Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2012 Audi S5 VS 2012 BMW 3 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2012 Audi S5

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2012 BMW 3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi S5 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 3 Series Coupe doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All Wheel Drive is standard on the S5. But it costs extra on the 3 Series Coupe.

The S5 Prestige’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The 3 Series Coupe doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver's blind spots.

Both the S5 and the 3 Series Coupe have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 20th in reliability. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 21st.

Engine Comparison

The S5 has more powerful engines than the 3 Series Coupe:



S5 Coupe 4.2 DOHC V8

354 HP

325 lbs.-ft.

328i Coupe 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

230 HP

200 lbs.-ft.

335i Coupe 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

335is Coupe 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

320 HP

332 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the S5 Coupe is faster than the 335i Coupe (manual transmissions tested):


3 Series Coupe

Zero to 60 MPH

4.8 sec

4.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

12 sec

12.1 sec

Quarter Mile

13.4 sec

13.6 sec

Top Speed

155 MPH

144 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the S5’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 3 Series Coupe:


3 Series Coupe

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

The S5’s brakes have 33% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the 3 Series Coupe with its standard brakes (618 vs. 464 square inches), so the S5 has more braking power available. The S5’s brakes have 21% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the 335i Coupe (618 vs. 511 square inches).

The S5 stops shorter than the 3 Series Coupe:


3 Series Coupe

80 to 0 MPH

204 feet

205 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

158 feet

160 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

110 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the S5 has larger tires than the 3 Series Coupe (255/35R19 vs. 225/45R17). The S5’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Coupe (255/35R19 vs. 225/40R18).

The S5’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 3 Series Coupe’s standard 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S5 has standard 19 inch wheels. Smaller 17 inch wheels are standard on the 3 Series Coupe.

The S5 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the 3 Series Coupe, it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The S5 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The 3 Series Coupe’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S5 is 3.5 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 3 Series Coupe.

The S5 Coupe handles at .90 G’s, while the 335i Coupe pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S5 Coupe goes through Road & Track’s slalom 2.6 MPH faster than the 335i Coupe (69 vs. 66.4 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the S5 Coupe is quieter than the 335i Coupe:


3 Series Coupe

At idle

40 dB

49 dB


74 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

68 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The S5 Coupe has .7 inches more front headroom and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the 3 Series Coupe.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The S5 Coupe has a much larger trunk than the 3 Series Coupe (12.4 vs. 11.1 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

The 3 Series Coupe’s standard power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The S5’s standard doors lock when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

Economic Advantages Comparison

The S5 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the S5 will retain 51.7% to 51.85% of its original price after five years, while the 3 Series Coupe only retains 47.25% to 51.64%.

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