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MSRP: $36,000 - 51,400

2018 Audi A4 Review

The 2018 Audi A4 ranks in the top tier of luxury small cars. It delivers commendable performance, a good number of standard features, and top-notch options.

Pros & Cons

 

  • Dynamic road manners
  • Sophisticated, serene cabin
  • Responsive, feature-rich infotainment system
  • Extensive standard and available tech/safety features

 

 

  • Some rivals have more-powerful high-performance editions
  • Steering is somewhat numb

 

New for 2018

 

  • Heated front seats now standard
  • More standard safety features added to uplevel trims
  • High-performance S4 edition added

 

Is the Audi A4 a Good Car?

The Audi A4 is one of the best luxury sports sedans on the market. It stands apart from many rivals in the luxury small car segment, starting with its top-notch cabin. The A4 has standard leather seats, which you won't find in entry-level competitors from BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Its interior design is both refined and modern. The A4’s long list of cutting-edge technology includes an intuitive infotainment system and advanced safety and driver assistance features. We named the A4 a finalist for our 2018 Best Luxury Small Car for the Money award because of the value and quality it brings to the table. 

Should I Buy the Audi A4?

The Audi A4 has wide appeal. Performance enthusiasts looking to spice up their commute should enjoy the A4's corner-carving abilities. If safety, class, and comfort are your top priorities in a daily driver, the A4 is also a good fit. It offers the latest in entertainment and safety technology, along with solid crash test scores and a quiet, upscale interior. The A4's starting price of $36,000 is typical for the class, but you get a lengthier list of standard features than the rest, making it an attractive value.

For as good as the A4 is, there are some long-standing class rivals worthy of your consideration. Both the Cadillac ATS and BMW 3 Series cost less than the A4, and they perform just as well or better. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class costs a little more than the Audi, but it boasts a luxurious interior.

Compare the A4, ATS, and 3 Series »

Should I Buy a New or Used Audi A4?

The A4 was redesigned for the 2017 model year, so finding a used model from the current generation may be challenging. If you can find one, a used 2017 A4 is worth considering, as you'll likely save some serious cash. For 2018, Audi debuted the performance-oriented S4 trim and added heated front seats to the standard features list. Otherwise, these two models are nearly identical.

If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overview of the 2017 A4. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles. 

Compare the 2017 and 2018 A4 »

We Did the Research for You: 29 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 29 Audi A4 reviews – along with safety and reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2018 A4 is the right new car for you.

This Audi A4 overview includes applicable research from the current generation, which includes the 2017 and 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking and reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our editorial team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our car reviews are unbiased, we don't accept expensive gifts or incentives from car companies, and a third party handles our advertising.

How Much Does the Audi A4 Cost?

Prices for the Audi A4 sedan start at $36,000, which is about average for a luxury small car. Depending on the engine and trim level, the MSRP can reach as high as $50,000 (the sticker price for an A4 Prestige with Quattro all-wheel drive). The high-performance S4 comes in two trims: the $51,400 S4 Premium Plus and the $55,800 S4 Prestige. For great savings at your local Audi dealer, check out our U.S. News Best Price Program. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

Audi A4 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series?

The BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 are very close in our rankings, though they excel in different areas. Both are available with robust engines and offer exciting handling, but the BMW proves to be slightly more athletic. The A4's base engine is more satisfying than the 3 Series', but BMW offers a turbodiesel that delivers great fuel economy. In addition to the diesel engine, the high-performance BMW M3 is much more powerful than the comparable Audi S4. Still, for comfort and interior quality, the A4 is the clear choice. 

Which Is Better: Audi A4 or Mercedes-Benz C-Class?

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of the few class rivals that can match the A4's interior refinement. Its front seats are extremely comfortable, and the cabin is awash with high-grade materials. Like the A4, the C-Class has a bunch of optional safety features. Amenities like driver drowsiness monitoring and crosswind assist come standard. Still, the A4 has an easier-to-use infotainment system and a better predicted reliability rating than the C-Class’ bottom-of-the-barrel score.

Which Is Better: Audi A4 or Cadillac ATS?

The Cadillac ATS offers many of the same performance perks as the A4, including engaging handling and muscular engine choices. In most other areas, however, the A4 is the better vehicle. It offers more rear-seat space, which is a boon for taller passengers. Also, Audi's MMI infotainment interface is much more user-friendly than Cadillac's technology.

