2019 Audi A5 vs. 2018 BMW 6 Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A5 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 6 Series doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A5. But it costs extra on the 6 Series.

To help make backing safer, the A5’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 6 Series doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A5 and the 6 Series 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, 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, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 6 Series has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

The Audi A5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the 6 Series’ 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 gets better fuel mileage than the 640i xDrive (23 city/34 hwy vs. 19 city/28 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 6 Series requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi A5 higher (5 out of 10) than the BMW 6 Series (1 to 3). This means the A5 produces up to 39 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 6 Series every 15,000 miles.

Tires and Wheels

The A5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 640i’s standard 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the A5’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the 6 Series’ (37.7 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 pounds less than the BMW 6 Series.

The A5 is 8.6 inches shorter than the M6, making the A5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Audi A5 amounts to more than styling. The A5 offers aerodynamic coefficients of drag from .29 to .3 Cd (depending on bodystyle and options). That is lower than the 6 Series (.31 to .33). A more efficient exterior helps the A5 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the A5 get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

The A5’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The 6 Series doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the A5’s available trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The 6 Series doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

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

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A5 has standard extendable sun visors. The 6 Series doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the A5 and the 6 Series offer available heated front seats. The A5 Premium Plus/Prestige also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the 6 Series.

Both the A5 and the 6 Series offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the A5 has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The 6 Series doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the BMW 6 Series isn’t available as a coupe.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the A5 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A5 will cost $1795 to $7820 less than the 6 Series over a five-year period.

The A5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A5 will retain 45.52% to 48.51% of its original price after five years, while the 6 Series only retains 35.47% to 36.86%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A5 will be $39571 to $66691 less than for the BMW 6 Series.

Recommendations

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the BMW 6 Series by over seven to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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