If a nice-driving, well-equipped, and handsomely styled luxury sedan is what you're after, make sure the 2020 Audi A4 is on your shopping list.
This tech-forward ride offers all of the most popular features, including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, driver-assistance features, onboard Wi-Fi, and a digital gauge display, although some are optional extras.
The A4 feels more like a smartphone or tablet than rivals such as the BMW 3-Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but that's not saying this Audi doesn't have the moves of a sports sedan.
Buyers can choose from one of two turbocharged four-cylinder engines and can have either front- or all-wheel drive; both power-trains offer competitive fuel economy and the more powerful of the two engines offers good accelerative punch.
Audi's bread-and-butter sports sedan receives a visual refresh for 2020, with updated exterior styling including new front and rear bumpers, tweaks to the grille and lighting elements, and new wheel designs.
A new, larger 10.1-inch infotainment display is standard across the range and replaces last year's standard 7.0- and optional 8.3-inch units.
In addition to the new looks and better tech, the A4 also receives more standard equipment, such as a power sunroof, a three-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles, heated front seats with power-adjustments for the driver, three-zone automatic climate control, and ambient interior lighting.
We'd suggest the mid-range Premium Plus model and we'd opt for all-wheel drive since it unlocks the more powerful 248-hp turbo four-cylinder.
Going with the Premium Plus versus the base Premium model adds parking sensors, rear-seat USB charging ports, a wireless smartphone-charging pad, a memory driver's seat, SiriusXM satellite radio, blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry with push-button start, and the Virtual Cockpit reconfigurable digital gauge display.
While some competitors offer myriad engine choices, including hybrids and diesels, Audi keeps it simple: a 248-hp turbocharged four-cylinder and a less powerful, more fuel-efficient version of that engine called the Ultra, which makes 188 horsepower.
A seven-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and Audi's famous Quattro all-wheel-drive system is optional.
In the A4 2.0T Quattro Prestige, the power-train works splendidly, providing class-leading acceleration (5.2 seconds from zero to 60 mph) and smooth power delivery.
Precise steering, well-controlled body motions, and great road-holding ability combine to make the A4 a sharp handler.
Usually, cars with such deft responses require sacrifices in ride quality, but the A4 still manages to soak up bumpy roads with aplomb.
Steering feel, so important in a sedan with sporting overtones, is subdued at lower speeds and on the highway. However, almost as if by magic, the steering becomes pleasantly communicative when you push the car on twisty roads.
The EPA estimates the front-wheel-drive 2020 A4 will earn 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The latter number increases by 1 mpg from the previous model year when the Audi was rated at 34 mpg highway.
The 2020 A4 with Quattro all-wheel-drive is rated at 24 mpg city and 32 highway. Again, these figures are different from the previous model year when the Audi was rated at 23 and 34 mpg, respectively.
While we haven't tested a 2020 A4 on our real-world highway fuel-economy route, the last A4 Quattro we evaluated returned 37 mpg during that test.
The A4's modern-looking cabin does a good job of balancing form and function with high-quality materials and easily accessible technology features.
As in most Audis, the dashboard design is clean and simplistic—almost like a piece of modern art. Most of the A4's buttons and switches are right where you want them to be and feel substantial when you use them.
The rear seat is among the most spacious in its class and features nicely shaped cushions. As with many of the sedans in the entry-luxury class, the A4 is accommodating but not capacious; choose the A4 All-road wagon if you need more plentiful cargo space.
The A4's back seat does fold in a useful 40/20/40 split, making it easy to accommodate longer items such as skis. We managed to cram five carry-on suitcases in the trunk but were disappointed by the A4's small storage bins and cubbies.
The A4's infotainment system consists of a 10.1-inch center screen that's controlled by a rotary knob on the center console. Features are generous and include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, Bluetooth, two USB ports, and voice command.
Navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, and in-car Wi-Fi are included in various option packages, as is a more powerful Bang & Olufsen audio system with 19 speakers. A cool digital gauge display that Audi calls Virtual Cockpit is optional and highly recommended.
The A4 achieves top-notch crash-test ratings - five stars from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and Top Safety Pick accolades from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - but many driver-assistance features are limited to costly upper trim levels.
Other features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control, however, are only available as options on the pricier Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels.
Key safety features include:
Standard automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning
Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode