2019 Audi A5 vs. 2019 BMW 8 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 8 Series doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A5 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 8 Series 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.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the A5 Automatic’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The 8 Series doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The A5 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The 8 Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the A5 and the 8 Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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 155 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 8 Series has not been tested, yet.

Reliability

The Audi A5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the 8 Series’ engine uses 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 M850i Coupe (23 city/34 hwy vs. 18 city/25 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the A5 gets better fuel mileage than the M850i Convertible (23 city/34 hwy vs. 17 city/26 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 8 Series requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

The A5 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 8 Series doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 8 Series (255/35R19 vs. 245/35R20).

The A5 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 8 Series; 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.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the A5’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the 8 Series’ (37.7 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis

The Audi A5 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 750 to 850 pounds less than the BMW 8 Series.

The A5 is 7.2 inches shorter than the 8 Series, 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 8 Series (.32 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.

Passenger Space

The A5 Coupe has 3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 8 Series (84 vs. 81).

The A5 Coupe has .1 inches more front headroom, 2.5 inches more rear headroom, 3.2 inches more rear legroom and 3.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the 8 Series Coupe.

The A5 Convertible has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more rear headroom, 3.6 inches more rear legroom and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the 8 Series Convertible.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than BMW. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 10% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The 8 Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Both the A5 and the 8 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 8 Series.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the BMW 8 Series isn’t available as a four door.

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

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