IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:

The A4 delivers exquisite yet understated looks inside and out, and a refined, athletic driving experience that lives up to the styling. A generous list of standard equipment and competitive prices sweeten the deal.

BUT…

The model lineup isn’t as broad or customizable as some class competitors, and the infotainment system can be tedious to use.

WORTH NOTING:

A high-performance S4 model powered by a 354-hp turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 joins the A4 lineup for 2018. An SUV-flavored wagon version of the A4 called Allroad is also available; it sports a raised ride height and rugged-looking body cladding.

WHAT IS IT?

The A4 is Audi’s compact car. It was redesigned last year on a lightweight aluminum-hybrid platform, gaining a bit more interior room and several new technology and safety features in the process. For 2018, the A4 lineup offers quattro all-wheel drive models powered by a 252-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine; quattro models offer the choice of a 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission or a 6-speed manual. An economy-oriented A4 Ultra model uses a more-efficient version of the 2.0 that makes 190 hp and is available solely with front-wheel drive and the 7-speed automated-manual gearbox. Available features include a full-color head-up display system, 19-speaker Bang and Olufson-brand stereo, and a “Virtual Cockpit” all-digital instrument display. Adaptive cruise control with Stop&Go and traffic-jam assist, rear cross-traffic alert, “pre sense city” object and pedestrian detection, and traffic sign recognition are among the available safety and driver-assistance features.

WHAT’S NEW?

Following its redesign for 2017, the A4 sees only minor changes for ’18, aside from the addition of the high-performance S4 model. A couple models get additional features as standard equipment, and a Black Optic Plus Package adds appearance features such as gloss-black 18-inch wheels with red brake calipers, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and other unique trim pieces.

FUEL ECONOMY

The A4 quattro is EPA-rated at 24 mpg city/34 highway with the 7-speed transmission and 24/33 with the 6-speed manual. The fuel-saving Ultra model is rated at 27 city /37 highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, an A4 quattro with the 7-speed averaged 24.2 mpg in 55-percent city driving, and an Allroad wagon—which is powered by the same powertrain—averaged 26.2 mpg in 60-percent highway driving.

VALUE IN CLASS

The subtle, sophisticated Audi A4 is one of the best vehicles in its segment. A classy, finely assembled interior; gutsy turbocharged engine; and cool tech features such as a Google Earth graphic navigation display are among its highlights. Both front- and rear-seat space are quite generous for the class, though big and tall folks might find the door apertures themselves a bit stingy. Also, some of our testers had quibbles about the control-knob MMI infotainment system and the over-boosted power-steering feel. Still, if you’re in the market for a premium compact with a sophisticated European feel, it’s hard to do better than the A4.

BASE PRICE RANGE $36,975 – $50,975
BODY STYLES 4-Door Sedan, 4-Door Wagon
AVAILABLE ENGINES Turbocharged 190/252-HP, 2.0-Liter 4-Cyl.
DRIVE WHEELS Front or All-Wheel Drive
BUILT IN Germany
EPA FUEL-ECONOMY RANGE 24-37 MPG

Other Best Buys in this Class