2020 Audi A4 review - Performance and 0-60 time

Still not the driver’s car of the class, but the A4 is strong in all other areas

Evo rating
  • Refined, well built, competitive engines, S4’s strong performance
  • Rivals are more entertaining, messy styling details

Performance and 0-60 time

Of the models currently on sale, it’s no surprise to discover the S4 is the powerhouse of the range. Straight-line performance has taken a marginal hit with the move to diesel, but not so much that you’d notice – in saloon form, the S4 can reach 62mph from rest in 4.8sec, and runs into an electronic limiter at 155mph. The Avant is a tenth slower to 62mph but no slower at the top end.

At the other end of the scale is the entry-level 35 TFSI petrol, with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. It’s been a while since base models reached 62mph on the wrong side of ten seconds, and true to form the 35 TFSI manages it in 8.6sec, with the S-tronic curiously three tenths behind. Top speed is 139mph for the manual and 140mph for the auto. The 30 TDI, when it arrives, will be a touch slower, with a 0-62mph time around the 9.5sec mark.

The 40 TFSI models are quicker, reaching 62mph in 7.3sec through the standard S-tronic gearbox, and hitting 150mph. The 40 TDI is only marginally slower across both measurements, reaching 62mph in 7.4sec and hitting 146mph flat out.

We’ve currently tested only the S4 and the 40 TDI. The latter has a decent turn of pace and does more or less everything you’d expect of a modern four-cylinder diesel, remaining relatively quiet throughout the rev range unless you really push it hard, and transmitting minimal vibration through to the cabin. The S-tronic transmission can be surprisingly slovenly though, taking a good few moments to pick a gear and go when you ask for power onto a roundabout or out of a junction, though it’s responsive enough once under way.

The S4 simply hitches its side skirts and goes, surging forward at a genuinely impressive rate. As a diesel, the power band remains relatively narrow, and the car is at its best if you select gears manually and keep the engine spinning away in its mid-range.

Do so and its overtaking punch is huge, and all-wheel drive gives it great traction whether you’re stepping off the line or powering out of an alpine hairpin. It’s better still with the sport differential. The sound of the V6 is an acquired taste, not unlike a V8 in some instances, but distinctly diesel when lugging at low-ish revs. In manual mode it’s easy to catch the engine off-boost too, which makes you wonder what that electric compressor is actually doing, but otherwise this is a smooth, responsive and powerful engine – and one that suits the S4’s character pretty well.

Most Popular

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring revealed – now available in manual and PDK
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring – rear profile
Porsche 911 GT3

New 992 Porsche 911 GT3 Touring revealed – now available in manual and PDK

The Touring pack has returned, combining the 992 GT3’s set-up with more understated looks
15 Jun 2021
The reluctant LaFerrari driver – evo archive
evo archive – LaFerrari truck extraction – stop!
Ferrari

The reluctant LaFerrari driver – evo archive

How do you get a £1million hypercar out of the back of a delivery truck? Very, very, slowly…
15 Jun 2021
BMW M5 CS 2021 review – a class act that reaffirms the M division’s brilliance
BMW M5 CS – front cornering
BMW M5 saloon

BMW M5 CS 2021 review – a class act that reaffirms the M division’s brilliance

Nonsensical on paper, but sublime in practice. Never has a modern supersaloon been more tactile or more engaging
14 Jun 2021
MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn
MAT Stratos – front tracking
Lancia

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn

It’s been a long time coming, but this Ferrari F430-based reimagining of the Lancia Stratos is finally here
11 Jun 2021
Next generation BMW 7-series spied – flagship saloon to once again set the tone for future models
Next generation BMW 7-series spied – front quarter
BMW 7 Series

Next generation BMW 7-series spied – flagship saloon to once again set the tone for future models

All-new saloon to feature IC and EV powertrains, but once again it’ll also lead the way aesthetically
16 Jun 2021
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition – slide
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act

Immense performance from about the coolest modern muscle car out there. It’s expensive, but there’s nothing else quite like it
12 Jun 2021
Updated in-line six Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door revealed – hybrid V8s still to come
Mercedes-AMG GT53 MY22 – front tracking
Mercedes

Updated in-line six Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door revealed – hybrid V8s still to come

GT43 and GT53 4-Doors receive a refresh while we await the arrival of the V8 hybrid GT73
14 Jun 2021
Hyundai i20 N revealed – Ford Fiesta ST rival priced from £24,995
Hyundai i20 N car pictures
Hyundai i20 hatchback

Hyundai i20 N revealed – Ford Fiesta ST rival priced from £24,995

N division's second model set to shake up the junior hot hatch establishment
17 Jun 2021
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?
Audi RS3 manufacturer spy 1
Audi RS3

2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?

Audi Sport is putting the final touches on its new RS3 hot hatch and saloon
10 Jun 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
17 Jun 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers

The long-awaited Tesla Model S Plaid has finally come to fruition, with first US examples hitting the road
11 Jun 2021
Ferrari F8 Tributo replacement to be revealed June 24
Ferrari F171 spy 2021 – header
Ferrari

Ferrari F8 Tributo replacement to be revealed June 24

Ferrari’s going hybrid and V6 for its next mid-engined supercar
16 Jun 2021
Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder
Posaidon Mercedes-AMG E63
Mercedes E63 AMG

Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder

Three new Posaidon power upgrades are now available for Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S, bringing hypercar numbers to the four door supersaloon
9 Jun 2021
Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?
Jethro opinion header
Opinion

Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?

The boot struts have gone saggy and the hatch slams onto my head three times a week, but the Clio Trophy is hard to resist
8 Jun 2021