2019 Lexus ES Series vs. 2019 Audi A4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the ES Series and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the ES Series its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A4 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the ES Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Audi is ranked 7th.

Engine

The ES 300h’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 27 more horsepower (215 vs. 188) than the A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 54 more horsepower (302 vs. 248) than the A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the ES 300h gets better fuel mileage than the A4 40 TFSI (43 city/45 hwy vs. 27 city/34 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the ES Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lexus ES Series uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A4 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Lexus ES Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A4.

The ES 300h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The ES Series stops shorter than the A4:

 

ES Series

A4

 

60 to 0 MPH

132 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the ES Series’ wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the A4 (113 inches vs. 110 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the ES Series is 1 inch wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the A4.

Chassis

The ES Series F Sport uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A4 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the ES Series a Mid-size car, while the A4 is rated a Compact.

The ES Series has 7.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (99.9 vs. 92).

The ES Series has 1.1 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more rear headroom and 3.5 inches more rear legroom than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

The ES Series has a much larger trunk than the A4 (16.7 vs. 13 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The ES Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

Consumer Reports rated the ES Series’ headlight performance “Fair,” a higher rating than the A4’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

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 ES Series’ headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the A4’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

The A4’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The ES Series’ optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the ES Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A4 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the ES Series with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A4’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Recommendations

The Lexus ES Series outsold the Audi A4/S4 by 40% during 2018.

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

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