Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2010 BMW 3 Series VS 2010 Audi S4 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2010 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2010 Audi S4

Safety Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan offers optional BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The S4 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the S4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

For its top level performance in frontal and side impact tests, and acceptable performance in rear impact tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the 3 Series Sedan as a “Silver” Top Safety Pick for 2006, its second highest rating, granted to only 8 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S4 hasn’t been tested by the IIHS.

Warranty Comparison

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BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 3 years and 45000 miles longer than Audi pays for maintenance for the S4 (4/50,000 vs. 1/5000).

There are over 33 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier to get service under the 3 Series Sedan’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 180 amp alternator. The S4’s 140 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2009 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 15th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 20th.

Engine Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 100 lbs.-ft. more torque (425 vs. 325) than the S4’s 3.0 supercharged V6.

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the 3 Series Sedan’s engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the S4:

Torque

328i Sedan 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

2750 RPM

335i Sedan 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

1400 RPM

S4 3.0 supercharged V6

2900 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the BMW 3 Series Sedan uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The S4 requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the S4 are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops shorter than the S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

70 to 0 MPH

160 feet

167 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the 3 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 S4 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.5% to 49.5%) than the S4’s (55% to 45%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 335i Sedan handles at .95 G’s, while the S4 pulls only .93 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sedan’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the S4’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The BMW 3 Series Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 300 pounds less than the Audi S4.

The 3 Series Sedan is 7 inches shorter than the S4, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan has .2 inches more front legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the S4.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The S4’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics Comparison

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To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the 3 Series Sedan has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The S4 doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the 3 Series Sedan to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The S4 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The 3 Series Sedan offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The S4 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 3 Series Sedan detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The S4 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the 3 Series Sedan offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The S4 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

When the 3 Series Sedan with available tilt-down mirrors 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 S4’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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