2019 Audi S5 vs. 2019 BMW Z4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The S5 has standard head airbag curtains for front and rear seats which act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and outboard passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. The Z4 doesn't offer side airbag protection for the head.

The S5 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Z4 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The S5 Prestige has a standard Top and Corner View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Z4 only offers a rear monitor.

Both the S5 and the Z4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, 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 S5 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Z4 has not been tested, yet.

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 S5’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 94 more horsepower (349 vs. 255) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 295) than the Z4 sDrive30i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S5’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Z4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The S5 has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Z4 (15.3 vs. 13.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Drivetrain

All wheel drive, available in the S5, 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 Z4 is not available with all wheel drive.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S5 has larger standard tires than the Z4 (245/40R18 vs. 225/45R18). The S5’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Z4 (265/30R20 vs. 255/35R19).

The S5’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 Z4’s standard 45 series front tires. The S5’s optional tires have a lower 30 series profile than the Z4’s optional 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Z4’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S5 Cabriolet’s wheelbase is 11.7 inches longer than on the Z4 (108.9 inches vs. 97.2 inches).

Passenger Space

The S5 has standard seating for 4 passengers; the Z4 can only carry 2.

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

The S5’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 Z4’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S5 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Z4 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the S5 keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Z4 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Model Availability

The Audi S5 comes in coupe, convertible and four door hatchback bodystyles; the BMW Z4 isn’t available as a coupe or four door.

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

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