Compare the A4, 3 Series, and C-Class »

A4 Interior

How Many People Does the A4 Seat?

You can seat five people inside an A4 sedan. Leather seats come standard (a nicety for this price point) and are reasonably comfortable for long stretches. For some, the cushions can feel a little firm on the standard seats, but the optional front sport seats remedy this and add side bolsters for extra comfort. For a small car, the rear seat is spacious, and there's enough room for two adults to easily climb in back and get cozy. Heated front seats are standard, while ventilated front seats and heated rear seats are available.

A4 and Car Seats

Caregivers will appreciate the A4 sedan's easy-to-use LATCH anchors. The hardware is easy to find, and not much elbow grease is needed to clip in child seats. There are tether and lower anchors mounted on the outboard seats and a third tether anchor for the middle seat.

A4 Interior Quality

The interior of the A4 exudes elegance, from its stately design to high-class materials such as supple leathers and wood trimmings. Clues to the A4's sportiness lie in the steering wheel shift paddles and standard aluminum inlays. A whisper-quiet ride, supportive sport seats, crisp graphics on the display screens, and modern styling are all part of this car's first-class interior.

A4 Cargo Space

The Audi A4 has a 13-cubic-foot trunk, which is enough room for a family's weekly grocery run or five traveler's carry-on suitcases. This trunk size is about average for the class, but the A4's trunk is especially convenient, thanks to its wide opening. The rear seats fold with a 40/20/40 split, giving you lots of options when you have both passengers and oversized cargo.

A4 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Audi produces some of the best automotive technology on the market, as evidenced by the tech found in the 2018 A4 sedan. These systems not only generate appropriate oohs and aahs for their inventiveness but also accomplish something even more important: they work. The MMI infotainment system can be controlled via a responsive 7-inch display, an intuitive central knob, or straightforward voice commands. The upgraded system adds handwriting recognition to the list, letting you quickly search for directions by scrawling letters on the touchpad.

The available virtual cockpit also garners a lot of attention. It replaces the driver's regular gauges with a 12.3-inch screen. You can customize this screen to show different navigation or media displays, all with crisp graphics (though these can occasionally be distracting). Other standard items worth noting include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and dual USB ports.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

A4 Performance

A4 Engine: Lively Turbos

The Audi A4 doesn’t have the potent performance of a BMW 3 Series or Cadillac ATS – but it's close. Test drivers find lots to love in the Audi's turbocharged four-cylinder engines and smooth-shifting transmissions. There are two main engine options: 190 horsepower or 252 horsepower. The more powerful version comes with Quattro all-wheel drive and the ability to swap the dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission for a six-speed manual at no charge. A high-performance version of this small sedan – the S4 – is also available and comes with a turbocharged V6 engine and a 354-horsepower rating.

A4 Gas Mileage: Efficient Around Town, Average on the Highway

Around town, the A4 is one of the more fuel-efficient luxury small cars, with a city rating of 24 mpg. Its 33-mpg highway rating is about average. Fuel economy barely decreases with the more powerful four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. It takes a bigger hit on the V6-powered S4, getting 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

A4 Ride and Handling: Fun to Drive

The base A4 engine is paired with front-wheel drive. With Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive system, you'll also get more power from the base engine. The S4 comes standard with all-wheel drive. This extra grip, in addition to the sedan's sharp handling, makes the A4 a blast on country roads. Its suspension is artfully tuned to feel both agile and controlled, yet smooth and comfortable.

Read more about performance »

A4 Reliability

Is the Audi A4 Reliable?

The 2018 A4 has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. That's average compared to all new vehicles. Still, more than a dozen luxury small cars earn higher scores, including the Kia Stinger and Cadillac ATS.

Audi A4 Warranty

Audi A4s are backed with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

A4 Safety

A4 Crash Test Results

The 2018 A4 gets some of the highest crash test scores available. It aced every test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which named the A4 a 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 A4 a five-star overall crash test rating, with five stars in the side crash and rollover tests and four stars in the frontal crash test.

A4 Safety Features

Standard safety features include a rearview camera, rain-sensing headlights and wipers, and Audi Pre Sense Basic, which prepares the car by rolling up windows and tightening seat belts when it detects an impending forward collision. Audi Pre Sense City, also standard, includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection.

