2019 BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon vs. 2019 Audi A5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the 3 Series Sports Wagon and the A5 Sportback 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, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon is safer than the Audi A5 Sportback:

 

3 Series Sports Wagon

A5 Sportback

 

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

321/434 lbs.

431/395 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

150

236

Chest Compression

.6 inches

1 inches

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

119 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

47 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

174/298 lbs.

324/341 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon is safer than the Audi A5 Sportback:

 

3 Series Sports Wagon

A5 Sportback

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.1 inches

Hip Force

184 lbs.

308 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

688 lbs.

777 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

291

333

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

47 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

666 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sports Wagon 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 A5 Sportback.

There are over 13 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 3 Series Sports Wagon’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sports Wagon has a standard 210-amp alternator. The A5 Sportback’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (optional) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 3 Series Sports Wagon has a standard 900-amp battery. The A5 Sportback’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A5 Sportback.

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the 3 Series Sports Wagon can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Chassis

The 3 Series Sports Wagon is 3.5 inches shorter than the A5 Sportback, making the 3 Series Sports Wagon easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The 3 Series Sports Wagon has 1 inch more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, 1.3 inches more rear headroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the A5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

The 3 Series Sports Wagon has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the A5 Sportback with its rear seat up (27.5 vs. 21.8 cubic feet). The 3 Series Sports Wagon has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the A5 Sportback with its rear seat folded (61.5 vs. 35 cubic feet).

The 3 Series Sports Wagon’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The A5 Sportback’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the 3 Series Sports Wagon w/Comfort Access the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the A5 Sportback can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the 3 Series Sports Wagon has a standard rear wiper. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 3 Series Sports Wagon offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 3 Series Sports Wagon offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The A5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 3 Series Sports Wagon also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Economic Advantages

The 3 Series Sports Wagon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 3 Series Sports Wagon will retain 54.53% to 55.45% of its original price after five years, while the A5 Sportback only retains 44.13% to 47.54%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon will be $3491 to $8740 less than for the Audi A5 Sportback.

Recommendations

The BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

3 Series

A5

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

n/a

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

n/a

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 25 years. The A5 Sportback has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 23 years. The A5 Sportback has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 3 Series outsold the Audi A5/S5 by 72% during 2018.

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

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