2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima

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 Nissan Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the A4 and the Maxima 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, 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 Nissan Maxima:

 

A4

Maxima

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

25%

29%

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

52 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

324/341 lbs.

840/589 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 Nissan Maxima:

 

A4

Maxima

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

172

295

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

277

391

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

57 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

16 inches

Spine Acceleration

47 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

666 lbs.

997 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 Maxima’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 Maxima’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 7 places higher in reliability than Nissan.

Engine

The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Nissan Maxima:

 

A4

Maxima

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

8.5 sec

9.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.6 sec

14.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.4 MPH

99.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

A4

Maxima

 

FWD

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

20 city/30 hwy

V6/Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

n/a

 

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 Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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

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 Maxima 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 Maxima:

 

A4 Quattro

Maxima

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.13 inches

The A4 stops much shorter than the Maxima:

 

A4

Maxima

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

125 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 Maxima SR/Platinum’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

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

The A4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the Maxima’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the A4 more stable handling and braking.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 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 Maxima Platinum (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Chassis

The A4 is 6.7 inches shorter than the Maxima, 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 Maxima (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A4 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The A4 has .7 inches more rear headroom and 1.5 inches more rear legroom than the Maxima.

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 Maxima’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Maxima. 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 Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 47% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 20th.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the A4 and the Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima’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 Maxima’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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The A4’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A4 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A4 will cost $1575 less than the Maxima over a five-year period.

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 Maxima only retains 36.9% to 38.7%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Maxima because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the Maxima, including $57 less for fuel injection, $163 less for a timing belt/chain and $310 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 Maxima was rated second in its category.

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

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