Audi A4

#1 in Luxury Small Cars Overall Score: 8.9 / 10
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2017 Audi A4 Overview

The 2017 Audi A4 ranks 1 out of 20 Luxury Small Cars.

The 2017 Audi A4's cabin is one of the best in the class, offering an abundance of high-tech standard features, first-class materials, and outstanding seating comfort and space. While the A4 has a solid performance, driving enthusiasts may prefer sportier, faster rivals. 

SEATING


5

MPG


24-27

  CITY


31-37

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


AWD, FWD

HP


190-252
See full 2017 Audi A4 specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Plethora of tech features
  • More rear-seat space than many rivals
  • Solid mix of performance and comfort
  • Posh interior
  • Occasionally finicky transmission

Notable for 2017

  • Completely redesigned

Audi A4 Rankings and Research

The 2017 Audi A4 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Small Cars category. Currently the Audi A4 has a score of 8.9 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 21 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.9
Critics' Rating: 9.5
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 9.0
Safety: 9.6
Reliability: 3_0

Rankings

2017 Audi A4 Pictures

2017 Audi A4 Review

By Courtney Jones July 20, 2017

The 2017 Audi A4's cabin is one of the best in the class, offering an abundance of high-tech standard features, first-class materials, and outstanding seating comfort and space. While the A4 has a solid performance, driving enthusiasts may prefer sportier, faster rivals. 

Is the Audi A4 a Good Car?

The redesigned 2017 Audi A4 is one of the most appealing luxury small cars on the market, which is why it ranks among the best vehicles in the class. You'll find few faults with the A4, save for its sometimes hesitant seven-speed automatic transmission. That might be a deal breaker for performance enthusiasts but should go nearly unnoticed by the typical driver. The A4's base four-cylinder engine produces satisfying acceleration, and a modified (and less powerful) version of the base engine is available in the new A4 Ultra model, which earns some of the highest fuel economy estimates in the class. When it comes to handling, the A4 isn't quite as sporty as some rivals. However, if you want the perfect balance of agility and ride comfort, the 2017 A4 is a great option. It won't have any trouble remaining composed on winding roads, and the standard Audi Drive Select system allows you to tailor your ride to match your environment and driving preference. The A4 is not only fun and easy to drive, but it’s also easy on your wallet. It’s the 2017 winner of the Best Luxury Small Car for the Money award because it has the best combination of quality and value in the class. 

Should I Buy the Audi A4? 

If you're shopping the luxury small car class for a vehicle that offers spaciousness and unmatched luxury, you're in the right place with the redesigned for 2017 Audi A4. It has one of the most opulent cabins in the class, made with high-end, attractive materials. Having one of the nicest cabins in a luxury class is no small victory, because nearly every other competitor offers an upscale cabin too. The Audi A4 has some of the roomiest back seats in the class, and its cabin is exceptionally comfortable for long trips. It also offers a competitive amount of features and driver assistance technologies. You'll find similar standard and optional features in rivals like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The A4 has a fair price for the class – $37,300. That’s a little more than the class average but still cheaper than many top-ranked competitors, including the C-Class.

Still, if you're shopping the class for a sports-car-like performance, you should look at a competitor like the BMW 3 Series. It can accommodate most power enthusiasts with its lineup of engine options, including an incredibly fuel-efficient turbodiesel. The A4 offers a decently powerful turbo four-cylinder in the base model. The modified turbo four in the A4 Ultra trim is tuned for fuel economy, not power. The 3 Series also offers sportier driving dynamics than the A4. While the A4 is no slouch in a corner, some competitors provide sharper handling.

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

We Did the Research for You: 21 Pieces of Data Analyzed

Shopping for a luxury small car can be difficult with so many appealing options to consider, from newly introduced models to long-time class staples. That's why we've researched 21 pieces of data on the A4, including expert reviews, fuel economy estimates, and safety scores, to help you make a knowledgeable buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us 

The autos team at U.S. News & World Report has 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry, and we've been ranking and reviewing most every type vehicle for nearly a decade. When it comes to car reviews, we understand your needs and concerns. Our first priority is providing you with thorough analysis of the current automotive marketplace so you can buy with confidence. Additionally, our editorial staff doesn’t accept cash, trips, or expensive gifts from automakers, and our advertising is handled by a third-party.

