The Audi A4 is typically considered the third finisher in a race of three that includes the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But that's where you'd be wrong. It's the one sports sedan that does just about everything well. Build quality, reliability, technology, comfort, and driving performance are superb. 

2018 audi a4 red profile
Our seat time in the A4 was a total joy. It's one thrilling automobile that's worthy of praise.

Just about every detail gets more than its fair share of attention from Audi designers and engineers. Nothing seems superfluous or overdone. It's only the styling that might not be dramatic enough for some, but the entire package is incredibly appealing. Here are five reasons why it should be at the top of your car shopping list.

1. It Drives Like a Dream

2018 audi a4 yellow rear 58

Get behind the wheel of the A4, and you'll be grinning from point A to point B. The thrilling turbocharged engine is smooth, and the transmission shifts quickly and responsively. Turn the steering wheel, and the precision and feedback are some of the best in the industry, along with a chassis that won't quit. The A4 feels balanced, alive, and it's all very rewarding. 

2. It's Powerful But Efficient

audi a4 engine

The turbo four in the A4 is a marvel not just because it churns out a healthy 252 horses and 273 lb-ft of smooth torque, but it's also remarkably efficient even when it's driven hard. Gas mileage is a not unsubstantial 24 city / 33 highway / 27 combined. More conservative driving should provide excellent efficiency, and even when driven hard, the A4 gets good fuel numbers. 

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3. The Technology is Cutting Edge and Practical

2018 audi a4 interior

The Audi Virtual Cockpit is reason alone to buy this car. It puts all the vital driving information front and center in the instrument cluster, making driving safer and easier. Even the stellar Google-based navigation system is viewable here, and the graphics are amazing. You can even shrink the tachometer and the speedometer for maximized map viewing. The MMI controller in the center console is also one of the best, with easy and attractive operation making it better than both BMW and Mercedes.

4. Its Safety Has Been Proven in Testing

2018 audi a4 iihs testing

The A4 gets great marks from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS, photo above) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. Every car these bodies test goes through rigorous crash and safety tests that range from small front overlap crashes to rollover crashes and headlight and child LATCH systems. The 2018 A4 gets five stars from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS, scoring higher than the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C Class. It also comes with great safety tech that includes automatic braking and an optional system that warns the driver if a fast-approaching vehicle is in the driver's blind spot.

5. The Brand is Truly Reliable

2018 Audi A4 headlight and grille

Out of around 35 mainstream car brands, Audi's #10 ranking for 2018 is very good. It might not be at the very top of the heap, but it easily beats out other premium brands like Acura, Volvo, and Mercedes. What this means is that you'll have fewer problems with the A4 than you might with the TLX, S60, and the C-Class, all premium-level competitors. This equates to an overall lower cost of ownership, as well as less headache and operation down time.

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