2020 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2019 Audi S5 Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the S5 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, 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 Gran Coupe 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 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 4 Series Gran Coupe’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has a standard 170-amp alternator. The S5 Sportback’s standard 110-amp alternator and largest (optional) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Gran Coupe first among compact premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The S5 Sportback 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 4 Series Gran Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the S5 Sportback:

MPG

4 Series Gran Coupe

RWD

430i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

440i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

AWD

430i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

440i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

S5 Sportback

AWD

3.0 turbo V6

21 city/30 hwy

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 4 Series Gran Coupe can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the S5 Sportback.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the S5 Sportback’s (56% to 44%). This gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the S5 Sportback’s (37.1 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis

The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Audi S5 Sportback.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe is 4.4 inches shorter than the S5 Sportback, making the 4 Series Gran Coupe easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 430i Gran Coupe xDrive is quieter than the S5 Sportback Prestige:

4 Series

S5 Sportback

At idle

40 dB

40 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

79 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has .5 inches more front headroom and .9 inches more front legroom than the S5 Sportback.

Cargo Capacity

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the S5 Sportback with its rear seat folded (45.9 vs. 35 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

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 Gran Coupe offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 4 Series Gran Coupe offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer cornering lights.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 4 Series Gran Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The S5 Sportback doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the 4 Series Gran Coupe owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 4 Series Gran Coupe will cost $2400 less than the S5 Sportback over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe will be $7224 to $11875 less than for the Audi S5 Sportback.

Recommendations

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The S5 Sportback has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2014. The S5 Sportback 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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