The A4 is a little bit of a looker, particularly with the sportier S Line lodging seen right here.

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When a purchaser first dips their toes into luxurious sedans, they have an inclination to begin small. Because of this, the compact-lux section requires automakers to place forth a stable effort so as to maintain these first-time patrons coming again for extra. To that finish, the 2021 Audi A4 brings a ton of equipment to the desk in an effort to face out from the gang.

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Snug and enjoyable to driveSolid shopper tech

Do not Like

Restricted storage in each cabin and trunkNegligible fuel-economy change over 2020 mannequin

Probably the most notable replace for the 2021 Audi A4 is the addition of a 12-volt mild-hybrid system, in addition to changing the bottom front-wheel-drive setup in favor of AWD throughout the board. Each the bottom 40 and the higher-output 45 variants obtain this improve, in addition to a small energy bump — not that both model essentially wanted it. My tester packs the beefier model of Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, which now produces 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.

The A4 45 won’t be a correct sports activities sedan just like the peppier S4, however holy heck, it might probably nonetheless scoot. Between the mild-hybrid system and the engine’s personal low-down torque, this four-door will leap off the road like a canine that simply heard the phrase “outdoors,” particularly if I swap out of the usual Consolation mode, which softens throttle response so as to spotlight clean, environment friendly driving. The mild-hybrid system does an ideal job within the background, serving to lower the engine earlier in deceleration whereas beginning it again up easily. The seven-speed computerized transmission is a little bit gradual to reply in sure conditions, however in any other case it is content material to hang around behind the scenes. Gentle steering and easy-to-modulate pedals additional improve the expertise.

The EPA charges the 2021 A4 45 at 24 miles per gallon metropolis and 31 mpg freeway, numbers that I’ve no downside attaining, even in gross, wintry circumstances. The confounding factor is, although, the EPA charges the outgoing 2020 A4 with all-wheel drive at 32 mpg freeway, so… the place’s the positive aspects from the gentle hybrid? Positive, the slight electrification provides advantages like extending stop-start working, however in keeping with the feds, that further little bit of mechanical complexity is a wash.

The experience in my tester is a little bit on the tough aspect, however that is by design. Not solely does this automobile embody 19-inch alloy wheels ($800), which limits tire sidewall measurement and inhibits bad-road mitigation, it additionally rocks a $250 sport suspension that makes sprightly driving a bit extra participating by flattening out the dealing with. These in search of a extra comfort-oriented experience will wish to skip over these packages, however it would not go too far in a single route; the expertise continues to be sufficiently damped on good roads.

Even should you do not spec the bigger wheels, there are nonetheless methods to gussy up the 2021 Audi A4. This automobile additionally carries the $500 Black Optic bundle, an affordably priced improve that ditches the outside chrome in favor of gloss-black trim. The 2020 refresh did wonders for the A4, giving it a a lot more energizing face that higher matches bigger choices just like the A6 and A8. It is nonetheless on the nameless aspect, however low-key is not a nasty factor; in addition to, there are nonetheless enjoyable prospers right here and there, just like the miniature mild present that takes place within the matrix-style LED headlights (a part of the highest Status trim) each time I lock or unlock the automobile.

The inside would not escape the upcharge potential, both. For $500, Audi will throw in a flat-bottomed steering wheel, aluminum trim and sportier seats wrapped in leather-based and Alcantara suede. It is a sharp little mixture that provides a stunning quantity of visible oomph for not that a lot cash. The seats are supportive with out being tight, and heated suede or material at all times feels higher to me within the winter than chilly leather-based. There’s loads of house for my six-foot Gumby body up entrance, and the dearth of a “sporty” lower roofline means the again seats aren’t too shabby, both, though legroom is a little bit tight.

My greatest grievance concerning the inside includes cupboard space, or a scarcity thereof. The 12 cubic-foot trunk is greater than sufficient for one or two individuals, however it lags behind rivals from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, even when it is solely by a bit. The inside’s stowage choices are restricted, too; my tall-but-not-wide thermos has hassle becoming within the small cup holders with out smacking dashboard controls, and the door pockets aren’t large sufficient to deal with it, both. The armrest folds as much as reveal a small tray that is good for little greater than a masks and a cellphone, with the wi-fi charger taking on most of that house.

The A4’s cabin is proof that straightforward interiors do not must be boring, essentially.

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If the inside is sweet, the 2021 Audi A4’s cabin tech makes it nice. All trims come normal with a ten.1-inch touchscreen operating the most recent single-screen iteration of Audi’s MMI infotainment system, which incorporates wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I had excessive reward for the dual-screen model of this getup when it first debuted, and the pared-back model right here would not scrimp on options, responsiveness or aesthetics. It boots up shortly, and it takes little or no time to get used to. My Status-trim tester additionally sports activities USB ports for the rear seats, along with the 2 up entrance. Audi’s Digital Cockpit, which replaces the gauge cluster with a 12.3-inch display, arrives within the midtrim Premium Plus mannequin, and as at all times, it reduces distraction by providing up navigation, audio and different data just under my standard eye degree.

Audi made certain to load up the A4 with loads of its newest and biggest security methods, too. Normal equipment contains forward-collision warning and computerized emergency braking, whereas shifting as much as the Status trim throws most fashionable conveniences into the fray, equivalent to adaptive cruise management, lane-keeping help, a chook’s-eye digital camera and parking sensors. Whereas it is a lot straightforward to maintain this compact sedan between the traces, whether or not on the freeway or in your native CVS car parking zone, a little bit further piece of thoughts goes a good distance. Props to Audi for having a formidable decision on its backup digital camera, as well.

Audi’s Google Earth overlay is at all times enjoyable to get misplaced in. Simply, you recognize, not when you’re driving.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The 2021 Audi A4 begins out fairly inexpensive, with a base worth of $40,145, which is not unhealthy contemplating all that normal tech and now-standard all-wheel drive. Nevertheless, piling on the choices could make the window sticker foolish in a rush. In range-topping Status trim with a number of further add-ons, my analysis mannequin has lifted its out-the-door worth to $53,840, which is a few grand away from the value of a base-model A6. However with two engine choices and three trims, there’s certain to be a center floor that ought to swimsuit most patrons.

Maintaining with the Joneses will not be straightforward within the compact-luxury-sedan section, however the 2021 A4 is doing an ideal job of it. The BMW 3 Collection was lately refreshed, and it strikes a correct stability between smooth and sporty, however I discover the company inside uninspired and missing the standard and refinement of the A4. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a rattling advantageous luxurious automobile, however its present iteration feels a little bit behind the instances; nonetheless, that will not be an issue within the close to future as an all-new technology is slated to debut for the 2022 mannequin yr. The 2021 Audi A4 is in the suitable place on the proper time with the suitable gear, leading to a small luxurious sedan that does not skip out on the necessary stuff.

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