2019 BMW 4 Series Convertible vs. 2019 Audi A5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the 4 Series Convertible and the A5 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4 Series Convertible 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.

There are over 13 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 4 Series Convertible’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 4 Series Convertible has a standard 170-amp alternator (210-amp - 4 Series Convertible 6 cyl.). The A5’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (optional) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 4 Series Convertible’s reliability 22 points higher than the A5.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Convertible first among compact premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The A5 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.

Engine

The 440i Convertible’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 74 more horsepower (322 vs. 248) and 59 lbs.-ft. more torque (332 vs. 273) than the A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the BMW 4 Series Convertible as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Audi A5 is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 4 Series Convertible, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A5.

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the 4 Series Convertible can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A5 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 4 Series Convertible’s wheelbase is 1.7 inches longer than on the A5 Cabriolet (110.6 inches vs. 108.9 inches).

For better maneuverability, the 4 Series Convertible’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the A5’s (37.1 feet vs. 37.7 feet).

Chassis

The 4 Series Convertible’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The A5 doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Passenger Space

The 4 Series Convertible has 9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A5 Cabriolet (90 vs. 81).

Cargo Capacity

The 4 Series Convertible has a larger trunk with its top down than the A5 Cabriolet with its top down (7.8 vs. 7.2 cubic feet). The 4 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top up than the A5 Cabriolet with its top up (13.1 vs. 9.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

If the windows are left open on the 4 Series Convertible the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the A5 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

In case of a sudden change of weather, the 4 Series Convertible offers an optional remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The A5 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 4 Series Convertible offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The A5 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 4 Series Convertible offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The A5 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 4 Series Convertible to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A5 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Model Availability

The 4 Series Convertible is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The A5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 4 Series Convertible owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 4 Series Convertible with a number “1” insurance rate while the A5 is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4 Series Convertible is less expensive to operate than the A5 because it costs $27 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the 4 Series Convertible than the A5, including $18 less for a starter, $133 less for fuel injection, $14 less for a fuel pump and $80 less for front struts.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Convertible third among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The A5 isn’t in the top three.

The 4 Series Convertible was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The A5 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 4 Series Convertible was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2014. The A5 has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 4 Series outsold the Audi A5/S5 by 21% during 2018.

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

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