The 2019 Audi A4 continues to make buyers think outside the crossover box through the sheer force of its brilliance. When premium compact sedans are this stylish, this refined, this well equipped and this spacious, the ubiquitous crossover starts to look much less alluring.
For a premium compact sedan, the 2019 A4 is not so compact. Audi’s mainstay seller has grown over the generations, culminating in this version (that debuted for the 2017 model year) and has sufficient space for adults to be comfortable in the rear seats.
Audi’s design department has once again indulged in its taste for sparse elegance. Nothing looks out of proportion or out of place. It’s a subtle skill and deceptively difficult to pull off. That seems to be the A4’s defining characteristic — undeniably classy without being ostentatious.
The A4 is a top choice in its class. There’s also a more performance-oriented 2019 S4, which is reviewed separately. A crossover/wagon, the A4 Allroad, has its own review as well.
What’s New for 2019?
All 2019 A4 models have a new exhaust system with trapezoid-shaped tailpipes, along with a pair of USB ports for rear passengers. Versions with all-wheel drive receive new bumpers at both ends. An updated Convenience options package now includes blind spot monitoring and rear collision mitigation. Premium Plus trim acquires wireless charging and a signal booster. The option of a 6-speed manual transmission has been discontinued.
What We Like
Precise styling, fresh technology, adult-friendly space in the back, ride quality, cabin.
What We Don’t
Not the sharpest handler in its class.
$38,395 to $47,195
The A4 in Ultra form has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine developing 190 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. It’s linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual (think of it as an automatic) with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and drives just the front wheels.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), estimates fuel consumption at a fairly impressive 27 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg in combined driving.
The “regular” A4 has the same engine, with output boosted to 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. It also has the same automatic transmission. AWD is standard with this engine and fuel consumption is 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined.
Both versions of the engine have a stop/start function to save a little gas when idling.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Audi A4 2.0T comes in Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. The economy minded Ultra setup is available in all trims and that’s where our starting prices are based. It costs an extra $4,600 for the more powerful engine, but that also brings AWD into the deal.
The Premium ($38,395) starts out with 17-in alloy wheels, push-button start, a sunroof, leather seating surfaces, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated/8-way power-adjustable front seats (plus 4-way lumbar adjustment in the driver’s seat), a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, power windows, ambient LED cabin lighting, drive mode selection, automatic xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, a self-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, a 7-in display, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, two USB ports, two SD card slots and a 10-speaker sound system.
This trim level is eligible for an optional Convenience package that bundles together blind spot monitoring, rear-collision mitigation, memory settings for the driver’s seat, a trip computer, an alarm, keyless entry/ignition, satellite radio and heated/self-dimming/power-folding side mirrors. This is pretty much an essential extra.
The Premium Plus ($43,895) has all the above as standard, plus LED headlights, a hands-free trunk lid release, two rear USB ports, wireless charging, a Bang & Olufsen 19-speaker/755-watt “3D” sound system, parking sensors at both ends and 18-in alloy wheels.
At this point in the pecking order, the Virtual Cockpit — a configurable 12.3-in display taking the place of conventional dials — may be ordered, along with navigation, an 8.3-in upgraded center screen, voice control/handwriting recognition and Wi-Fi.
The Prestige ($47,195) enjoys everything mentioned so far, plus a 360-degree camera system, a powered sunroof, HD radio, a head-up display, active lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with automatic stop and go, traffic sign recognition, automatic high beams, heated front seats, leatherette-covered center console/door armrests and dual-pane acoustic glass for the front side windows.
Other options include a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, rear side airbags, summer tires, adaptive air suspension and AWD.
Trunk space is 13 cu ft. The A4’s compatriots offer the same amount, which is good for about three sets of golf clubs.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given the A4 the full five stars overall. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has bestowed the accolade of Top Safety Pick Plus after acing all major categories.
Standard safety equipment includes forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, as well as the usual mandatory features such as anti-lock brakes, traction control and an array of airbags.
Behind the Wheel
The A4 feels neutral, responsive and sprightly. At least when it has 252 hp to play with.
The Virtual Cockpit can show regular information like road and engine speeds, but it can also bring the navigation feature right in front of the driver instead of keeping it over to one side. It’s easy to use and worth having if the budget allows. This full-color feature was a major factor in Autotrader’s decision to mention the A4 in our list of 10 Best Car Interiors Under $50,000 (2017). The cabin space and quality of materials in all the trim levels are impressive.
If there’s one gripe, it’s that the steering — although precise and substantial — isn’t quite as tactile as we’d like. But it’s only apparent because the rest of the car is so good, especially in its ability to blend comfort with control.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Acura TLX — Comes with many advanced driver aids as standard, along with plenty of other features. Excellent build quality and reliability as well.
2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia — Wonderful to drive, beautiful to look at.
2019 BMW 3 Series — A new generation debuts for 2019 and all the grumpy enthusiasts who thought the outgoing model was too luxurious and insufficiently sporty are going to be happy once again.
2019 Genesis G70 — All-new for 2019 and far more convincing as a credible alternative to well-established rivals than its larger siblings. Lots of equipment for the money as well.
2019 Jaguar XE — Glorious ride quality, arguably handsome styling. But let down by an unremarkable cabin.
2019 Lexus IS — Superb construction, calm ride, so-so interior, so-so handling abilities, and arguably odd styling.
Used Audi A6 — Not as tech-rich as a new A4, but comes with refined manners, a gorgeous and spacious interior, and an exterior design that’s standing the test of time. Check out Audi’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.
Our ideal starting point would be the Premium Plus trim, with the more powerful engine and all-wheel drive. Then add as many driver aids as possible, along with the Virtual Cockpit.