How Much Does the Audi A4 Cost? 

Priced at $37,300, the Audi A4 is a couple thousand dollars above the class average, but it's still more affordable than the base prices of other highly ranked luxury small cars like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. It comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is plenty potent for day-to-day driving.

The Audi A4 Premium, the base trim, gets you a similar amount of features as other entry-level small luxury sedans like the BMW 3 Series. The A4's standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for straightforward smartphone connectivity and access to your favorite apps through the display screen. It also comes with push-button start, a rearview camera, and low-speed automatic braking with pedestrian detection and forward collision warning.

You can get many of the A4's option packages with the base model, so you won't have to upgrade to a higher trim to get features like navigation and an upgraded MMI system with handwriting recognition. Its navigation package adds both, plus a few other features, for $2,400. Quattro all-wheel drive will cost you $2,100.

Other packages focus on infotainment or safety features. The Technology package goes for $3,250 and adds the upgraded MMI system, Audi Connect, and Virtual Cockpit. For $1,800, you can add the Driver Assistance package, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and traffic sign recognition.

If you want some extra bells and whistles, the A4 Premium Plus ($41,100) adds a premium 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, and hand's-free features like proximity key entry and a power trunk lid that opens when you wave your foot under the rear bumper.

For the fuel-conscious shopper, Audi offers the new A4 Ultra ($34,900) trim. It has a modified version of the turbo four-cylinder engine, delivering some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class: 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. However, for your fuel economy gains, you'll lose a good amount of power – this engine produces 62 fewer horsepower than the standard engine. This trim level is less expensive than the base trim, and it comes with the same amount of features.

The top-trim A4 Prestige ($45,900) is where you'll find the most standard driver assistance features, including high-speed automatic emergency pre-collision braking, a head-up display, blind spot monitoring, and a four-camera system that creates a top-down view around the car. 

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.

Audi A4 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series?

If you want a driver's car, the BMW 3 Series is a better option. It’s available with multiple engine options, some providing fuel efficiency, some delivering power, and some offering a balance of both. A plug-in hybrid option (330e) is also available. The 3 Series has a starting price that is several thousand dollars lower than the A4's.

The 3 Series is one of the best sports sedans in the class, so curvy roads are no match for its sporty driving dynamics. And when you want ride comfort, it offers smoothness over most road surfaces. The A4 may appeal a bit more to those who favor interior comfort and luxury more than an exciting performance. Still, the 3 Series' interior is something to admire, with its first-rate materials and handsome styling.

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

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 are similar in a lot of ways. If you like the A4's comfortable ride, you'll also be impressed with the C-Class' luxury-cruiser-like ride quality. Both offer a drive mode system that allows you to customize your ride. The A4 and C-Class come with a similar number of standard features, and both have upscale interiors and comparable trunk space (the A4's is a measly 0.4 inches bigger).

The A4 has a slight edge when it comes to price – it costs $2,200 less. The C-Class is the better choice if you want performance options because it has available suspensions that can further fine-tune your ride. The C-Class also has several more-powerful engine options. There are potent engine options in the C-Class' AMG trims, which come with one of two twin-turbocharged V8 engines that produce up to 503 horsepower.

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

A4 Interior

How Many People Does the A4 Seat?

The Audi A4 sedan seats five. You'll appreciate the all-day comfort the A4's seats provide. The front seats are fairly roomy and afford the driver plenty of visibility. The rear seats, too, have a good amount of space. In fact, the A4's rear seats offer more room than most of its classmates'.

A4 and Car Seats

Attaching child car seats to the Audi A4's LATCH connectors is simple. There are two complete sets of easy-to-reach LATCH connectors in the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the middle seat. For 2017, the A4's LATCH system receives the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top score of Good. You shouldn't have any trouble installing car seats in the A4, as its LATCH connectors are easy to find, recognize, and maneuver around.

A4 Interior Quality

Audi's are known for their outstanding interiors, and the A4 is no exception. The redesigned 2017 Audi A4 has one of the nicest interiors in the class, which is an impressive accomplishment in a class where upscale interiors are a constant. Its design is sleek and modern, and there are plenty of top-quality materials throughout. Additionally, the A4 comes standard with leather upholstery, which is an optional feature in many class rivals.

