By Keith Buglewicz
KBB Expert Rating: 8.9
As the newest version of its most popular sedan, there's a lot riding on the new 2017 Audi A4. Good thing Audi nailed it. The new Audi A4 is packed full of cutting-edge and class-exclusive technology, like a customizable instrument display that shows not just gauges, but Google maps and directions. The new adaptive cruise control is integrated with GPS so it automatically slows the car as you approach a turn. But even without the electronic wizardry, the new Audi A4 would be a worthy competitor against the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS and other competitors. The powerful engine, available all-wheel drive and sharp driving dynamics make this car fun no matter what.
Audi A4 fans are going to love it, that's for certain. But if you're looking for a luxury sedan that's great to drive, offers class-leading technology, looks great and is even a bargain in its market segment, you'll be hard-pressed to do better than the 2017 Audi A4.
The high-tech gauges may not be for everyone, and they're standard on top-line Prestige models. Additionally, while bigger than the Cadillac ATS, the Audi A4's rear seat is on the small side compared to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
KBB Expert Ratings
The 2017 Audi A4 is all-new, with sharpened styling, high-tech options, a more powerful engine, and a ton of other innovations that make it a contender for best-in-class, and maybe the outright title holder.
Even if you strip away all the high-tech digital gauges, amazing adaptive cruise control and adjustable shocks that you get on top-end 2017 A4 models, the new A4 is still...
... outstanding to drive. The steering feels sharp and precise, and the suspension strikes an excellent compromise between a comfortable on-road ride and good handling. The newly revised 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder puts out 252 horsepower, enough to scoot the A4 to 60 mph in about 5.7 seconds, easily clicking off shifts from the dual-clutch 7-speed automatic transmission. Prestige models up the ante with several new technologies, such as adjustable dampers that stiffen when the Drive Mode Select is in Dynamic mode. The adaptive cruise control is a wonder, integrating the GPS and mapping to anticipate and slow down for turns. Around town it's comfortable and quiet, with Comfort mode returning a smooth ride, relaxed throttle response and lighter steering.
Nobody has taken LCD gauges as far as Audi. The Google maps -- complete with satellite view -- take over the entire display once you minimize the gauges. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; suffice it to say it makes the A4 feel like a spaceship.
ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL
The 2017 Audi A4’s adaptive cruise control is terrific. Yes, it slows itself in traffic to a complete stop, but it goes even further. Using GPS and navigation, it knows when a turn is coming up, and automatically slows to a safe speed. It also slows for off-ramps when using route guidance.
While the big news is the virtual cockpit, there's more to the 2017 A4 interior than the tech. MMI gets a big improvement, using a touch pad to make entering addresses a breeze. The dash is simpler as well, with the new MMI screen moved to the top as we've seen in other recent Audi models. The basics are spot-on, too, with comfortable seats, easy-to-use main controls and first-rate materials. The smallish rear seat, lack of a soft spot for the driver's right knee to rest, and a sometimes busy virtual cockpit display are the only real downsides.
At first glance there's not much new, but upon closer inspection, nothing was left unchanged. The car is a little wider and longer, but with more angular lines around the grille, headlights, and details. Take the character line that runs along the side of the car, for example. On the old one it petered out weakly as it approached the taillight. Now it boldly cuts through to the trunk on one end, while in front, the hood itself makes up the upper portion of the line. The proportions are spot-on, and the car just looks right from any angle.
Of course the 2017 Audi A4 comes nicely equipped. Standard issue on even the base model Premium includes 3-zone automatic climate control, leather seating and a power sunroof. The MMI infotainment display is mounted high on the dash, with the rotary controller in front of the shifter. All Audi A4 models also come with keyless ignition, HID headlights with cool LED accents, a rearview camera, and LED taillights above dual exhausts. Other standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, paddle shifters for the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, automatic start/stop to help conserve fuel at stoplights, and Audi's Drive Select adjustable drive modes.
We've talked the virtual cockpit to death, but it's standard on the Prestige Plus and Premium models, and available on the base model. Also available is a 7-inch infotainment screen, or an 8.2-inch version with navigation and the whole enchilada. A sport suspension option lowers ride height about an inch and gives the A4 more bite in corners, and an available adaptive-damping suspension lowers the car about half an inch and adds different shock-absorber stiffness for Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. On Prestige Plus and Premium models you get 18-inch wheels and available summer tires.
There's only one engine available for the 2017 Audi A4, and it's a gem. With 2.0 liters of displacement, it puts out 252 turbocharged horsepower, routing it through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission that can be operated in normal "D," in sportier "S," or manually through the standard steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, and will get you to 60 mph in about 6.1 seconds. However, most Audi A4 models will be purchased with the company's excellent quattro all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which not only provides superior handling and wet-weather grip, but also accelerates the A4 from a standstill to 60 mph in about 5.7 seconds.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
252 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/33 mpg (FWD), 24/31 mpg (AWD)
The base model 2017 Audi A4 Prestige gets a price bump from last year, but also gets more standard equipment. Still, with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $38,300, it's on the lower end of the price spectrum for its class, especially considering standard leather upholstery. That's for front-wheel drive; if you want quattro, add about $2,100, which applies across the A4 lineup. On the other end of the spectrum, a quattro-equipped A4 Prestige will run you about $49,000, and if you start choosing options on your build-to-own page, you'll escalate that up to the mid-$50,000 range. That's not bad, and easily competitive with models like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS and Lexus IS. Historically, resale values have generally trailed the Benz, BMW and Lexus. To find out what people in your area are paying, check out the KBB Fair Purchase Price.