2020 BMW 4 Series Convertible vs. 2019 Audi S5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the 4 Series Convertible 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive 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 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 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 S5’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (optional) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Convertible first among compact 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’ 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.

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard 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 S5 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 S5 Cabriolet (110.6 inches vs. 108.9 inches).

The 4 Series Convertible’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49% to 51%) than the S5’s (56.7% to 43.3%). This gives the 4 Series Convertible more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 4 Series Convertible’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the S5’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 S5 doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

Passenger Space

The 4 Series Convertible has 9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S5 Cabriolet (90 vs. 81).

Cargo Capacity

The 4 Series Convertible has a larger trunk with its top down than the S5 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 S5 Cabriolet with its top up (13.1 vs. 9.3 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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 S5 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Model Availability

The 4 Series Convertible is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S5 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 4 Series Convertible will be $2984 to $4947 less than for the Audi S5.

Recommendations

The 4 Series Convertible was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The S5 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 S5 has never been an “All Star.”

The BMW 4 Series outsold the Audi A5/S5/RS 5 by 21% during 2018.

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

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