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#6

in Upscale Midsize Cars

MSRP: $33,800 - $49,500
Invoice: $31,434 - $46,037
MPG: 24 City / 32 Hwy
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Audi A4 Performance

Most critics agree that the base 2014 Audi A4’s balanced handling and refined engine make it an engaging and sporty choice. The A4 also achieves very good fuel economy for the class, while the enthusiast-focused S4 trim ups the performance ante.

  • "In all cases, the overall driving experience is nothing short of superb, with the blend of performance, handling, braking and ride comfort striking a balance that we feel is right on the money." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A4 is a true drivers' car. Despite the automaker's move to electric power steering, which can diminish steering feel, it is still nicely weighted and direct. A4 adeptly balances around-town maneuverability with sporty road manners." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The performance of both A4 and S4 models makes an enthusiast smile from start to finish." -- Road and Track (2013)
  • "The A4 Quattro still has the edge in inclement weather performance over the existing 3 Series with xDrive or C-Class 4Matic, but its rivals are very good pieces of work and gaining ground." -- Autoblog (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The front-wheel drive Audi A4 comes with a 220-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). All-wheel drive models get either a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. The EPA reports that the base A4 gets 24/32 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class.

The high-performance Audi S4 comes with a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that generates 333 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 325 pound-feet of torque at 2,900 rpm. Power is routed to the S4’s standard AWD through either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automated manual transmission. Audi says that the S4 has an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.

Most reviewers say that the base A4’s engine is very refined and has plenty of power for hustling through traffic and merging onto the highway. Test drivers say that the CVT is adequate, but most prefer the six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmissions available on the all-wheel drive models.

  • "The 2014 Audi A4's turbocharged four-cylinder may not be the most thrilling or aurally pleasing engine in the world, but it can still pin you to your seat when you put the gas pedal to the floor. Ample torque allows for quick bursts of acceleration around town and stress-free merging onto highways." -- Edmunds
  • "As for the powertrain choices behind the four, the CVT (continuously-variable automatic transmission) of the front-drive version is acceptable, but we much prefer either the 6-speed manual or the 8-speed Tiptronic automatic that are fitted to the quattro." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Stand on the gas and the A4 rockets toward redline with no sign of power running out until the car's rev limiter kicks in somewhere north of 6,000 rpm." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "The power comes on smoothly and continues right up to the red line without a stumble." -- Road and Track (2013)

Handling and Braking

The 2014 Audi A4 comes standard with front-wheel drive. Options include all-wheel drive and a sport-tuned suspension. The base Audi A4 pleases reviewers with its balance of ride comfort and agile handling. Buyers who care more about comfort than performance might want to avoid the optional sport-tuned suspension, because some critics say that it provides a harsher ride. Most reviewers say the steering system is accurate and well-weighted, which inspires confidence on the highway or a twisty road. Auto critics think the A4’s brakes are powerful and confidence-inspiring.

  • "Around turns, the A4 demonstrates a balanced and secure feel, but with a slight edge of athleticism that puts it on equal footing with the BMW 3 Series sedan. Likewise, it also maintains a high level of comfort." -- Edmunds
  • "The steering on the A4 is linear and nicely weighted; it feels similar to the steering on the new BMW 3-series, which is to say not overly talkative, but good nonetheless." -- Car and Driver (2013)
  • "The brakes work well and inspire confidence during intense corner-carving." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The sport suspension had a firm ride, with noticeable disruption over angled slabs of pavement and the like, but it soaked up expansion joints and small potholes well." -- Cars.com (2013)
Review Last Updated: 9/16/14

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