2018 A4 New Car Test Drive
The Audi A4 benefitted from a full redesign for 2017, so there are no major changes for 2018. For 2018, its high-performance sibling, the S4, gets the redesign that the A4 got for 2017.
The all-new 2018 Audi S4 features a lower nose, higher LED headlamps that are wispy and boomerang-shaped, and sharper sheetmetal creases. The S4 is powered by a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 making 354 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. The single twin-scroll turbocharger is designed to reduce turbo lag by feeding air to one bank of cylinders before the other. Using an 8-speed automatic transmission, it bursts from zero to sixty miles per hour in 4.4 seconds, faster than the BMW 340i and Mercedes AMG C43. The 2018 S4 front suspension uses more aluminum to reduce unsprung weight and thus improve handling, while available adaptive dampers lower the chassis. Another new option is a sport rear differential that moves power between the rear wheels in the Quattro system, and comes with sport steering that's maybe too quick at high speed.
The A4 comes standard with a super smooth 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 190 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Called the 2.0 TFSI ultra, it gets an awesome 37 Highway miles per gallon EPA rating, mated to a paddle-shifting 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch automated transmission. It's a superb standard powertrain.
The upgrade engine is a strong 2.0-liter turbo making 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, using that same 7-speed twin clutch transmission. It accelerates from zero to sixty in 5.6 seconds. With front-wheel-drive, the A4 with this engine rates 25/33 mpg City/Highway, or 28 mpg Combined, and 1 less mpg with Quattro. This engine is called the 2.0 TFSI, which we find confusing, given the base engine is called 2.0 TFSI ultra.
Rivals to Audi A4 include BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Jaguar XE, Cadillac ATS, and Lexus IS.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the A4 five stars overall, but only four stars for front impact. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has made the A4 a Top Safety Pick Plus, when equipped with active LED headlamps that bend around corners.
The 2018 Audi A4 Premium comes with front-wheel drive and the 2.0-liter TFSI ultra engine ($36,000) or the 2.0 TFSI engine ($40,500). Standard equipment on the Premium includes leather seating surfaces, power front seats, rearview camera, xenon-plus headlamps, sunroof, 17-inch wheels, 10-speaker audio with Bluetooth audio streaming, and smartphone interface.
Premium Plus ($39,200) adds 18-inch wheels, parking sensors, S line exterior trim, and a Bang & Olufsen 755-watt, 19-speaker 3-D audio system. It's available with the upgrade engine ($43,700).
Prestige ($45,500) models add the virtual cockpit instrument display, head-up display, surround-view cameras, blind-spot monitoring, and navigation with voice control. Prestige models can get the adaptive damping suspension, plus a Driver Assistance Package that includes adaptive cruise control and traffic-sign recognition. The upgrade engine is available ($50,000).
Quattro all-wheel drive and a choice of manual transmission or 7-speed dual-clutch are available.
For 2018 there is a new Black Optic Plus package with black and red interior and exterior trim. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Safety options include LED headlamps, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-follow capability, and rear-seat side airbags.