2018 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro sedan review: Best balance of sport and smarts

    The A4 was, for a very long time, my favourite car in its class of entry-level luxurious
    . Then
    launched the
    A5 Sportback
    , with its deliciously coupe-like profile, sporty efficiency and versatile liftback design, and I have never been ready to take a look at the A4 the identical method since.

    However that is all subjective. For the motive force searching for a standard compact sedan with a discrete trunk, traditional beauty, plus among the greatest cabin and security expertise on the street, the 2018 Audi A4 continues to be one of many most interesting selections in its class.

    Quattro? Extremely? Quattro with Extremely?

    Like the opposite members of the A4/A5 household, the A4 Sedan is powered by Audi’s 2.Zero-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing a wholesome 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. That torque is sort of accessible, approaching easily and strongly from simply 1,600 rpm, serving to the A4 really feel good and responsive round city and nimble off the road.

    However not like the A5 Sportback, which is barely supplied with all-wheel drive and an computerized transmission, the A4 could be had with three totally different drivetrains.

    The A4 Quattro’s turbocharged engine makes 252 horsepower. Entrance-drive Extremely fashions, nevertheless, are much less highly effective.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    Quattro S-tronic

    The very best setup for dynamic efficiency is Quattro S-tronic. The seven-speed, dual-clutch S-tronic transmission is actually candy, with neatly chosen shift factors aiding in fast acceleration and a clean total demeanor. Right here, it is mated with Audi’s glorious Quattro all-wheel-drive system that may ship as a lot as 70 % of the engine’s torque to the entrance axle or as much as 85 % to the rear. The break up is constantly adjusted, however all 4 wheels all the time get some share of the ability.

    This sportiest configuration is sweet for a Zero-to-60 dash of simply 5.7 seconds earlier than carrying on to a (restricted) prime pace of 130 miles per hour. On the thriftier finish of the efficiency spectrum, you are 24 miles per gallon metropolis, 34 mpg freeway and 27 mpg mixed — not unhealthy for this class, and aggressive with the
    330i xDrive (27 mpg mixed) and the
    C300 4Matic (26 mpg mixed).

    Quattro with Extremely

    A six-speed guide transmission is out there for the A4 Quattro, granting drivers the satisfaction of shifting with three pedals. Nonetheless, this selection additionally comes with a distinct model of Quattro all-wheel drive. Generally known as “Quattro with Extremely expertise,” that is Audi’s on-demand AWD setup, which defaults to front-wheel drive beneath most situations and solely sends energy to the rear whereas cornering or if slip is detected.

    Curiously, this on-demand setup does not save the A4 any gas. Metropolis and mixed estimates are the identical because the S-tronic, whereas the freeway estimate drops to 33 mpg. It appears the S-tronic’s additional seventh cruising gear provides it an economic system benefit.

    Extremely front-wheel drive

    Essentially the most environment friendly A4 trim is the purely front-drive “Extremely.” That includes the seven-speed S-tronic gearbox however not the Quattro rear differential or driveshaft, this lighter mannequin climbs to EPA estimates of 27 metropolis mpg, 37 freeway mpg and 31 mixed mpg.

    Nonetheless, that added gas economic system comes at a efficiency price. On this configuration, the two.Zero-liter engine steps down in energy to 190 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque — prone to maintain traction in verify with half the variety of pushed wheels. The 60-mph dash now stretches to 7.1 seconds; that is nonetheless not too unhealthy for a premium commuter.

    A extra relaxed experience

    The tuning of the A4’s four-corner, five-link impartial suspension fels a bit milder than that of the A5 fashions. The sedan is extra relaxed and cozy round city and over bumps. On the identical time, it nonetheless feeling good and planted in corners, with the Quattro system serving to to rotate the automobile by every bend with out a lot of the understeer that many AWD methods typically exhibit.

    All A4 fashions function lively acoustics that use audio processing and audio system to cancel out undesirable street noise. This ends in a quieter cabin and fewer driver fatigue on lengthy rides. Nonetheless, this method additionally generates a bit of pretend noise to sweeten the engine be aware when in its sportiest mode. Fortunately, the A4’s system is considerably much less aggressive than the A5 Sportback that I not too long ago examined, and I recognize that the sedan’s efficiency sounds much less synthetic for it.

    MMI Plus tech with Digital Cockpit

    A part of what makes the A4 such an excellent day by day software is its cabin expertise.

    The usual MMI infotainment suite makes use of a 7-inch Nvidia-powered setup manipulated by a bodily management knob on the middle console. Customary
    Android Auto
    CarPlay connectivity lead a beefy listing of digital and analog media sources. Nonetheless, higher trim ranges and choice packages bump issues as much as MMI Plus, which features a bigger eight.Three-inch display screen, navigation and an MMI Contact controller with handwriting recognition.

