2016 Audi A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro Review
The inherent goodness built into the Audi A4’s basic design makes it one of the most appealing D-segment sport-luxury sedans on the market no matter which trim level or option packages are chosen. My Premium Quattro tester proved this, providing excellent dynamic stability in a totally comfortable well-made, beautifully finished package.
Audi made its mark with innovation, being the first premium brand to promote the merits of all-wheel drive en masse to the point where Quattro is a near household name. The Ingolstadt-based company was also one of the first to embrace turbocharged four-cylinder power. In both areas, other luxury brands have now followed Audi’s AWD lead. For 2016, all A4 models get Audi’s direct-injection turbo 2.0 TFSI four making 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Our test drive substantiated Audi’s claim of “unparalleled traction and control” for all-wheel Quattro models. A4 showed that it’s a step above most rivals by effortlessly tracking straight and true at high speeds despite delivering better than average quietness and ride quality, yet it was amid tight, fast-paced corners that the A4 truly came alive. The inherent goodness built into the A4’s basic design makes it one of the most appealing D-segment sport-luxury sedans on the market no matter which trim level or option packages are chosen. My Premium Quattro tester proved this, providing excellent dynamic stability in a totally comfortable, well-made, beautifully finished package.
Style is an Audi trademark, not that they can enforce it by law. We’ve witnessed others copy some of its design elements over the years and rather than fight back the German brand takes it in stride. Of course, buyers know the difference between an imitator and the real deal, and Audi has never been about aping the latest trend. They’re an automaker that’s made its mark with innovation, being the first premium brand to promote the merits of all-wheel drive en masse to the point where Quattro is a near household name. All other luxury brands have now followed Audi’s AWD lead, while the Ingolstadt-based company was also one of the first to embrace turbocharged four-cylinder power, now another market mainstay.
On that note I suppose it could be said that Audi innovated the big grille era too. The A4’s hexagonal singleframe grille is large for sure, but it’s proportionally sized to this D-segment four-door fashion statement. S Line trim is standard kit, which means the grille gets glossy black slats and rungs, while the LED-enhanced projector headlamps at each side look beyond brilliant, if you don’t mind the hardly risqué or indecent double entendre. Some might grammatically misuse the term *racy *to describe the look, while the sharply detailed lower air splitter makes it look like the A4 is capable of much more than mere wordplay, the standard LED fogs seeming subtle in its midst. Ditto for my Premium trimmed tester’s spindle-thin 10-spoke optional alloys on 245/40R18 Pirelli Cinturato P7s, while the A4’s LED taillights look simple yet elegant above a lower rear valance with sporty twin chromed pipes poking through an even sportier open mesh grate. The A4 might not look new, but it definitely looks good.
It isn’t new, of course, this eighth-generation B8 A4 having been on the market since the 2009 model year after which it was given a mid-cycle update for 2013, and while some body styles have come and gone and V6 power relegated solely to supercharged S4 status, this four-door, turbocharged four-cylinder, automatic-equipped, Quattro AWD configuration has long been the most popular.
For 2016 all A4 models get Audi’s direct-injection turbo 2.0 TFSI four making 220 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Base models get a continuously variable transmission with front-wheel drive, and while a six-speed manual gearbox is also available I was handed the keys to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic version that’s actually the quickest of the three with a 6.2-second sprint to 60 mph compared to 6.4 for the manual and 6.6 for the CVT, while all three are speed-limited to 130 mph, although I never even attempted to validate this claim.
I did, however, substantiate Audi’s claim of “unparalleled traction and control” for all-wheel Quattro models, its speed-dependent electromechanical power steering, plus five-link double-wishbone front strut and trapezoidal link rear suspension setup combining for fabulous road-holding no matter the situation, ideal for making the most of the turbo four’s lively personality and eight-speed Tiptronic automatic’s smooth, precise gear changes. Over inner-city roads it was as comfortable as cars in the D-segment get, easy to maneuver in and out of traffic with good visibility all-round, and then out on the freeway it once again showed that it’s a step above most rivals by effortlessly tracking straight and true at high speeds despite delivering better than average quietness and ride quality, yet it was amid tight, fast-paced corners that the A4 truly came alive, its compliant suspension producing the same types of canyon carving reactions as harder sprung competitors, while unshaken and thoroughly comfortable over rougher patches.
The A4’s standard binders mean business too, incorporating the usual active safety gear as well as automatic disc wiping to ensure a clean surface for the best possible performance.
That FWD CVT equipped base model I mentioned earlier starts at $35,900 plus freight and dealer fees, while my $38,000 automatic with Quattro, priced $1,000 more than the manual with Quattro, gets the larger 18-inch rims and rubber I mentioned earlier if you’re willing to spend $1,800 for the Convenience Plus package that also adds proximity-sensing access and three-way heatable front seats, while standard kit with this model includes 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks expands on the 17.0 cubic-foot trunk. It’s a nicely finished cargo area too, with premium carpeting, quality sidewalls, and cool chromed metal tie-downs.
I’m not going to run through all of the A4’s standard features as the list is extensive, but some notable base Premium trim highlights include auto on/off Xenon plus headlights LED DLRs, LED fogs, LED taillights, aluminum trim around the side windows, rain-sensing wipers, aluminum doorsills, an electromechanical parking brake, beautiful aluminum inlays, leather upholstery sewn into a stylish seat pattern, powered front seats with four-way lumbar, tri-zone auto HVAC with simple rear controls, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a leather-wrapped shift knob, the large infotainment system noted earlier, with handy lower console controllers and a friendly interface I might add, great sounding 10-speaker audio with aux and USB plugs, satellite radio and Bluetooth audio streaming, a HomeLink garage door opener, a powered moonroof and more.
My upgraded loaner included the Convenience package I spoke of earlier, as well as the $2,100 MMI Navigation Plus package with a navigation system, voice recognition, Audi connect, the Audi music interface with iPod integration, a DVD player, and a much better looking color multi-information display ahead of the driver.
You can move up to $39,100 Premium Plus trim that makes everything from the Convenience package standard including the wheels, plus adds driver’s side memory, this change also allows the addition of more options such as three additional 18- and 19-inch alloys, one of which are 19-inch five-spoke titanium-finish alloys that come as part of a $1,500 Sport Plus package that also adds glossy black trim around the windows and a flat-bottomed sport steering wheel, but that choice also requires the addition of the $1,000 Sport package that includes a sport suspension, sport seats and more. An even racier S Line Competition Plus package can be added too, while additional items include a Bang & Olufsen audio system, auto-dimming side mirrors, Audi’s Parking System with always useful rear parking sonar plus a rearview camera, various electronic driving aids and more.
All said, while some of these upgrades enhance comfort and convenience and others transform the look of the car from classy four-door to track-ready slalom star, none goes very far in changing the way it drives. Certainly larger diameter wheels with a fatter contact patch give it a little more grip when pushed hard, while the upgraded adaptive suspension simultaneously enhances ride quality and handling.
Story credits: Trevor Hofmann, American Auto Press; Photo credits: Karen Tuggay, American Auto Press; Copyright: American Auto Press