Tom Crosby: 2017 Audi A4 makeover adds top safety aids

Tom Crosby

Tom Crosby

The Audi A4 sport sedan becomes a top model of safety technology for 2017 as part of a complete makeover that leaves the outside profile relatively unchanged but adds power under the hood and intuitive technology integration.

The Audi A4 has been the German company’s bestseller for four decades and should easily hold top dog status with this, the ninth generation of the A4.

And while the Environmental Protection Agency classifies the A4 as a compact luxury sedan, it feels and looks like a mid-size sedan with expanded and ample rear seating space and a classy, upscale new cabin design.

Six options or 20 percent of our tester’s price totaled a hefty $13,925 but included top notch safety features like adaptive cruise control, rear collision mitigation, emergency collision assist, lane assist, traffic sign recognition with a heads up display that blinks when going 10 or miles over the speed limit, cross traffic rear camera alerts and a turn-assist that warns when a car may be coming when you are turning left or opening a car door.

With the Prestige option package ours was top of the three trims and there is a more powerful Audi S4 model. A 3D 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, ventilated front sport seating and heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and window shades helped improve interior comfort.

The adaptive sports suspension (S-line) added the road feedback element that makes sporty driving fun, whether using the 7-speed automatic transmission or pulling manual transmission paddles. Precise and responsive handling with quattro (four-wheel drive) on the 18-inch- all-season tires generated additional driving joy. Four selections – comfort, auto, dynamic or individual mode – allow the Audi A4 to conform to your current driving mood.

Bigger and roomier than last year’s model, outside differences are a larger contoured trapezoidal grille and sharp sheet metal creases instead of rounded curves with a steady chrome beltline.

Inside the new cabin boosts elegance and impeccable fit and finish with typical Audi soft leather seats, grained plastic and tasteful aluminum trim matched with a uniquely functional 12.3-inch display behind the steering wheel. Using Audi’s highly praised Multi-Media Interface, smartphone integration and Audi Connect, the Internet is voice-accessed and drivers can voice commands to get traffic, Goggle map navigation, entertainment information or talk to Siri. Gauges shrink when gathering information or using the navigation system but graphics remain sharp and source retrieval is speedy.

BOTTOM LINE: Cutting edge safety whether for family or sport use with options.
LIKES: Comfort, safety aids, quiet, handling, power, intuitive technology.
DISLIKES: Options are pricey.

FACT FILE

AUDI A4 2.0T quattro S tronic 2017

Base price w/destination fee: $40,350 ($54,275 as tested).
Curb weight: 3,626 lbs.
Wheelbase: 111 inches.
Length: 186.1 inches.
Width: 72,5 inches.
Engine specs: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, turbo w/TFSI.
Horsepower: 252 hp at 5,000 rpm.
Torque: 273 lbs-ft. at 1,600 rpm.
Transmission: 7-speed S tronic automatic w/manual paddles.
EPA rating: 24 mpg city/32 mpg highway.
Range: 15.3-gallons, premium.
Performance: 0-60 in 5.7 seconds.

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.

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