2022 Audi A4 S, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2022 Audi A4 S Line First Test: A Fast, Flawed Sport Sedan
Audi’s A4 S Line is good fun, but not every luxury buyer will love it.
- Feels powerful and quick
- Functional and understated interior design
- Killer audio system
- Firm ride
- Glitchy and inconsistent tech
- Lesser mild hybrid setup
An exceptional sport sedan can be your everything. Everyday commuter, long-haul road tripper, airport taxi, canyon carver. The latest-generation Audi A4 was introduced for 2017 and got a midcycle refresh for 2020; as it sits this year, the German automaker’s podium-ranked sport sedan is quite good but not exceptional. We tested a 2022 Audi A4 S Line to break it all down.
Not Your Average Audi
Audis are known as the subtle, under-the-radar choice in the luxury compact segment, compared to more ostentatious options like an extravagantly styled Alfa Romeo Giulia or a tail-happy BMW 3 Series. Our test car was not the dark gray, black interior, fade-to-the-background Audi that usually comes to mind.
Instead of a grayscale bankermobile, the 2022 Audi A4 S Line that arrived in our test fleet was ticket-me Tango Red Metallic and featured a Black Optic Plus package. The latter decked out the badging, side mirrors, grille, rocker panel detail, and front and rear bumper trim in high-gloss black. The package also adds red brake calipers, unique interior trim, and a knockout set of 19-inch five-spoke wheels that look straight off a previous-generation Audi S4. If you want a luxury car that blends in, this version of the A4 isn’t it.
Don’t worry about the styling being too over the top; there’s enough go to match all the show. Our Audi A4 S Line test example was fitted with the more powerful of the A4’s 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 options (badged A4 45 TFSI), producing 261 hp (more on that later) and 273 lb-ft of torque delivered to all four wheels with help from a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and Quattro all-wheel drive.
Opting for the more powerful engine buys the Audi S Line package, similar to what BMW would supply with its M Sport offerings. In the A4, it means a 0.9-inch-lower sport suspension, ventilated disc brakes with larger rotors, larger and wider wheels, and illuminated aluminum door sills. Think of the A4 S-Line as a would-be four-cylinder S4.
How Quick Is An Audi A4?
For a sport sedan lacking M, RS, or AMG badges, the 2022 Audi A4 S Line is legitimately quick. In our testing, the A4 S-Line reached 60 mph in 5.2 seconds on its way to a 14.0-second quarter mile at 98.8 mph.
Based on the test figures and our on-road driving impressions, we wager this engine makes more than its claimed 261 hp. Two direct competitors, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti and Cadillac CT4-V, squirted to 60 mph in 5.2 and 5.1 seconds, but those cars produced 280 and 325 hp, respectively. They both weigh within 100 pounds of the A4 S Line.
This Audi is a clear outlier, but that said, our test drivers said the A4’s engine didn’t feel as gutsy as the 300-hp four-cylinder found in the Volkswagen Arteon we tested on the same day.
However, the test car did not drive like a standard A4. The S Line’s larger ventilated brake rotors and the summer tires that came with the optional 19-inch wheels paid off, too, keeping the chassis stable under hard braking and capable of stopping from 60 mph in 111 feet—surprisingly good for a non-S4.
The transmission was reluctant to downshift around our figure-eight course, even using the paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel, which dulled the car’s thrust response significantly. Brakes were easy to modulate and turn-in was solid; the steering was notably precise, if slightly numb.
As for the numbers, the A4 S Line completed its figure-eight lap in 25.9 seconds at 0.70 average g. Those figures slightly trail the Alfa’s 25.7-second lap at 0.71 average g, but the A4 took a narrow victory on the skidpad at 0.92 g compared to the Giulia’s 0.91.
Living With The Audi A4
Treating the 2022 Audi A4 S Line the way an owner might, the car has notable strengths and room for improvements. First, the interior. This cabin is outstanding and full of tech, minimalist but not barren, and a showcase of the build quality Audi is famous for.
Among our favorite details is the shifter, a beefy thing that fills your palm just right. We also have praise for the controls’ layout. Where higher-end Audis utilize a secondary touchscreen for climate controls, the A4 offers elegant physical buttons and switches that are easy to operate while keeping your eyes on the road. Little details like a frameless rearview mirror elevate the A4 above range-topping trims from sub-luxury brands.
