2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Acura TLX

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 TLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A4 has a standard Audi Backguard System that uses a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Audi Backguard System moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The TLX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 TLX 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.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the A4’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The TLX doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the A4 and the TLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the TLX:

 

A4

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

171

250

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.3/.4 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.42/.52

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

2.5/1 kN

4.4/5 kN

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 TLX:

 

A4

TLX

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

187

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

57 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

678 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 TLX was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the TLX’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 TLX’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the A4’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the TLX 3.5 SOHC V6’s camshafts. If the TLX’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A4’s reliability 13 points higher than the TLX.

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 54 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 182) than the TLX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 267) than the TLX’s optional 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 40 TFSI is faster than the Acura TLX 4 cyl.:

 

A4

TLX

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

15.6 sec

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Acura TLX V6:

 

A4

TLX

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.4 MPH

98.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 gets better fuel mileage than the TLX:

 

 

A4

TLX

 

FWD

 

n/a

23 city/33 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

 

 

n/a

23 city/32 hwy

4 cyl./Auto A-Spec

 

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

20 city/31 hwy

V6/Auto

 

 

n/a

20 city/30 hwy

V6/Auto A-Spec

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

20 city/29 hwy

V6/Auto

Regardless of its engine, the A4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Acura only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the TLX SH-AWD.

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 TLX doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A4 Quattro

TLX

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.2 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 TLX are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the TLX:

 

A4

TLX

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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 TLX’s standard 55 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the TLX A-Spec’s 40 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 TLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the TLX’s (59.7% to 40.3%). This gives the A4 more stable handling and braking.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the TLX V6 SH-AWD 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 1.7 seconds quicker than the TLX (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .74 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A4’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the TLX V6’s (38.1 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The A4’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the TLX SH-AWD’s (38.1 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

The A4 is 4.6 inches shorter than the TLX, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A4 Prestige Quattro is quieter than the TLX:

 

A4

TLX

At idle

42 dB

42 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

74 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

The A4 has 1.7 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more rear headroom and 1.2 inches more rear legroom than the TLX.

Cargo Capacity

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 TLX doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the TLX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and 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 TLX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

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 TLX’s standard 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 TLX 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 TLX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

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 TLX 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 TLX because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the TLX, including $41 less for a muffler, $277 less for fuel injection and $856 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 TLX isn’t in the top three.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the Acura TLX by 21% during the 2018 model year.

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

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