2021 BMW 5 Series Sedan vs. 2020 Audi A7

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/21

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 5 Series Sedan offers optional Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The A7 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The 5 Series Sedan’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 A7 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the 5 Series Sedan and the A7 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, night vision systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the 5 Series Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 82 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The A7 is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 5 Series Sedan 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 A7.

There are over 14 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the 5 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the 5 Series Sedan’s reliability 18 points higher than the A7.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 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 18th in initial quality. With 49 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 32nd.

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.

Engine

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The M550i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 188 more horsepower (523 vs. 335) and 184 lbs.-ft. more torque (553 vs. 369) than the A7’s 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the 5 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the A7:

MPG

5 Series Sedan

RWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

25 city/32 hwy

AWD

530i 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

540i 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

23 city/31 hwy

A7

AWD

3.0 turbo V6 Hybrid

22 city/29 hwy

Transmission

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/21

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW 5 Series Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the A7.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 5 Series Sedan’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A7:

530i

M550i

A7

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

13 inches

The 5 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the A7:

5 Series Sedan

A7

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

116 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The 5 Series Sedan’s optional 275/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the A7 Prestige’s optional 35 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 5 Series Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The A7 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 5 Series Sedan 540i/M550i offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The A7 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The M550i offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Audi doesn’t offer an active suspension on the A7.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 5 Series Sedan’s wheelbase is 1.9 inches longer than on the A7 (117.1 inches vs. 115.2 inches).

The M550i xDrive handles at .92 G’s, while the A7 Prestige pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M550i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the A7 Prestige (24.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 26 seconds @ .69 average G’s).

Chassis

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The BMW 5 Series Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 550 pounds less than the Audi A7.

The front grille of the 5 Series Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The A7 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the 540i is quieter than the A7 Prestige:

5 Series

A7

At idle

38 dB

38 dB

Full-Throttle

68 dB

73 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

66 dB

Passenger Space

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The 5 Series Sedan has 3.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A7 (98.8 vs. 95).

The 5 Series Sedan has 1.8 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room and .4 inches more rear headroom than the A7.

Cargo Capacity

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With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the 5 Series offers cargo security. The A7’s hatchback body style, non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

Ergonomics

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The 5 Series Sedan 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 A7 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The 5 Series Sedan’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The A7’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The 5 Series Sedan’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the A7’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Poor.”

A power rear sunshade and manual rear side window sunshades are optional in the 5 Series Sedan to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The A7 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The 5 Series Sedan’s optional Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Optional Remote Control Parking will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The A7 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The 5 Series Sedan is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The A7 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 5 Series Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 5 Series Sedan will cost $3520 less than the A7 over a five-year period.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/21

The BMW 5 Series outsold the Audi A7/S7/RS 7 by almost 8 to one during 2019.

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