2019 Lexus IS Series vs. 2019 Audi A4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the IS Series and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, 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 all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors 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 Lexus IS Series is safer than the Audi A4:

 

IS Series

A4

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

55 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

1 inches

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 Lexus IS Series is safer than the Audi A4:

 

IS Series

A4

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

99

172

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

193 G’s

219 G’s

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

89

277

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

691 lbs.

777 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

295

333

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

47 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the IS 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 IS Series has more powerful engines than the A4:

 

Horsepower

Torque

IS 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

IS 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

IS 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

A4 40 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

188 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

A4 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the IS 350 is faster than the A4 40 TFSI:

 

IS Series

A4

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9 sec

11.9 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.8 sec

3.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99.4 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The IS Series has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 (17.4 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the IS Series’ standard brake rotors are larger than those on the A4:

 

IS Series

A4

Front Rotors

13.1 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.8 inches

The IS Series stops shorter than the A4:

 

IS Series

A4

 

60 to 0 MPH

111 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The IS Series’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A4’s standard 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The IS Series AWD handles at .89 G’s, while the A4 Premium pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The IS 350 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the A4 Premium (26 seconds @ .72 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the IS Series’ turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the A4’s (34.2 feet vs. 38.1 feet). The IS Series AWD’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the A4’s (35.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

The IS Series 300 RWD offers available 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.

Ergonomics

The IS Series has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional in the A4, the IS Series offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The IS Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel 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.

If the windows are left open on the IS Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Lexus service department.) The driver of the A4 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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

The A4’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The IS 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 IS Series to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A4 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the IS 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the IS Series is less expensive to operate than the A4 because it costs $216 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the IS Series than the A4, including $161 less for a water pump, $220 less for a muffler, $66 less for front brake pads, $135 less for a fuel pump and $470 less for front struts.

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

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