The A4 is available with no fewer than five suspension set-ups: Comfort Dynamic, Sport, Adaptive Sport, S Sport and Adaptive S Sport.
So how does that lengthy list relate to the various trims? Well, it’s a little convoluted, but we’ll try to break it down in as straightforward a fashion as possible.
First, our favourite set-up is the passive Comfort Dynamic, standard on non-Ultra SE and Sport trims. Go for one of these and stick with the default 17in alloy wheels (larger wheels tend to make the ride harsher) and you’ll have the best-riding A4. As its name suggests, this set-up puts comfort first and deals effectively with all manner of lumps and bumps, while controlling body movements over dips and crests extremely well.
Pricier S line versions come with passive Sport suspension as standard. This is stiffer and lowered by 20mm, which further sharpens the body control, but at the expense of a little extra bumpiness at low speeds. That penalty isn’t worthwhile in our opinion, so swap it for the Comfort Dynamic set-up if you can – something that Audi lets you do free of charge.
The popular and efficient Ultra models (including the 2.0 TDI 190 we recommend) also come with passive Sport suspension but, because they employ that lower ride height for better aerodynamics, you can’t simply swap to the softer Comfort Dynamic option. However, you can pay a bit extra for Adaptive Sport suspension. It’s still lower and stiffer, but being an adaptive mode means you can press a button to soften things a little and enjoy a much smoother ride.
Adaptive Sport is available as option on non-Ultra SE, Sport and S line models as well. Don’t worry about that, though; Comfort Dynamic is so good that you don’t need to spend the extra.
Finally, S Sport is a bespoke set-up that’s only fitted to the high-performance S4 model. It’s noticeably stiffer, but as S4 buyers are looking for something racier, this is more acceptable. An optional variable system called Adaptive S Sport lets you flit between softer and harder modes to suit your mood. Given the sporty nature of the S4, it’s no surprise to find that even the softest mode is a touch firm.