2018 Audi A4

2018 Audi A4 Review

It might sneak up on you but Audi A4 is as good as compact luxury sedans get.
4.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

The 2018 Audi A4 delivers just about everything we expect from a small luxury sedan. There's quick acceleration, a comfortable ride, and the latest connectivity and navigation technologies. But the fact that it does it without overwhelming you makes it, at least for the time being, the car to get in the segment.

The A4 is a joy to drive, whether you're slicing your way through mountain switchbacks or just tackling your daily commute. On the inside, Audi's understated yet attractive interior design makes operating all of the many high-tech features easy, thanks to the intuitive MMI infotainment system and smartly placed physical buttons for more common functions. To top it off, the A4 also provides plenty of space and comfort for front and rear passengers, accommodating even taller adults in back.

Trust us, you'll want this car on your short list.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Audi A4 as one of Edmunds' Best AWD Sedans for this year.



what's new

A new Black Optic Plus package is available, which includes 18-inch wheels, red brake calipers and interior stitching, gloss black interior and exterior body pieces, as well as a flat-bottom steering wheel. Audi has also added more of the A4's features as standard equipment this year.

we recommend

The midrange A4 Premium Plus trim builds on the already generous features list of the base Premium model, and its price is still pretty reasonable. This is the A4 version we'd want. You can get the Premium Plus with Audi's all-digital gauge cluster display in the Tech package and a Sport package with sportier suspension settings and front seats with larger bolsters. You might as well get all-wheel drive because it enhances the car's performance and gives you added traction in bad weather.




trim levels & features

The 2017 Audi A4 is a small luxury sedan available in three main trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. A more fuel-efficient A4 Ultra subtrim is also available in conjunction with the Premium and Premium Plus trims. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque). The A4 Ultra's engine is less powerful (190 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque) but gets better fuel economy.

Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive (called Quattro in Audi lingo) optional. A seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission comes with all A4s. A six-speed manual transmission is also available but only on all-wheel-drive A4s. The Ultra is offered only with front-wheel drive. Unless you really want maximum fuel economy, we'd suggest sticking with the regular A4 engine instead of the Ultra. You'll feel the power difference.

Standard feature highlights for the A4 Premium include 17-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, a forward collision mitigation system, adjustable drive settings (Audi's Drive Select), a sunroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated power front seats, tri-zone climate control and folding rear seatbacks. Standard technology features include a rearview camera, Audi's MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch central display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and a 10-speaker audio system with two USB ports.

The optional Convenience package adds auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, driver-seat memory settings and satellite radio.

Our favorite is the next step up, the Premium Plus. You get the Convenience package features as standard, along with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, sporty (S line) exterior styling flourishes, front and rear parking sensors, and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system. Audi's blind-spot and rear-facing crash mitigation system, Side Assist and Pre Sense Rear, is also standard.

The main option for the Premium Plus is the Navigation and Telematics package. This gets you with Audi Connect online services (includes a 4G LTE connection and Wi-Fi), a digital instrument cluster (Virtual Cockpit) and an upgraded version of MMI with an enhanced 8.3-inch display, navigation, voice controls and fingertip-scrawl recognition.

Finally, there's the top-of-the-line A4 Prestige. It comes with all of the above as standard plus a head-up display, additional interior ambient lighting, a top-down parking camera system, lane departure warning and intervention, and upgraded interior trim.

Notable options packages include the Sport, Sport Plus, Cold Weather and Warm Weather packages.



trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Test of the 2017 Audi A4 2.0T Prestige Quattro Sedan (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current A4 has received only minor feature revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's model.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.5 / 5.0

Driving

4.5 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking5.0 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling4.5 / 5.0
Drivability3.5 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0

Interior

4.5 / 5.0

Ease of use4.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.5 / 5.0
Roominess5.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.5 / 5.0
Quality5.0 / 5.0

Utility

4.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage4.0 / 5.0
Cargo space4.0 / 5.0

Technology

4.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation4.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration4.5 / 5.0
Voice control4.0 / 5.0

Driving

edmunds rating
The Audi A4 Prestige's smooth and powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces excellent acceleration. Strong brakes and sharp handling also help make the A4 enjoyable to drive. But the A4's steering limits driver engagement.

