2020 Audi A4 Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2020 Audi A4 balances performance with practicality and comfort. The A4 accelerates quickly and feels quite stable through sharp turns, but it still yields good fuel economy, and its suspension glides smoothly over rough road surfaces.

  • "Precise steering, well-controlled body motions, and great roadholding ability combine to make the A4 a sharp handler. Usually, cars with such deft responses require sacrifices in ride quality, but the A4 still manages to soak up bumpy roads with aplomb. Steering feel … is subdued at lower speeds and on the highway. However … the steering becomes pleasantly communicative when you push the car on twisty roads." -- Car and Driver
  • "Audi’s familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is so well integrated that power delivery comes with superb throttle response, ample low-end power, and a free-revving nature. Even the typical four-cylinder thrum is muted. A 349-hp turbocharged V6 powers the S4." -- Consumer Reports
  • "This is an impressively quick and smooth car. The A4 45 TFSI's engine is quieter than other turbo four-cylinder engines, too. In Edmunds testing, we achieved a 0-60 mph time of 5.3 seconds." -- Edmunds (2019)

Acceleration and Power

The Audi A4 comes standard with a 188-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. This setup zips the A4 around town confidently. It provides sufficient passing power at higher speeds, thanks in part to the quick yet smooth shifts from the dual-clutch transmission. Models with this engine yield excellent fuel economy of up to 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

An upgraded version of this engine is available with 248 horsepower and all-wheel drive. This A4 model feels a bit punchier when accelerating up to speed, and it cuts just over a second from the car’s sprint to 60 mph (5.6 seconds versus 7.1 seconds). Fuel economy dips to 24/32 mpg city/highway.

The sportiest variant in the lineup is the Audi S4, which packs a 349-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. The S4 can blast to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, though its gas mileage sinks to 20/27 mpg city/highway.

  • "The A4 feels neutral, responsive and sprightly. At least when it has 248 hp to play with." -- Autotrader
  • "In the A4 2.0T Quattro Prestige we tested, the powertrain worked splendidly, providing class-leading acceleration (5.2 seconds from zero to 60 mph) and smooth power delivery." -- Car and Driver
  • "The new transmission works well so most drivers will assume it’s a traditional automatic. Gear swaps happen quickly, smoothly, and appropriately, making this transmission well matched to the engine. This powertrain combo makes the car feel quick and eager. We measured a commendable 27 mpg." -- Consumer Reports

Handling and Braking

The A4 succeeds in delivering a fun driving experience without a punishing ride quality. The suspension easily soaks up most bumps and dips while keeping the A4 planted through tight turns. The brakes slow down the A4 assertively. Critics are divided on the A4’s steering feel, though. Some say it’s playful and nicely weighted, while others say it’s numb.

  • "As good as the handling is, the real improvement comes in the form of ride comfort. Taking bumps in stride, the A4 proves supple and controlled. It is much more compliant than is the norm for Audi. Impressively hushed wind and road noise help keep the car remarkably quiet. The end result is a car that masks long distance miles and keeps fatigue at bay." -- Consumer Reports
  • The A4 might not engage with the driver quite like a Cadillac ATS, but there is no denying its impressive traction — thanks to the Quattro all-wheel drive and sticky summer tires — flat cornering and stability in emergency situations." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • If there's one gripe, it's that the steering -- although precise and substantial -- isn't quite as tactile as we'd like. But it's only apparent because the rest of the car is so good, especially in its ability to blend comfort with control." -- Autotrader (2019)

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