2020 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2019 Subaru WRX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The WRX only offers a rear monitor.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the WRX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The WRX’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the WRX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

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. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the WRX.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the WRX’s camshafts. If the WRX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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 WRX’s standard 130-amp alternator and largest (STI) 110-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

The battery on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The WRX’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 4 Series Gran Coupe first among compact premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The WRX 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe has more powerful engines than the WRX:

Torque

440i Gran Coupe 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

330 lbs.-ft.

WRX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

258 lbs.-ft.

WRX STI 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

290 lbs.-ft.

WRX STI S209 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

300 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

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

MPG

4 Series Gran Coupe

RWD

Auto

430i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

440i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

AWD

Auto

430i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

440i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

WRX

AWD

Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

STI 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

17 city/22 hwy

Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

18 city/24 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The WRX doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The WRX doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe higher (3 to 7 out of 10) than the Subaru WRX (1). This means the 4 Series Gran Coupe produces up to 47 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the WRX every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the WRX.

Brakes and Stopping

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the WRX are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the WRX.

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 WRX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The WRX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s wheelbase is 6.3 inches longer than on the WRX (110.6 inches vs. 104.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the WRX.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the WRX’s (58.4% to 41.6%). This gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 430i Gran Coupe xDrive is quieter than the WRX STI:

4 Series

WRX

At idle

40 dB

54 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

80 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

75 dB

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has .1 inches more front headroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the WRX.

Cargo Capacity

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The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the WRX (17 vs. 12 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The WRX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Ergonomics

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When two different drivers share the 4 Series Gran Coupe, the memory system makes it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The WRX doesn’t offer a memory system.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The WRX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the WRX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The WRX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The WRX’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the 4 Series Gran Coupe 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 WRX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The WRX’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 WRX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The WRX has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the STI/Limited.

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

When the 4 Series Gran Coupe is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The WRX’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The WRX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the WRX offer available heated front seats. The 4 Series Gran Coupe also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the WRX.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the WRX STI.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the WRX offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The WRX doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The WRX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The BMW 4 Series comes in coupe, convertible and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Subaru WRX isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

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

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/21

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The WRX hasn’t been picked since 2003.

The BMW 4 Series outsold the Subaru WRX by 9% during 2018.

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

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