    2018 Audi A4 Sedan2018 Audi A4 Sedan

    Audi’s cabin tech is among the many greatest within the enterprise with the Digital Cockpit instrument cluster as its crowning jewel.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    The 4G LTE-supported Audi Join service permits gee-whiz options like on-line vacation spot search, native app integrations and
    Earth satellite tv for pc map imagery. And that is not even the best half.

    My private favourite tech improve is the accessible Digital Cockpit, a 12.Three-inch digital instrument cluster show that may be personalized to show every thing from conventional gauges and driving data to a big map for navigation. Just about the entire main MMI infotainment features could be dealt with right here with easy steering wheel controls, making Digital Cockpit a function price paying for.

    Driver help and security options

    Audi’s glorious tech does not cease on the infotainment. There’s additionally a strong array of normal and non-compulsory driver help options onboard.

    For starters, the Audi Pre Sense Metropolis system is normal tools on all fashions, rolling in ahead precollision warnings with computerized brake help. The system is ready to detect each different automobiles in addition to pedestrians.

    Elective upgrades price contemplating embody adaptive cruise management with visitors jam help, which not solely maintains a protected following distance in stop-and-go visitors but in addition provides steering help that mechanically retains the car according to the automobile forward and between lane markers. It is a hands-on system; it would disable when you attempt to go hands-free.

    At increased speeds, extra acquainted lane-keeping steering help helps guarantee that the automobile stays the place you need it, however does not try the identical stage of lane-centering that the low-speed system does. It simply retains you between the traces.

    Audi’s blind-spot monitoring system is an fascinating one. Not solely does it watch your again throughout lane adjustments and while you’re reversing out of blind parking spots, it additionally stays lively after you have parked roadside to observe for upcoming automobiles. This car exit help system is extraordinarily useful for stopping “dooring” different automobiles and probably cyclists, too. It is a small contact that goes a great distance for security.

    2018 Audi A4 Sedan2018 Audi A4 Sedan

    Audi’s blind-spot monitoring system helps stop collisions on the freeway, however retains working when stopped to keep away from “dooring” accidents.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    How I would spec it

    The A4 2.0T Extremely is the least-expensive and most fuel-efficient model of the A4 sedan, beginning at $36,000 for the bottom Premium trim stage.

    Nonetheless, for these within the “sport” a part of this sport sedan, I like to recommend the S-tronic Quattro. It is acquired extra energy than the Extremely and the most effective model of Audi’s all-wheel-drive system for max efficiency. Whereas I am checking packing containers, I would step as much as the Status trim stage, bringing the sticker worth to round $50,000.

    That will get you the entire driver-aid tech together with adaptive cruise with Visitors Jam Help, the entire cabin tech together with MMI navigation and Audi Digital Cockpit and an incredible 755-watt
    Bang & Olufsen
    audio system.

    2018 Audi A4 Sedan2018 Audi A4 Sedan

    The A4 is likely one of the greatest selections for a standard sedan, however the class-bending A5 Sportback is a extra fashionable, sporty different.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    My 2018 Audi A4 Quattro sedan stands close to the highest of a category that features the aforementioned BMW 330i xDrive and Benz’s C300 4Matic. Efficiency and effectivity for these rivals are all in the identical ballpark, however the A4 boasts a slight worth benefit and by far essentially the most spectacular tech of the three.

    These trying to save a couple of bucks or for one thing much less German must also contemplate the
    Cadillac ATS
    Jaguar XE
    . As near equally outfitted as we might get these rides, each sticker for hundreds of lower than the A4. Each include some cabin and driver help tech compromises — particularly the Jag — however every additionally locations extra emphasis on dealing with and efficiency than the extra relaxed Audi, which ought to attraction to extra spirited drivers.

    Nonetheless, if I had been purchasing for a premium sport sedan, Audi’s personal 2018 A5 Sportback Quattro would rank simply above the A4 on the prime of my quick listing. Although not a “pure” sedan, the Sportback does every thing a sedan does with only a bit extra aptitude. Each automobiles supply the identical class-leading cabin and driver-aid tech, however the extra versatile liftback design and the enticing, coupelike stance and silhouette of the Sportback are a one-two punch of higher operate and type than the normal three-box sedan. Sharper dealing with — because of sportier tunes for its suspension and Quattro methods — seals the deal.

    You may’t actually go improper both method; each are glorious (and, frankly, almost similar) selections, however I give the sting and the nod to the trendy A5 Sportback over the subdued A4 sedan.

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