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2018 Audi A4 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Audi A4 was new.


Performance: 8.6

The 2018 Audi A4 comes with one of two turbo four-cylinder engines that are robust but aren't the meaty powertrains you'll find in the likes of a BMW 3 Series or Cadillac ATS. Still, the experience is lots of fun when you're behind the wheel of an A4, thanks to the refined powertrains and a suspension system that walks a nice line between comfortable and athletic.

  • "Immediate throttle response, good body control, a silky, supportive ride, and 125-mph composure? Check. But the driving experience is very buttoned-down, subdued, a tad restrained. Or perhaps it's just the well-muffled powertrain." -- Road and Track (2017)
  • "All in, the A4 lacks the nimbleness of BMW (or, for that matter, Cadillac,) but it feels more engaging and controlled in first impressions than its front-wheel-drive alternatives." -- Yahoo Autos (2017)
  • "… the A4 is more comfortable than it is engaging. You won't get into trouble in the corners (at least not in a Quattro version), but I'll bet a rear-drive 3 Series or a Cadillac ATS will give you more excitement. On the other hand, the Audi rivals a C-Class or Volvo S60 for its ability to cover hundreds of miles in a single stretch." -- Autoblog (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The standard engine in the 2018 A4 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. With front-wheel drive, this is badged as the 2.0 TFSI Ultra. The upgraded engine option (which is listed as 2.0 TFSI in Audi-speak) comes with all-wheel drive and increases horsepower from 190 to 252. This upgraded option gets more compliments than the standard engine, with test drivers saying it's brisk and smooth, though not as boisterous as some rivals. It’s also available with a six-speed manual transmission.

A third engine option comes under the hood of Audi's high-performance S4 model. This turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and has a 354-horsepower rating. It can sprint to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph.

  • "The high-output version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder puts every ounce of its 252 horsepower to good use. So good is this engine, that it can launch Audi's 2018 A4 sedan to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is a sheer joy in either manual or fully automatic mode, and Audi still offers a 6-speed manual for die-hard old-schoolers." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 252-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder here in the 2017 Audi A4 … pulls hard and responds quickly in concert with its slick seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Excitement definitely dies off in the upper reaches of the rpm range, but the four-banger sounds surprisingly spirited getting there. Nevertheless, we still think the 240-hp turbo four from BMW is superior, despite how far the driving enjoyment of 3 Series has fallen in recent years." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)
  • "The four feels more robust than blistering, at least from a stop, thanks to a fat torque band that starts from 1,600 rpm and goes to 4,000. It's more than capable of getting around slow-moving Leafs and Prii on the highway, if you're curious." -- Autoblog (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Audi A4 comes standard with front-wheel drive. Models with the upgraded turbo-four engine or the V6 have standard all-wheel drive. The A4's suspension absorbs most road imperfections before they disturb your crew, yet it’s firm enough to maintain composure through tight turns. Overall, this is an agile car that's fun to drive, though its steering response isn't as engaging as some.

  • "If you could peel away the 2018 Audi A4's cool virtual gauge cluster, remove the adaptive cruise control and turn off the adjustable shock settings, you'd still have an amazingly fun performer. The A4's steering is precise and perfectly weighted at all speeds, and the sophisticated suspension finds that happy place between a comfortable ride and adept handling." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Strong brakes and sharp handling also help make the A4 enjoyable to drive. But the A4's steering limits driver engagement." -- Edmunds
  • "Over some less than smooth pavement, the A4 provides a wonderful mix of supple ride quality that keeps the body motions to a bare minimum while still having nimble responses." -- Forbes (2017)

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