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2021 Audi A4

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$39,100

starting MSRP

Key specs

Base trim shown

Sedan

Body style

27

Combined MPG

5

Seating capacity

187.5” x 55.3”

Dimensions

All-wheel drive

Drivetrain

Overview

The good:

  • Subtle, modern style
  • High-quality interior
  • High-tech feel
  • Brisk acceleration
  • Not 100% touch panels — yet
  • Newly standard all-wheel drive

The bad:

  • Tight backseat
  • Looks sporty, drives cushy
  • Pricey at the top end
  • No more manual transmission
  • Mild hybrid doesn’t improve mileage notably

8 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2021 Audi A4 trim comparison will help you decide.

See also: Find the best Sedans for 2024

Notable features

  • Five-seat compact luxury sports sedan
  • Choice of two turbocharged 2.0-liter engines
  • Standard mild-hybrid system
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
  • All-wheel drive standard
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto standard

2021 Audi A4 review: Our expert's take

By Aaron Bragman
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The verdict: Audi strikes a beautiful balance of sporty, luxurious and high-tech in the revised A4, delivering a satisfying compact sedan experience. 

Versus the competition: It’s not as athletic as competitors like the Alfa Romeo Giulia or BMW 3 Series, but the new A4 makes up in comfort what it lacks in edginess. It’s easily as quick as most of its competitors, offers similar technology and provides a luxury experience that outshines rivals from Acura, Infiniti and Lexus. 

There’s been a seemingly never-ending parade of new SUVs showing up in our testing queue lately. Everyone has a new ute to sell to an increasingly ravenous customer base that loves high-riding, family-friendly, cargo-hauling boxes — so when something comes along that’s the antithesis of that mindset, it’s deliciously refreshing. That’s what we have here with Audi’s latest A4. It got a decent refresh of its styling and content for the 2020 model year, and the 2021 model got even more tweaks and refinements. German luxury specialist Audi has delivered a beautifully balanced and fun-to-drive — but not overly sporty — compact sports sedan that reminds you just how much more satisfying a low-slung sports sedan is than even the most hairy-chested, overpowered SUV out there. 

Related: 2021 Audi Q5 Doesn’t Mess Much With a Good Thing

More, Greener Power

The news for the 2021 A4 primarily centers on a power upgrade. The car still offers two turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, but both now make more power and feature a standard 12-volt mild-hybrid system to boost efficiency. Both engines gain 13 horsepower, leaving the base A4 40 trim with 201 hp and the upgraded 45 trim with a healthier 261 hp. Torque remains unchanged at 236 pounds-feet in the base 40 model and 273 pounds-feet in the 45. Both engines mate only to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is newly standard for 2021. The manual transmission was discontinued a while ago, and now there are no more front-wheel-drive models, either.

audi a4 2021 04 exterior  front  gray  headlight jpg audi a4 2021 02 exterior  front  gray  grille  logo jpg audi a4 2021 05 badge  door  exterior  gray jpg audi a4 2021 01 angle  exterior  front  gray jpg audi a4 2021 06 angle  exterior  gray  rear jpg audi a4 2021 09 exterior  gray  rear  tailpipe jpg audi a4 2021 07 exterior  gray  rear  taillight jpg audi a4 2021 08 exterior  gray  rear  taillight jpg audi a4 2021 10 exterior  front wheel  gray jpg audi a4 2021 04 exterior  front  gray  headlight jpg audi a4 2021 02 exterior  front  gray  grille  logo jpg audi a4 2021 05 badge  door  exterior  gray jpg audi a4 2021 01 angle  exterior  front  gray jpg audi a4 2021 06 angle  exterior  gray  rear jpg audi a4 2021 09 exterior  gray  rear  tailpipe jpg audi a4 2021 07 exterior  gray  rear  taillight jpg audi a4 2021 08 exterior  gray  rear  taillight jpg audi a4 2021 10 exterior  front wheel  gray jpg

But you know what? I’m not even mad about it, because the A4 drives beautifully. The focus on balance is clearly apparent: The higher-spec engine I drove delivers ample, immediate thrust when called upon, and the automatic transmission is snappy and responsive. The car overall delivers a refined, poised driving experience that’s highly enjoyable. Its low seating position, tight handling and smooth yet communicative ride are all excellent reminders that, despite the usefulness of SUVs, they really aren’t made for enjoying the experience of driving. 

