The Audi A4 is still very much an Audi, freshened for 2017 with a new clamshell hood design featuring a shoulder line extending from the corner of the headlight to the edge of the taillight; a more-defined horizontal grille; strong fender flares; and sharply angled headlights – especially striking against the extended shoulder line.
Three trims are available – Premium, $37,300; Premium Plus, $41,100; and Prestige, $48,000 – each with standard front-wheel drive. Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system adds $2,100.
One engine is standard: an updated 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, producing 252 horsepower, a noticeable increase in power.
A manual gearbox is standard, but we had Audi’s latest seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch gearbox ($2,100) with paddles on the steering wheel for manual shifting, if desired.
There are four driver-selectable driving modes, which alter shift points, steering, damper control and adaptive cruise-control adjustments. They are Comfort, Auto, Dynamic and Individual.
New high-tech safety features are standard: Pre-Sense Basic and Pre-Sense City.
Pre-Sense Basic senses an impending collision and prepares the vehicle by closing the side windows and panoramic sunroof, pre-tightening the front seatbelts, activating the hazard lights, and priming the brake system to respond quickly when the driver reacts.
Pre-Sense City operates at speeds from 6-52 mph, detecting vehicles or pedestrians in the path of travel, and can initiate full braking if necessary following a series of warnings.
At speeds over 52 mph, the Pre-Sense system can reduce impact velocity with warnings and brake intervention. The multi-collision brake-assist system uses controlled application of the brakes to help prevent skidding.
My tester was an A4 Premium with all-wheel drive, in Manhattan Gray Metallic. It had a black interior featuring leather seating and Aluminum Ellipse trim.
Thirteen exterior colors are available including Ibis White (no extra charge), Mythos Black Metallic, Scuba Blue, Cuvee Silver Metallic and more ($575 each). Other interior color choices include Atlas Beige, Rock Gray, and Nougat Brown.
Also standard, Attention Assist analyses driving patterns and warns the driver if patterns become erratic, indicating inattention. An Adjustable Speed Limiter can be set to between 18 and 155 mph to help avoid accidently exceeding a desired speed – especially within city limits or construction areas.
A Prestige Package for $8,600 added lots of features from the Prestige Model including Pre-Sense Rear with Side Assist, Exit Assist, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
The system monitors following traffic and takes similar evasive action to Pre-Sense Basic.
Exit uses a warning light to alert passengers if vehicles or cycles are approaching from behind as the vehicle doors are opened. Cross Traffic uses arrows in the MMI display to warn the driver of vehicles approaching from either side while reversing out of a parking space, and can issue a warning tone and apply a brake jolt to prompt the driver to stop.
The package upgraded the standard 17-inch wheels to 18-inch contrasting gray Dynamic design wheels with all-season tires and included aluminum high-gloss window trim; a 3-D Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System, satellite radio; heated, auto-dim, power-fold exterior mirrors; alarm system; Audi advanced key; heated eight-way power front seats with driver memory; LED headlights; Parking System Plus with top-view camera system; S line exterior; full-color head-up display; LED interior lighting plus package; Audi virtual cockpit; Audi MMI Navigation Plus with MMI touch; Audi Connect Prime & Plus; and Audi Connect Care.
The Bang & Olufsen system included 19 speakers housed within grilles seamlessly integrated into A4’s interior, 755 watts, 16-channel Class D amplifier with Vehicle Noise Compensation (to ensure audio consistency), and anodized-aluminum speaker grill inserts with "Dynamic Line" design and LED lighting.
Parking System Plus uses acoustic signals and a graphic display with sensors located in the front and rear bumpers to detect an obstacle to alert the driver in order to avoid a collision during parking maneuvers.
S line trim brought a lower, sportier suspension and a body kit with more-aggressive body panels sporting larger air vents and deeper skirts; leather Sport seats; a small "S line" badge on the front fenders, and S line door sills.
Some S line cars get high-gloss black slats in the grille and window trim, posher headlights and updated LED taillights.
LED Interior Lighting Plus illuminated contour and background elements with up to 30 color settings, and offered drive-select settings to highlight each mode. Virtual Cockpit featured a 12.3-inch display, which displayed either a large map with minimized speed and tach, a smaller map with maximized speed and tach, or a driver-information screen with traditional size speedometer and tach – located directly in front of the driver.
The standard high-mount seven-inch center MMI display was replaced by an 8.3-inch screen with the Navigation Plus with MMI touch. The navigation/MMI touch is the center of operation for music, phone calls, directions and more, using either MMI controls, the touch pad or voice control.
Audi Connect links your Audi to the world – Connect CARE provides security and assistance with SOS call, online roadside assistance, stolen-vehicle locator, and Audi service request.
Connect PRIME (subscription) finds your way with Google Earth, Street View and Search, and myAudi Destinations, over-the-air map data updates, and Audi semi-dynamic route guidance with INRIX XD Traffic; keeps you informed with fuel prices, travel info, parking information, Audi music stream, internet radio, City Events, and Twitter; gives peace of mind with Geofencing, speed alert, curfew alert, parking position, remote lock/unlock, and vehicle status reports; Connect Plus keeps passengers connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot with a variety of data plans after a six-month trial.
My Audi A4 came with Drive Select, gate/garage door opener, Bluetooth, 40/20/40 split rear seatback, rear fog lights, heated windshield-washer nozzles, and LED taillights with dynamic turn signals.
We also had eight-way power front seats with four-way driver lumbar adjustment; keyless start/stop, to save on fuel; three-zone digital automatic climate control; smartphone interface and a music interface with two USB charging ports and 3.5 mm auxiliary port, and a trunk storage package with tie-downs, right side net and bag hooks.
A Driver Assistance package ($1,800) brought adaptive cruise control, active lane assist with turn assist, high-beam assistant, and traffic sign recognition.
A Warm Weather Package ($1,450) included cooled front sport seats with power lumbar, and manual rear side window shades.
The Adaptive Damping Suspension added $1,000, and a Cold Weather Package ($500) brought heated rear seats and steering wheel.
With options and $950 destination charges, the total delivered price for my fun-to-drive, eye-catching Audi was $54,275.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at email@example.com.