A special shout-out to the volume knob just to the right of the shifter; more recently redesigned Audis swapped this setup for a quarter-sized touchpad you must approach like a DJ scratching a tiny record. We’ll take a physical rotating knob any day, especially if it controls the A4’s outstanding 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio. The system is every bit as rich and powerful as buyers fantasize about when they debate shelling out for an optional premium setup. Lower frequencies at high volumes excited a light rattle from the driver’s side door panel, but we chalk that up more to the wattage sent to those speakers than the A4’s otherwise seemingly stellar build quality.
The back seat isn’t so bad, either. Sitting behind my own driving position at 6-foot-1, I still had a couple inches between my knees and the seat back, though my head was firmly against the headliner. There is zero downgrade in material quality, though, which is to say the leather upholstery is fitting of a luxury sedan. The cupholder design in the fold-down center armrest is clever but will struggle to accommodate American-sized soft drinks.
The 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system is the same unit you see in a six-figure Audi S8, and although the layout is intuitive and the display quick to respond, this is one area where the A4 could use work. There’s no anchor point for your thumb to aid more accurate touch inputs, but that was the least of our issues.
Numerous times upon starting, the screen would pop up mostly blank as if it had been tripped up loading an asset. Tapping one of the menu icons to the left returned the system to its normal operations. We also had issues with Bluetooth and wireless Apple CarPlay pairing; each took multiple attempts. Especially compared to the multimedia systems in the Tesla Model 3 and new Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the A4 infotainment doesn’t look as impressive, either.
Driving the 2022 Audi A4 S Line was less frustrating. This powertrain is more than capable of scooting the A4 around with alacrity, and as we mentioned, we wouldn’t be surprised to find it makes an extra 50 hp or so. The steering has purposeful weight, if little feel, and though the brakes are a little grabby, after an adjustment period by the driver they’re easy to modulate and trustworthy in an emergency.
Two other notes. First, this is an older version of Audi’s 2.0-liter turbo-four, and although it gained a mild hybrid system for the 2021 model year, it’s a 12-volt system rather than the 48-volt setup in newer Audis. (Remember, the most recent A4 redesign occurred for the 2017 model year.) If the new system is jalapeno, the A4’s is bell pepper.
The most notable consequence here relates to low-speed behavior. Audi’s auto stop-start system is imperceptible in the new-for-2022 Audi A3 but sends a rumble reverberating through the A4’s body. And the A4’s dual-clutch gearbox can fumble while creeping along in traffic, which isn’t an issue when a more powerful hybrid system can ease you along.
Second, in S Line trim with our test car’s sweet-looking 19-inch wheels, the A4 rides firmly and exhibits major road noise over anything but perfect pavement. The suspension pays off in body control—the 0.9-inch drop and wider rolling stock contribute more stability in corners—but detracts from the A4’s aspirations as a do-everything sport sedan. Don’t expect to experience a cosseting ride home from the airport, in other words.
Flawed, Still Fantastic
The 2022 Audi A4 S Line can’t be your everything. It’s too stiff and noisy to pass as a pure luxury car, the transmission can be clumsy for performance driving, and the tech isn’t quite there for 2022. Rather, the A4 S Line is for buyers who put style and sportiness first but who will happily trade the extra power of an S4 or M340i for better fuel economy and more feature content at a similar price point.
|2022 Audi A4 Quattro S-Line Specifications|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$55,665|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbo direct-injected DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|POWER (SAE NET)||261 hp @ 5,250 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||273 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,712 lb (56/44%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||187.5 x 72.7 x 55.3 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.2 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.0 sec @ 98.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||111 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.92 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.9 sec @ 0.70 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||24/31/27 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||408 miles|
- HIGHS: Well-balanced ride-and-handling, all-wheel drive on every model, zippy turbo fours.
- LOWS: No six-speed manual, conservative styling, rival sports sedans offer more drama.
- VERDICT: The A4 is exceptionally well-rounded and effortlessly competent, but sexy it’s not.
The 2022 Audi A4, like its A3, A6, and A8 sedan brethren, is dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit: its design is conservative, it’s carefully tailored, and it looks expensive—which it is. It comes across as classy and sporty in equal measure, and that’s how it drives—luxury balanced by agility. Its turbocharged four-cylinder engines move it with authority and are fuel efficient. Its standard all-wheel drive and taut suspension tuning offer balanced handling and helpful bad-weather grip.
