The Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class are two of Australia’s favourite luxury cars. However, the C-Class is still the most popular, and the Stuttgart-based automaker is looking to widen that gap even more with the redesigned 2015 model. On the other hand, the new A4 remains basically the same inside and out, so it will have to rely on the same design that’s made it popular in the past to compete with this prominent Mercedes-Benz model. Continue on for our detailed review to find out whether the new C-Class is a success and see how it stacks up against the A4.
The C-Class’s new design still maintains the Mercedes-Benz look, but the various lines and edges are a noticeable departure from the previous model. In addition to being slightly shorter and wider than the 2014 version, the new sedan model is also 95 mm longer. In fact, the C-Class has gotten bigger ever since it’s inception and is now larger than the S-Class. The A4’s exterior design is unchanged for 2015, featuring the same long, 3D-sculptured bonnet and dynamic yet elegant design.
The Audi’s interior design is unchanged as well, but it does feature some new leather and inlay options. A 7-inch touchscreen and 10-speaker sound system come standard, and it offers comfort and a pleasant ambiance. The C-Class though, has a redesigned interior that we think is a significant improvement over the previous model. The dashboard is now a lot less cluttered, and the interior looks and feels even more beautifully crafted. It offers the newest version of their COMAND infotainment system, with a larger screen than the Audi’s. It’s also a bit more comfortable than the 2014, as it has 26 mm more legroom in the back seat as well as 31 mm more shoulder room. And unlike the Audi, you have the option to upgrade to a panoramic sunroof.
Under the Bonnet
Both the A4 and C-Class offer petrol and diesel engine models. The A4’s petrol engine generates 165 kW of power, while the C-Class ranges from 135-155 kW. Despite the 10 kW difference, the 155 kW C-Class is only a tenth of a second slower than the A4 from 0-100 km/hr (6.5 seconds). Consuming 6.0 litres per 100 Km, the Mercedes-Benz is less thirsty than the Audi by 0.9 litres. Furthermore, the C-Class’s BlueTec diesel engine is both more powerful (acceleration of 6.9 seconds compared to 7.9 seconds) and more fuel efficient (4.8 compared to 5.3) than the Audi’s diesel.
On the Road
The C-Class’s Agility Select allows the driver to choose among various driving modes. Steering is light and direct and it handles exceptionally well, especially when upgraded to the optional Airmatic Suspension for an additional $2,500. The A4 also offers precise steering and handles well on the road, although not quite to the same level that the Mercedes-Benz does. The A4 offers Audi Drive Select that allows you to choose between 3 driving modes, and it’s 4-wheel drive models provide better traction in bad weather conditions.
The A4 has some nice safety features such as adaptive headlights and adaptive cruise control, but the C-Class’s list of safety features is more impressive. From its autonomous braking system and collision protection to its steer, blind-spot, and lane-keep assist, the C-Class is one of the most technologically advanced cars on the market.
Value and Verdict
The introductory Audi A4 price tag comes in at $3,800 less than the opening Class-C price tag of $60,900. Despite that disparity, we feel like the C-Class is a better value because it offers more features, a better ride, and a higher level of interior refinement than the A4. It’s easy to see why experts believe the 2015 C-Class could reach 30,000 sales by the end of the year.