Ghost Refresh: 2019 Audi A4 Sedan Sees Some Wildly Subtle Changes

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Blackcloud_9 Blackcloud_9 on Jun 28, 2018

    "Wildly subtle changes". Hasn't that been Audi's redesign mantra for like...forever?

  • ZCD2.7T ZCD2.7T on Jun 29, 2018

    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.

  • Wjtinfwb I'd like to see a Ford/Mazda relationship restarted. Both companies have some car guys keeping the flame alive and could develop a sports car slightly bigger than a Miata and pick and choose from each other's parts bin to put together some attractive powertrain combo's. Even a Mazda 3 AWD with the 300HP EcoBoost 2.3L, manual and AWD from the Focus RS would be welcome. Even better, a factory Miata V8 with the 480 HP Coyote (i know it wont fit...) and a manual gearbox. And how about a CX-5 with a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with AWD and an chassis tuned for sport. Lots of possibilities.
  • Blueice Patient 28, sorry, but it is Oktoberfest. Bring a kegof Kraut beer and we will 50% you.
  • Bd2 Probably Toyota, Hyundai is killing them these days.
  • Bd2 Japan is evil, stop buying their vehicles. I hope TTAC has a holiday for PEARL HARBOR.
  • Wolfwagen If Isuzu could update this truck and keep the cost between $25K - $30K they would sell like ice pops on dollar day in a heat wave.