2019 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2018 Audi A4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The C-Class Sedan’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A4 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the C-Class Sedan and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, 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 all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the C-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the C-Class Sedan has a standard 800-amp battery. The A4’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The C 300 Sedan’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 65 more horsepower (255 vs. 190) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 236) than the A4 2.0 TFSI ultra’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The C 300 Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 3 more horsepower (255 vs. 252) than the A4 2.0 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The AMG C 43 Sedan’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 133 more horsepower (385 vs. 252) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 273) than the A4 2.0 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes C-Class Sedan higher (5 out of 10) than the Audi A4 (3 to 5). This means the C-Class Sedan produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A4 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, 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 C-Class Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A4:

 

C 300

AMG C 43

A4

A4 Quattro

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.2 inches

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

The C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the A4:

 

C-Class

A4

 

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the C-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A4 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The C-Class Sedan’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The A4 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the C-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the A4 (111.8 inches vs. 110 inches).

The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the A4 Premium pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the A4 Premium (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the A4’s (36.8 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

The front grille of the C-Class Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A4 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The C-Class Sedan has .4 inches more front legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Ergonomics

The C-Class Sedan 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 at extra cost in the A4, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional 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 C-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, 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 C-Class Sedan the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the A4 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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

When the C-Class Sedan is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The A4’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The A4 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Audi A4 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the C-Class Sedan with a number “3” insurance rate while the A4 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the A4 because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the A4, including $42 less for a water pump, $30 less for front brake pads, $278 less for a starter, $14 less for fuel injection, $398 less for front struts and $318 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The A4 has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Audi A4/S4 by 60% during the 2018 model year.

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

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