2021 Audi A4 review: No-nonsense entry-level luxury

    The A4 is a little bit of a looker, particularly with the sportier S Line lodging seen right here.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    When a purchaser first dips their toes into luxurious sedans, they have an inclination to begin small. As a consequence, the compact-lux phase requires automakers to place forth a stable effort in an effort to hold these first-time consumers coming again for extra. To that finish, the 2021 Audi A4 brings a ton of package to the desk in an effort to face out from the group.

    LikeComfortin a position and enjoyable to driveSolid shopper tech

    Don’t LikeLimited storage in each cabin and trunkNegligible fuel-economy change over 2020 mannequin

    The most notable replace for the 2021 Audi A4 is the addition of a 12-volt mild-hybrid system, in addition to changing the bottom front-wheel-drive setup in favor of AWD throughout the board. Both the bottom 40 and the higher-output 45 variants obtain this improve, in addition to a small energy bump — not that both model essentially wanted it. My tester packs the beefier model of Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, which now produces 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.The A4 45 may not be a correct sports activities sedan just like the peppier S4, however holy heck, it may well nonetheless scoot. Between the mild-hybrid system and the engine’s personal low-down torque, this four-door will leap off the road like a canine that simply heard the phrase “outside,” particularly if I swap out of the usual Comfort mode, which softens throttle response in an effort to spotlight clean, environment friendly driving. The mild-hybrid system does an incredible job within the background, serving to reduce the engine earlier in deceleration whereas beginning it again up easily. The seven-speed automated transmission is a bit sluggish to reply in sure conditions, however in any other case it is content material to hang around behind the scenes. Light steering and easy-to-modulate pedals additional improve the expertise.

    The EPA charges the 2021 A4 45 at 24 miles per gallon metropolis and 31 mpg freeway, numbers that I’ve no drawback attaining, even in gross, wintry circumstances. The confounding factor is, although, the EPA charges the outgoing 2020 A4 with all-wheel drive at 32 mpg freeway, so… the place’s the features from the gentle hybrid? Sure, the slight electrification provides advantages like extending stop-start working, however in response to the feds, that additional little bit of mechanical complexity is a wash.The experience in my tester is a bit on the tough facet, however that is by design. Not solely does this automobile embrace 19-inch alloy wheels ($800), which limits tire sidewall dimension and inhibits bad-road mitigation, it additionally rocks a $250 sport suspension that makes sprightly driving a bit extra partaking by flattening out the dealing with. Those on the lookout for a extra comfort-oriented experience will wish to skip over these packages, however it does not go too far in a single path; the expertise continues to be sufficiently damped on good roads.

    Even should you do not spec the bigger wheels, there are nonetheless methods to gussy up the 2021 Audi A4. This automobile additionally carries the $500 Black Optic package deal, an affordably priced improve that ditches the outside chrome in favor of gloss-black trim. The 2020 refresh did wonders for the A4, giving it a a lot more energizing face that higher matches bigger choices just like the A6 and A8. It’s nonetheless on the nameless facet, however low-key is not a foul factor; moreover, there are nonetheless enjoyable prospers right here and there, just like the miniature mild present that takes place within the matrix-style LED headlights (a part of the highest Prestige trim) each time I lock or unlock the automobile.

    The inside does not escape the upcharge potential, both. For $500, Audi will throw in a flat-bottomed steering wheel, aluminum trim and sportier seats wrapped in leather-based and Alcantara suede. It’s a pointy little mixture that provides a shocking quantity of visible oomph for not that a lot cash. The seats are supportive with out being tight, and heated suede or fabric all the time feels higher to me within the winter than chilly leather-based. There’s loads of area for my six-foot Gumby body up entrance, and the shortage of a “sporty” reduce roofline means the again seats aren’t too shabby, both, though legroom is a bit tight.My greatest criticism concerning the inside includes space for storing, or an absence thereof. The 12 cubic-foot trunk is greater than sufficient for one or two folks, however it lags behind rivals from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, even when it is solely by a bit. The inside’s stowage choices are restricted, too; my tall-but-not-wide thermos has bother becoming within the small cup holders with out smacking dashboard controls, and the door pockets aren’t vast sufficient to deal with it, both. The armrest folds as much as reveal a small tray that is good for little greater than a masks and a cellphone, with the wi-fi charger taking on most of that area.The A4’s cabin is proof that easy interiors do not must be boring, essentially.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    If the inside is sweet, the 2021 Audi A4’s cabin tech makes it nice. All trims come commonplace with a 10.1-inch touchscreen working the most recent single-screen iteration of Audi’s MMI infotainment system, which incorporates wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I had excessive reward for the dual-screen model of this getup when it first debuted, and the pared-back model right here does not scrimp on options, responsiveness or aesthetics. It boots up rapidly, and it takes little or no time to get used to. My Prestige-trim tester additionally sports activities USB ports for the rear seats, along with the 2 up entrance. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the gauge cluster with a 12.3-inch display, arrives within the midtrim Premium Plus mannequin, and as all the time, it reduces distraction by providing up navigation, audio and different data just under my ordinary eye degree.Audi made positive to load up the A4 with loads of its newest and biggest security programs, too. Standard package contains forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, whereas transferring as much as the Prestige trim throws most fashionable conveniences into the fray, corresponding to adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help, a chicken’s-eye digicam and parking sensors. While it is lots straightforward to maintain this compact sedan between the traces, whether or not on the freeway or in your native CVS car parking zone, a bit additional piece of thoughts goes a good distance. Props to Audi for having a formidable decision on its backup digicam, in addition.Audi’s Google Earth overlay is all the time enjoyable to get misplaced in. Just, you understand, not when you’re driving.
    Andrew Krok/Roadshow
    The 2021 Audi A4 begins out fairly inexpensive, with a base value of $40,145, which is not dangerous contemplating all that commonplace tech and now-standard all-wheel drive. However, piling on the choices could make the window sticker foolish in a rush. In range-topping Prestige trim with just a few additional add-ons, my analysis mannequin has lifted its out-the-door value to $53,840, which is a few grand away from the worth of a base-model A6. But with two engine choices and three trims, there’s certain to be a center floor that ought to go well with most consumers.Keeping up with the Joneses just isn’t straightforward within the compact-luxury-sedan phase, however the 2021 A4 is doing an incredible job of it. The BMW 3 Series was lately refreshed, and it strikes a correct steadiness between tender and sporty, however I discover the company inside uninspired and missing the standard and refinement of the A4. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a rattling positive luxurious automobile, however its present iteration feels a bit behind the instances; nonetheless, that will not be an issue within the close to future as an all-new technology is slated to debut for the 2022 mannequin yr. The 2021 Audi A4 is in the appropriate place on the proper time with the appropriate tools, leading to a small luxurious sedan that does not skip out on the essential stuff.

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