2021 Volvo S60 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 2020/10/25

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The S60 offers optional CTA Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A4 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The S60’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 S60 and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 and available around view monitors.

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 available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S60 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A4 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the A4.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The A4’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (optional) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S60 has a standard 800-amp battery. The A4’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volvo vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volvo 31st in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 32nd.

Engine

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The S60 has more powerful engines than the A4:

Horsepower

Torque

S60 T5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

S60 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S60 Recharge 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 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.

As tested in Motor Trend the S60 T6 is faster than the A4 40 TFSI:

S60

A4

Zero to 30 MPH

2.1 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.5 sec

11.9 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.9 sec

3.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.3 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99.2 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the S60 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the A4 Quattro (70 city/68 hwy MPGe vs. 24 city/32 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S60 Recharge running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the A4 Quattro (28 city/33 hwy vs. 24 city/32 hwy).

The S60 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The A4 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the S60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The S60 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 Volvo S60 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Audi A4 (3 to 5). This means the S60 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the A4 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo S60, 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 S60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A4:

S60 T5

S60 Polestar

A4

A4 Quattro

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

12.4 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

13 inches

The S60 stops much shorter than the A4:

S60

A4

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the A4 (235/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).

The S60’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 S60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A4.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S60’s wheelbase is 3.1 inches longer than on the A4 (113.1 inches vs. 110 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S60 is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the A4.

The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .91 G’s, while the A4 Premium pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the A4 Premium (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S60’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the A4’s (37.1 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Passenger Space

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The S60 has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (96 vs. 92).

The S60 has 1 inch more front legroom and .2 inches more front shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The A4 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the S60 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.

Ergonomics

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The S60 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 S60 R-Design/Inscription has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

Consumer Reports rated the S60’s headlight performance “Good,” 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 S60’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.

The S60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the A4.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S60 is less expensive to operate than the A4 because it costs $64 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the S60 than the A4, including $231 less for a water pump, $326 less for a starter, $595 less for front struts, $231 less for a timing belt/chain and $36 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 2020/10/25

J.D. Power and Associates rated the S60 second 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.

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

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