2020 Audi A4 vs. 2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan

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 2020/08/12

Both the A4 and C-Class Sedan 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 C-Class Sedan’s 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 C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The A4 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the A4’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

Both the A4 and the C-Class Sedan 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

A4

C-Class Sedan

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

236

246

Neck Injury Risk

25%

60%

Neck Stress

119 lbs.

147 lbs.

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

219 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 flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the Mercedes C-Class Sedan:

A4

C-Class Sedan

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

308 lbs.

452 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

277

459

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

67 G’s

Hip Force

777 lbs.

949 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

12 inches

Hip Force

666 lbs.

769 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 2020/08/12

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the C-Class Sedan’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A4’s reliability 39 points higher than the C-Class Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 7 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the A4 40 TFSI FWD Auto gets better fuel mileage than the C 300 Sedan RWD (27 city/35 hwy vs. 24 city/35 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A4 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The C-Class Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

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 C-Class Sedan 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 C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the A4 Quattro’s brake rotors are larger than those on the C-Class Sedan:

A4 Quattro

C-Class Sedan

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

The A4 stops shorter than the C-Class Sedan:

A4

C-Class Sedan

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/08/12

For better traction, the A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the C-Class Sedan (245/40R18 vs. 225/40R19).

The A4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the C-Class Sedan’s optional 40 series front tires.

The A4 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 C-Class Sedan; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some tire options on the C-Class Sedan don’t have a run-flat feature, either.

Suspension and Handling

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The A4 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The C-Class Sedan’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC pulls only .87 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

Chassis

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The design of the Audi A4 amounts to more than styling. The A4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the C-Class Sedan (.3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A4 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The A4 has 1.8 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom and .5 inches more rear legroom than the C-Class Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

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The A4 has a larger trunk than the C-Class Sedan (13 vs. 12.6 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A4 easier. The A4’s trunk lift-over height is 26.9 inches, while the C-Class Sedan’s liftover is 28 inches.

Towing

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The A4 has a 3968 lbs. towing capacity. The C-Class Sedan has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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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 C-Class Sedan 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 C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the A4 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The C-Class Sedan doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The A4 has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the C-Class Sedan. 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 C-Class Sedan.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the A4 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A4 will cost $290 less than the C-Class Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the C-Class Sedan because it costs $318 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the C-Class Sedan, including $276 less for a muffler, $264 less for a fuel pump and $467 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A4 will be $4872 to $8689 less than for the Mercedes C-Class Sedan.

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 2020/08/12

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its June 2017 issue and they ranked the Audi A4 Premium Plus Quattro higher than the Mercedes C 300 Sedan.

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

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