2019 Audi A4 vs. 2018 Mazda 6

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A4 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A4 45 TFSI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Compared to metal, the A4’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda 6 has a metal gas tank.

Both the A4 and the Mazda 6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Mazda 6:

 

A4

Mazda 6

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

236

249

Neck Injury Risk

25%

53%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

133 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

107 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Mazda 6:

 

A4

Mazda 6

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

219 G’s

256 G’s

Hip Force

308 lbs.

437 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

356

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

64 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

671 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

The A4 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The 6’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Mazda 6’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Mazda 6’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the A4 has a standard 110-amp alternator. The Mazda 6’s standard 100-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 14th.

Engine

The A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 1 more horsepower (188 vs. 187) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 186) than the Mazda 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 40 TFSI is faster than the Mazda 6 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

 

A4

6

Zero to 30 MPH

2.5 sec

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

11.9 sec

13.2 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

3.7 sec

4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

87.9 MPH

As tested in Car and Driver the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Mazda6 Grand 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

 

A4

6

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

16 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

97 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 40 TFSI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Mazda6 2.5 Turbo (27 city/34 hwy vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The Audi A4 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Mazda 6.

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Audi A4, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Mazda 6.

The A4 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer an SMG.

The A4 Auto’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Mazda 6:

 

A4

A4 Quattro

6

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

10.9 inches

The A4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Mazda 6 are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the Mazda 6:

 

A4

Mazda 6

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Mazda 6 (245/40R18 vs. 225/55R17).

The A4’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Mazda 6 Sport’s standard 55 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Mazda 6 Touring/Grand Touring/Signature’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A4 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Mazda 6’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the Mazda 6’s (58% to 42%). This gives the A4 more stable handling and braking.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Mazda 6 Grand Touring pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the Mazda 6 Touring (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

The A4 is 6.6 inches shorter than the Mazda 6, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Audi A4 amounts to more than styling. The A4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the Mazda 6 (.285) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A4 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A4 Prestige Quattro is quieter than the Mazda 6 Grand Touring:

 

A4

6

At idle

42 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

80 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space

The A4 has .5 inches more front headroom and .3 inches more rear headroom than the Mazda 6.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A4 easier. The A4’s trunk lift-over height is 26.9 inches, while the Mazda 6’s liftover is 28.5 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A4 offers cargo security. The Mazda 6’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the A4. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the A4 has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button, or optionally by just kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The A4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Mazda 6 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Mazda 6. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 85% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the A4 and the Mazda 6 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the A4 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Mazda 6 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the A4 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Mazda 6 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Mazda 6 Sport’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A4 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Mazda 6 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

The A4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda only offers heated mirrors on the Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature.

Both the A4 and the Mazda 6 offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A4 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Mazda 6 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Mazda 6 because typical repairs cost less on the A4 than the Mazda 6, including $188 less for fuel injection and $98 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Audi A4 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A4 first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Mazda 6 isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the Mazda 6 by 25% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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