The fifth-generation Audi A4 is here, and it’s instantly recognizable as the four-ring brand’s bread and butter model. As we’ve come to expect from Audi redesigns, the 2017 Audi A4 takes an evolutionary step forward visually, with sharper but familiar styling that belies the technological advancements underneath.
The new A4 migrates to a new modular platform called MLBevo that is also used by the 2016 Audi Q7. As is the common refrain with new car debuts these days, the new A4 is both larger and lighter than its predecessor. A more extensive use of aluminum means that the new car weighs up to 264 lb less than its predecessor, depending on the powertrain. The new car is 1 inch longer, 0.6 inch wider, and has a 0.5-inch longer wheelbase than its predecessor, no doubt to increase the gap between the A4 and the entry-level A3 sedan.
The 2017 Audi A4 sedan has a more modern look than before, with sharper creases, more aggressive fascias, and taut, athletic proportions. Audi’s new singleframe grille design dominates the front end, flanked by angular headlights. A distinctive character line runs along the profile and tapers into the rear LED taillights, which stretch horizontally across the slightly rounded rear decklid.
A more dramatic change is in store for the interior, which adopts Audi’s new, innovative MMI infotainment design. The A4 still has a central dash-mounted screen, but migrates many functions to a large, full-color LCD screen in the instrument cluster. Audi says the new voice-command system can recognize more conversational prompts, and there’s an updated MMI controller with a touchpad.
The full list of European-spec powertrains includes everything from a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder all the way up to a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6. The most likely choice for the U.S.-market car is the high-output version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which now makes 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Front-wheel drive should be standard in our market, with Quattro all-wheel drive available as an option. A higher-performance Audi S4 is likely to return, possibly with an updated version of the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine that makes 333 hp in the current S4.
A less powerful, 190-hp version of the 2.0T provides the European equivalent of up to 49 mpg, but Audi says that even the 252-hp engine will significantly improve on the current A4’s EPA numbers of 22/31 mpg city/highway for the Quattro model. Audi may also bring a 2.0 TDI diesel variant of the new A4 to our shores, as this 150-hp engine is already available in the U.S.-market Audi A3 TDI, and the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class now offer diesel models here.
What we probably won’t see in the U.S. is the practical and stylish 2017 Audi A4 Avant. This new wagon variant offers up to 69 cubic feet of cargo space, but Audi has not offered a standard wagon in the States for a few years now. Instead, what we will get is a redesigned version of the Audi Allroad, which is essentially an A4 Avant with a slightly higher ride height and some extra body cladding. Look for the Allroad to debut within the next few months, likely around the same time we see the next version of the Audi A5 coupe.
We don’t yet have details on the Audi A4’s U.S. arrival, but the new sedan should go on sale on our shores sometime in 2016. Look for more information about the U.S. version of the sedan, including pricing and official powertrain details, over the coming months.