A4 Cargo Space

The A4 has slightly better-than-average cargo space for the class thanks to a longer chassis that expanded the trunk as part of the 2017 redesign. It now has 13 cubic feet of trunk space, and the standard split-folding rear seats give you some flexibility when you need to transport larger items. A convenient hands-free trunk release is available, letting you open the trunk just by standing near it, provided the key fob is in your pocket or purse.

Similarly, the trunk has an above-average amount of space. This is still a small car, so don't expect to move furniture, but the A4's trunk affords you enough room to stow a few golf bags or your luggage ahead of a weekend trip.

For comparison, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class has 12.6 cubic feet of trunk space, while the base BMW 3 Series' trunk has 13 cubic feet.

A4 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

If tech features are important to you, the A4 shouldn’t disappoint. It comes standard with several luxury features, including the MMI infotainment system. This includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and two USB ports.

Available features include a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system, HD Radio, and satellite radio, giving audiophiles plenty to love. Audi Connect with a Wi-Fi hot spot is available, so you can connect your favorite devices to the internet while you're on the road. There's also an upgraded MMI system with navigation, and MMI touch with handwriting recognition allows you to use your fingers to write on the touchpad. The handwriting feature makes it simple to enter destinations into the navigation system, and it's also convenient if you're searching for nearby points of interest.

Both the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series have a similar infotainment system with a console-mounted controller that allows handwriting recognition. The 3 Series' system is intuitive, but the C-Class' controller is difficult to operate, so making your way through menus can take a while.

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: Stout Base Engine

The A4 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 252 horsepower. The powertrain also includes a seven-speed automatic transmission. This engine produces adequate power for the average commuter. Acceleration is quick from a stop and on the highway, and even with a car full of people, the A4 delivers ample power for most driving situations. The transmission is decent, but it occasionally hesitates when you need more power.

New for 2017, Audi introduces the A4 Ultra, which comes with a less powerful version of the base engine. The new A4 engine puts out only 190 horsepower, but it conserves fuel, producing some of the best gas mileage estimates in the class.

A4 Gas Mileage: Typical for the Class

The A4 gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway; right around the class average. That's close to what you'll get from class rivals like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (24 mpg city/34 mpg highway) and BMW 320i (23 mpg city/35 mpg highway).

If you want even better fuel economy and don't mind giving up some power, the A4 Ultra is available. Its modified version of the base engine produces 62 fewer horsepower but earns some of the best fuel economy estimates in the class, at 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway.

A4 Ride and Handling: Cushioned Commutes

Where some other cars in the segment tend to push performance, the A4's focus is on ride comfort. On long trips, both front and rear occupants will appreciate its cushioned ride. While not as athletic as the BMW 3 Series, the Audi A4 delivers precise steering, agile handling, and a composed ride on winding roads.

The standard Audi Drive Select lets you fine-tune the ride and handling by selecting from four different driving modes that alter throttle response and other settings. Optional Quattro all-wheel drive gives you better road grip and improves the A4's performance in inclement weather.

A4 Reliability

Is the Audi A4 Reliable?

The 2017 Audi A4 has been completely redesigned, and it earned a predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power and Associates. That's a good score, but it trails rivals like the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. 

Audi A4 Warranty

Audi backs the 2017 A4 with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty. Both the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class have the same warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

A4 Safety

A4 Crash Test Results

The Audi A4 is one of the safest luxury small cars you can buy. It was designated a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it receives perfect scores in all five IIHS crash tests. The A4 also earns a five-out-of-five overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some other luxury small cars also earn impressive safety scores. Both the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class also receive perfect crash test scores from the IIHS. The 3 Series was designated as a Top Safety Pick+, while the C-Class was named a Top Safety Pick. Both cars also receive a five-star overall crash test rating from the NHTSA.

A4 Safety Features

For safety-conscious drivers, there's a lot to like about the A4. It comes standard with Audi Pre-Sense Basic, which prepares occupants for an impending forward collision by rolling up windows and tightening seat belts. Also standard is Pre-Sense City, which includes pre-collision braking up to 52 mph, forward collision warning, and pedestrian warning. And like most cars in the class, the A4 also comes standard with a rearview camera. 