The interior is carefully assembled with premium materials and an attention to detail we expect from a premium maker like Audi, but the design could use more flair. Indeed, the same could be said of the somewhat staid exterior styling. Rivals such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the Genesis G70, and the Mercedes-Benz C-class offer more flash or more driver engagement—or both. But the A4 excels at delivering its own brand of quietly expressed quality, making it an equally compelling luxury sedan.
All A4 models come standard with LED headlamps for 2022 and the mid-range Premium Plus trim now includes a Bang and Olufsen stereo system. A Black Optics Plus package is now available on 45 models and includes black exhaust tips and a black rear lip spoiler. The available Convenience package now includes adaptive cruise control; Chronos Gray and District Green join the palette of available colors.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The mid-range Premium Plus trim represents the best cost-benefit ratio in the A4 lineup as it adds a host of features that make the car an upscale ride. Among them are a reconfigurable digital gauge display, a wireless charging pad, memory settings for the driver’s seat, blind-spot monitoring, and keyless entry with push-button start. We’d suggest the more powerful 45 powertrain—it makes 60 more horsepower than the 40—and it’s a relatively inexpensive $1600 upgrade.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Audi offers the A4 in two strengths: 40 and 45. Both are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a 12-volt hybrid system and all-wheel drive; the 40 makes 201 horsepower while the 45 makes a juicy 261. Although we’d love a six-speed manual, a seven-speed automatic is the only transmission. The well-equipped A4 45 we drove scooted to 60 mph in a speedy 4.8 seconds, and its automatic quickly and smoothly changed gears. Precise steering, well-controlled body motions, and strong roadholding combine to make the A4 a sharp handler.
Usually, cars with such deft responses require sacrifices in ride quality, but the A4 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.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The A4 sedan is expected up to 25 mpg in the city and 34 on the highway. The model we ran on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, returned 33 mpg. For more information about the A4’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
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—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 Allroad 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.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The A4’s infotainment system consists of a 10.1-inch touchscreen. Features are generous and include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 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 we highly recommend it.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The A4 has many driver-assistance features, but they’re limited to costly upper trim levels. Features such as blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control, for example, are only available on the pricier Premium Plus and Prestige trim levels. For more information about the A4’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with forward-collision warning
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Audi’s warranty coverage is strictly average among luxury brands, and it offers no complimentary scheduled maintenance coverage, unlike BMW.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2021 Audi A4 45 TFSI Quattro
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED
$53,840 (base price: $41,945)
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct fuel injection
121 in3, 1984 cm3
261 hp @ 6500 rpm
273 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.3-in vented disc/13.0-in vented disc
Tires: Continental SportContact 6, 245/35R-19 93Y RO2
Wheelbase: 111.0 in
Length: 187.5 in
Width: 72.7 in
Height: 56.2 in
Passenger volume: 92 ft3
Trunk volume: 12 ft3
Curb weight: 3705 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.8 sec
100 mph: 12.9 sec
120 mph: 20.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 5.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.8 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.7 sec
1/4 mile: 13.5 sec @ 102 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 126 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 149 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 304 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.97 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 26 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 33 mpg
Highway range: 500 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 27/24/31 mpg
2022 Audi A4 Review
- Cabin looks cool and is impeccably constructed
- Advanced and easy-to-use safety and tech features
- Back seat is spacious enough for adults
- Turbocharged engine provides quick acceleration in the A4 45 TFSI
- Lack of feedback from steering limits driver involvement
- Transmission can be slow to downshift at times
- Optional Black Optic package now offered for base model
- Sport suspension now standard on 45 TFSI models
- Various interior trim options now bundled in packages
- Part of the fifth A4 generation introduced for 2017
The current fifth-gen A4 hits the five-year mark with this year’s model, typically a time when automakers roll out a significant update, if not a new model altogether. But changes for the 2022 Audi A4 are minor, and that’s just fine. The A4 remains one of our favorites among European luxury compacts thanks to its lush cabin quality, standard all-wheel drive, and appealing collection of technology features and advanced driver aids.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2022 Audi A4 Premium 4dr Sedan AWD w/40 TFSI (2.0L 4cyl Turbo gas/electric mild hybrid 7AM) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $4.96 per gallon for premium unleaded in North Dakota..
It faces off against a familiar set of rivals including the BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Among these, the C-Class is the most compelling, particularly because it’s been fully redesigned for 2022. The Volvo S60 is another worthy alternative. We expect to see a new Audi A4 soon — possibly as early as next year. Yet as the current generation winds down, the 2022 A4 remains a compelling pick for a small luxury sedan that’s comfortable and sophisticated.
