2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Mercedes A-Class

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 Mercedes A-Class 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 A-Class 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 A-Class 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.

To help make backing safer, the A4’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The A-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A4 and the A-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, 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 around view monitors.

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 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A-Class has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the A-Class’ 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 Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 10 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 60 more horsepower (248 vs. 188) and 52 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 221) than the A-Class’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Mercedes A 220:

 

A4

A-Class

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

6.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

16.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.7 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 A 220 FWD (27 city/34 hwy vs. 24 city/35 hwy).

The A4 has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the A-Class (15.3 vs. 13.5 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 A-Class doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

A4 Quattro

A-Class

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.6 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 A-Class are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the A-Class (225/50R17 vs. 205/55R17). The A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the A-Class (245/40R18 vs. 205/55R17).

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 A-Class’ standard 55 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the A-Class’ 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A4’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the A-Class (110 inches vs. 107.4 inches).

Passenger Space

The A4 has .8 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 1.8 inches more rear legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the A-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The A4 has a much larger trunk than the A-Class (13 vs. 8.6 cubic feet).

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 A-Class doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the A-Class. 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 Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

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 A-Class 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 A-Class doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Recommendations

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

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

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