This A4 is a bit too soft to be truly sporty; steering feel is direct but notably muted, and the suspension allows a bit more lean and bump-soaking cushiness than you’ll find in a comparable BMW or Alfa Romeo. Still, it’s no marshmallow, with the kind of higher-speed highway stability you expect from a German luxury brand. Overall, there’s just enough communication from the car’s mechanical components to be entertaining, and just enough isolation to keep things luxurious and refined. 

Fuel economy for the 45 S Line version of the A4 is basically unchanged from 2020 despite the addition of the mild-hybrid system. It’s rated by the EPA at 24/31/27 mpg city/highway/combined — 1 mpg less on the highway than the 2020 AWD A4. If you opt for the base 2021 A4 with the less powerful engine, that’s estimated to net you a slightly better 25/34/28 mpg, but either way, the addition of standard AWD means there’ll be no getting the fuel economy of the FWD 2020 model, which rang in at 27/35/30 mpg. 

In a week of mixed-use driving, I averaged 26.5 mpg — pretty good given the spirited manner in which I often found myself driving the A4. By comparison, the higher-powered A4’s rating is mid-pack among AWD compact luxury sedans: The new 2021 Acura TLX A-Spec is rated an inferior 21/29/24 mpg, the 2021 BMW 330i xDrive a superior 25/34/28 mpg and the new 2021 Genesis G70 2.0T AWD a considerably worse 20/27/23 mpg. 

Still a Benchmark Interior — for Now

We’re worried about Audi’s trend toward replacing every switch in the cabin with touch-sensitive panels — something American automakers tried a few years ago that didn’t go over well. The panels take away tactile feel for buttons, making for a more distracting experience — especially given that, in many cases, the touch panels don’t operate perfectly, requiring you to focus extra attention on them to make sure the function you tried to select has actually been selected. I’m happy to say the latest update to the A4 hasn’t created a completely “glass cockpit” just yet; there are still dedicated climate-control buttons and knobs, for instance, unlike on some larger Audis, such as the A6 and A8. 

audi a4 2021 11 dashboard  front row  interior  steering wheel jpg audi a4 2021 12 dashboard  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 23 door  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 24 backseat  interior jpg audi a4 2021 11 dashboard  front row  interior  steering wheel jpg audi a4 2021 12 dashboard  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 23 door  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 24 backseat  interior jpg

The front and center touchscreen was updated for the 2020 model year, and as in many cars these days, it’s been artlessly pasted onto the dashboard like an afterthought — or a tablet in a dock. Thankfully, unlike the latest Mercedes-Benz products, the steering wheel does not employ touch-sensitive areas — something I never thought I’d need to say.

The overall interior experience in the A4 is as it ever was: chock full of top-quality materials, excellent design, comfortable seats and great visibility. It does feature a very low driving position, which takes some getting used to in an era when what’s left of the sedans out there feature ever more upright, high-sitting driving positions. Front-seat comfort is good, but backseat space is rather tight in terms of leg and headroom, as is common in the compact sedan class. 

As in other high-end luxury cars, you can adjust the interior ambient lighting from a calm, subtle glow all the way up to full-blast, “Tron”-style Lightcycle, depending on your taste and tolerance for such things. The digital gauge cluster is one of Audi’s better electronic features; the brand was one of the first to employ such technology across its range, and while it’s become a lot more common in competitors, Audi still makes sure it’s is one of the best out there with easy-to-read displays, an easy switch between display modes and an acceptable level of customization without information overload. 