Which A4 does Edmunds recommend?
Audi A4 models
The 2022 Audi A4 is a small luxury sedan available in three trim levels: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Each comes with one of two available turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines: the standard 40 TFSI (201 horsepower, 236 lb-ft of torque) or the 45 TFSI (261 hp, 273 lb-ft), also known as the S line. Every A4 comes standard with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive.
The base level Premium trim starts you off with:
- 17-inch wheels
- LED headlights
- Auto-dimming rearview mirror
- Three-zone climate control
- Heated front seats
- Leather upholstery
- 10.1-inch touchscreen
- Wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto connectivity
- Forward collision mitigation (warns you of an impending collision and applies the brakes in certain scenarios)
- Lane departure warning (alerts you if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane)
If you choose the larger 45 TFSI engine, you will also receive:
- 18-inch wheels
- Sport suspension with lower ride height
- Front sport seats
Here are important optional packages to consider:
- Black Optic package
- Black front and rear accents
- Matte black front grille, badges and mirror caps
- Red brake calipers
- Convenience package
- Keyless ignition and entry
- Auto-dimming exterior mirrors
- Heated steering wheel
- Driver’s seat memory settings
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while reversing)
- Front and rear parking sensors (alert you to obstacles that may not be visible in front of or behind the vehicle when parking)
- Satellite radio
- S line interior package (45 TFSI only)
- Aluminum interior trim
- Leather/faux suede combination upholstery
Moving up to the Premium Plus model nets you:
- Convenience package
- 18-inch wheels
- Power-folding mirrors
- Digital gauge cluster
- Armrests covered in faux leather
- Rear USB ports
- Surround-view camera system (gives you a top-down view of the A4 and its surroundings for tight parking situations)
- Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Audi and the car in front)
- Lane departure mitigation (warns you of a lane departure when a turn signal isn’t used and can automatically steer to maintain lane position)
The Premium Plus can be further outfitted with:
- Ventilated front seats (paired with front sport seats on the 40 TFSI’s Warm Weather package)
- Navigation package
- Navigation system
- Audi connected services
- 19-speaker Bang & Olufsen premium sound system
Finally, the top-level Prestige includes the Premium Plus’ optional features as well as:
- Sound-reducing front side windows
- Configurable ambient lighting
- Heated rear seats
- Head-up display (displays important information in your sight line onto the windshield)
- Automated parking system (steers into a parking spot with little or no driver intervention)
2022 Audi A4 Vehicle tested
- Default settings to start. Pretty quick after it gets moving but there is a significant pause getting off the line after fully mashing the go pedal. Launch control? Launch control! Things really get going quickly with launch control, which requires you to be in the Dynamic drive mode with electronic stability control off. Press the brake with the left, floor the accelerator and the revs jump to and hold at 3,500 rpm. Nothing in the gauge cluster actually says “launch control” but we knows it when we sees it.
- No wheelspin, because Quattro, and every gear shift feels a lot more punchy and deliberate. Does enough to shave off over half a second to 60 mph. Smooth revving inline-four is quite nice, and when not launch controlling, the gear shifts are fairly seamless. Redline indicated at 6,750, but per Audi convention it won’t hold gears and shifts early at 6,500.
- Very short brake pedal stroke, surprisingly short and firm, and performs the usual Audi braking cacophony (see: loud unnecessary noise) under antilock braking. Lots of sharp pulsations and vibrations. The brake pedal doesn’t feel quite as stiff if you’re braking more casually, but I noticed that it jerks to a stop rather abruptly in the pedal’s last few millimeters of travel.
- Makes it hard to be a perfect Uber driver with this lack of refinement. Otherwise great stability at maximum effort, the steering wheel doesn’t really wiggle as other cars do, just vibrates a little bit. The car tracks dead straight, minimal amount of nosedive.
- Light steering and a fair amount of body roll for how much grip these tires provide, but it feels pretty well balanced. Despite being all-wheel-drive, the front-to-rear balance really doesn’t feel too pushy or front-drive-based. Definitely doesn’t feel rear-biased either, more 50-50.
- Good grip from the tires and the car is easy to place on the line with just throttle modulation. Even with stability and traction control fully on, the electronic nannies don’t intervene in an annoying way. In fact I didn’t really feel any sort of intervention around the skidpad. Steering feels accurate enough but delivers very mild amounts of feedback.
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