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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 A5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the 2 Series 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive 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 “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 2 Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A5 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.
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 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 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 A5’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 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’ 2019 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 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 8th.
The M240i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 87 more horsepower (335 vs. 248) and 96 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 273) than the A5’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the BMW 2 Series as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Audi A5 is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 2 Series, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A5.
The 2 Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the A5 are solid, not vented.
The 2 Series stops much shorter than the A5:
60 to 0 MPH
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 A5 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The 2 Series Coupe handles at .97 G’s, while the A5 Prestige Coupe pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The 2 Series Coupe executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the A5 Prestige Coupe (24.9 seconds @ .78 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .71 average G’s).
For better maneuverability, the 2 Series’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the A5’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.7 feet). The 2 Series xDrive’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the A5’s (37.1 feet vs. 37.7 feet).
The BMW 2 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 50 to 250 pounds less than the Audi A5.
The 230i is 9.3 inches shorter than the A5, 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 A5 Coupe is rated a Subcompact.
The 2 Series Coupe has 6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A5 Coupe (90 vs. 84). The 2 Series Convertible has .7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A5 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 A5 Coupe.
The 2 Series Convertible has .5 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom and .7 inches more rear headroom than the A5 Cabriolet.
The 2 Series Coupe has a much larger trunk than the A5 Coupe (13.8 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).
The 2 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top down than the A5 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 A5 Cabriolet with its top up (11.8 vs. 9.3 cubic feet).
If the front windows are left open on the 2 Series w/Comfort Access the driver can close them 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 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
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 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.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The 2 Series’ available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the A5’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”
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 A5 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 A5 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 has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The A5 doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The 2 Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The A5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Insurance will cost less for the 2 Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the 2 Series 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 2 Series is less expensive to operate than the A5 because typical repairs cost much less on the 2 Series than the A5, including $66 less for a starter, $240 less for a fuel pump and $160 less for front struts.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 2 Series will be $986 to $32037 less than for the Audi A5.
Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 2 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The M235i/M240i was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 5 years. The A5 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 A5 has never been an “All Star.”
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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