Those who say the sedan is dead haven’t driven a 2019 Audi A4. If they had, they’d understand not all 4-doors are created equal. Even in the luxury-performance space it occupies, the A4 excels over rivals with a sophisticated exterior, luxurious interior and some of the coolest high-tech advances on the market.
You'll Like The 2019 Audi A4 If...
Audi’s 2019 A4 and S4 sedans roll style, performance and technology into a car that is amazingly competent, reasonably priced and filled with features to delight the senses and make driving a joy. The A4’s available quattro all-wheel drive (AWD) improves traction on both dry and wet pavement without severely penalizing fuel economy.
You May Not Like The 2019 Audi A4 If...
Some may find the A4’s styling a bit too conservative, while other might find its engine options lacking in maximum horsepower. The Lincoln MKZ and Lexus ES both offer bigger back seats and the option of a hybrid engine, while the Genesis G70 offers more features for the money.
For 2019, front-wheel drive (FWD) is offered on all three grades, which drop the Ultra designation. Quattro models get new bumpers; a blind-spot monitor and rear emergency braking are added to the Convenience package, and wireless charging with signal boost is added to the Premium Plus trim. The S4 gains a base Premium trim, but regrettably all A4/S4s lose their manual-transmission option.
The A4/S4 interior is one of the nicest in this class. From its elegant design to its choice of materials, the A4 cockpit delights and pampers. High-tech features like the Virtual Cockpit further distance the A4 from lesser sedans, as does the excellent MMI interface that includes a touch pad for easier data entry. The standard seats are nicely equipped and supportive, but the available sport seats are suggested if you’re the kind who enjoys carving up tight turns. Rear-seat accommodations are not as generous as in a Lexus GS, and the driver’s right knee rests against hard plastic instead of a padded console.
The A4’s exterior remains traditionally “Audi conservative,” with brief sprinklings of bold design appearing at the front end, exhaust ports and wheels. Low and wide, the A4 has a menacing look that becomes all the more alluring in S4 trim. A range of optional wheels runs the gamut from standard 17-inchers to massive 19-inch rims optional on the Prestige Plus and Premium models. HID headlights and LED taillights come standard, with Prestige Plus and higher trims gaining full LED headlights.
If you could peel away the 2019 Audi A4/S4’s cool virtual gauge cluster, remove the adaptive cruise control and turn off the adjustable shock settings, you’d still have an amazingly fun performer. The A4’s steering is precise and perfectly weighted at all speeds, and the sophisticated suspension finds that happy place between a comfortable ride and adept handling. The high-output version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder puts every ounce of its 248 horsepower to good use. So good is this engine, that it can launch Audi’s 2019 A4 quattro sedan to 60 mph in just 5.7 seconds. In the 349-horsepower S4, a twin-scroll turbocharged V6 drops that time to a scant 4.4 seconds. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (8-speed on the S4) is a sheer joy in either manual or fully automatic mode, though we do miss the 6-speed manual from last year’s car. Opt for the S4 and you’ll gain access to an adaptive suspension with adjustable dampers that can be set to stiffen for improved cornering.
The base-model 2019 Audi A4 Premium has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $38,400. That figure is on the lower end of the price spectrum for this class, especially considering standard leather upholstery. The Premium Plus bumps the price up to around $43,900, while the Prestige lists for a cool $47,000. If you want quattro, you’ll have to add another $4,600 to the bottom line. Options will quickly push the price north, but even so that's not bad, and easily competitive with models like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS and Lexus IS. The S4 Premium starts around $51,200 and tops out closer to $66,000 for a fully loaded S4 Prestige. Historically, Audi A4/S4 resale values have generally trailed the Benz, BMW and Lexus, but surpassed Cadillac, Infiniti and Volvo. To find out what people in your area are paying, check out the KBB Fair Purchase Price.
Of course the 2019 Audi A4 comes nicely equipped. Standard issue on the base Premium includes 3-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather seating and a power sunroof. The MMI infotainment display is mounted high on the dash, with the rotary controller in front of the shifter. The Audi A4 also comes with collision-mitigation braking with pedestrian detection, keyless ignition, HID headlights with cool LED accents, a rearview camera, rain-sensing wipers and LED taillights above dual exhausts. Other standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, paddle shifters for the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, automatic start/stop to help conserve fuel at stoplights, and Audi's Drive Select adjustable drive modes.
We've talked the virtual cockpit to death, but it's standard on the Premium Plus and Prestige. Also available is a 7-inch infotainment screen, or an 8.2-inch version with navigation and the whole enchilada. A sport-suspension option lowers ride height about an inch and gives the A4 more bite in corners, and an available adaptive-damping suspension on the S4 lowers the car about a half-inch and adds different shock-absorber stiffness for Comfort, Normal and Sport settings. On Prestige models you get the full driver-assist suite including adaptive cruise control, active lane keeping and auto high beams. Stand-alone options include rear-passenger thorax side airbags, ventilated sport front seats and a 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Available on the Premium Plus and higher trims, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit creates a futuristic gauge cluster from a 12.3-inch TFT (thin-film transistor) display that will make you forget analog gauges ever existed. The screen can re-create analog gauges at full size, or minimize them to make room for a Google Earth satellite view of the road ahead. When engaged, the adaptive cruise control uses the maps to see upcoming curves or offramps and slow the vehicle.
ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL
The A4’s adaptive cruise control helps maintain a safe distance between it and the traffic ahead. The system can slow or speed up as traffic proceeds, and even bring the car to a complete stop. The Traffic Jam Assist feature provides gentle braking and steering assist at speed below 40 mph.
Under the Hood
There's only one engine size available for the 2019 Audi A4, but it comes in two flavors. With 2.0 liters of displacement, it puts out 188 horsepower on FWD trims and is connected to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that can be operated in normal "D," in sportier "S," or manually through the standard steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Quattro models have a more powerful 248-horsepower version of the 2.0-liter and can accelerate the A4 from a standstill to 60 mph in about 5.7 seconds. The S4 employs a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 good for 349 horsepower. This model comes standard with quattro AWD and an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (A4 FWD)
188 horsepower @ 4,200-6,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @1,450-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/34 mpg
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (A4 quattro)
248 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/34 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged V6 (S4)
349 horsepower @ 5,400-6,400 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 1,370-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg
Those who say the sedan is dead haven’t driven a 2019 Audi A4. If they had, they’d understand not all 4-doors are created equal. Even in the luxury-performance space it occupies, the A4 excels over rivals with a sophisticated exterior, luxurious interior and some of the coolest high-tech advances on the market. Toss in the A4’s excellent ride and handling abilities and you have a sedan that can run circles around not only the competition, but most small SUVs. Sure, a BMW 3 Series still cuts a meaner corner and a Lexus ES holds its value better, but in the end, the A4/S4 goes beyond mere transportation, making us remember why so many of us fall in love with cars in the first place.