What we got
The Prestige trim starts at $46,850 and sits atop the A4 range. The only way to go up is to step into the new S4, but that dish comes later. The A4 Prestige comes with all of the expected trimmings - a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four making 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and Quattro all-wheel drive - along with most of the features from the Premium Plus package such as LED headlights and a 3D Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Prestige extras include parking sensors with a surround view camera, a full-color heads-up display, LED interior lighting, and bits from the technology package such as Audi virtual cockpit, MMI navigation, and extra parking sensors. The technology package was a $3,250 option on our first A4.
The biggest difference between the two models is the availability of certain options. Only the Prestige can be equipped with the warm weather package, the adaptive dampening suspension, and the driver assistance package with adaptive cruise control and active lane assist. We passed on these in order to keep things similar to our long-term Jaguar XE.
We added 19-inch wheels with 245/35ZR19 Hankook Ventus S1 evo2 summer tires because Michigan isn't cold and desolate all year round. That said, we did check the box for the cold weather package with heated seats at all four corners and a heated steering wheel. The final option was the sport package that adds a black headliner, sharper suspension, and four-way power lumbar support.
All in, the new A4 rings up at $51,575, just less than $2,000 more than the $49,825 Premium Plus, as the latter was equipped with the now-unavailable $1,100 First Edition package.
What we skipped
We decided once again to skip the manual transmission. While it may inject a little more fun into an already enthusiastic car, few shoppers actually opt for a three-pedal setup. With that in mind, we chose the excellent seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, a no-cost option.
We also decided to keep things simple and passed on the driver's assistance package. Since we have the car in early spring, we also skipped the warm weather package with ventilated seats and rear sun shades. Lastly we avoided the comfort adaptive dampening suspension and stuck with the suspension that's part of the sport package. The sport suspension is still comfortable, and, when combined with the summer tires, makes the A4 quite good through corners.
Why we got it
As we said in our intro, Audi presented us with the rare opportunity to spend some real quality time with the entire range of a single model line, from the standard A4 all the way up to the hot and spicy S4. Testing the first A4 Premium Plus gave us a good baseline and set us up for the models that follow.
We kicked off this test with two standard A4 sedans, the volume model for the A4 lineup. The first was a mid-grade model, so driving the Prestige for a bit gives us the chance to see whether or not the extra cash is truly worth it, especially when they're optioned so similarly.
These two cars also give us a good baseline for the A4 Allroad and S4 that are still to come. Those two offer something more than just a few extra options, so stay tuned for more.