Are you in the market for a 5-door luxury car? Our 2019 Audi A5 Sportback vs 2019 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé quick comparison test should answer your questions.
This niche segment owes its existence to one car: The Mercedes-Benz CLS. Strangely, however, Benz’s competition to the participants in this comparison test, the CLA, although popular, is a far lesser car. Mercedes will aim to and probably succeed in crushing the competition when the new CLA arrives.
Until then, the A5 Sportback and 4 Series Gran Coupé own this very limited segment. They, in fact, could not be more direct competitors if they tried. Audi offers an RS 5 version of the Sportback which BMW has yet to match with an M4 Gran Coupé but short of that, they go toe-to-toe on every other level.
In the market for a trendy 5-door luxury car and need help making a decision? Read on.
Which is more enjoyable to drive?
With only a few exceptions, BMW cars have lost their edge. The new 3 Series seems to have reignited driving passion at BMW but until it trickles through the remainder of the line-up, with the exception of the 2 Series, things are not what they used to be.
Credit is due however to Audi for closing the gap that once existed. Audi’s latest crop of cars are excellent and to be quite honest, we’ve preferred our time behind the wheel of Audis over BMWs. The tested S5 Sportback in a word was exceptional.
The base 4-cylinder engines are plenty peppy but let’s concentrate on the uprated powertrains.
The S5’s boosted 349-horsepower 3.0-litre V6 is powerful, responsive and we have nothing but praise for the 8-speed automatic transmission. The Bimmer’s boosted 320-horsepower 3.0-litre straight-6 and accompanying 8-speeder is just as powerful and efficient but the differences come from the controls.
The last few BMWs (not the 2 Series!) we’ve driven provided less than the stellar steering feedback and performance we once expected from the Bavarians. Response to inputs varied and the on-center play was nothing short of unpleasant. The Audi, while not as feedback-laden as we would like, felt much better.
Otherwise, both cars provide inspiring driving dynamics and decent rides. Both xDrive and quattro AWD systems have demonstrated their abilities countless times over the years so we’d qualify them and equivalent in daily use.
The Audi once more has an edge where the chassis’ tuning displays a greater ability to be both comfortable and sporty when conditions arise. The BMW’s more focused on handling.
Answer: the 2019 Audi A5
Which is more fuel-efficient?
What impresses with these high-end luxury performance cars is how efficient they are, and this regardless of the powertrain selection. The base A5 and 430i both rely on a turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder and will consume on average 9L/100km.
With the larger 6-cylinder engines, they again will consume on average the same amount, or just under 10L/100km. These are amazing numbers given that these cars, the S5 and 440i, reach 100 km/h in scarcely 5 seconds.
Answer: it’s a tie
Which is more spacious and luxurious?
These 4-door, or 5-door, “coupés” are designed to transports passengers in the lap of luxury, so long as the rear occupants are not too tall. Their main advantage over regular coupes and sedans is a large trunk and accessible trunk. The Audi’s cabin is overall larger and more comfortable.
Both cars are assembled with care and the utmost attention to detail. Materials and craftsmanship are tops and while we might prefer the Audi instrument panel and overall dashboard design, both are functional and top notch.
Technology abounds in both cars and each feature a control wheel to access most connectivity and infotainment menus.
Answer: 2019 Audi A5 Sportback
Which has the better value?
As most luxury cars that retail for $50k or more are leased, value often comes from the logo on the car. In this category and at this price point, loyalty to a brand is fickle so affordability, in other words meeting the monthly budget, is key.
BMW tends to be more generous with incentives than Audi however as new car deliveries have plateaued and are expected to drop, changes may occur. The 2019 BMW 430i xDrive Gran Coupé starts at $52,150 while the 2018 Audi A5 Sportback begins at $49,200 (at the time of writing this comparison 2019 was not yet available in Canada – expect a slight increase.).
Base levels of equipment are high but some “regular” features such as a heated steering wheel are part of elaborate and expensive option packages. Audi needs $1,450 while BMW wants $3,750 in their base cars if you want to keep your hands warm in cold weather without gloves…
To get the S5, Audi wants considerably more money as it starts at $63,100 (2018). The 440i goes for $58,350.
Answer: 2019 Audi A5 Sportback (by a very thin margin)
Which would we recommend?
For the purpose of this comparison, we’d go for the Audi. Both cars are without a doubt beautiful but the Audi’s exquisitely sculpted hood, pinched yet powerful front fascia and inspired bodylines are irresistible.
Praise carries forth when dropping into the car. The Audi’s cabin feels more special and, to a certain extent, more premium. Factor in the driving experience with the roomier interior and we have a winner.
The BMW’s far from a loser however the Audi’s simply more appealing, at least at the moment.