2019 Volkswagen GTI vs. 2019 Audi A4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the GTI and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, 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 Volkswagen GTI is safer than the Audi A4:

GTI

A4

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Compression

53 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

108/102 lbs.

431/395 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

220

236

Chest Compression

.4 inches

1 inches

Leg Forces (l/r)

305/150 lbs.

324/341 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 post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen GTI is safer than the Audi A4:

GTI

A4

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

247

333

Spine Acceleration

45 G’s

47 G’s

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

Warranty

The GTI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The A4’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GTI’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 24th in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

Engine

The GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 40 more horsepower (228 vs. 188) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 236) than the A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen GTI is faster than the A4 40 TFSI (automatics tested):

GTI

A4

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.5 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97.9 MPH

91 MPH

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen GTI higher (7 out of 10) than the Audi A4 (3 to 5). This means the GTI produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A4 every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The GTI stops much shorter than the A4:

GTI

A4

60 to 0 MPH

100 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The GTI’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A4’s standard 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GTI has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A4.

Suspension and Handling

The GTI SE handles at .96 G’s, while the A4 Premium pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The GTI SE executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the A4 Premium (25.1 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the GTI’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the A4’s (35.8 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen GTI may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 pounds less than the Audi A4.

The GTI is 1 foot, 6.1 inches shorter than the A4, making the GTI easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the GTI SE is quieter than the A4 Prestige Quattro (39 vs. 42 dB).

Cargo Capacity

The GTI has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the A4 (22.8 vs. 13 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the GTI has a standard rear wiper. The A4 doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The A4’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The GTI Rabbit/SE/Autobahn’s standard 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.

The GTI Autobahn’s Park 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.

Recommendations

The GTI was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 13 of the last 13 years. The A4 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the GTI as their 2015 Car of the Year. The A4 has never been chosen.

The GTI was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 5 of the last 12 years. The A4 has never been an “All Star.”

The GTI was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2010 Car of the Year. The A4 has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Golf/GTI outsold the Audi A4/S4 by 22% during 2018.

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

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