Audi A4 Ultra vs Mercedes C220 BlueTEC
Efficient yet powerful Ultra model aims to breathe new life into Audi's ageing A4. Can it beat the Mercedes C-Class?
In the ultra-competitive executive saloon market, the Audi A4 doesn’t have age on its side. Yet while the car is getting on a bit, it still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
For instance, there’s a frugal new Ultra model that boasts tax-busting CO2 emissions and penny-pinching economy, despite being more powerful and faster than the standard 2.0-litre TDI. And as with other A4 models, the newcomer is handsome, well built and packed with standard kit. So in spite of the A4’s advancing years, can the Ultra model take victory over Mercedes’ new C-Class?
Even with its optional auto box, the C220 BlueTEC nearly matches the Audi’s 109g/km CO2 figure – it emits just 1g/km more – plus it’s arguably even more luxurious than the A4. However, winning here hangs on more than just efficiency.
Follow the links for drives of the cars in this test:
And the following links for in-depth reviews:
• Audi A4
Read on to find out which car came out on top in this test...
The A4 doesn’t have the latest version of Audi’s MMI system, but it’s still intuitive to use. The central screen is a bit small, though.
The C-Class’ excellent COMAND system features a clever touch-sensitive finger pad similar to the latest S-Class’s. Our car’s optional 8.4-inch screen supersedes the standard seven-inch version. Plus, the Mercedes navigation system has newer and clearer mapping and graphics than the A4’s set-up.
The C-Class comes with standard LED headlamps and running lights, while our car featured the £545 Intelligent Light System, which includes corner light function and high-beam assist. The A4 features halogen lights, but our car had the £1,130 Adaptive bi-xenon lights, which include a turning function.
With stop-start and lots of fuel- saving tech, these cars are perfect for high-mileage drivers keen on keeping bills to a minimum. The Ultra has better official economy and came out on top in our fuel check. The C-Class has a colour eco display in the central TFT screen to help you drive more efficiently.
1st place: Mercedes C220 BlueTEC
With its sleek exterior and stunning cabin, the C-Class feels and looks like a quality product inside and out. The engine isn’t the most refined, but with a manual gearbox and smaller wheels, it’s clean enough to make the C220 just as cost effective as the Ultra for company car drivers. The Sport model tested is expensive, yet comes with plenty of kit, so it’s a victory for the Mercedes.
2nd place: Audi A4 Ultra
Company car drivers will be attracted to the Ultra’s low CO2 output. The 2.0-litre TDI engine is refined and build quality is excellent. However, in other respects, the A4 is beginning to show its age. The cabin is dated, and it’s uninspiring to drive. Plus,in the right spec the C220 CDI can rival the Ultra’s CO2 output. So while it’s definitely the pick of the A4 range, it finishes second here.
Audi A4 Ultra vs Mercedes C220 BlueTEC: key specs
|Mercedes C220 BlueTEC Sport auto||Audi A4 2.0 TDI Ultra SE Technik|
|On-the-road price/total as tested||£32,860/£37,820||£29,320/£35,310|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)||£14,294/43.5%||£12,637/43.1%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£1,181/£2,362||£995/£1,990|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,614/£2,689||£1,552/£2,587|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||31/£445/B/£20||27/£384/B/£20|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£30pcm (3yrs)||£22pcm (3yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/2,143cc||4cyl in-line/1,968cc|
|Peak power||168/3,000 bhp/rpm||161/3,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque||400/1,400 Nm/rpm||400/1,750 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||7-spd auto/rwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||66 litres/foam||63 litres/space saver|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||480 litres||480/962 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||11.2 metres/0.24Cd||11.4 metres/0.27Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (unltd)/4yrs||3yrs(60k miles)/3yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||Variable/136||Variable/121|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||9th/21st||12th/26th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||92/84/77/5||93/84/39/5|
|0-60/30-70mph||7.2/7.0 secs||8.7/7.9 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||3.4/5.3 secs||3.6/5.9 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||7.3/9.3 secs||6.6/9.2 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||145mph/1,600rpm||140mph/1,900rpm|
|Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph||67/43/63/70dB||67/49/63/68dB|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||45.3/10.0/658 miles||47.1/10.5/653 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||167/110g/km/18%||161/109g/km/17%|
|Airbags/Isofix/rear parking sensors||Seven/yes/yes||Six/yes/yes|
|Electric/leather/heated seats||Yes/yes ^/yes||No/yes/£300|
|Metallic paint/LED lights/auto wipers||£645/yes/yes||Yes/no/yes|
|Split/fold rear seats/climate control||Yes/yes||Yes/yes|