2019 Audi S4 vs. 2018 BMW 3 Series Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S4 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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi S4 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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The S4 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 3 Series Sedan 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 S4. But it costs extra on the 3 Series Sedan.

To help make backing safer, the S4’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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the S4 and the 3 Series Sedan 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, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Reliability

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 S4’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 169 more horsepower (349 vs. 180) and 169 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 200) than the 320i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The S4’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 101 more horsepower (349 vs. 248) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 258) than the 330i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The S4’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 27 more horsepower (349 vs. 322) and 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 330) than the 340i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

Transmission

The S4’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 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the S4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 3 Series Sedan:

 

S4

320i/330i

340i

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.3 inches

13.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S4 has larger tires than the 3 Series Sedan (245/40R18 vs. 225/50R17). The S4’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (245/40R18 vs. 225/40R19).

The S4’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 3 Series Sedan’s standard 50 series tires. The S4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 3 Series Sedan’s optional 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S4 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 3 Series Sedan.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S4 is 1.3 inches wider in the front than on the 3 Series Sedan.

Passenger Space

The S4 has .8 inches more front shoulder room and .6 inches more rear legroom than the 3 Series Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S4 easier. The S4’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the 3 Series Sedan’s liftover is 27.3 inches.

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 S4 has standard extendable sun visors. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the S4 Premium Plus/Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages

The S4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S4 will retain 53.92% to 54.25% of its original price after five years, while the 3 Series Sedan only retains 38.77% to 49.21%.

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

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