B9 review

I rented the 2017 A4 from Audi on Demand for a road trip. Here are my thoughts and impressions. It’s a premium plus, sport package, with some of the driver aid features, 18" rotor wheels on all seasons, in phantom black with black interior on aluminum trim.

Overall, this car is a B8 taken to perfection. Rather than redesign everything, they drastically improved everything and took the platform to a new level. It’s some very subtle things, like narrowing the B pillar so you can see out the driver’s front left better. The mirrors have a less obtrusive shape from the driver’s seat and attach to the doors instead. They also have blind spot detectors that flash at you 3x if you signal when someone is driving next to you.

The steering wheel controls, leather and stitch are as nice as in Porsche or any more expensive Audi. There is a star key that lets you cycle comfort/dynamic/individual. You can also zoom/minimize the gauge pod size from small to large dials. And you can cycle left/right through map, entertainment, economy/range, compass, etc.

So the car has on board audi navigation, which is your best option. If you connect your iPhone to the center console wire, then Apple CarPlay becomes the active mode. The music, podcasts, audiobooks, audible integrations are awesome and very intuitive. The Apple Maps is a disaster that can’t reroute a trip when you go off course. None of the Apple stuff works if your internet connection drops for a few minutes. The beats1 apple music radio is cool to have in the car. I don’t know if there are apps like pandora.

The buttons in this car are fantastic. The cabin lights are capacitive touch, so putting your finger on them illuminates them. The AC buttons are also like this and you can slide across all 5 of them to see the 3 zone climate control modes. There are 8 radio preset soft touch buttons that you can glide your finger across to see what the presets are without looking down. Everything else has a satisfying click. The sunroof control is no longer a spin knob, and looks like the BMW switch for forward/back. There are like 6 buttons by the sunroof for cabin lights, SOS, some fixit wrench button, etc. Then 3 homelink buttons.

The steering rack is way too slow especially on center in comfort mode. I almost clipped someone pulling around in slow traffic. Dynamic mode fixes that. I think this car has sport dampers, which seem good. It’s a little bouncy in the back seat over bumps in the road. The adaptive suspension is supposed to be good but I think it is only on presitge.

The ride in this car is MB S class decibel level quiet and I believe it. Until you goose the throttle then you hear some 4 cylinder whine. The windshield seems to have the perfect rake where your periphery doesn’t see the headliner.

The B&O sound isn’t that impressive, and is likely not as good as what was in the B8 S4. But I haven’t adjusted the levels so maybe it is fine.

The headlights on this car are the base xenon but they look like LED. I think every bulb in the car is LED, right down to the cigarette lighters. The door sill has an aluminum S badge that is LED backlit. The doors have multi color LED strips on them, that light up red if a car is coming.

I like the digital cockpit a lot. Having maps in the driver display is awesome because you can zoom in to street level directions. The street labels in the map are super clear and most all streets are labeled with a karat. My only complaint is sometimes the current speed is small; HUD would solve this but I didn’t have that option. It is very easy to go 90 MPH on the highway and not realize it because it’s so quiet.

I thought this car was 8 speed ZF but it’s actually DSG. It’s programmed a lot like the A3 in 1st and 2nd. You don’t need to ever manually shift it. Small inputs from the right foot fire off invisible downshifts and power rolls on immediately. There is no waiting for power. This powertrain is completely adequate. The S4 would be overkill in a good way, if you just wanted stupid go power in your right foot and better sound. Even with 3 passengers and luggage the A4 moves, probably because the car is light and it was close to 300 ft/lb.