test ratings and smart fuel economy are also high points for this newly redesigned sedan.

The 2017 Audi A4 comes in three trim levels, with one sub-trim option, and two engines on offer. The A4 is available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive and uses the same transmission regardless of drivetrain choice.

What We Love About the 2017 Audi A4:

  • Excellent new design for its exterior

  • Roomy and very comfortable interior

  • Excellent safety with high crash test ratings


What We Don't Love About the 2017 Audi A4:

  • Sport sedans are easy to come by in the luxury segments and all are sportier than the A4

  • Reliability may not be as good as hoped

  • Infotainment is good, but still has a relatively high learning curve


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Exterior View (9/10)

The new look for the Audi A4 definitely puts it on the shortlist to win as royalty on prom night. The sleek new design drops the low-cost attitude of the former A4 and jumps right into the German luxury brand's expertise with straight lines and classy looks.

The 2017 Audi A4 blends classic elements with Audi's signature forward motion. The front grille is large and open, slotted with straight edges to offset the Audi hoops. The headlights are thin and angular, but not peering or menacing. Larger intakes and fog lamp bezels beneath balance that and help create the Indy-like lower aerofoil.

Along the sides, the Audi A4 now has deeper cuts along the lower edge, angled slightly upward to give a forward motion to the side panels. The long, thin line running from the rear of the headlamps, across the fenders and through the beltline is well-defined and finishes at the rear taillamps. This simple but effective edge creates a separation between the lower end of the car and the greenhouse and cabin. The roofline is classic sedan with an almost 1970s feel to its rear pillar.

All of this comes together in a great-looking package that befits the luxury status of the Audi brand.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)

The 2017 Audi A4 has one of the best cabins you'll find in this segment. It's tech focused, fitting in line with the new focus of both Audi and its parent company Volkswagen. This doesn't mean that the A4's designers ignored comfort, nor did they forget about the Audi brand's reputation for sportiness.

The very elegant design inside the 2017 Audi A4 is simple and easy to get used to. Comfort is at the fore and most of that comfort is gained through ergonomics and avoidance of complication. Going with that ideal, Audi has introduced a new virtual gauge cluster that looks a bit two-dimensional, but adds a lot of options for the driver and a much easier format for personalization and at-a-glance information.

Seating in the 2017 A4 is very comfortable with roominess on par with a midsize sedan rather than the compacts this car competes against. Entry and egress are also very good, with high door openings and good-sized doorways. The rear seating is surprisingly roomy for the class, with plenty of legroom for most adults.


Technology (9/10)

The base level technology for infotainment in the 2017 Audi A4 is a 7-inch display screen on the center stack that is controlled through Audi's MMI infotainment system. A command knob at the driver's right hand runs the action, paging through menus with left and right turns, and knob presses. Basic connectivity, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, as are two USB ports.

The upgrade is to a 8.3-inch display with added navigation, better voice controls and the ability to enter information by drawing it on the touchpad atop the MMI controller knob.

We like Audi's latest-generation system and are impressed with how much easier it is to use compared to previous versions. Compared to others, MMI is still a bit menu-intensive and clunky, but the voice-recognition is far better and helps mitigate that.

Fuel Economy (9/10)

The 2017 Audi A4 is EPA-rated at 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, which is about average for the class, but far better than the sportier competition will offer. What's more, it reflects real-world returns as our week with the car attested. Most can expect to see what the EPA estimates or better in their real-world driving.

What's more, the fuel economy ratings are the same for both the front-wheel drive and the all-wheel drive versions of the car.


Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (7/10)

The 2017 Audi A4 is rated by the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study with a score of "About Average." There have been two recalls for the A4 as of this writing, one of which is for an electrical/software issue that may affect reliability for many owners. The warranty for the A4 is about average for the industry segment at four years or 50,000 miles.

Safety (10/10)

Active safety features come standard with the 2017 A4 and both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) give the A4 top scores for crash test safety.

The NHTSA gives the 2017 Audi A4 a 5-Star overall rating with four stars for frontal crash results, and five stars for side crash and rollover results. The IIHS also gives top marks to the Audi A4, naming it a Top Safety Pick Plus vehicle. This means it received top scores of "Good" on all crash tests, as well as for active safety equipment and head restraints.

Performance (9/10)

Powering the 2017 Audi A4 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is also standard. These pair well with a strong amount of acceleration in most circumstances. There are rivals with more track-ready or sport-infused powerplants on board, but the Audi A4 offers good all-around performance and a smart package for it.

Handling in the 2017 A4 is excellent and lives up to the Audi name. Power output is strong in most situations and the steering and handling, along with road input, are all great for the class.

Pricing and Value (8/10)

The 2017 Audi A4 is priced about on par with its contemporaries. It's a bit cheaper than some and a little more expensive than others, but has a price that fits well in the entry-level compact luxury sedan class. Most buyers will be in the middle tier, with either the Premium Plus front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive model, and are likely to be considering a sticker in the $39,000 range. For that price the A4 delivers well with amenities and perks to match the expectation.

Where the Audi meets criticism is with resale values, which are usually relatively low for the make.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (71/80, 89%)

The most direct competitors to the Audi A4 are the BMW 3 Series sedans and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans. Both are definitely well-done German contenders, but only the BMW competes on price and neither the Bimmer nor the Merc offer the kind of excellent interior experience that the A4 does.

The 2017 Audi A4 is a far better car than its previous generation was. It's a joy to drive with a purely satisfying, well-rounded appeal to its performance and comfort balance. The amount of room for passengers is amazingly good for the compact class and the amenities for the price paid are spot on in most trim offerings. The 2017 A4 is definitely on the short list for the compact luxury sedan segment.

Trim Engine Drive Train MSRP
AWD 2.0T quattro Premium 4dr Sedan 7A 4 Cylinder AWD 39400
AWD 2.0T quattro Premium 4dr Sedan w/Season of Audi selection 4 Cylinder AWD 42350
AWD 2.0T quattro Premium Plus 4dr Sedan 7A 4 Cylinder AWD 43200
AWD 2.0T quattro Prestige 4dr Sedan 7A 4 Cylinder AWD 48000
2.0T ultra Premium 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 34900
2.0T Premium 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 37300
2.0T ultra Premium 4dr Sedan w/Season of Audi selection 4 Cylinder FWD 37850
2.0T ultra Premium Plus 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 38700
2.0T Premium Plus 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 41100
2.0T Prestige 4dr Sedan 4 Cylinder FWD 45900
AWD 2.0T quattro Premium 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder AWD 39400
AWD 2.0T quattro Premium Plus 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder AWD 43200
AWD 2.0T quattro Prestige 4dr Sedan 6M 4 Cylinder AWD 48000

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