Both the Altima Sedan and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, available crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.
Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Altima Sedan 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Audi covers the A4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the A4 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are almost 4 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Altima Sedan’s warranty.
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Altima Sedan has a standard 550-amp battery. The A4’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima Sedan second among midsize cars in their 2016 Initial Quality Study. The A4 isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 14th, below the industry average.
The Altima Sedan 3.5’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 18 more horsepower (270 vs. 252) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Nissan Altima Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A4 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Altima Sedan has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 (18 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Altima Sedan has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The A4 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
For better maneuverability, the Altima Sedan 2.5/2.5 S’ turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the A4’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.1 feet). The Altima Sedan SV/SR/SL/3.5’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the A4’s (37.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).
The Nissan Altima Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 150 to 300 pounds less than the Audi A4.
To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Altima Sedan V6 has an electronically controlled liquid-filled front engine mount and conventional liquid-filled engine mounts (standard liquid front mount on other versions of the Altima Sedan). A computer-controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The A4 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.
The front grille of the Altima Sedan 2.5 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.
As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Altima Sedan 2.5 SV is quieter than the A4 Prestige Quattro (38 vs. 42 dB).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Altima Sedan a Mid-size car, while the A4 is rated a Compact.
The Altima Sedan has 9.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (101.9 vs. 92).
The Altima Sedan has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 3.7 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear legroom and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.
The Altima Sedan has a much larger trunk than the A4 (15.4 vs. 13 cubic feet).
The Altima Sedan offers a 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.
If the front windows are left down on the Altima Sedan the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the A4 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
Insurance will cost less for the Altima Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Altima Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the A4 is rated higher at a number “8” rate.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Altima Sedan is less expensive to operate than the A4 because typical repairs cost much less on the Altima Sedan than the A4, including $517 less for a water pump, $232 less for an alternator, $82 less for front brake pads, $414 less for a starter, $176 less for fuel injection, $251 less for a fuel pump, $401 less for front struts and $285 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Altima Sedan will be $1811 to $10178 less than for the Audi A4.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Altima Sedan second among midsize 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 in its category.
The Nissan Altima Sedan outsold the Audi A4/S4 by almost 10 to one during the 2016 model year.