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2015 Audi A4: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader January 2015

The 2015 Audi A4 may look a little different with its recently updated styling, but underneath, it's essentially the same A4 that went on sale back in 2009. There's one notable difference: Audi discontinued the optional V6 engine shortly after the current A4 debuted, so the 2015 A4 continues to offer just one engine, a turbocharged 4-cylinder.

Until recently, the 4-cylinder A4 was just fine. Now, other luxury brands have hopped on the turbo 4-cylinder bandwagon, and the A4's engine may be outgunned. Audi's 2.0T motor trails rival turbo 4-cylinders from BMW and Cadillac by a lot of horses, and its fuel economy isn't great, either. Also, Volkswagen's CC features a similar 2.0T engine at a steep discount.

Still, the A4 has a lot to offer. The optional quattro all-wheel-drive system makes the most of its 220 horsepower, and Audi has worked wonders with the A4's handling, which we think is close to being the leader of its class. Moreover, with its beautifully trimmed interior and unusually spacious back seat, the A4 is an exceptionally pleasant traveling companion. On longer trips, the 12.4-cu-ft. trunk seems bigger than the number suggests, providing ample room for luggage.

Despite the power shortage, we think the 2015 A4 is well worth a test drive. There's still more than enough about it to set it apart from the crowd.

What's New for 2015?

The A4 receives a few minor equipment changes. Most notably, it now has standard trizone climate control and S-line styling accents across the board. It also has a significantly higher base price, thanks to the arrival of the entry-level A3.

What We Like

Athletic handling; upscale interior; cool technology features; surprisingly roomy back seat

What We Don't

Mediocre engine; undesirable continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) in base model; standard front seats lack support

How Much?

$36,425-$43,825

Fuel Economy

Every A4 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that's rated at 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive and a CVT are standard. The optional quattro all-wheel-drive system brings a choice of a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy is 24 miles per gallon in the city and 32 mpg on the highway with the CVT, 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy with the manual transmission and 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy with the automatic.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 Audi A4 sedan is offered in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Note that these base prices are for the front-wheel-drive/CVT powertrain; opting for quattro all-wheel drive will run you a bit more.

The Premium ($36,425) comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, fog lights, a sunroof, leather upholstery (an unusual standard luxury in this class), 12-way power front seats, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, trizone automatic climate control (another unusual feature), the Multi Media Interface (MMI) system with a dash-mounted control knob, Bluetooth connectivity, a 10-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input, an SD card reader, satellite radio and iPod integration.

The Premium Plus ($38,525) adds 18-in alloy wheels, LED taillights, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry with push-button ignition, a 3-spoke steering wheel, driver memory functions and heated front seats.

The Prestige ($43,825) adds adaptive xenon headlamps, a blind spot monitoring system, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a color driver information display, rear door sunshades, MMI Plus with a console-mounted controller, a navigation system and a 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen audio system.

Some of the higher trims' features are available on lower trims as options. Other niceties, depending on the trim level, include adaptive cruise control and the Sport package, which adds a sport-tuned suspension, sport front seats, a black cloth headliner and (for automatic-transmission cars) shift paddles. Also included with the Sport package is the Drive Select system, which allows the driver to adjust the settings for steering, transmission (automatic models only) and throttle response.

Standard with MMI Plus is Audi connect, which employs a 3G data connection to integrate Google Maps into MMI Plus. Additional Audi connect features include Google search with voice-command functionality, real-time weather and travel information, and mobile Wi-Fi connectivity for up to eight devices.

Safety

The 2015 Audi A4 comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and six airbags (front, front-side, full-length side-curtain). Rear-side airbags are optional.

In government crash tests, the A4 received a perfect five stars overall, including five stars for both frontal and side impacts. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the A4 its highest rating of Good in every category except the new small-overlap front test, which has been a struggle for many cars thus far.

Behind the Wheel

The A4 has a sprightlier character than the rival 3 Series does. The steering wheel rims have thinner diameters, and the car generally feels lighter on its feet, even though the scales say otherwise. The base suspension calibration is fairly conservative by sport-sedan standards, however. We advise enthusiastic drivers to step up to the Sport package, which elevates the A4's handling to near class-leading status without compromising ride quality too much. It also adds superior sport front seats. On the highway, the A4 is a champ, tracking straight and true without vibration at any speed. The A4 has emerged as one of the top driver's cars in this segment, though the Audi's power deficit holds it back.

The front-wheel-drive-only CVT is kind of the A4's dirty secret. We found that this transmission is neither responsive nor particularly refined, and it seems to sap some of the engine's power. Although the quattro costs extra, it's well worth the upgrade. Both the 6-speed manual transmission and the 8-speed automatic are satisfying devices.

Other Cars to Consider

BMW 3 Series -- The 3 Series sedan boasts amazingly strong and efficient turbocharged engines, including both gas and diesel options.

Cadillac ATS -- Is there a new champion athlete in this segment? Cadillac thinks so with its Nurburgring-tuned ATS, but as an all-around package, the A4 still gives the Caddy a run for its money.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class -- The redesigned 2015 C-Class is a formidable competitor with its turbocharged engine lineup, sumptuous interior and "baby S-Class" styling.

AutoTrader's Advice

We suggest avoiding the front-wheel-drive A4 with the CVT. Instead, target the Premium Plus quattro with the Sport package. It's the best mix of luxury, performance and value.

Find an Audi A4 for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
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Certified 2015 Audi A4 2.0T Premium quattro Sedan
Certified 2015 Audi A4
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Used 2015 Audi A4 2.0T Premium quattro Sedan
Used 2015 Audi A4
$18,730
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Used 2015 Audi A4 2.0T Premium quattro Sedan
Used 2015 Audi A4
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Certified 2015 Audi A4 2.0T Premium quattro Sedan
Certified 2015 Audi A4
$21,530
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Audi A4: New Car Review - Autotrader