Mercedes, BMW, Audi. The big three German automobile manufacturers have a lock on the high-performance luxury market. Every car enthusiast has a favorite brand within the three. Mercedes lovers tend to be more conservative and traditional, and they keep their cars forever. The folks in the BMW camp are fans of performance-enhanced luxury and a little more experimental than the Benz crowd–witness BMW’s clutch-dipping into e-car waters. And then there’s Audi.
If there’s a bad boy, lovable but unpredictable, in the German lineup, it’s the Audi owner. And the new Audi 2020 A4 is the poster child for Audi’s audacity, a smooth, fun, and sporty sedan that Consumer Reports hails as best in its class.
This Audi has everything going for it
It’s not easy to impress the road testers at CR, but the Audi A4 does it handily. For one thing, the A4 lives up to the “sports sedan” name. A sedan by definition is not terribly sporty; there’s something about a backseat with car seat anchors that dampens the defining thrill of two-seater sports cars. Audi really gets it right with this edition of the A4, from a sleek design–low to the ground and aerodynamic–to a smooth ride, nimble handling, and elegant cabin, with lots of gadgets thrown in to make even the biggest tech hound happy.
How does this Audi work its magic? Let us count the ways.
The driving experience is on point
First, the mechanics of the A4. Audi has made a couple of changes to the vehicle, starting with a more muted sound from the 188-hp, four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. This model is front-wheel drive, which gives you better fuel economy without sacrificing the zip you expect in a sports sedan. Test drives yielded 27 mpg in city driving and 35 mpg on the highway.
Why this new burst of efficient power? Audi has replaced the eight-speed automatic transmission with a seven-speed dual-clutch. Gear shifts are so smooth and vibrations are so low that most drivers assume they’re still driving the eight-speed.
The 2020 Audi A4 handles well, has quick brake response, and overall, is a fun and fast car to drive. Alfa Romeo’s Giulia might be more responsive and sporty, but it’s not nearly as good a buy as the Audi, per CR.
The cabin is impeccably designed
Open the door to an Audi A4 and you’re met with quintessential German engineering. The cabin is more class than flash per CR, features soft-touch plastic on the dashboard and door panels. Shiny trim is hard to come by, just a flash of aluminum and bits of chrome brighten up a minimalist interior. That said, the finishes are elegant and understated.
The Audi A4 is comfy to drive
Unless you’re NBA level tall, driving the A4 is comfortable–the tilt-and-telescope steering wheel and driver’s seat have a wide range for adjustments. Also, there’s plenty of head, leg, and foot room. There’s also a footrest for your left foot.
The real winner here is seat comfort. The front seats are well-padded and firm, so they give you all-day support–you’re not wiped out from just sitting there. Four-way driver lumbar adjustments are standard in the A4, and you can add the same level of passenger support as an option. The back seat is somewhat tight for three, but it does have a solid level of support you don’t usually find in a low-slung sports sedan.
Clearly the A4 is a sedan built for four. It has four cup holders in the front console and armrest, a bottle holders in each door, and four USB ports.
All the bells and whistles are standard, but there’s more high-tech
Nowadays, car buyers expect Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and the 2020 A4 delivers. On top of that, the infotainment system is entirely voice-activated. Audi’s optional Voice Cockpit technology system lets you configure the dashboard to your specifications. As an example, you can minimize the traditional gauges and highlight other data instead. There is a learning curve for the A4’s technology, but it’s so much fun to drive you won’t mind at all.