The competition for best sports sedan has long been a tug-of-war between BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Yet Audi has taken a runaway lead in what has become a three-way race.

At first glance, the new A4 looks remarkably like the old model. But don’t be fooled by the cover; the new sedan makes greater use of weight-saving aluminum and features a reworked powertrain and suspension.

Updates to the familiar 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine have resulted in a gain of 32 hp. That engine is smoother than most competitors’ small turbo engines. In fact, the new dual-clutch transmission works so well that most drivers will assume it’s a traditional automatic. The combination results in a quick and eager AWD car that also returns a commendable 27 mpg overall.

This redesign has resulted in a car that is satisfying to drive, with sporty handling and good steering feedback. Even more impressive is how the A4 soaks up pavement imperfections with a comfortable ride not seen in past Audis.

Slide into the cabin and you’re greeted by a high-quality interior, with controls that respond with a satisfying click and a clean, modern look. Adding the Technology package brings a digital wonderland, from a touchpad to a high-resolution gauge display. The variety of menus and ways to input commands is overwhelming at first, but over time the tech becomes intuitive. 

Read the complete Audi A4 road test.

2017 Audi A4 Review

HIGHS: Ride, handling, quietness, transmission, fit and finish, fuel economy
LOWS: Controls take getting used to, unintuitive gear selector, tight rear seat
POWERTRAIN: 252-hp, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine; 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 27 mpg

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the November 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine