2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI vs. 2019 Audi S4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Jetta GLI has a standard backup collision prevention system that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The S4 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Jetta GLI and the S4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

Warranty

The Jetta GLI comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The S4’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 Jetta GLI’s warranty.

Reliability

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the S4’s engine uses 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 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Jetta GLI gets better fuel mileage than the S4:

MPG

Jetta GLI

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

S4

Auto

3.0 turbo V6

21 city/30 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Jetta GLI Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The S4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volkswagen Jetta GLI higher (7 out of 10) than the Audi S4 (5). This means the Jetta GLI produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the S4 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Jetta GLI offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The S4 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Jetta GLI offers an optional 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 S4 doesn’t offer an SMG.

Tires and Wheels

The Jetta GLI has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the S4; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Jetta GLI’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the S4’s (36.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

The Volkswagen Jetta GLI may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 600 to 650 pounds less than the Audi S4.

Passenger Space

The Jetta GLI has 2.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S4 (94.7 vs. 92).

Cargo Capacity

The Jetta GLI has a much larger trunk than the S4 (14.1 vs. 13 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The Jetta GLI Autobahn Auto 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 S4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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

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