audi a4 2021 18 center stack  climate control  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 19 controls  dashboard  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 21 center stack  front row  interior  start stop button  usb jpg audi a4 2021 15 center console  front row  gearshift  interior jpg audi a4 2021 20 center stack  controls  drive mode  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 17 center stack  climate control  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 25 backseat  climate control  interior jpg audi a4 2021 18 center stack  climate control  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 19 controls  dashboard  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 21 center stack  front row  interior  start stop button  usb jpg audi a4 2021 15 center console  front row  gearshift  interior jpg audi a4 2021 20 center stack  controls  drive mode  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 17 center stack  climate control  front row  interior jpg audi a4 2021 25 backseat  climate control  interior jpg

Cargo room isn’t the most important thing in a compact luxury sedan, but the A4 does all right here, too, with a 12-cubic-foot trunk, according to Audi. That’s more than the Genesis G70’s 10.5 cubic feet but less than the Acura TLX’s 13.5 cubic feet — and a lot less than the BMW 330i xDrive’s 17.0 cubic feet, though I suspect that figure may be a product of some sketchy measuring on BMW’s part. (This is why Cars.com has launched its own cargo-measuring effort, though we have yet to flesh out the A4’s class).

Premium Digs at a Premium Price

The latest Audi A4 is the typical premium Audi experience. My test vehicle was an S Line version, which brings a lot of the exterior styling elements of the S4 performance sedan into the A4 line, with a few spiffs on the inside, as well. As is typical with a German luxury sedan, though, you can always have more upgrades if you’d like to spend a little more money.

My test car also featured the S Line interior package, which brought leather and Alcantara seats, aluminum inlay trim and stainless-steel pedals. It also had a Black Optic Package for the exterior, which adds 18-inch black wheels, black exterior trim and all-season tires (or, as in the case of my test car, 19-inch wheels running summer tires thanks to a further Black Optic wheel upgrade). The grand total for my highly optioned A4 came to $53,840 (including destination). That’s a hefty sum for a compact luxury sedan, but it’s by no means out of line with what competitors charge for their offerings. 

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In the end, Audi’s mild updates for 2021 continue the A4’s long-standing tradition of style, technology and comfort, offered up at a competitive price. We can only hope the next generation doesn’t go to a complete “glass cockpit” look that eliminates hard buttons in favor of touch panels — but I’m not really all that hopeful. If anything, that impending possibility makes this model look more appealing than ever. 

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored-content departments.

Photo of Aaron Bragman
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman has had over 25 years of experience in the auto industry as a journalist, analyst, purchasing agent and program manager. Bragman grew up around his father’s classic Triumph sports cars (which were all sold and gone when he turned 16, much to his frustration) and comes from a Detroit family where cars put food on tables as much as smiles on faces. Today, he’s a member of the Automotive Press Association and the Midwest Automotive Media Association. His pronouns are he/him, but his adjectives are fat/sassy. Email Aaron Bragman

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior 5.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Exterior 4.8
  • Reliability 5.0
Write a review

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Exceptional!

The ‘21 A4 Premium Plus S Line is my third consecutive Audi ... love it! Quiet, powerful, safe and fast! This conveyance offers a great deal of wonderful, useful tech, too. It’s two tone interior is gorgeous. Love it!

5.0

Happy Steve

I used to lease a Mercedes C300, but the Audi A4 has better tech, is easier to use and a comparable ride. I am a happy customer!

5.0

Excellent Vehicle

So happy I extended the lease on my previous A4 to wait for the new 2021 A4s to come in. Except car both inside and out. Meticulous attention to detail and the new standard features in the 2021 A4 are incredible.

See all 4 consumer reviews

Safety

Based on the 2021 Audi A4 base trim.
Combined side rating front seat
5
Combined side rating rear seat
5
Frontal barrier crash rating driver
4
Frontal barrier crash rating passenger
4
Overall frontal barrier crash rating
4
Overall rating
5
Overall side crash rating
5
Rollover rating
5
Side barrier rating
5
Side barrier rating driver
5
Side barrier rating passenger rear seat
5
Side pole rating driver front seat
5

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Audi
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
144 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
48 months/50,000 miles
Hybrid electric
96 months/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
1 year or 20,000 miles (whichever occurs first)
Powertrain
N/A
Dealer certification required
125-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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