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The 2 Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The S5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the 2 Series and the S5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes and rear parking sensors.
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 available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 2 Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S5 was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2016.
BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 2 Series for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the S5.
There are over 13 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 2 Series’ warranty.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 2 Series has a standard 170-amp alternator (210-amp - 2 Series 6 cyl.). The S5’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (optional) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the 2 Series second among small premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The S5 isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 13th.
The 2 Series offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The S5 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.
The 2 Series Automatic’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 S5 doesn’t offer launch control.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 2 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The S5 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The 2 Series’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.2% to 49.8%) than the S5’s (56.7% to 43.3%). This gives the 2 Series more stable handling and braking.
For better maneuverability, the 2 Series’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the S5’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.7 feet). The 2 Series xDrive’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the S5’s (37.1 feet vs. 37.7 feet).
The BMW 2 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 450 pounds less than the Audi S5.
The 230i is 10 inches shorter than the S5, making the 2 Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 2 Series Coupe a Compact car, while the S5 Coupe is rated a Subcompact.
The 2 Series Coupe has 6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S5 Coupe (90 vs. 84). The 2 Series Convertible has .7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S5 Cabriolet (81.7 vs. 81).
The 2 Series Coupe has 1.1 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more rear headroom, .3 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the S5 Coupe.
The 2 Series Convertible has .5 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom and .7 inches more rear headroom than the S5 Cabriolet.
The 2 Series Coupe has a much larger trunk than the S5 Coupe (13.8 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).
The 2 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top down than the S5 Cabriolet with its top down (9.9 vs. 7.2 cubic feet). The 2 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top up than the S5 Cabriolet with its top up (11.8 vs. 9.3 cubic feet).
In case of a sudden change of weather, the 2 Series offers an optional remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The S5 doesn’t offer a remote top, so the driver will have to run to the car, get in, turn the ignition on and raise the top to prevent the interior from being damaged.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 2 Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The S5 doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 2 Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The S5 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 2 Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
The 2 Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Insurance will cost less for the 2 Series owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 2 Series will cost $4390 less than the S5 over a five-year period.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 2 Series will be $10757 to $43741 less than for the Audi S5.
Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 2 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the 2 Series first among small premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The S5 isn’t in the top three.
The M235i/M240i was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 5 years. The S5 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
The 2 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2015. The S5 has never been an “All Star.”
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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