2012 Audi A4 Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • High-quality cabin
  • great fuel economy
  • sporty handling
  • available wagon body style.
  • Unintuitive standard control layout
  • wagon has limited cargo capacity.
List Price Range
$8,950 - $12,900

Used A4 for Sale
Select your model:
See all for sale

Get More For Your Trade-In

Get More For Your Trade-In

Edmunds shoppers get on average $235 more for their trade-in.
Receive offers from our dealer partners fast.
See your car's value

Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2012 Audi A4 delivers refinement in both appearance and road manners. So, too, does the A4 Avant wagon, along with a healthy dose of utility.

Vehicle overview

While we'll rarely (if ever) turn down an abundance of horsepower and torque, we also appreciate a car that hits that elusive sweet spot of power and efficiency. Among entry-level luxury sedans, the 2012 Audi A4 is one such car.

Atypically for the entry-level luxury class, the A4 comes with only one engine choice: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. This might seem like an odd choice given every other competing model has a six-cylinder, but the reality is that the A4 gains a lot more than it loses by this choice. In fact, the A4 manages to meet and even beat its base-model competitors when it comes to acceleration and fuel economy. Agile handling also contributes to the A4's balanced nature, with a favorable blend of sport and comfort.

The A4's real strength lies in its high-quality cabin. Audi makes use of best-in-class materials and a restrained design aesthetic to create a sumptuously modern interior. Naturally a range of upscale features is either standard or optional, including navigation, a premium sound system and Audi's MMI electronics interface (although MMI without navigation can be unintuitive to use). Cargo space is about average for the segment, but for those who need more utility, there's the handsome A4 Avant wagon.

In total, it's easy to see why we consider the 2012 Audi A4 to be a top choice among entry-level luxury sedans. But it has some stout competition to overcome -- each with its own set of advantages. The BMW 3 Series offers a higher level of driver engagement, though not as much as it once did. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class emphasizes luxury and impeccable build quality, while the Infiniti G sedan offers more power for less money. But if you're looking for an artful blend of all of the above, we'd suggest giving the Audi A4 some serious consideration.

2012 Audi A4 models

The 2012 Audi A4 is available in sedan and wagon (Avant) body styles. Both come in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. The high-performance S4 model is covered in a separate review.

The Premium trim comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof (panoramic on Avant), automatic headlights, automatic wipers, cruise control, foglamps, automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, leather upholstery, a dash-mounted Audi Multi Media Interface (MMI) and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack and satellite radio. The Avant also adds split-folding rear seats. An optional Convenience package adds Bluetooth and an iPod interface, while the Style package includes bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, self-leveling headlights and bright metal exterior trim.

All of the above features are included in the Premium Plus trim, along with 18-inch wheels, sporty S line bodywork, three-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, driver memory functions, split-folding rear seats, auto-dimming mirrors and an enhanced trip computer. The MMI Navigation Plus package adds a navigation system with real-time traffic, digital music storage, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, voice controls, HD radio, a color trip computer screen and MMI controls located on the center console.

The A4 Prestige comes standard with adaptive headlights, a power liftgate (on Avant models), keyless ignition/entry, a blind-spot warning system, the Navigation package and a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system (optional on Premium Plus). Options unique to the Prestige include the S line package (19-inch wheels, summer tires, faux-suede seat inserts and special exterior and interior trim), the Drive Select package (which provides adjustable settings for the steering and transmission), adaptive cruise control, a power rear sunshade and manual rear side sunshades.

The Sport package (also offered on the Premium Plus) includes a sport-tuned suspension, a three-spoke steering wheel, more aggressively bolstered seats and automatic transmission shift paddles. Optional rear side airbags are available on Premium Plus and Prestige trims only, but any A4 is eligible for wood interior trim.

2012 Highlights

The Audi A4 returns with minimal changes for 2012 that are limited to a few previously optional features becoming standard along with revisions to the options packages.

Performance & mpg

Powering every 2012 Audi A4 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 211 horsepower and an ample 258 pound-feet of torque. The sedan's Premium and Premium Plus trim levels come standard as the 2.0T FrontTrak Multitronic, indicating it has front-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). All trims can be had as the 2.0T Quattro, denoting all-wheel drive and either a standard six-speed manual or optional eight-speed automatic transmission. The Avant is available only with Quattro and the automatic.

The A4's acceleration is as brisk as other entry-level luxury sedans, returning 0-60-mph times of 6.2 seconds with a manual transmission. The Multitronic CVTs are a bit slower, at 7.2 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2.0T FrontTrak is 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined -- very frugal for a luxury sedan. The 2.0T Quattro achieves a still-impressive estimated 21/29/24 with the automatic and 21/31/25 with the manual.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2012 Audi A4 include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. Rear-seat side airbags are optional on the Premium Plus and Prestige, while a blind-spot warning system is optional on the Prestige. Also available is an "Active Braking Guard" feature that's part of the adaptive cruise control optional on the Prestige. If an imminent collision is detected, the system alerts the driver and primes the brakes for full stopping power.

In government crash tests, the A4 earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and five stars for side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the A4 its highest rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side impact crash testing, as well as roof strength tests, and that was without the optional rear-seat airbags.

In Edmunds brake testing, an A4 Avant with the Sport package came to a stop from 60 mph in an astoundingly short 103 feet -- about the same as a Porsche 911. Without the Sport package, an A4 Quattro sedan stopped in an average but still acceptable 123 feet.

