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As two of the most popular affordable luxury cars, both the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 offer a lot for less than $45,000. But when compared head to head, there are some key differences between the two that put them in different leagues altogether. We’ve compared the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 to see how they stack up.

2023 Audi A4 dark green
2023 Audi A4 | Audi

What’s under the hood

In their respective base trims, the C-Class easily outshines the Audi A4. Both use 2.0-liter turbocharged kits, but the Merc delivers 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque compared to just 201/236 in the base Audi. However, the cheaper A4 clocks in at $40k less than the base C-Class, and that’s where things get interesting.

Matched on price, the Audi A4 comes with a more powerful version of the 2.0-liter turbo. That bit of kit improves the German sedan to 261 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. That’s damn near equal to the Mercedes for the same cash, so splitting these two compact luxury cars will take a bit more digging.

2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
2023 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The front-wheel drive C-Class does have better fuel economy than the A4, even with the base engine installed. At 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, it outperforms the Audi in both scenarios. However, the A4 comes standard with Quattro all-wheel drive, giving it more versatility when compared to the base Merc.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 standard features

C-Class interior
Interior of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class | Mercedes-Benz

The standard kit in the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is certainly impressive. A Driver Attention Warning is an added layer of safety that is great for young drivers. Standard advanced driver assistance systems include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

The new Mercedes-Benz User Experience offers truly intuitive voice controls, and the dual-panel single-screen display is a sight to behold.

And then there are the interior materials. Even Mercedes’ base leather is soft and supple, with standard heated seats that are power-adjustable. Oh, and there’s a memory function with two slots, so seat settings can be recalled with the press of a button.

In the Audi, the same ADAS setup means plenty of standard safety. However, there is no driver attention warning to keep the driver focused.

On the other hand, the A4 includes wood interior trim and ambient lighting as standard, though the design is a bit bland compared to the Mercedes.

Interior space and cargo

2023 Audi A4 Green
2023 Audi A4 | Audi

Inside, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4 offer similar levels of space and cargo capability. The C-Class offers a slight edge in front legroom at 41.7 inches compared to 41.3 in the A4. However, the A4 is a quarter inch taller inside than the C-Class. Either way, both cabins feel about the same in terms of overall space.

In the trunk, the C-Class has 12.6 cubic feet of room versus just 12 cubes in the Audi, according to MotorTrend. That may not seem like much, but it’s the difference between fitting an extra backpack and leaving it behind.

Deciding between the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A4

Choosing between these two luxury sedans isn’t easy, and that’s a good thing. They’re both high-quality models, but the Audi offers standard all-wheel drive. However, the overall cabin feel of the Mercedes is nicer and offers slightly more space. Overall, there are no wrong answers; it’s simply a matter of preference.