The 2012 Audi A4 is ideal for those shoppers after a smart-looking, German-engineered sedan with a touch of luxury and none of the negative connotations that some of its rivals attract. Better still, the A4 also comes as a stylish wagon, or “Avant” in Audi-speak, and in our opinion is the better buy due to its extra storage.
The 2012 Audi A4’s only major downside is that a facelifted model is being introduced for 2013. The good news is that the changes on the 2013 model are mostly cosmetic so if you’re in need of a car today then the current 2012 model is still worth a look.
Unlike its rear-wheel drive competition, which includes the likes of the BMW 3-Series (all-new for 2012), Infiniti G, Lexus IS, and Mercedes-Benz C Class (facelifted for 2012), the A4 comes standard with front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive.
We’d recommend opting for all-wheel drive only if you prefer sportier dynamics or you live in an area where roads can be quite dangerous during the winter months. Otherwise, the front-wheel drive is ideal as it offers good grip in wet weather and is more fuel efficient.
In terms of powertrains, there are two different flavors to choose from starting with a base 2.0-liter engine rated at 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This unit doesn't quite churn out the torque just above idle like the 200-horsepower previous-generation version, and it seems a little more vocal, but it’s quite a bit more fuel-efficient in our real-world observation--22/31 mpg city/highway.
If you need more power then there’s the 2012 Audi S4. This model is based on the A4 but gets a number of performance enhancements including standard all-wheel drive and a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine with 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque on tap. Its fuel economy gets an 18/28 mpg city/highway rating.
The A4 shows plenty of signs of being a true sport sedan in the way it accelerates, steers, and hunkers down at high speeds, and in its stable, planted feel, no matter if you're on the Interstate or just elbowing your way into traffic. The steering feels firm and reassuring enough at higher cruising speeds, and there’s plenty of feedback.
Inside the cabin is a great place to be, though it can be a little tight at the rear. Buyers have a choice of wood and leather trim, and the lighter colors are quite handsome, making the cabin feel airy.
For a closer look at the 2012 Audi A4, check out the full review on our sister site The Car Connection.