Driving

The 2012 Audi A4's handling is neutral and secure, even more so when the car is equipped with all-wheel drive. Drivers with a penchant for performance will likely find the added athleticism of the Sport package to their liking, though ride quality suffers (especially if it's combined with the 19-inch wheels).

The turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides class-competitive acceleration, but it lacks the refinement of a six-cylinder, transmitting some off-putting vibrations through the steering wheel.

Also of note is the optional Audi Drive Select system, which allows the driver to choose among three modes for steering effort and transmission responsiveness -- or enjoy custom settings via a fourth "Individual" mode. It's an interesting but pricey idea, and in testing we've noted it creates more drawbacks than solutions. Most shoppers should find the A4's standard suspension, steering and transmission calibrations perfectly adequate.

Interior

Among entry-level luxury sedans, the 2012 Audi A4's cabin is regarded as one of the best in its class. The interior's austere design lends an air of adult seriousness, while the top-notch materials send a message of sophisticated refinement. The use of real leather as standard equipment also gives the Audi an advantage over its competitors from BMW and Mercedes, which use vinyl leatherette.

Most MMI infotainment functions are conveniently situated around the shift lever on models equipped with the navigation system, but cars without navigation have MMI on the dash, which is far less convenient and user-friendly. Navigation-equipped cars also get the newer, improved version of MMI. The A4's other controls are generally intuitive and well laid out, though accessing certain features can be an exercise in frustration. Adjusting something as simple as the fan speed, for example, is a two-step process.

The sedan's 12-cubic-foot trunk is average in size, so it's worth considering the Avant, as it offers 17.3 cubic feet. Fold the Avant's seatbacks down and you've got 51 cubic feet: a useful amount, though it is below average for a wagon because of the Audi's raked rear window.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Audi A4.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Manufacturer defect and no support for 2012 A4
hsutton,06/11/2018
2.0T Premium quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
Audi recently settled a big lawsuit for owners of 2009-2011 A4's that had oil consumption problems. The 2012's were not included in that lawsuit, and now that our car is out of warranty we are out of luck for getting their assistance with repair costs. It was first taken in for oil consumption problems when it was only 3 years old, and we paid for that service. Now that it is 2-3 years later the problem has returned and we are looking at either a $6,000 repair for pistons/rings or a $12-$15k replacement engine. We've paid off this vehicle, but it did not have an extended warranty. We use it for work and do a lot of highway miles, so it does have more than 100k miles. We've also had oil changes done at places other than an Audi dealership. All of those things worked against us. We have spent so much time and money on this issue, and on the care overall, that I would not recommend a 2012 A4 to anyone looking to purchase a used vehicle.
This car burns oil
eric141,08/17/2012
"My car has been burning 1 quart of oil every 2500 miles. The dealer "fixed" it, but it still burns 1 quart every 3000 miles. Both the dealer and Audi told me that 1 quart every 1200 mile is within specs."
Struck the (almost) perfect balance
dayowl87,05/13/2013
I got this car as a stylish daily commuter that would also serve my need for winter drives to Tahoe and dinner with clients. Since I drive 90 miles round trip each day I wanted a car that was comfortable, fuel-efficient and stylish. I'm very pleased with the overall interior and exterior design which after looking at the usual suspects I think are clearly best in class. The car has also exceeded my expectations for gas mileage as I've been experiencing low to mid-thirties on the highway. I've been impressed with the important creature comforts during my drives including the seats, adjustable armrest and climate control.
A4 Disappointment
a4avantguard,03/12/2012
at approximately 1000 miles on the odometer of my 2012 Audi A4 Avant Quattro, a strange noise began from the front area of the engine. The noise happens at the first startup of the engine regardless of ambient temperature. After about 2 minutes when the engine idles down the noise stops. Different Audi technicians at two dealerships have diagnosed the noise as 1) cam tensioners, 2) a bad bearing inside the cam case, 3) secondary blower motor and, 4) lash in the VVT system. None of the technicians have put a wrench on any of the named components because, according to the dealerships' service managers, Audi USA will not authorize repairs. According to Audi USA, the strange noise is a normal fu

Features & Specs

MPG
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
8-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
211 hp @ 4300 rpm
MPG
22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
Continuously variable-speed automatic
Gas
211 hp @ 4300 rpm
MPG
21 city / 31 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
211 hp @ 4300 rpm
See all Used 2012 Audi A4 features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2012 Audi A4

Used 2012 Audi A4 Overview

The Used 2012 Audi A4 is offered in the following submodels: A4 Sedan, A4 Wagon. Available styles include 2.0T Premium quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A), 2.0T Premium 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo CVT), 2.0T Premium quattro 4dr Sedan AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and 2.0T Avant Premium quattro 4dr Wagon AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Audi A4?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Audi A4 trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Audi A4 2.0T Premium quattro is priced between $8,950 and$12,900 with odometer readings between 59429 and106582 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Audi A4s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Audi A4 for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2012 A4s listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,950 and mileage as low as 59429 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Audi A4.

Can't find a used 2012 Audi A4s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Audi A4 for sale - 8 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $13,155.

Find a used Audi for sale - 8 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $21,933.

Find a used certified pre-owned Audi A4 for sale - 5 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $24,583.

Find a used certified pre-owned Audi for sale - 8 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $23,920.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Audi A4?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Audi lease specials
Check out Audi A4 lease specials