2020 BMW Z4 vs. 2019 Audi S5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Z4’s 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 S5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Z4 and the S5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.


BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the Z4 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 Z4’s warranty.


To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Z4 has a standard 800-amp battery (900 M40i). The S5’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 20th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 22nd.

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 Z4 M40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. produces 33 more horsepower (382 vs. 349) than the S5’s 3.0 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Z4 gets better fuel mileage than the S5 Cabriolet:



sDrive30i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

M40i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl.

24 city/31 hwy

S5 Cabriolet

3.0 turbo V6

21 city/29 hwy

Brakes and Stopping

The Z4 stops shorter than the S5:



70 to 0 MPH

146 feet

150 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction and acceleration, the Z4 has larger standard rear tires than the S5 (255/40R18 vs. 245/40R18). The Z4’s optional rear tires are larger than the largest rear tires available on the S5 (275/35R19 vs. 265/30R20).

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Z4 is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the S5.

The Z4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.9% to 50.1%) than the S5’s (56.7% to 43.3%). This gives the Z4 more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the Z4’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the S5’s (36 feet vs. 37.7 feet).


The BMW Z4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 750 pounds less than the Audi S5.

The Z4 is 1 foot, 2 inches shorter than the S5, making the Z4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The Z4 has a much larger trunk than the S5 Cabriolet with its top down (9.9 vs. 7.2 cubic feet). The Z4 has a larger trunk than the S5 Cabriolet with its top up (9.9 vs. 9.3 cubic feet).


The Z4 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The S5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the S5, the Z4 has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

In case of a sudden change of weather, the Z4 offers an optional remote convertible top that can be raised from a distance to protect the interior of the vehicle from damage. The S5 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.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Z4 offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The S5 doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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

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