There are plenty of available features as well. Audi Pre-Sense Rear includes rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection, and it will engage Pre-Sense basic if it detects an impending rear collision. Adaptive cruise control makes it easier to control speed on the highway, and the A4 takes it a step further with an adaptive cruise system that accesses GPS and navigation data to also adjust speed for upcoming turns. 

The A4 is also available with many common active safety features like front and rear parking sensors, lane keep assist, automatic high beams, and rear cross traffic alert. Other A4 safety options include traffic sign recognition and a surround-view camera system. Collision Avoidance Assist is an available feature that engages pre-collision braking at speeds higher than 52 mph and attempts to steer you away from a potential accident. There is also an available vehicle exit assist, which will alert the driver if a car is approaching before they open the door. The system can engage for up to three minutes after the car has been turned off. 

Read more about safety »

Which Audi A4 Model Is Right for Me?

The Audi A4 comes in three trims: Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission are standard. The A4 is fully redesigned for the 2017 model year. The Audi S4 is a high-performance model that is currently on a production hiatus and will return for the 2018 model year. Previous S4 models came with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. 

The A4's base trim should be more than enough for the average buyer looking to get into the luxury car class. When compared with other cars in the class, the A4 comes with a comparable amount of high-tech features, and plenty of options are available. For a few thousand dollars more than the base price, the Premium Plus trim offers a little more luxury in the form of a premium stereo, heated front seats, and a hand's-free trunk lid.

Audi A4 Premium

The A4's Premium (base) trim (MSRP $37,300) includes standard features like tri-zone automatic climate control, a power sunroof, push-button start, two USB ports, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker audio system, a rearview camera, and the MMI infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Also standard are Audi Pre-Sense Basic, which prepares occupants for an impending forward collision by rolling up windows and tightening seat belts, and Pre-Sense City, which includes pedestrian warning and forward collision warning.

New for 2017 is the Audi A4 Ultra ($34,900). It comes with a modified version of the base engine, and it delivers better fuel economy estimates (27 mpg city/37 mpg highway). Other than the engine, the A4 Ultra comes with the same features as the base model. 

Audi A4 Premium Plus

The A4 Premium Plus, which starts at $41,100, adds a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, satellite radio, proximity key entry, a hand's-free power trunk lid, front and rear parking sensors, and heated front seats.

There is also the A4 Premium Plus Ultra, which starts at $38,700. It has the same features as the Premium Plus, but adds Audi Connect CARE Assistance and Security Services. The engine is a modified version of the base engine and delivers better fuel economy estimates. 

Audi A4 Prestige

The top-of-the-line A4 Prestige, which starts at $45,900, comes with navigation, an upgraded MMI system with handwriting recognition, and an 8.3-inch MMI display. It also includes Audi's virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display, a 360-degree camera system, automatic emergency pre-collision braking, a head-up display, and blind spot monitoring.

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 2017 Audi A4 specs and trims »

The Final Call     

The 2017 Audi A4 tops our luxury small car rankings, thanks in part to its luxurious interior. It comes with an ample list of standard features, and its opulent cabin incorporates an attractive design and some of the finest materials in the class. The A4's rear seats are also some of the roomiest in the segment.

The A4's well-balanced driving dynamics make it one of the more well-rounded cars in the class, providing all-day ride comfort and composed handling. Still, the A4 offers fewer engine choices than many of its rival vehicles .

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

  • "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. AND since nerdy is the new cool, you'll be Steve McQueen, or maybe Steve Jobs, or whoever the kids think is cool these days." -- Autoweek
  • "More power, better fuel economy and new driver assistance technologies, combined with an attractive interior and enjoyable handling will keep the 2017 Audi A4 among the top in a class of fierce competition." -- Edmunds
  • "The new 2017 Audi A4 rides and drives better than ever, looks terrific, and offers cutting edge high-tech gadgets that aren't available in competing brands. We'll have to pit it against those competitors -- the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS and others -- to tell just how much it moves the bar. But we are sure it's a definite contender for best-in-class honors in a very tough class." -- Kelley Blue Book
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