The Sport Plus package for the 2017 A4 Quattro with a manual gearbox puts a little S4 tech into the new luxury sedan.
The option to get a manual gearbox in an all-wheel drive luxury sedan is increasingly rare in the United States, but the 2017 Audi A4 Quattro gives customers the choice of having a clutch pedal. They go on sale in the U.S. this fall and, prices start at $40,350 after the mandatory $950 destination fee. The posh Premium Plus is $44,150, and the top-spec Prestige goes for $48,950.
Audi gives the 2017 A4 a complete overhaul, and a redesigned six-speed manual is among the bounty of changes. The updated gearbox weighs 35.3 pounds (16 kilograms) less than its predecessor by using more magnesium, some hollow components, and a smaller clutch. All examples of the latest A4 in the U.S. get a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The manual models can reach 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in 5.7 seconds, which is 0.7 seconds quicker than the previous one.
Audi understands that enthusiasts buy manual gearboxes, and the German brand's Sport Plus package is exclusively available on the A4 Quattro with the six-speed. It gives passionate customers the ability to turn the standard model into a budget S4 – just without the turbocharged V6. The upgrades include the hotter version's dynamic steering and sport adaptive suspension, which slices 0.9 inches (23 millimeters) off the ride height. Buyers benefit an S Line interior that features sport seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, brushed aluminum trim, and stainless steel pedal caps. A set of 18-inch wheel with performance tires is also among the improvements.
The company doesn’t currently have EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings for the A4 Quattro with the six-speed manual. However, the sedan with the seven-speed dual clutch has a rating of 31 miles per gallon highway, 24 mpg city, and 27 mpg combined.
We haven't had an opportunity to drive the 2017 A4 Quattro with the six-speed but enjoyed the version with the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox during our First Drive. The sedan's diet made it quite a sharp handler. We suspect the ability to swap cogs manually would make for an even more engaging experience.
Gallery: First Drive: 2017 Audi A4
2017 AUDI A4 WILL BE THE ONLY SIX-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION WITH STANDARD ALL-WHEEL DRIVE IN THE LUXURY SEDAN SEGMENT
The A4’s redesigned six-speed manual transmission features an extensive use of magnesium and a smaller clutch, giving the A4 an improved power-to-weight ratio
The Sport plus package includes S line interior, dynamic steering, sport adaptive suspension, and 18” wheels with summer tires for maximum performance from an A4
The 2017 A4 with manual transmission sprints from 0-60 in 5.7 seconds, a 0.7 second improvement over the previous generation
The 2017 Audi A4 with available six-speed manual transmission and quattro® with ultra® technology, and exclusive Sport plus package offers the design and performance of an S model in an entry level variant. No other luxury manufacturer in the A4’s competitive segment offers a manual transmission sedan with all-wheel drive capability.
The greater performance enabled by the newly-redesigned, six-speed manual transmission is due primarily to its spur-gear stage which replaces the shaft to the front-axle differential used on the previous models. The 2017 A4 with six-speed manual sprints from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds, an improvement of 0.7 seconds over the previous generation.
Extensive use of magnesium, combined with open gearwheels, hollow shafts and a smaller clutch, reduce the weight of the transmission by 35.3 pounds compared to its predecessor, and further serve to enhance performance by giving the A4 an improved power-to-weight ratio.
Exclusively available on the A4 quattro manual is a Sport plus package featuring flow formed cast aluminum 18” 5-double-spoke-star design wheels, available Daytona Gray exterior paint, S line leather/Alcantara® interior with sport seats, stainless steel pedal caps, flat-bottom steering wheel and brushed aluminum decorative inlays. Also included is Audi dynamic steering and sport adaptive suspension (-23mm ride height), both of which were previously reserved only for S4 models.
The new six-speed manual transmission complements the performance produced by the A4’s 2.0 TFSI® engine which generates 252 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. A significant weight savings was achieved across the A4 model-line through the lightweight construction. The front five-link suspension continues to allow for greater steering precision and excellent handling through optimized steering-rack placement direct at wheel centers.
The A4 with manual transmission also features a new quattro all-wheel drive system with ultra technology that is optimized for fully-variable torque distribution and efficiency. The new drivetrain utilizes an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch at the rear end of the transmission along with an integrated decoupler in the rear axle differential and weighs 8.8 pounds less than the previous quattro system. This quattro system with ultra technology allows for intelligent, proactive control of the all-wheel drive system to predictively modify the torque application as the driving situation or road conditions require.
For customers who do not prefer the traditional manual-shifting driving experience, the 2017 A4 is also available with a seven-speed S tronic® dual-clutch automatic transmission with front-wheel drive or available quattro® all-wheel drive.
Model year 2017 A4 Manual starting manufacturer suggested retail prices; on sale fall 2016.
A4 quattro manual
PREMIUM - $39,400
PREMIUM PLUS - $43,200
PRESTIGE - $48,000
Prices above exclude destination charge ($950), taxes, title, options, and dealer charges. Dealer sets actual price.
For more information, please visit www.audiusa.com.
Always pay careful attention to the road, and do not drive while distracted.
2017 EPA estimates not available at time of publication. See www.fueleconomy.gov for updated information. Your mileage will vary and depends on several factors including your driving habits and vehicle condition.
Audi of America, Inc. defines the competitive segment as all-wheel drive, 4-cylinder vehicles including 2017 Audi A4, BMW 320i, Acura TLX, BMW 330i, Mercedes-Benz C300, Jaguar XE 25t Volvo S60 T5; 2016 Lexus IS200t models.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. The Audi Group delivered over 1,800,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2015, and broke all-time company sales records for the 6th straight year in the U.S. Through 2019, AUDI AG plans to invest about 24 billion euros - 70 percent of the investment will flow into the development of new models and technologies. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusa.com/newsroom for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.