The Maxima Platinum’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The A4 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Maxima 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 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 Maxima’s warranty.
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 Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 48 more horsepower (300 vs. 252) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
The Maxima has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 (18 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the A4 (245/45R18 vs. 225/50R17).
The Maxima’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A4’s standard 50 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Maxima has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the A4.
The Maxima 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.
The Maxima offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the A4, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Maxima is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the A4.
To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Maxima has a liquid-filled front engine mount. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The A4 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.
The Maxima SL/SR/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The A4 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Maxima is rated a Mid-size car by the EPA, while the A4 is rated a Compact.
The Maxima has 6.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (98.6 vs. 92).
The Maxima has .5 inches more front headroom, 3.7 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.
The Maxima has a much larger trunk than the A4 (14.3 vs. 13 cubic feet).
The Maxima has a standard 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.
The Maxima Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The A4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Maxima’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The A4 does not have an oil pressure gauge.
If the front windows are left down on the Maxima 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.
A manual rear sunshade is standard in the Maxima Platinum to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A4 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.
When the Maxima Platinum is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The A4’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
Insurance will cost less for the Maxima owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Maxima with a number “3” insurance rate while the A4 is rated higher at a number “8” rate.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the A4 because it costs $27 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Maxima than the A4, including $389 less for a water pump, $79 less for front brake pads, $379 less for a starter, $98 less for fuel injection, $228 less for a fuel pump, $474 less for front struts and $100 less for a power steering pump.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large 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 Maxima outsold the Audi A4/S4 by almost two to one during the 2016 model year.