Acceleration

edmunds rating
This is an impressively quick and smooth car. The A4's engine is quieter than other turbo four-cylinder engines, too. A zero-to-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds is a full second quicker than previous-generation A4s and matches the BMW 328i for the quickest-in-class base engine.

Braking

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The moderately firm pedal feel and travel length offer easy modulation in all instances. In our panic-stop test, the A4 stopped from 60 mph in a very impressive 99 feet. Sticky, zero-cost optional summer tires clearly had a lot to do with that, but it's still a remarkable result.

Steering

edmunds rating
Steering is the A4's dynamic weak point. There is a numbness to it regardless of the three available settings (Comfort, Auto and Dynamic), and it does not engage the driver as well as the best competitors do. It's linear and well-weighted, but feedback is lacking.

Handling

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The A4 might not engage with the driver quite like a Cadillac ATS, but there is no denying its impressive traction (thanks to the optional all-wheel drive and sticky summer tires), flat cornering and stability in emergency situations.

Drivability

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There's some initial delay from the automatic transmission as soon as you step on the gas, and that may irritate some drivers in traffic. The engine stop-start system is also noticeable and can further delay acceleration.

Comfort

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Like many sedans in the class, the A4 has a bias toward sport over luxury. The seats and ride are on the firm side, but they also encourage support and control, respectively. It's also quieter than before, with the engine emitting less of an uncouth growl as its predecessor and many rival engines.

Seat comfort

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The optional sport seats are our favorite for the adjustable thigh support, but the standard seats are praiseworthy in their own right. Both are firmly padded and well shaped for hours of comfortable touring.

Ride comfort

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The standard suspension is firm with controlled body motions and no impact harshness — typical of German sedans. The optional adaptive suspension is overly stiff in Dynamic mode, and the modest gains in handling don't justify the cost.

Noise & vibration

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The new engine is smoother and quieter than the one in the previous generation A4, as well as the engines of many rivals. The interior is as quiet as those of competing sedans, with a somewhat elevated tire noise due to our test car's optional summer tires.

Interior

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The stylish, functional and well-built cabin puts an emphasis on technology. The optional Virtual Cockpit instrument cluster gets most of the attention, re-creating analog gauges while also displaying navigation and entertainment information.

Ease of use

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Audi's elegantly simple design translates to an easy-to-use cockpit with logically placed controls. The virtual gauge cluster takes some getting used to, but it becomes second nature in no time.

Getting in/getting out

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The doors are large, and the roof is not aggressively raked, reducing the chances of bonking your head. Likewise, the front seats' side bolsters aren't prominent enough to impede access.

Roominess

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Long gone are the days when the A4 was a compact car. Take a seat inside and you might think you're in a midsize sedan, with sufficient legroom for four amply sized adults aboard. And even 6-footers will find enough headroom in back.

Visibility

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Visibility is good all around thanks to narrow roof pillars, augmented by the standard rearview camera and collision warning system. Besides looking cool, the Virtual Cockpit instruments and head-up display also help keep the driver's eyes on the road.

Quality

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Audi keeps setting new quality benchmarks for cabin materials and construction. The Mercedes C-Class might appear more luxurious, but a closer look gives the A4's better-made cabin an advantage.

Utility

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In terms of size, the A4's cargo and storage are typical for the class, but the A4 gets additional consideration for the 40/20/40-split folding rear seats that allow for greater flexibility when transporting passengers and larger objects.

Small-item storage

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The A4 has plenty of storage for your personal items.

Cargo space

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Cargo capacity is about average for the class at 13 cubic feet. The trunk's opening is sufficiently wide, and cutouts on each side provide extra width for golf clubs or netted storage areas.

Technology

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The revised MMI controller is now better positioned for drivers of varying size. There's a bit of a learning curve to the MMI system, but with some familiarization, it becomes easier to operate. On the bright side, the adaptive cruise control is one of the more refined systems out there.

Audio & navigation

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The high-mounted infotainment screen and redundant instrument panel display keep your eyes up, reducing distraction. Sharp-looking graphics and legible text make the system even more user-friendly.

Smartphone integration

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Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all A4s, giving users a familiar interface and the ability to receive and send texts with minimal distraction.

Voice control

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Voice recognition is accurate, and in many cases it can be operated using plain English.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.