2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Acura ILX

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 Acura ILX 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 ILX 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 ILX 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 ILX doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The A4 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ILX only offers a rear monitor.

Both the A4 and the ILX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, 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 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 Acura ILX:

 

A4

ILX

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

25%

40%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

166 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

324/341 lbs.

768/623 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 Acura ILX:

 

A4

ILX

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

234

Hip Force

308 lbs.

487 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

324

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

64 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

47 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

666 lbs.

945 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A4 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ILX was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

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

There are over 11 percent more Audi dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the A4’s warranty.

Reliability

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

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 Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 6 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

The A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 56 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 180) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 47 more horsepower (248 vs. 201) and 93 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 180) than the ILX’s 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Acura ILX:

 

A4

ILX

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

17.2 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 40 TFSI FWD gets better fuel mileage than the ILX (27 city/34 hwy vs. 24 city/34 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 ILX doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The A4 has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the ILX (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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 ILX doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A4

A4 Quattro

ILX

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.1 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 ILX are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the ILX:

 

A4

ILX

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the ILX (225/50R17 vs. 215/45R17). The A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ILX (245/40R18 vs. 225/40R18).

The A4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ILX A-SPEC’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A4 offers optional 19-inch wheels. The ILX’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The A4 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the ILX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

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 ILX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A4’s wheelbase is 4.9 inches longer than on the ILX (110 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A4 is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than on the ILX.

The A4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the ILX’s (63% to 37%). This gives the A4 more stable handling and braking.

The A4 Prestige Quattro handles at .90 G’s, while the ILX A-SPEC pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The A4 has 2.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ILX (92 vs. 89.3).

The A4 has .9 inches more front headroom, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.5 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear legroom and 1 inch more rear shoulder room than the ILX.

Cargo Capacity

The A4 has a larger trunk than the ILX (13 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

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 ILX’s liftover is 28.7 inches.

The A4’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The ILX’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

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 ILX doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The A4 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The ILX 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 ILX. 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 Acura. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 26% lower rating, Acura is ranked 12th.

Ergonomics

The A4 has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The ILX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the A4 and the ILX 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 ILX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The A4’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The ILX’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 ILX’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 ILX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The A4’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the ILX’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

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 ILX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the A4 Prestige detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The ILX doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the A4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The ILX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The A4 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The ILX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the A4 and the ILX have standard heated front seats. The A4 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ILX.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the A4 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The ILX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the A4’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The ILX doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Both the A4 and the ILX 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 ILX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A4 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the A4 with a number “5” insurance rate while the ILX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the ILX because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the ILX, including $129 less for fuel injection and $327 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

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 ILX isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the Acura ILX by over three to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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