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2017 AUDI A4 2.0T QUATTRO S TRONIC - Review By Steve Purdy

2017 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Manual Prestige quattro AWD(select to view enlarged photo)

2017 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Auto Premium quattro AWD Review

By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

Among the all-new small sedans on the market the 2017 Audi A4 might be the most changed and least changed. It is on an all-new platform – lighter, incrementally larger, more rigid and more technologically advanced – but you would have to look closely to see the difference between the old and new versions of the car. Many of its improvements and updates are sub-dermal.

Visually, just a few subtle changes to the exterior styling will be discernable by those paying close attention. A slightly wider one-piece grille shows crisper corners and a revised front lighting bezel has standard xenon headlights and LED DRLs. Those details combine with larger wheel arches and a more distinctive shoulder line wrapping around the whole body for an incrementally more pronounced stance. Unless you are unusually familiar with the A4 these will not grab your attentions.

Ditto inside: unless you know the car you’ll not notice the differences. Leather seating and trim are standard as is the three-zone automatic climate control and power sunroof. Horizontal design details and a couple inches extra shoulder and headroom make it feel more roomy though being a small sedan it is a bit cramped in there. Rear seat passengers will appreciate slightly more leg room and the optional heated rear seats. Materials, fit and finish are entirely up to our expectations for a premium German brand. And, it has beautiful ambient lighting at night.

The full-color head-up display provides relevant info directly in the driver’s line of vision. This feature goes back many years but this is one of the better applications we’ve encountered. The steering wheel controls for a variety of functions work better than most with a couple of little scrolling wheels to help with selections. Over all, the intuitive qualities of the Audi’s controls are better than most including the handy control knob just forward of the shifter that rotates through functions on the well-designed, 7-inch multifunction screen mounted high on the center of the dash.

Rear seatbacks retract and reseat with one hand leaving a nearly unobstructed flow to the generous (for a compact sedan) trunk holding 13 cubic-feet of stuff.

Both inside and outside we can appreciate Audi’s understated and modestly elegant design, a hallmark of the company’s design language, at least for their mainstream products. As you get into the larger and sportier Audi models style and design get increasingly dramatic but the small sedans and CUVs remain attractive but not eye-catching.

Under the hood we have one of the most charming powertrains available – a direct injected 2.0-liter turbo with power now up to 252 horsepower and a thrilling 273 pound-feet of torque mated to a new 7-speed, dual-clutch automatic (some call it an “automated manual”) transmission. This is the only powertrain offered in the A4. Other than a hint of turbo lag this engine is flawless and is good for a 0-to-60 mph of an impressive 5.7 seconds when combined with Audi’s universally respected Quattro full-time all-wheel drive system. With front wheel drive that measure of acceleration is still a good 6.1 seconds. We have both paddle shifters and a manual mode on the t-style electric shifter on the console. With the dual clutch design that trans shifts quicker than a flash particularly when you’re using the paddles or the manual mode to do it yourself.

The EPA says we can expect around 24 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway and 27 mpg combined with this 3,600-pound car with a coefficient of drag of just 0.27, a racecar-like number. Audi recommends premium fuel because of a high compression ratio and the turbo. We managed 30 mpg on a long (six hour) freeway-mostly road trip and our combined mileage in regular use was around 26 mpg.

It is fair to say that overall handling and performance rates well above average for compact sedans and as good as anything in its premium compact sedan class. The firm, well-bolstered sporty seats hold us solidly in place as we drive as spiritedly as we like. Cornering stability, steering feedback, road-holding, straight-line acceleration, ride quality – all are first rate and just what we expect from a high-end German small car.

Audi’s new car warranty covers the whole car, including the powertrain, for 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The basic Audi A4 starts at just under 35 grand and our Quattro S-tronic shows a base price of $39,400. This one has lots of extras like the $8,600 Prestige Package that includes 18-inch wheels, Bang & Olufson premium sound system, S-Line trim, and a lot of other stuff. Other options on our test cars are the Driver Assistance Package, adaptive suspension, Cold and Warm Weather Packages and premium paint. The bottom line on our sticker shows $54,275.

This A4 is a great small sedan for someone who does not want to call attention to him/her self and someone who appreciates this understated, premium German design that includes the most advanced technology and great driving dynamics.

Pricing fits well with the competition considering heritage, content and quality.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

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