2020 Audi A4 vs. 2020 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/13

The A4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The ES Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the A4 and ES Series have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The A4 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The ES Series’ child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The A4 has a standard Audi Backguard System, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Audi Backguard System moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The ES Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The A4 45 TFSI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ES Series doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the A4 and the ES Series 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, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 Audi A4 is safer than the Lexus ES Series:

A4

ES Series

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

236

319

Neck Injury Risk

25%

33%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

159 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

62 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

324/341 lbs.

473/518 lbs.

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

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/13

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ES Series’ (12 vs. 6 years).

There are over 25 percent more Audi dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the A4’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the ES Series’ engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

Engine

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The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 267) than the ES 350’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 40 TFSI is faster than the ES 300h 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid:

A4

ES Series

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91 MPH

90.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/13

On the EPA test cycle the A4 40 TFSI FWD Auto gets better fuel mileage than the ES 350 (27 city/35 hwy vs. 22 city/32 hwy).

Regardless of its engine, the A4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Lexus only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the ES Series Hybrid.

The A4 has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (15.3 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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The A4 offers a standard 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 ES Series doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The A4’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The ES Series doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

A4

A4 Quattro

ES Series

Front Rotors

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.8 inches

13 inches

11.1 inches

The A4’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the ES Series are solid, not vented.

The A4 stops much shorter than the ES Series:

A4

ES Series

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

140 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the ES Series (225/50R17 vs. 215/55R17). The A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ES Series (245/40R18 vs. 235/45R18).

The A4’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ES Series’ standard 55 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the ES Series’ optional 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The A4 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The ES Series’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The A4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (56% to 44%) than the ES Series’ (59% to 41%). This gives the A4 more stable handling and braking.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the ES 300h pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3.1 seconds quicker than the ES 300h (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Chassis

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The A4 is 9.8 inches shorter than the ES Series, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The A4 has 1.4 inches more front headroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the ES Series.

Cargo Capacity

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The A4’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The ES Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Towing

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The A4 has a 3968 lbs. towing capacity. The ES Series has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the ES Series. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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The A4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ES Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The ES Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The A4 Prestige has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The ES Series doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The A4 has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the ES Series. The A4 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ES Series.

The A4 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The ES Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the ES Series because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the ES Series, including $70 less for fuel injection, $795 less for a timing belt/chain and $829 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/13

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi A4 and the Lexus ES Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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