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2018 Audi A4 Overview
Audi’s bread and butter sedan, the A4, is now in its fifth generation, and it continues into 2018 without much in the way of changes. The most notable update is a new Black Optic Plus package that adds black and red trim to the interior and exterior, and several available features are now standard across the lineup. In addition to its perennial rivals the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the A4 contends with challengers like the Cadillac ATS and Jaguar XE, not to mention Japanese competitors from Lexus and Infiniti and even the new Alfa Romeo Giulia.
While more serious driving enthusiasts will be drawn to the sportier S4 and S5 models and those in colder climates or with more cargo needs will gravitate towards the A4 Allroad, the stock A4 is a peppy enough car on its own to keep most drivers happy. The base powertrain is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s good for 190 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque and is exclusively paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive (FWD). Also available is a 252-hp and 273 lb-ft version of the same turbo engine which comes with Quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) offers the option of a 6-speed manual gearbox. All 2018 A4s come with an automatic engine start/stop feature for sitting in traffic, and A4s with Quattro and the dual-clutch will manage fuel-economy figures of 24 mpg city, 33 highway, and 27 combined.
Audi’s latest version of its Quattro AWD system saves fuel by operating in FWD most of the time and only engaging the A4’s rear wheels when necessary, which shouldn’t be noticeable in day-to-day driving situations. Steering is by electric power assist, and the Audi Drive Select system offers several driving modes to adjust driving dynamics. Fans of twisty back roads will likely opt for the adaptive suspension, which can soften or stiffen the springs at the touch of a button. An available Sport package lowers the suspension by almost a full inch.
The inside of the A4 features an expectedly premium level of luxury fit and finish, although since the A4 is on the low end of the Audi totem pole, it’s not quite as extravagant as some other models. Leather upholstery is standard across the range, and for 2018, all models get heated front seats. Premium trims feature a 7.0-inch infotainment screen, tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth streaming audio, a power sunroof, and an S-line exterior appearance package. Premium Plus models add LED headlights, a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, keyless ignition, and a hands-free trunk release. Finally, Prestige trims get Audi’s virtual cockpit with a 12.3-inch screen in place of the conventional gauge cluster, a navigation system with an 8.3-inch screen, and a top-view camera. Standalone option packages include a Navigation and Telematics package with Audi virtual cockpit and a Sport package that adds bolstered sports seats in addition to lowering the suspension.
The Audi A4 is loaded not only with luxury features but with the latest safety equipment, as well. All trims comes standard with forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, and a reversing camera, while blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking are standard at the Premium Plus trim level. The Prestige further adds adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and automatic high beams. In crash tests, the current-generation model received Top Safety Pick+ status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association (NHTSA).
Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a Formula Vee. After receiving history degrees, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.
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