2020 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe vs. 2019 Volkswagen GTI

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The GTI doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The GTI doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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 GTI only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the GTI have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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 and rearview cameras.

The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe weighs 444 to 860 pounds more than the Volkswagen GTI. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The 4 Series Gran Coupe comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the GTI.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the GTI’s (12 vs. 10 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. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GTI.

Reliability

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 GTI’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 GTI 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th, 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 8 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The 430i Gran Coupe’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (248 vs. 228) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The 440i Gran Coupe’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 92 more horsepower (320 vs. 228) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 258) than the GTI’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 430i Gran Coupe RWD gets better fuel mileage than the GTI Auto (23 city/34 hwy vs. 25 city/31 hwy).

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

Regardless of its engine, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Volkswagen only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the GTI Automatic.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the GTI (15.8 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

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

Brakes and Stopping

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 GTI are solid, not vented.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe stops shorter than the GTI:

4 Series

GTI

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional 255/35R19 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GTI’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 4 Series Gran Coupe offers optional 19-inch wheels. The GTI’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

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 GTI doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The GTI’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s wheelbase is 7 inches longer than on the GTI (110.6 inches vs. 103.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the 4 Series Gran Coupe is .4 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the GTI.

The 4 Series Gran Coupe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.1% to 49.9%) than the GTI’s (60.4% to 39.6%). This gives the 4 Series Gran Coupe more stable handling and braking.

Chassis

The design of the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe amounts to more than styling. The 4 Series Gran Coupe has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is lower than the GTI (.31) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the 4 Series Gran Coupe get better fuel mileage.

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

4 Series

GTI

At idle

40 dB

52 dB

Full-Throttle

73 dB

81 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

The 4 Series Gran Coupe has 1.5 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front legroom and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the GTI.

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the 4 Series Gran Coupe. The GTI doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

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 GTI doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the 4 Series Gran Coupe is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the GTI. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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 GTI 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 GTI doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 GTI can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 GTI doesn’t offer headlight washers.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 4 Series Gran Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The GTI 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 GTI’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 GTI offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the GTI 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 GTI.

On extremely cold winter days, the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The GTI doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 GTI Autobahn.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 4 Series offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The GTI doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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

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

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