2019 Audi S3 Sedan vs. 2019 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The S3 Sedan’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 and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S3 Sedan 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 S3 Sedan has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies 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 provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the S3 Sedan. But it costs extra on the 4 Series Gran Coupe.

To help make backing safer, the S3 Sedan’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 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the S3 Sedan 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 and available lane departure warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S3 Sedan 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 S3 Sedan’s engine uses 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.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S3 Sedan has a standard 320-amp alternator. The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s 170-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

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 S3 Sedan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 40 more horsepower (288 vs. 248) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Audi S3 Sedan is faster than the 430i Gran Coupe 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

 

S3 Sedan

4 Series Gran Coupe

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

5.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

10.8 sec

14.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.6 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

12.9 sec

14.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108 MPH

98 MPH

Top Speed

155 MPH

127 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi S3 Sedan 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 S3 Sedan 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 S3 Sedan’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

For better stopping power the S3 Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4 Series Gran Coupe:

 

S3 Sedan

4 Series Gran Coupe

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.8 inches

The S3 Sedan stops much shorter than the 4 Series Gran Coupe:

 

S3 Sedan

4 Series Gran Coupe

 

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S3 Sedan’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 4 Series Gran Coupe (235/35R19 vs. 225/45R18).

The S3 Sedan’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 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard 45 series tires. The S3 Sedan’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 40 series front tires.

The S3 Sedan 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

For better maneuverability, the S3 Sedan’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.1 feet). The S3 Sedan’s turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the 4 Series Gran Coupe xDrive’s (36.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Chassis

The S3 Sedan is 6.9 inches shorter than the 4 Series Gran Coupe, making the S3 Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 S3 Sedan 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 S3 Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The 4 Series Gran Coupe doesn’t offer extendable visors.

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

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