2020 Lincoln MKZ vs. 2020 Audi A4

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 2020/07/14

The rear seatbelts optional on the MKZ inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The A4 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The MKZ’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 MKZ and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive and front parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Lincoln MKZ is safer than the Audi A4:

MKZ

A4

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

125

164

Neck Stress

200 lbs.

232 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

167/333 lbs.

431/395 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 Lincoln MKZ is safer than the Audi A4:

MKZ

A4

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

268

333

Spine Acceleration

46 G’s

47 G’s

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

Warranty

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Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the MKZ 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Lincoln dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the MKZ’s warranty.

Reliability

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The MKZ has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The A4 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the car’s engine.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the MKZ has a standard 500-amp battery. The A4’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.

Engine

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The MKZ has more powerful engines than the A4:

Horsepower

Torque

MKZ 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

245 HP

275 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6

350 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

A4 40 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

188 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

A4 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

248 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the MKZ Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the A4 40 TFSI SMG (42 city/39 hwy vs. 27 city/35 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the MKZ Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The MKZ AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 (18 vs. 15.3 gallons).

The MKZ has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The A4 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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

Transmission

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The MKZ Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The A4 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The MKZ stops much shorter than the A4:

MKZ

A4

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MKZ has larger tires than the A4 (245/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).

The MKZ’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 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 MKZ has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A4.

Suspension and Handling

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The MKZ’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 MKZ’s wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer than on the A4 (112.2 inches vs. 110 inches).

Chassis

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The front grille of the MKZ Hybrid 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.

The MKZ uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A4 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the MKZ a Mid-size car, while the A4 is rated a Compact.

The MKZ has 4.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (96.6 vs. 92).

The MKZ has 3 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

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The MKZ has a much larger trunk than the A4 (15.4 vs. 13 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the MKZ offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The A4 doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Towing

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The MKZ 3.0 Turbo/Hybrid (except 2.0 Turbo) can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the MKZ can be unhitched and driven around locally. The A4 can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lincoln service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With an 8% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The MKZ 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.

The MKZ’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the MKZ’s exterior PIN entry system. The A4 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the MKZ’s exterior PIN entry system. The A4 doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

Consumer Reports rated the MKZ’s headlight performance “Fair,” a higher rating than the A4’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

The A4’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The MKZ’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.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the MKZ Reserve to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A4 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The MKZ Reserve offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the A4.

The MKZ offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The A4 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the MKZ owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the MKZ will cost $410 less than the A4 over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MKZ is less expensive to operate than the A4 because it costs $291 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MKZ than the A4, including $375 less for a water pump, $28 less for front brake pads, $568 less for a starter, $120 less for a fuel pump and $521 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lincoln MKZ will be $3807 to $4046 less than for the Audi A4.

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 2020/07/14

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Lincoln MKZ and the Audi A4, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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