2019 Audi A5 vs. 2020 BMW 2 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 2 Series doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The A5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 2 Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A5’s standard pretensioning seatbelts also sense rear collisions and remove slack from the seatbelts to help protect the occupants from whiplash and other injuries. The 2 Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Pre Sense City in the A5 as “Superior.” The 2 Series scores at most only 4 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

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 2 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.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the A5. But it costs extra on the 2 Series.

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 2 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.

The A5’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 2 Series doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

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 2 Series doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A5 and the 2 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

Reliability

The Audi A5’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the 2 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.

Engine

The A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the 230i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A5 gets better fuel mileage than the 230i xDrive Auto (23 city/34 hwy vs. 21 city/31 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A5 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 2 Series requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The A5 has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 2 Series (15.3 vs. 13.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 2 Series doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A5’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 2 Series:

A5

2 Series

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the A5 has larger standard tires than the 2 Series (245/40R18 vs. 205/50R17). The A5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 2 Series (255/35R19 vs. 225/40R18).

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 230i’s standard 50 series tires. The A5’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 2 Series’ optional 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A5 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 230i. The A5’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the 2 Series.

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 2 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

The A5 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the A5 flat and controlled during cornering. The 2 Series’ suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the A5’s wheelbase is longer than on the 2 Series:

A5

2 Series

Coupe

108.8 inches

105.9 inches

Convertible

108.9 inches

105.9 inches

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A5 is 2.6 inches wider in the front and .4 inches wider in the rear than on the 2 Series.

Passenger Space

The A5 Convertible has .9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear legroom and 4.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the 2 Series Convertible.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the A5’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The 2 Series doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The A5’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The 2 Series Convertible’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.

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 2 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 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 10% lower rating, BMW is ranked 11th.

Ergonomics

The A5 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The 2 Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The A5’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The 2 Series has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The A5’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them, but the driver can still raise and lower all of them with the lock engaged. BMW does not offer a locking feature on the 2 Series’ standard power windows.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A5 Coupe has standard extendable sun visors. The 2 Series doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the A5 and the 2 Series offer optional 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 2 Series.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the A5 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 2 Series doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Model Availability

The Audi A5 comes in coupe, convertible and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the BMW 2 Series isn’t available as a four-door.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A5 is less expensive to operate than the 2 Series because it costs $27 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the A5 than the 2 Series, including $38 less for a water pump, $19 less for a muffler, $26 less for front brake pads, $144 less for fuel injection, $486 less for a timing belt/chain and $85 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Audi A5/S5 outsold the BMW 2 Series by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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