New for 2015
The 2015 Audi A4 makes several features standard on all models (HID headlights, LED daytime running lights, and three-zone climate control), and changes the name of several option packages.
The Audi A4 and S4 represent the first step above the entry-level A3 and S3 sedans. The long-running A4 serves as the basis of the A5/S5/RS 5 coupe and drop-top variants.
The 2015 Audi A4 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 that makes 220 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, which drives the front wheels through a CVT, or optionally all-four through a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 24/32 mpg city/highway with the CVT and FWD or 22/25-26 mpg in AWD trim with the six or eight-speed. Stepping up to the S4 nets buyers a 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 325 lb-ft of torque and comes with a six-speed manual or an optional seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy 17-18/26-28 mpg, with the automatic getting the better ratings.
Though the A4 is nearing the end of its generation before being redesigned, the Audi still offers the features you’d expect in this class, including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, hands-free keyless entry, LED-accented headlights and LED taillights, leather/Alcantara seats, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.
The 2015 Audi A4/S4 received a five-star overall safety rating (the highest possible rating), and in IIHS testing received four ratings of good but one of poor in the new – and more difficult – small overlap front category (the highest possible rating is good).
What We Think
The 2015 Audi A4, and indeed the S4, is the Goldilocks of the German luxury sports car world. In an Editor’s Notebook Review of a 2013 Audi A4 Premium Plus, we said, “It’s not a track master but it also won’t fall all over itself when pushed. And, when you’re not hurling it into corners, it’s just as adept at carrying its occupants in comfort while puttering around town.”
The Audi S4 takes all of the balance that we liked in the A4, keeps it, and adds more power. One small point of confusion to clear up is the “T” in the 3.0T on the back of the S4: it doesn’t mean “turbocharged” as it does on the 2.0T, as the S4 is supercharged. In an Editor’s Notebook Review of a 2012 Audi S4 we noted, “The 3.0T is a perfect reminder of why turbo lag stinks. After driving so many recent turbocharged engines, getting into the supercharged S4 is like a flashback to better days. Throttle response is instant, just like it used to be. The clutch and shifter have the perfect amount of weighting (though the brake pedal, like so many in Audis, is really grabby).” The Audi S4 can be beaten on a track by the BMW 335i, but we’d prefer the Audi everywhere else. Our S4 complaints consist of a grabby brake pedal, a slightly off-center steering wheel and driver seat, and the subdued exhaust note compared with the V-8 of the last generation. The latest big problem will be the new A3, which overlaps engine options and will likely be cross-shopped.
- Good balance between luxury and sport
- No turbo lag in supercharged S4
- Reasonable fuel economy for luxury performance sedan
You Won’t Like
- Grabby brakes
- Exhaust note is muted
- New A3 boasts similar styling for less money
- BMW 3 Series
- Mercedes Benz C-Class
- Acura TLX
- Audi A3