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  • 2017 Audi A4 Sedan 2.0T Quattro

    Posted on May 15th, 2017 ninarussin

    Redesigned small luxury sedan raises the bar

    By Nina Russin

    2017 Audi A4

    2017 Audi A4

    The Audi A4 is a bread-and-butter car that’s anything but bread and butter. Completely redesigned for the 2017 model year, the automaker has raised the bar in every respect, from exterior styling to power, torsional rigidity and steering response.

    Both front and all-wheel drive variants share a turbocharged two-liter direct injection engine rated at 252-horsepower, mated to a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The dual-clutch gearbox replaces a continuously variable automatic transmission on the outgoing model, giving the driver crisper, more linear shifting. The turbocharged block develops peak torque- 273 pound-feet- as low as 1600 rpm for robust acceleration off the line and in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range. Zero-to-sixty acceleration is about six seconds.

    The newest version of Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system features a self-locking center differential to keep the wheels tracking straight on wet roads as well as torque vectoring for more confident cornering. Engineers reduced unsprung weight in the four-wheel independent suspension with aluminum control arms. Since aluminum is rigid in addition to being light, the new suspension has also improved steering response.

    2017 Audi A4

    2017 Audi A4

    Revisions to the car’s exterior are subtle but effective: a new hood, more aggressive wheel arches and redesigned grille. The design is timeless and elegant, yet as contemporary as anything else on the market.

    Base price for the Quattro model tested is $39,400 excluding the $950 destination charge. Options include dark blue metallic exterior paint, a premium package adding 18-inch rims, aluminum exterior trim, Bang & Olufsen surround-sound audio system, heated eight-way power front seats, LED headlamps and interior lighting, navigation and Audi Connect, a safety package including adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and traffic sign recognition and adaptive suspension. Final MSRP is $52,325.

    Test drive in Southern Arizona

    2017 Audi A4

    2017 Audi A4

    Over the past week I drove the A4 sedan through Phoenix Arizona’s downtown area, east valley and along the Bush Highway that skirts the western edge of the Superstition Mountains. For those who can afford it, the A4 is an ideal daily driver, with excellent power, good fuel economy and advanced active safety technology that takes the stress out of the daily commute.

    The gearshift takes a bit of getting used to, combining the traditional center console-mounted lever with electronic park setting: a button on the lever. When the driver shifts into reverse, a rearview camera displays a wide-angle view to the rear of the vehicle. A park warning system utilizes visual and audible signals. It’s a bit sensitive. I found I still had quite a bit of room to play with when the final warning came on pulling into the garage.

    Once in drive, a blind spot monitoring system illuminates LED signals in the A pillars when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots, making it easier to weave through dense, rush-hour traffic. A standard heads-up display enables the driver to monitor speed and posted traffic signals without taking his eyes off the road.

    At night xenon headlamps project long beams that are close to daylight in intensity, making it easier to see the road in poorly-lit suburban areas.

    The turbocharged engine delivers linear acceleration throughout the power band, with plenty on the high end for passing slower vehicles at speed. The dual-clutch automatic transmission replicates the feel of a manual gearbox by utilizing friction as opposed to fluid couplings.

    An electric power steering system is nicely tuned to the car, with plenty of low-speed assist and solid on-center response on the highway. Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes stop the sedan in firm, linear fashion.

    Audi has a reputation for nimble suspensions and the newest A4 is no exception. Although the suspension is on the firm side, in keeping with the car’s sporty character, passengers should find the ride quite comfortable.

    Engineers did an excellent job of minimizing noise intrusion to the interior, enabling both rows of occupants to converse or enjoy the premium audio system.

    Premium interior

    Audi A4 Interior

    Audi A4 Interior

    The A4’s sleek interior should hold plenty of appeal for aficionados of European home and furniture design. I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust for a clear forward view, with ample lower lumbar support. A split folding rear seat and pass-through enables owners to extend the cargo floor for larger items such as skis and snowboards when the back seats are not in use.

    Both the center stack screen and gauge cluster are easy to read in bright sunlight and after dark.

    Tri-zone automatic climate control keeps both rows of passengers comfortable in temperature extremes.

    The A4’s trunk has plenty of room for luggage, groceries, golf bags and smaller camping equipment. Cyclists who want to be able to stash their bikes inside the vehicle will be better served with one of Audi’s crossover vehicles.

    Standard safety

    The Audi A4 comes with eight airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, all-wheel drive and tire pressure monitoring.

    The factory warranty includes a year of complimentary scheduled maintenance and four years of emergency roadside assistance.

    Audi builds the A4 at its Ingolstadt, Germany assembly plant.

    Like: A stylish luxury sedan with beautiful styling, excellent power and performance.

    Dislike: Expensive option packages significantly increase the vehicle’s cost.

    Quick facts:

    Make: Audi
    Model: A4 2.0T Quattro
    Year: 2017
    Base price: $39,400
    As tested: $52,325
    Horsepower: 252 HP @ 5600
    Torque: 273 lbs.-ft. @ 1600 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: Six seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Off-road: No
    Towing: No
    Fuel economy: 24/31 mpg city/highway

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