Available safety options include Audi Side Assist with Pre Sense Rear, which readies the car if it senses a collision coming from behind. It also comes with rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera, traffic sign recognition, and high-beam assist are also available in the 2018 A4.

Read more about safety »

Which Audi A4 Model Is Right for Me?

There are three different trim levels for the A4 sedan (Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige), with each consecutive level adding more luxury amenities and safety features. You have a choice between two drivetrains in every trim. The base setup (which Audi refers to as 2.0 TFSI ultra), includes a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a seven-speed automatic transmission, and front wheel drive. For $4,500 more, you can upgrade to Quattro all-wheel drive, which also increases the horsepower from 190 to 252 (Audi calls this combo TFSI). A six-speed manual transmission is available with the upgraded engine for no additional cost.

For 2018, Audi is converting some amenities from options to standard features, further bolstering the sedan's value. One of the best values, though, is with the entry-level A4 Premium trim, which now comes standard with heated seats in addition to its already lengthy list of standard tech and advanced driver assistance features.

Audi A4 Premium

Standard features in the base Premium trim include leather seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, heated front seats, and push-button start. The infotainment system has a 7-inch display, two USB ports, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a rearview camera. Two different bundles of safety technology are included: Audi Pre Sense Basic and Audi Pre Sense City. Prices for this trim start at $36,000.

Audi A4 Premium Plus

For an extra $3,200, you can move up to the Premium Plus trim, which starts at $39,200. This edition comes with Audi Side Assist with Pre Sense Rear. Other standard features include a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, front and rear parking sensors, a proximity key, and memory settings for the driver's seat.

Audi A4 Prestige

Prices for the top-level A4 Prestige start at $45,500. More standard safety features have been added to this trim for 2018, including traffic sign recognition, active lane assist, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go technology. Navigation, an upgraded MMI infotainment system with an 8.3-inch display and handwriting recognition, a virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch driver's display, a head-up display, and a hands-free power trunk lid are also included.

Audi S4

The S4 is the high-performance version of this sedan. It comes with a 354-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and Quattro all-wheel drive. Two trim levels are offered: the Premium Plus and the Prestige. Retail prices for the S4 start at $51,400 (add another $4,400 for the Prestige trim), and features for both trims are similar to what you get with the corresponding A4 sedan.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Audi dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Audi deals page.

See 2018 Audi A4 specs and trims »

The Final Call

Highlights of the Audi A4 sedan include a sophisticated cabin, fun-to-drive handling and power, and excellent safety ratings. It's lively and athletic, and the A4's turbocharged four-cylinders and agile handling are sure to put a smile on the lips of any driving enthusiast. As sublime as its performance is, there are a few rivals that offer more punch. Car shoppers wanting something with a little more excitement may want to put up more cash to buy a high-performance S4, BMW M3, or Mercedes AMG C63.

Few competitors offer a similar level of interior refinement and high-tech features as the A4. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, for example, has a sumptuous cabin and a long list of swanky add-ons, but it’s marred by its convoluted infotainment system.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2018 Audi A4 delivers just about everything we expect from a small luxury sedan. There's quick acceleration, a comfortable ride, and the latest connectivity and navigation technologies. But the fact that it does it without overwhelming you makes it, at least for the time being, the car to get in the segment." -- Edmunds
  • "Last year's Audi A4 sedan got a bit bolder on the outside and a lot sportier under the skin. The 2018 Audi A4 sedan continues this trend, increasing the availability of quattro all-wheel drive and packing in more hardware and luxury features. Audi continues to lead the midsize-luxury segment by offering such fantastic features as a customizable color instrument display featuring a virtual speedometer, tachometer and a giant navigation display using Google maps. … Although not as powerful or fun to drive as a Cadillac ATS or BMW 3 Series, the A4 nevertheless is one impressive European sedan." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The A4 doesn't have quite the luxurious feel inside the C-Class does, and you can't have quite as much tail-out fun as with the 3-Series. What the A4 does instead is perfectly straddle the line for an enthusiast/luxury customer. And if horsepower numbers and curb weights don't turn you on (what are you doing here?), the nerdy technology should." -- Autoweek (2017)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: December 7, 2018

Solid Demand: Despite flat lining sales so far in 2018, the well-ranked Audi A4 is among the best-selling luxury small cars this year.

Research more buying advice »
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