2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Lincoln MKZ

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 Lincoln MKZ 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 MKZ doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 MKZ 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 MKZ 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 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKZ only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the A4 and the MKZ have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger 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, 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 Lincoln MKZ:

 

A4

MKZ

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

3 Stars

HIC

236

254

Neck Injury Risk

25%

52%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

197 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

50 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 post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Lincoln MKZ:

 

A4

MKZ

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

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 MKZ 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 MKZ’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the MKZ’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid and 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

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 41 points higher than the MKZ.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 13 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi A4 is faster than the Lincoln MKZ:

 

A4 40 TFSI

A4 45 TFSI

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0 Turbo

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

5 sec

8.8 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

13.7 sec

16.7 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

100.4 MPH

84.9 MPH

89.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

A4

MKZ

 

FWD

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

20 city/31 hwy

2.0 Turbo/Auto

 

 

n/a

18 city/27 hwy

3.0 Turbo/Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

20 city/29 hwy

2.0 Turbo/Auto

 

 

n/a

17 city/26 hwy

3.0 Turbo/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.) Lincoln only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the MKZ Hybrid.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A4 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The MKZ with the 3.0 turbo V6 engine requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The A4 has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the MKZ Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (15.3 vs. 14 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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 MKZ.

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 MKZ doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual 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 MKZ doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A4

A4 Quattro

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.9 inches

12.4 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 MKZ are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the MKZ:

 

A4

MKZ

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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 MKZ’s optional 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A4 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The MKZ’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the MKZ Premiere AWD pulls only .83 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 MKZ Premiere (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A4’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the MKZ’s (38.1 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 600 pounds less than the Lincoln MKZ.

The A4 is 7.8 inches shorter than the MKZ, 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 MKZ AWD:

 

A4

MKZ

At idle

42 dB

44 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space

The A4 has 1 inch more front headroom and .8 inches more rear headroom than the MKZ.

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 MKZ’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the A4’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The MKZ doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MKZ. 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 Lincoln. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 11% lower rating, Lincoln is ranked 7th.

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 MKZ doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The A4 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The MKZ doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 MKZ 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 MKZ’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

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 MKZ doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Economic Advantages

The A4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A4 will retain 46.36% to 48.7% of its original price after five years, while the MKZ only retains 38.09% to 40.84%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the MKZ because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the MKZ, including $386 less for a muffler, $17 less for fuel injection, $457 less for a timing belt/chain and $822 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. The Lincoln MKZ isn't recommended.

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 MKZ isn’t in the top three.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the Lincoln MKZ by 78% during the 2018 model year.

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

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