2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The A4 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To help make backing safer, the A4’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A4 and the 4 Series Gran Coupe have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A4 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi 1 place higher in reliability than BMW.

Engine

The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the 430i Gran Coupe:

 

A4

4 Series

Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

5.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

14.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.8 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.9 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.8 sec

4.3 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

98 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

127 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 gets better fuel mileage than the 4 Series Gran Coupe:

 

 

A4

4 Series

 

2WD

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

24 city/34 hwy

430i/Auto

 

 

n/a

21 city/32 hwy

440i/Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

23 city/33 hwy

430i/Auto

 

 

n/a

21 city/31 hwy

440i/Auto

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A4 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 4 Series Gran Coupe requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The A4 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The A4 Auto’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

The A4 stops much shorter than the 4 Series Gran Coupe:

 

A4

4 Series

 

70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4 Series Gran Coupe (245/40R18 vs. 225/45R18).

The A4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 40 series front tires.

The A4 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 4 Series Gran Coupe; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some models of the 4 Series Gran Coupe don’t even offer run-flats.

Suspension and Handling

The A4 Prestige Quattro handles at .90 G’s, while the 430i Gran Coupe pulls only .89 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Audi A4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

The design of the Audi A4 amounts to more than styling. The A4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the 4 Series Gran Coupe (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A4 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the A4 Prestige Quattro is quieter than the 430i Gran Coupe xDrive (70 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space

The A4 has 1.1 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, 2 inches more rear legroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Cargo Capacity

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A4 offers cargo security. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s hatchback body style defeats cargo security.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 14% lower rating, BMW is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A4 has standard extendable sun visors. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the A4 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A4 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A4 will cost $1310 less than the 4 Series Gran Coupe over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the 4 Series Gran Coupe because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the 4 Series Gran Coupe, including $59 less for a water pump, $199 less for a muffler, $19 less for front brake pads, $341 less for a timing belt/chain and $540 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A4 will be $276 to $5460 less than for the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® chose the Audi A4 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A4 first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 4 Series Gran Coupe was rated third.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the BMW 4 Series by 16% during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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