March 9, 2021

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2021 Audi A4 review: No-nonsense, entry-level luxury

The A4 is a little bit of a looker, specially with the sportier S Line accommodations witnessed right here.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

When a buyer initially dips their toes into luxury sedans, they are inclined to begin smaller. As a result, the compact-lux segment necessitates automakers to place forth a good hard work in order to retain individuals initially-time buyers coming back again for extra. To that conclusion, the 2021 Audi A4 delivers a ton of kit to the table in an hard work to stand out from the crowd.

Like

  • At ease and pleasurable to travel
  • Sound shopper tech

Don’t Like

  • Confined storage in both equally cabin and trunk
  • Negligible gas-economy adjust above 2020 design

The most noteworthy update for the 2021 Audi A4 is the addition of a 12-volt gentle-hybrid procedure, as very well as changing the foundation front-wheel-travel setup in favor of AWD throughout the board. Both the foundation 40 and the increased-output 45 variants get this improve, as very well as a smaller electrical power bump — not that either variation necessarily wanted it. My tester packs the beefier variation of Audi’s 2.-liter turbocharged I4, which now creates 261 horsepower and 273 pound-toes of torque.

The A4 45 could possibly not be a appropriate athletics sedan like the peppier S4, but holy heck, it can still scoot. Amongst the gentle-hybrid procedure and the engine’s own very low-down torque, this 4-doorway will leap off the line like a canine that just listened to the word “outside the house,” specially if I swap out of the normal Ease and comfort mode, which softens throttle response in order to emphasize easy, effective driving. The gentle-hybrid procedure does a terrific career in the qualifications, aiding lower the engine before in deceleration when starting it back again up smoothly. The seven-velocity computerized transmission is a little gradual to answer in certain predicaments, but normally it really is content to hold out powering the scenes. Light-weight steering and straightforward-to-modulate pedals further more increase the practical experience.

The EPA charges the 2021 A4 45 at 24 miles for each gallon town and 31 mpg highway, figures that I have no dilemma reaching, even in gross, wintry circumstances. The confounding detail is, while, the EPA charges the outgoing 2020 A4 with all-wheel travel at 32 mpg highway, so… where’s the gains from the gentle hybrid? Certain, the slight electrification provides positive aspects like extending quit-begin functioning, but according to the feds, that extra little bit of mechanical complexity is a clean.

The experience in my tester is a little on the harsh aspect, but that’s by layout. Not only does this motor vehicle contain 19-inch alloy wheels ($800), which boundaries tire sidewall sizing and inhibits undesirable-street mitigation, it also rocks a $250 sport suspension that would make sprightly driving a little bit extra participating by flattening out the dealing with. Those on the lookout for a extra ease and comfort-oriented experience will want to skip above these offers, but it isn’t going to go far too far in one way the practical experience is still sufficiently damped on excellent streets.

Even if you will not spec the much larger wheels, there are still ways to gussy up the 2021 Audi A4. This motor vehicle also carries the $five hundred Black Optic bundle, an affordably priced improve that ditches the exterior chrome in favor of gloss-black trim. The 2020 refresh did wonders for the A4, providing it a substantially fresher encounter that improved matches much larger choices like the A6 and A8. It is still on the anonymous aspect, but very low-crucial isn’t really a undesirable detail other than, there are still pleasurable prospers right here and there, like the miniature light clearly show that normally takes area in the matrix-style LED headlights (element of the major Prestige trim) each time I lock or unlock the motor vehicle.

The inside isn’t going to escape the upcharge opportunity, either. For $five hundred, Audi will toss in a flat-bottomed steering wheel, aluminum trim and sportier seats wrapped in leather and Alcantara suede. It is a sharp little blend that provides a astonishing quantity of visual oomph for not that substantially cash. The seats are supportive without the need of remaining restricted, and heated suede or cloth constantly feels improved to me in the winter season than chilly leather. You can find a good deal of house for my six-foot Gumby body up front, and the deficiency of a “sporty” lower roofline suggests the back again seats usually are not far too shabby, either, despite the fact that legroom is a little restricted.

My major criticism about the inside will involve storage house, or a deficiency thereof. The 12 cubic-foot trunk is extra than more than enough for one or two folks, but it lags powering competitors from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, even if it really is only by a little bit. The interior’s stowage selections are restricted, far too my tall-but-not-vast thermos has hassle fitting in the smaller cup holders without the need of smacking dashboard controls, and the doorway pockets usually are not vast more than enough to cope with it, either. The armrest folds up to reveal a smaller tray that’s excellent for little extra than a mask and a cellular phone, with the wi-fi charger using up most of that house.

The A4’s cabin is proof that basic interiors will not want to be uninteresting, necessarily.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

If the inside is excellent, the 2021 Audi A4’s cabin tech would make it terrific. All trims occur normal with a ten.1-inch touchscreen jogging the most up-to-date one-display iteration of Audi’s MMI infotainment procedure, which consists of wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Car. I had significant praise for the dual-display variation of this getup when it initially debuted, and the pared-back again variation right here isn’t going to scrimp on attributes, responsiveness or aesthetics. It boots up promptly, and it normally takes incredibly little time to get employed to. My Prestige-trim tester also athletics USB ports for the rear seats, in addition to the two up front. Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, which replaces the gauge cluster with a 12.three-inch display, arrives in the midtrim Premium Plus design, and as constantly, it lessens distraction by featuring up navigation, audio and other data just under my usual eye stage.

Audi made certain to load up the A4 with a good deal of its most up-to-date and best security systems, far too. Normal kit consists of forward-collision warning and computerized unexpected emergency braking, when transferring up to the Prestige trim throws most modern conveniences into the fray, these as adaptive cruise management, lane-preserving help, a bird’s-eye digital camera and parking sensors. Even though it really is a good deal straightforward to retain this compact sedan in between the traces, irrespective of whether on the highway or in your area CVS parking large amount, a little extra piece of head goes a lengthy way. Props to Audi for owning an amazing resolution on its backup digital camera, to boot.

Audi’s Google Earth overlay is constantly pleasurable to get missing in. Just, you know, not when you’re driving.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The 2021 Audi A4 begins out fairly cost-effective, with a foundation rate of $40,one hundred forty five, which isn’t really undesirable thinking about all that normal tech and now-normal all-wheel travel. Nevertheless, piling on the selections can make the window sticker foolish in a hurry. In vary-topping Prestige trim with a number of extra include-ons, my analysis design has lifted its out-the-doorway rate to $53,840, which is about a grand away from the rate of a foundation-design A6. But with two engine selections and a few trims, there is certainly sure to be a center ground that should really fit most buyers.

Trying to keep up with the Joneses is not straightforward in the compact-luxury-sedan segment, but the 2021 A4 is undertaking a terrific career of it. The BMW three Series was recently refreshed, and it strikes a appropriate balance in between comfortable and sporty, but I come across the company inside uninspired and lacking the good quality and refinement of the A4. The Mercedes-Benz C-Course is a damn good luxury motor vehicle, but its latest iteration feels a little powering the instances still, that would not be a dilemma in the in the vicinity of long term as an all-new generation is slated to debut for the 2022 design yr. The 2021 Audi A4 is in the right area at the right time with the right devices, resulting in a smaller luxury sedan that isn’t going to skip out on the crucial stuff.