2019 Audi RS 5 vs. 2020 BMW M4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi RS 5 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 M4 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The RS 5’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The M4 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The RS 5’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 M4 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The RS 5 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The M4 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

To help make backing safer, the RS 5’s 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 M4 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the RS 5 and the M4 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, available lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

Reliability

The M4’s redline is at 7600 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The RS 5 has a 6500 RPM redline.

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 RS 5’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 19 more horsepower (444 vs. 425) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 406) than the M4’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. The RS 5’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 406) than the M4’s optional 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. The RS 5’s 2.9 turbo V6 produces 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (443 vs. 442) than the M4 CS Coupe’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

As tested in Road and Track the Audi RS 5 is faster than the M4 CS Coupe (automatics tested):

RS 5

M4

Zero to 60 MPH

3.4 sec

3.6 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the RS 5’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The M4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Audi RS 5 higher (5 out of 10) than the BMW M4 (3). This means the RS 5 produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the M4 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission and Drivetrain

The Audi RS 5 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the M4.

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Audi RS 5, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the M4.

To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the RS 5 has a standard up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The M4 doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

All wheel drive, available in the RS 5, provides the best traction for acceleration in wet, dry, and icy conditions. In corners, all wheel drive allows both outside wheels to provide power, balancing the car. This allows for better handling. The BMW M4 is not available with all wheel drive.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the RS 5 has larger standard tires than the M4 (265/35R19 vs. 255/40R18). The RS 5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the M4 (275/30R20 vs. 265/30R20).

The RS 5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the M4’s standard 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the RS 5 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the M4.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the RS 5’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the M4’s (38.4 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

The design of the Audi RS 5 amounts to more than styling. The RS 5 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is lower than the M4 (.34). A more efficient exterior helps the RS 5 go faster and keeps the interior quieter. It also helps the RS 5 get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

The RS 5 has a larger trunk than the M4 Coupe (11.6 vs. 11 cubic feet).

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 RS 5’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The M4 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 RS 5’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The M4’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RS 5 has standard extendable sun visors. The M4 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RS 5 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The M4 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the RS 5 offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The M4 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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

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