Audi A4 vs. Lexus IS 200t

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - September 22, 2016

Audi’s elegantly upscale compact sedan has competed against BMW’s 3 Series and other premium family sedans for a long time. Although the A4 approaches BMW-level refinement, it doesn’t quite reach that pinnacle. Recently, Audi fully redesigned the A4, giving it a new, but still familiar, look, a more potent powertrain, new tech features, and more.

Dating back to 2002, the IS—Lexus’s smallest sedan—was redesigned for 2014 on a longer wheelbase. Two V6 engines are available, but the IS 200t holds a new turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder, driving an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available with the V6-powered IS 300, but the IS 200t comes only as a rear-wheel-drive sedan. For those looking for a little extra sportiness, the IS 200t has the optional F Sport package.

Is the IS's venture into turbocharged four-cylinder sedans enough to take down a stalwart in the segment? Continue reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the A4 & IS 200t »

What the Audi A4 Gets Right

With its peak torque of 273 pound-feet kicking in at an ultra-low 1,600 rpm and power topping out at 252 horses, the A4 performs with gusto. This updated powertrain also includes a standard seven-speed S tronic auto transmission on both the all-wheel and front-wheel drive A4—previously, a CVT came standard on the front-drive model. Fuel economy is yet another strong suit as the FWD models are rated 25/33 mpg and AWD model are rated 24/31 mpg.

Numb steering detracts a bit from sporty behavior, but the ride is well-controlled and handling at least approaches sharp sportiness.

What the Lexus IS 200t Gets Right

Boldly designed, the IS 200t premium compact sedan is capable and pleasant, though it doesn’t match some German-make rivals. Performance with the turbocharged engine should satisfy most drivers, considering that 0 to 60 mph acceleration takes a hair under 7 seconds.

Handling is about average in the IS 200t. Ride comfort ranges from almost gentle to significantly harsher over rougher pavement surfaces. Passenger comfort falls somewhat short. Entering the back seat might demand a series of contortions, while the low roofline tightens access to the driver’s seat, which itself is snugger than expected.

Can a stylish Lexus’s rear-drive turbo four-door bring down the legendary A4?

Driving characteristics are the qualities that matter most when comparing these two premium compact sedans. And the A4 can easily handle everything the IS 200t throws at it.

Our Verdict: Audi A4

Audi’s sedan simply has too much going for it, while this particular Lexus suffers from several imperfections that limit its appeal.

Take a closer look at the Audi A4 »

Take a closer look at the Lexus IS 200t »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter | Website

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