Audi of America begins its 9th generation Audi A4 sedan with its 2017 model lineup, which will consist of three different trim levels: the Premium base model; the Premium Plus model and the flagship model, the Prestige. Pricing will range from $37,300 for the Premium FWD model to $48,000 for the top-of-the-line Prestige model, which comes with quattro , Audi’s all-wheel drive system. Add a $950 Destination Charge for all. Surprisingly, the base sticker for the entry-level trim is $1,400 less than the previous year’s starting price.
Powering all models is an evolved, redeveloped, 2.0 TFSI, DOHC, 16-valve turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that produces 252 horsepower in a range from 5,600 to 6,000 rpm, while developing 273 pound-feet of torque from 1,600 to 4,500 rpm. Energy from the longitudinally mounted front engine is geared to the driving wheels through a seven-speed S tronic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT).
The new A4 steps up to the plate ready to hit a home run in every category — driver assistance technology, design, connectivity, and performance. Audi provided a team of experts to preside over each category to discuss each topic in detail in 20-minute immersion roundtable discussions for small groups of journalists, which allowed for an enlightening and informative in-depth awareness of each subject that proved to be a superior approach to the traditional singular PowerPoint presentation. The sessions preceded the actual driving experience of new A4s.
The four categorical discussions served to illustrate the role of the Audi A4 as a leader in Teutonic superiority. In terms of its design, the A4 showcases the latest refinements in styling, from the sharp wrap-around character lines emphasizing its length to the boldly pronounced wheel arches that heighten the vehicle’s visual appeal. The A4 was actually designed from the inside out, increasing interior creature comfort.
Starting up front is Audi’s signature Singleframe® grille, with an Aluminum-optic surround that contributes to the car’s sporting character. There’s a newly designed clamshell hood that flows almost imperceptibly into the shoulder line, forming a double line to the taillamps. The available LED headlights feature a progressive undercut design providing a focused look and unmistakable image.
In profile, the A4 displays a lower, upswept rocker indentation and a gracefully arched roofline with blacked out “B: and “C” pillars with a bright chrome surround that gives the cabin an exaggerated length, with the sail panel slipping down the short deck lid with an integrated spoiler lip. The tail features a low and wide appearance with the wrap-around LED taillamps and a composite lower diffuser that houses the split dual exhaust.
The interior presents a refinement reflective of the sumptuous A8. Great attention was given to functional improvements and added technologies that focus on the driver. Interior space is enhanced yielding more shoulder and head clearance for the driver and front-seat passenger, along with more rear seat legroom. The cabin design was based on a 3-line approach, with horizontal layers that are contoured for a better driver orientation.
Significant features include: a three-spoke multifunction steering wheel; standard ambient LED lighting; standard three-zone automatic climate control with wing-design wrap-around dashboard and diffuser air vent helps recreate natural airflow; 8-way power front seats with a 4-way power lumbar support for driver; standard power sunroof with tilt and sliding functionality; and split-folding rear seatback with a 40/20/40 configuration that includes a center armrest and cup holders.
Technological connectivity and infotainment features include: Audi’s Virtual Cockpit with a 12.3-inch display, incorporating Google Map images; a standard high-mount 7-inch MMI® or 8.3-inch with Navigation Plus Package with available MMI all-in-touch; an available full-color head-up display; an optional Bang & Olufsen® 3D Advanced Sound System; Audi Connect supported by 4G LTE (where available).
Driver Assistance features include Audi pre sense® basic; Audi pre sense city; traffic sign recognition; vehicle exit assist; rear cross-traffic alert; collision avoidance assist; turn assist; adaptive cruise control with stop & go and traffic jam assist. Audi’s standard Drive Select feature with four modes – comfort, auto, dynamic and individual – allows the driver to change gear shift points for increased throttle response, steering assistance and damper control, as well as adaptive cruise control adjustments.
In terms of performance, the new Audi A4 sedan’s 2.0-liter TFSI 4-cylinder engine’s output the newly developed 7-speed S tronic dual clutch transmission, available Quattro all-wheel drive system with self-locking differential, and wheel-selective torque vectoring control and standard Audi drive Select includes four modes – comfort, auto, dynamic and individual which allows the driver to alter gear change shift points, steering, damper control and adaptive cruise control adjustments; an available sport suspension that lowers ride height by approximately 23 mm and the available adaptive damping suspension, all combine to deliver sports car performance in this luxury sedan.
During the short lead press launch of the 2017 Audi A4 sedan, I was able to experience both a Premium Plus A4 and a Prestige A4 with quattro, spending the most time in the Premium Plus trim level which was FWD and featured a Manhattan Gray metallic exterior and black interior. Its base sticker read $37,300 with an as-tested price of $48,700. Audi’s all-wheel drive quattro system is a $2,100 added feature.
SUMMARY: The new 9th generation Audi A4 is a technological Teutonic marvel that has risen to the level of what the earlier Audi A6 used to be in terms of content and luxuriousness. The ride quality and comfort is superb in either the front or rear, with admirable support when maneuvering through twisting back road scenarios.
On the topic of maneuvering, the handling characteristics of this new A4 rate high enough to rival many sports cars. Steering has a good on-center feel, the sedan feels planted, and road-holding stability is superb.
The virtual cockpit feature enables the driver to focus on the road, rather than searching around for important desired information. The switchgear is simplified and intuitive, while enhancing the pure pleasure of driving.
Audi has, in my opinion, long been underrated, and bottom line it would be difficult to find a more luxurious and sporty mid-size sedan than the 2017 Audi A4. It embodies appealing styling and confidence building behind the wheel for a reasonable amount of money. The Audi A4 for 2017 is unquestionably the best yet, but one has to wonder what is now to become of the A6. I suspect that it is destined to evolve to the level of the A8 at some point in the not too distant future.
|2017 AUDI A4 SEDAN PREMIUM PLUS SPECS|
|MSRP||$37,300 (add $2,100 for quattro)|
|Price as tested||$48,700|
|Engine||2.0L TFSI, DOHC 16-valve turbocharged inline 4-cylinder|
|Power (hp)||252 @ 5,600 – 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (lb-ft)||273 @ 1,600 – 4,500 rpm|
|Transmission||7-speed S tronic DCT|
|Drivetrain layout||longitudinally mounted front engine / front-wheel-drive or quattro all-wheel-drive|
|Curb weight||3,483 lbs. (FWD) | 3,626 lbs. (AWD)|
|EPA-estimated fuel economy (cit/hwy mpg)||15 / 20|
|Acceleration 0-60 mph||6.1 seconds (FWD) | 5.7 seconds quattro|
|Top track speed||130 mph|
Audi released this video that gives the viewer an overview of the technology and features that went into the all-new 2017 Audi A4
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