2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan 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 2020/07/13

The C-Class Sedan’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 C-Class Sedan 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 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 all wheel drive, lane departure 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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Audi A4:

C-Class Sedan

A4

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

164

Neck Injury Risk

24%

26%

Neck Stress

203 lbs.

232 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

1 inches

Leg Forces (l/r)

311/161 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 flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Mercedes C-Class Sedan is safer than the Audi A4:

C-Class Sedan

A4

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

76

172

Chest Movement

1 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

147 G’s

219 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

248

333

Spine Acceleration

43 G’s

47 G’s

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, with its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the C-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A4 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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There are over 26 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the C-Class Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the C-Class Sedan has a standard 800-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 Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

Engine

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The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 67 more horsepower (255 vs. 188) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 236) than the A4 40 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The C-Class Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 7 more horsepower (255 vs. 248) than the A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The C-Class Sedan has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 (17.4 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes C-Class Sedan higher (6 out of 10) than the Audi A4 (3 to 5). This means the C-Class Sedan produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A4 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A4.

Brakes and Stopping

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

C-Class Sedan

A4

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.4 inches

The C-Class Sedan stops much shorter than the A4:

C-Class Sedan

A4

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the C-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A4 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The C-Class Sedan’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 C-Class Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the A4 (111.8 inches vs. 110 inches).

The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the A4 Premium pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the A4 Premium (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the A4’s (36.8 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis

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The front grille of the C-Class Sedan 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.

Passenger Space

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The C-Class Sedan has .4 inches more front legroom and .5 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

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To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the C-Class Sedan has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The A4 doesn’t offer a power trunk, so its trunk has to be closed manually.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The C-Class Sedan 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.

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional at extra cost in the A4, the C-Class Sedan offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The C-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The A4’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The C-Class Sedan’s optional 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 optional in the C-Class Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A4 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, stopping and changing direction automatically. The A4 Prestige’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Audi A4 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the C-Class Sedan with a number “3” insurance rate while the A4 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the C-Class Sedan is less expensive to operate than the A4 because typical repairs cost much less on the C-Class Sedan than the A4, including $44 less for a water pump, $31 less for front brake pads, $296 less for a starter, $14 less for fuel injection, $398 less for front struts and $324 less for a timing belt/chain.

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 Mercedes C-Class Sedan and the Audi A4, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the C-Class Sedan first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The A4 isn’t in the top three.

The C-Class Sedan was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The A4 has never been an “All Star.”

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Audi A4/S4 by 86% during 2019.

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

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