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2021 Audi A4: 5 Things We Like (and 4 Not So Much)

2021 Audi A4 grille 2021 Audi A4 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

As the nation’s ongoing SUV infatuation borders on cliche (again), driving a compact luxury sports sedan might be one of the most punk rock things a car buyer can do. To that end, the updated and upgraded 2021 Audi A4 may just be the GG Allin of the class, rocking mild-hybrid-amped acceleration, tastefully muted handling, generous onboard tech and luxe cabin appointments. Oi!

Related: 2021 Audi A4 Review: Premium Vibes, Premium Price

In his comprehensive critique of the A4, Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman indicates that the Audi sedan’s emphasis on sophistication over sportiness could have you addressing its leading European rival as “BMW 3 Series who?” (And maybe even exhibiting similar indifference toward the BMW X3 SUV.)

“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,” Bragman writes in his review.

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For Bragman’s full take, check out his review via the related link above. But for a rapid-fire rundown of the A4’s pros and cons, keep reading.

Here are five things we’re in the tank for, and four things we’re saying no tanks to, about the 2021 Audi A4:

Things We Like

1. Easy on the Eyes

2021 Audi A4 2021 Audi A4 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Audi’s emphasis on elegance over opulence serves its classy-looking cars well, and the new A4 is no exception though it is exceptional. The design of our test car was nicely embellished by the performance cues of the Audi S4, which come courtesy of the S Line exterior package.

2. Interior Appointments

2021 Audi A4 dashboard 2021 Audi A4 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

The A4’s driving position may be low, but much else in the cabin can be described as “high”: high quality, high luxury, high style, high comfort, highbrow. Ambient interior lighting and Audi’s user-friendly digital gauge cluster round out the high marks.

3. Accelerate and Ye Shall Receive

Both of the A4’s available 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines get power upgrades for 2021, aided by a new 12-volt mild-hybrid system that ups the base 40 model’s horsepower to 201 hp and the 45 model’s to 261 hp, an increase of 13 hp apiece over the previous versions.These gains add up to abundant, responsive power that pours on as called for via the eager seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

4. Not too Touchy

2021 Audi A4 touchscreen 2021 Audi A4 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

Mercifully, the A4 continues to steer clear of the all-too-common overuse of touch-sensitive control panels. It instead retains tactilely satisfying, distraction-reducing buttons and knobs for major functions, while similarly sparing us the annoyance of steering-wheel-mounted touch controls. 

5. A4’s on All Fours

The bad news: You won’t be able to get the gas mileage of the 2020 A4, no matter which trim level you buy. The good news: That’s because all-wheel drive is now standard across the lineup, which we think you’ll find worth the fuel economy penalty.

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Things We Don’t

1. Better Call Shotgun

2021 Audi A4 backseat 2021 Audi A4 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

If you’re shopping for a luxury compact sports sedan, a snug backseat kinda comes with the territory. So just don’t expect the A4 to work any miracles on the headroom and legroom in the front and back.

2. You’re Gonna Pay for That

Our test car also featured leather and Alcantara seats, aluminum inlay trim and stainless-steel pedals, as well as 18-inch black wheels, black exterior trim and more. All those options brought our A4 to $53,840, including a destination charge a large sum for a compact car.

3. Manual MIA


The seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is actually pretty great, but if rowing your own gears is on your list of non-negotiables, it’s time to shove off and chart a course elsewhere, ’cuz the manual is no more.

4. Mild Hybrid, Minimal MPG Impact

2021 Audi A4 2021 Audi A4 | Cars.com photo by Aaron Bragman

The A4’s new mild-hybrid powertrain component is really there to boost performance, not efficiency. So don’t let the smooth taste fool ya.

Related Video: 2019 Audi Q3 Review

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.

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