Kelley Blue Book Best Buys of 2017: Luxury Car
When Value is a Luxury
Value and luxury aren’t mutually exclusive concepts, but it’s true that some luxury-car shoppers are driven largely by the desire to spend more money than their friends and neighbors in an effort to display wealth and success. Today, however, luxury cars are available in a wider range of prices than ever. As a result, smart shoppers can enjoy the trappings of an upscale automobile that also delivers bang for the buck. They’ll find both in the 2017 Audi A4.
For a car that was completely redesigned for 2017, the changes are hard to pick up at first glance. But then again, that’s one of the strong suits of the Audi brand. The German automaker’s offerings are clean and contemporary in execution, evolving from generation to generation so that they keep up with the times with a continuity that allows them to age gracefully. This timeless approach to design is also one of the keys to why Audi vehicles tend to hold their value well.
This latest generation of the Audi A4 is based on VW Group’s compact MQB architecture and measures a little wider and longer than the previous model. That extra room provides a more relaxed cabin not as closely coupled as the old A4’s. In keeping with the exterior's contemporary design, the interior relies on the cool touch of metal trim bits instead of more traditional wood. There’s an abundance of soft touch materials on the dash and door surfaces, however, complementing comfortable leather seats.
But it’s the new A4’s even stronger sense of technology -- most notably a configurable dash that links the center touchscreen with a large instrument display in front of the driver, a setup Audi calls “virtual cockpit” -- that really cements the experience as something special.
Audi has been one of the leaders in making the interface between the driver and the increasing amount of on-board technologies easier and more intuitive. In addition to its quadrant approach to major control areas, Audi’s Multi-Media Interface (MMI) system adds a touch pad to further enhance operation, making it easier to enter addresses or page through various screens. And if the MMI isn’t your thing, there are plenty of redundant conventional controls that allow you to perform a variety tasks with the intuitive flip of a switch or turn of a knob.
The virtual cockpit allows you to display Google maps on the center display, but also in the panel directly in front of the driver. There are also a number of different options for how you display traditional analog gauges and digital information. The choices seem almost endless.
While it’s based on compact car architecture, the A4’s comfortable front bucket seats and relatively low cowl height provide good outward vision. The rear seat accommodates two comfortably, three in a pinch. There’s a fold-down center armrest and tri-zone heating and air conditioning that give the rear seat passenger control over their immediate environment. There’s also plenty of attention to detail, like the way the roomy trunk is finished with carpeted closeouts and trimmed out hinges that add to the A4’s upscale aura. That cargo area is also easily accessed through the large rear decklid with low a liftover height.
Driven to Please
The 2017 Audi A4 blends ride comfort with the road manners expected from a German sports sedan. Power comes from a 252-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Equipped with stop/start technology, the engine delivers 24 mpg city/31 highway for a combined EPA rating of 27 mpg. Output is delivered to the front and rear axles through Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system. The A4 relies on a drive-by-wire system, which means there’s no direct mechanical connection between the gas pedal and throttle. As a result, the accelerator tip-in is very precise, a feeling that may seem touchy to some or spirited to others, depending on tastes.
The Drive Mode Select system allows you to tailor the response of the throttle, suspension stiffness, transmission shifts and steering feel. Comfort mode provides the best blend of ease of operation in city driving. Get the A4 out on the open road and the Dynamic mode brings out the sport sedan soul of this 4-door. The 7-speed transmission can be manually shifted via paddles on the steering wheel or in the manual fore-aft mode on the console mounted shift lever. Even in full automatic mode, the gears change with smooth authority. The steering is precise, well-controlled with great feedback—there’s absolutely no vagueness in on-center feel.
Priced to Please, as Well
Base MSRP on the 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0T Quattro S Tronic actually begins just under the big 4-0 at $39,400 for a model equipped with the 17-inch alloy wheels, Quattro all-wheel drive, power sunroof, leather seating surfaces, 6-way power heated seats, keyless start and a rear-view camera. Our test model had full LED lighting, 18-inch wheels, a Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound system, 8-way power seats, a parking system with around view camera and other options as part of an $8,600 Prestige package. An additional $1,450 brings the driver assist package that includes active lane assist, automatic high beams, traffic sign recognition and a trick GPS-based adaptive cruise system that anticipates and slows for turns. Add in the adaptive suspension for $1,000, $1,450 for a warm weather package that boasts ventilated seats and rear window shades plus a $500 cold weather package that has a heated steering wheel and rear seats, and our out the door price was $54,275 excluding delivery.
The Audi A4, thanks to its timeless design and high content levels for its pricing, does well in our Kelley Blue Book 5-Year Cost to Own measurements. Excellent resale value is also a big part of the story, with the A4 predicted to retain as much as 46 percent of its value after three years, which is also at the top of its category. The Audi A4 isn’t perhaps as ostentatious as some would expect a luxury car to be, but what it lacks in flash it more than makes up in being a smart buy.
More 2017 Audi A4
For a full report on this class leading luxury car, read our 2017 Audi A4 expert review. You can also build and price your own to find its Fair Purchase Price, 5-Year Cost to Own and more. Find out more in our Compact Luxury Sedan Buyer’s Guide.
KBB Video: 2017 Audi A4
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