2017 Audi A4
2017 is the first model year for the 5th generation of the Audi A4 sport sedan. But, wait a minute, if you throw in its Audi 80 ancestry, it’s actually the 9th gen b-series architecture for Audi. Regardless, over the years all those cars just keep getting better and better. So let’s find out if it’s b-car business as usual at Volkswagen’s premium brand.
The 2017 Audi A4 may be on the smaller side of four-doors, but it is both big-time polished and potent; boasting technology above any flagship luxury machine of 10-years ago.
That includes a Driver Assistance package with the latest safety technology; cameras to read road markings and even road signs, and of course automatic braking. So, you have to work pretty hard to crash it. We tried, but it stopped just shy of our barrier every time; applying the brakes in full, almost immediately after a warning chime.
As for interior technology, there is still a large MMI display on the dash; but it’s largely redundant if you opt for the huge 12-inch all-encompassing virtual gauge cluster as well as a new full color Head Up Display. With all pertinent info right before your eyes, and controls right there on the steering wheel; there’s no need to look or reach elsewhere.
Those are just highlights of what is a fantastic interior, fully upholding the lofty standards we have for Audi.
Leather seating is standard, and space is up over last year in all seating positions. Trunk space is very good at 13.0 cubic-ft.
Power sneaks up a little, with a revised 2.0-liter turbo-4 with 252-horsepower and 273 lb-ft. of torque for both front and all-wheel drive models. Now, that’s only 32 added ponies, but it feels like much more than that.
Possibly because weight is down slightly, but more likely because the 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch transmission has been tightened up as well. No manual is available.
The exterior design is clearly an evolution of the previous A4, combined with style indicators from the larger A6-7 and 8. A4 suspension is 5-link independent all-around, with upgraded sport tuning available, as is adaptive damping, integrated into Audi Drive Select.
Our car’s optional, rear-biased quattro all-wheel-drive aids that sporty feel as well, with its self-locking center differential and selective torque control.
With quattro, understeer is minimal, challenging the best of its rear-drive competition. And while the A4 has once again gotten bigger, it surely doesn’t drive like it. Though, we will stop short of saying its loads of fun to toss around; it’s more of a case of sterile mechanical precision.
Steering is very light at lower speeds, but firmed up quickly here at our track as the pace increased. After some slight lag off the starting block, the power eventually started getting put down in a smooth and steady fashion; ushering us to 60 in a fine 5.8-seconds.
There’s a nice growl from the engine, but not much from the exhaust, while the transmission keeps the gears coming quickly; clearing the 1/4-mile in 14.3-seconds at 99 miles-per-hour.
Braking was most impressive, a 104-foot average from 60; with rock steady stability and zero fade.
In everyday driving, everything about the A4 is smooth; as it absorbs bumps and pavement imperfections more like a full-size sedan than any compact. The dual-clutch tranny is mostly seamless, with the only hiccups coming during low-speed maneuvering.
Ride quality can be dialed to your liking, but even in full comfort mode, body control is well managed, and it never feels soft.
The low seating position will not endear it to those crossover inclined, but visibility is excellent all around.
Though very well-equipped in standard Premium trim, Prestige is where you want to be with 18-inch alloy wheels, S-line aluminum trim, and full LED lighting outside; along with Bang & Olufsen surround sound and heated seats for inside.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 25-City, 33-Highway, and 28–Combined, with our average coming in at a fine 29.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. For an average Energy Impact Score, of 11.8-barrels of oil burned yearly, with C02 emissions of 5.2–tons.
Pricing starts at $35,850, that’s just a bit more than a base BMW 3-series, but significantly less than a base Mercedes-Benz C-class; Prestige trim with quattro however, will have you at $48,950.
And while those other German sport sedans are certainly the logical competition for the 2017 Audi A4. To us, it’s more in the spirit of the Cadillac ATS with luxury, performance, and technology addressed in equal balance. So, it is indeed business as usual; with another solid small-ish sedan from Audi.
- Engine: 2.0 liter
- Horsepower: 252
- Torque: 273 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 5.8 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 14.3 seconds @ 99 mph
- EPA: 25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 11.8 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 5.2 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined