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2016 Audi A4 Overview

Nobody builds a better executive sedan than Audi. A select few automakers can be considered Audi’s equal, but the A4 midsize sedan defines the executive sedan more than any other vehicle.

The A4 is due for a major refresh in 2016. The exterior will evolve, the interior will change, and it will include some new drivetrain offerings. Inside, however, may be where the most noticeable changes occur. We've seen spy photos of the new 2016 Audi A4, and the dash will follow the trend of putting the infotainment screen on top of the now more horizontally flat dash, rather than recessed into a vertical center cluster. Many like this look, and we're certain Audi has polled its serious owners and fans to be sure this is what they prefer.

Audi announced that it will make multi-function steering-wheel controls standard going forward and that the 3-spoke wheel will continue. We have seen some early photos of the center console, and there appear to be changes coming there as well. Audi is shuffling the infotainment rotary mouse and gear-selector positions. This bumps the small audio volume and on-off control a bit further from the rotary knob, which—thankfully—is still present. We love that little audio knob.

The exterior of the 2015 Audi A4 will not be dramatically different from the prior few years. If one were to look at how Audi’s designs have evolved in time-lapse, it would appear as if each car was being stepped on by an invisible giant. The styling makes the cars seem lower, flatter, and wider. Also, the rear seems to droop at the edges. The look is excellent, and Audi is not going to make dramatic moves. Somehow, Audi seems to keep its sedans looking classy and modern, despite this lack of dramatic changes. Expect a more vertical and pronounced front air dam and for the headlights to be sharper in appearance.

As this is written, Audi is advertising the outgoing 2015 sedan with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine making 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, the latter figure being available from just 1,500 RPMs. Audi seems intent on either making its gasoline engines feel and act like its diesels, or perhaps the company is striving for a single universal feel. If the trend holds, we expect that Audi will use a new 2.0-liter (or slightly smaller) gasoline engine in the A4 as the base engine. It will have more torque and will bump fuel economy a bit from the 27 mpg the current front-wheel-drive car gets.

We would also expect that for 2016 Audi will offer a diesel A4. It will have torque aplenty and will get amazing highway mileage. That does not help Audi get any closer to California’s zero-emissions and partial-zero-emission mandates, so don’t be surprised if the e-tron plug-in hybrid powertrain of the A3 is adopted for some version of the A4 as well. Audi needs to move toward electric offerings, and the e-tron drivetrain is the next rung up that green ladder.

Audi uses a form of continuously variable automatic transmission in the A4, and it's hard to imagine the company moving away from that for 2016. The fuel economy advantages are just too great to ignore. So that will most likely be the automatic transmission, and a 6-speed manual will also be offered in some configurations. Quattro all-wheel drive is for sure an option that will continue.

Expect an Avant wagon and sportier S4 to continue to be part of the family as well. Concerning safety, anything less than an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus would be a shock. That rating should be valid for all trims equipped with forward collision prevention.


John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. In the early 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric race car from scratch. In addition to his work at CarGurus, John covers automotive news at Torque News and GM-trucks.com and is a contributor to CarTalk and BestRide. Aside from all things automotive, John loves fishing and hockey, preferably in the company of his two boys.

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