2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Volvo S60

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the A4 and the S60 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 S60 has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the S60’s engines use 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 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Audi vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 25th in initial quality. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

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 Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 22 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Engine

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the S60 T6:

 

A4

S60

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

2.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

5.9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

8.5 sec

9.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.6 sec

14.5 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.7 sec

2.9 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.4 MPH

99.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 gets better fuel mileage than the S60:

 

 

A4

S60

 

2WD

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

24 city/36 hwy

T5/Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

21 city/32 hwy

T6/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A4 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The S60 T5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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 S60 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 S60 doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

The A4 stops shorter than the S60:

 

A4

S60

 

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

114 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the S60 (245/40R18 vs. 235/45R18).

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 S60’s optional 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the A4 uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S60, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the S60 Polestar pulls only .90 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S60 R-Design AWD (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 25.8 seconds @ .71 average G’s).

Chassis

The Audi A4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 50 to 200 pounds less than the Volvo S60.

The A4 is 7.8 inches narrower than the S60, making the A4 easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Passenger Space

The A4 has 1.5 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and .5 inches more rear legroom than the S60.

Cargo Capacity

The A4 has a much larger trunk than the S60 (13 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the S60. 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 Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 29% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

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 Audi A4/S4 outsold the Volvo 60 Series by almost three to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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