By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 9/25/2012
Four years after its last major redesign, the Audi A4 gets a mild freshening for 2013. And that's plenty to keep it competitive in the tough entry-luxury sports-sedan class. With tasteful styling inside and out, efficient and powerful engines and generous interior space, the A4 Sedan and its high-sport cousin, the S4, offer buyers refinement, comfort and performance at a realistic price. The A4 comes in three trim levels – Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige – with three driveline choices: CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) with front-wheel drive (FWD), 6-speed manual with quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) and 8-speed Tiptronic automatic with quattro. Though the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Cadillac CTS and Infiniti G37 have steadily improved, the Audi A4 more than holds its own.
Fuel efficiency, excellent styling and a well-crafted interior are hallmarks of the 2013 Audi A4 line. Buyers searching for an attractive sports sedan with appropriate levels of standard equipment and a host of available technology will find it in the A4.
As is normal for German luxury vehicles, equipping the A4 with the full range of available options can quickly drive up the price to dizzying heights. If you need a top-of-the-line model, this one will cost you dearly.What's New for 2013
The 2013 Audi A4 gets a new hood and headlights, and inside, there's a new instrument cluster with simplified layout for the Multi Media Interface (MMI) electronics control. Electric power steering replaces the previous hydraulic boost. The A4 Avant wagon goes away with the arrival of the new Allroad.Driving It Driving Impressions
The 2013 Audi A4 prioritizes precision over outright comfort on the road, though you won't hear us complain. The suspension finds a pleasing middle ground between the ride philosophies of Mercedes-Benz (typically a bit soft) and BMW (more stiff). Thus, the A4 is slightly sharper-handling than a C-Class if not quite as crisp as a 3 Series. The new-for-2013 electric power steering imparts notably better road feel than we usually find in such systems. With its responsive 211-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the A4 has more than enough horsepower and readily available torque. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) with front drive works okay, but doesn't feel nearly as competent as either the 6-speed manual or 8-speed Tiptronic (both with quattro all-wheel drive). If you must have more, the performance-focused S4 offers 333 horsepower from a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and a considerably sharper chassis.
In a class dominated by 6-cylinder engines, the 2013 Audi A4 stands apart with a boosted 4-cylinder that delivers smooth and strong thrust as well as satisfying fuel economy.
S LINE PACKAGE
For buyers who want to maximize the 2013 Audi A4's sportiness without climbing into S4 territory, the S line Package includes 19-inch alloy wheels and performance tires, more aggressive suspension tuning, subtle exterior enhancements, upgraded upholstery, genuine brushed-aluminum trim and a racy 3-spoke, flat-bottom steering wheel.
Audi has a reputation for crafting superb interiors, and the 2013 A4 shows why. Design, layout, materials and assembly are all first-rate, and the environment feels both upscale and businesslike. Standard equipment includes a handsome 4-spoke multifunction steering wheel, and a sportier 3-spoke design is optional. The broad range of interior-trim treatments includes aluminum or wood inlays and attractive red LED accent lighting in the headliner to illuminate the center console. Leather seating surfaces are standard and Alcantara inserts available, as are special sport seats with deeper body-hugging bolsters.Exterior
Anyone who has seen an Audi lately will recognize the company's signature oversize single-frame grille and stylized LED accent lighting in the front of the 2013 A4. The body lines are clean and conservative but tastefully detailed, and the design still looks good after four years on the market. A variety of wheel options allows individualizing the appearance. The S4 has more aggressive body treatments befitting its sporting nature.Notable Standard Equipment
The 2013 Audi A4 line is available in three trim levels. Base is called Premium, and there's very little basic about its standard-equipment lineup: 17-inch alloy wheels, power front seats, leather seating surfaces and Sirius satellite radio, as well as numerous other creature comforts. The Premium Plus designation adds Bluetooth connectivity, LED daytime running lights and many other worthwhile features. Finally, the Prestige trim adds navigation and an HD Radio paired with an impressive Bang & Olufsen stereo system.Notable Optional Equipment
The A4 Prestige package offers the further option of the S line group, which includes sport suspension, 19-inch wheels, different front and rear fascias, side skirts, unique doorsills and badging. A4 Prestige models also offer a Driver Assist package, consisting of adaptive cruise control (automatically maintains a distance from a vehicle in front) and adjustment of control dynamics, including steering effort, throttle response and transmission-shift characteristics.Under the Hood
The 2013 Audi A4 is powered by an efficient 2.0-liter, direct-injected, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 211 horsepower and delivers impressive fuel economy. FWD versions of the A4 feature a continuously variable transmission (CVT), while those with Audi's quattro AWD system offer the choice of a 6-speed manual or the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic. Regardless of drivetrain, the A4 continues to be one of the most fuel-efficient luxury-branded sedans on the market, beating both the more powerful Mercedes-Benz C350 and the slower C250. The sportier S4, meanwhile, boasts a powerful 3.0-liter supercharged, direct-injection V6 engine that offers V8 performance and still-impressive fuel economy.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
211 horsepower @ 4,300-6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 mpg (FWD, CVT), 22/32 mpg (AWD, manual), 20/30 mpg (AWD, automatic)
3.0-liter supercharged V6
333 horsepower @ 5,500-7,000 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque 2,900-3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 mpg (automatic), 17/26 mpg (manual)
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2013 Audi A4 starts at $33,395 for a Premium trim with CVT and front drive. That same driveline in Prestige trim just tops $43,000. Move to the 6-speed manual with quattro AWD and prices range from just over $34,000 for the Premium to about $44,000 for the Prestige. The 8-speed Tiptronic automatic with quattro ranges from the Premium's $35,500 to over $45,000 for the Prestige. Load on the two packages available for Prestige (S Line and Driver Assist) and your A4 can close in on $52,000. The hard-charging S4 starts about $48,500 and can easily top $62,000. Be sure to check Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for the A4 in your area. In terms of resale value, the Audi A4 doesn't do as well as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Lexus IS.