By on June 27, 2018

Despite the pervasive nature of crossover vehicles, Audi has done alright with the A4 sedan. Sales have remained reasonably consistent over the past few years in both the North American market and abroad.

While it doesn’t appear to be gaining any ground, it also isn’t losing much. Still, Audi knows you have to update the recipe every so often to tempt consumers, so it’s updating the A4 sedan and A4 Avant wagon for the 2019 model year — subtly, and in the typical German fashion.

You would be hard-pressed to spot the differences under any kind of pressure. As mid-cycle refreshes go, this one has to be one of the least obvious we’ve ever encountered.

Having only been in its fifth generation for three years, it was kind of surprising to see the automaker making changes this early. But spy shots of the vehicle indicated only minor changes. Test mules had their camouflage limited to the front bumper, which is the only portion of the vehicle that really gives anything away. There’s a new chin spoiler and slightly enlarged air inlets.

Upon closer examination, the honeycomb pattern on the plastic bits looks to be purely aesthetic. While this is now common practice among all manufacturers, something about it always feels a little chintzy. Nobody else will notice from a distance, but you’ll know — and you’ll have to live with that knowledge.

An updated rear bumper comes with trapezoidal exhaust tips that are slightly wider than what’s on the 2018 model. Exterior finishes for things like the mirrors, inlets, grille, and that front splitter will be dependent upon which trim and paint you select. Available materials include faux chrome, black plastic, and paint to match the rest of the body. There are also a slew of new wheels offered between 16 and 19 inches.

Audi plans to introduce a new S Line package that brings LED headlamps and exterior cues from the sportier RS cars, although it forgoes the hex-filled grille of the sport variants for its own unique slatted affair. Audi says the unit provides a “3D look” but it doesn’t translate well in photos. The Avant does get an RS rear spoiler, though.

Inside, the S Line adds carbon inlays, a new three-spoke steering wheel, and more-supportive sport seats. As no mention was made of tech or mechanical updates, we can presume the A4 will continue on with the same 2.0 TFSI it currently uses.

The new 2019 Audi A4 will go on sale in Europe in the third quarter of 2018. North America should see the sedan sometime after that, but the Avant probably won’t make it. Instead, we’ll keep the A4 Allroad and all the crossover trappings that entails.

[Images: Audi]

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29 Comments on “Ghost Refresh: 2019 Audi A4 Sedan Sees Some Wildly Subtle Changes...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    A very sharp car, a little steep if you want AWD. I can’t get used to the cheesy iPad infotainment screens on vehicles lately, they should be integrated,

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Why mess with success?

    Bonus: if you’re driving an older Audi, no one but the car nuts will know how old it really is.

  • avatar
    incautious

    In the old days automakers tweaked cars every year or two. This base A4 smokes a model 3

  • avatar
    TMA1

    “While this is now common practice among all manufacturers, something about it always feels a little chintzy.”

    Thank you, this is probably my biggest pet peeve in modern automotive design. At least Audi stuck a foglight in there, to give it some semblance of purpose. Mercedes won’t even bother with that.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Probably won’t come here? Why even tease us?

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    Why does TTAC keep following Audi so closely?
    Who’s blowing who?
    Who really gives a damn except the majority
    of Audi buyers who are almost to a man
    largely incapable of changing their own tire?
    Audi? You’ve got to be kidding.
    They refuse to keep running after 150,000
    miles. A real quality product.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      “They refuse to keep running after 150,000
      miles. A real quality product.”

      And if the average buyer/lessee of a new Audi gets rid of it well before it hits 75,000 miles (or 40,000 miles, on leases) then why does that matter?

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      My previous and current Audis both reached ten years without significant issues, but I did not reach 150,000 miles in that time. Ten years is all I ask of a car.

      You are right about one thing. When I went to change a tire on my old TT, it was torqued on so tightly that I could not get it off. Neither could my neighbor, who owned a tow truck, with his power torque wrench.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      LOLOL @ the hater. I drive an Audi and I used to be an ASE Master Tech….so I guess changing a tire isn’t going to be a problem. I’ve never kept a car 150,000 miles, so no comment there.

      Seriously though, if you’re not interested in the article, skip it. That’s a better strategy than complaining like a little whiney child.

  • avatar
    deanst

    “Having only been in its fifth generation for three years, it was kind of surprising to see the automaker making changes this early.“

    Is this a result of bad proof reading or does the author really not know what is wrong with this sentence?

  • avatar
    iNeon

    full-width tail lamp > full-width Air Conditioning vent

    It’s a 1989 Chevy Corsica in that thing.

  • avatar
    Urlik

    Dang that Nardo Grey looks nice.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Decent-looking car. Especially the wagon. But you know me, I like wagons. Especially Falcon wagons…

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    I’m thinking Audi designers must all have been big fans of the Where’s Waldo series of children’s books.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    New front bumper? Looks like someone’s gone cross-dressing out of the Civic closet.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Audi usually makes subtle mid-cycle updates, but this has to be the winner in the “ain’t nobody gonna notice” category. I’m an Audi aficionado, but even I had to really study the photos hard to see the difference.

    The scuttlebutt is that Audi had originally planned for a much more substantial mid-cycle update to the A4, to bring it more in line with the new design language. And by “more substantial”, I’m talking about significantly revised front end and some hefty interior updates.

    As I’ve heard it, the costs of diesel gate, investment redirection into electric, and declining interest and profitability of sedans all worked to significantly reduce the investment in the mid-cycle refresh.

    What wasn’t mentioned was powertrain changes and packaging for the US. I suspect this refresh will debut in April next year, so expect packaging information around January.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    “Wildly subtle changes”. Hasn’t that been Audi’s redesign mantra for like…forever?

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    As an Audi owner and general fan of the brand, the previous version, though “fine”, never really seemed to me like it fit the rest of the model line. This facelift finally corrects that.

    I had a Silvercar A4 S-line rental a couple of weeks ago – it’s a near-faultless small luxury sedan.


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