Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2013 Audi A4 VS 2013 BMW 3 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2013 Audi A4

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2013 BMW 3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 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 Sedan doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the A4 and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all-wheel drive.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the BMW 3 Series Sedan:


3 Series Sedan

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Reliability Comparison

The Audi A4’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the 3 Series Sedan’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 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 15th in reliability. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 20th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

The A4 has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan ActiveHybrid’s standard fuel tank (16.1 vs. 15 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the A4’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 3 Series Sedan:


3 Series Sedan

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

The A4 stops much shorter than the 3 Series Sedan:


3 Series Sedan

80 to 0 MPH

206 feet

225 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

165 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

124 feet

Road & Track

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the A4 has larger standard tires than the 3 Series Sedan (245/40R18 vs. 225/50R17). The A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (255/35R19 vs. 225/40R19).

The A4’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 3 Series Sedan’s standard 50 series tires. The A4’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 3 Series Sedan’s optional 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A4 is 1.3 inches wider in the front than on the 3 Series Sedan.

The A4 2.0T Sedan Quattro handles at .90 G’s, while the 328i pulls only .88 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The A4 2.0T Sedan Quattro goes through Road & Track’s slalom 2 MPH faster than the 328i (69.1 vs. 67.1 MPH).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the A4 2.0T Sedan Quattro is quieter than the 328i:


3 Series Sedan

At idle

44 dB

51 dB


71 dB

75 dB

50 MPH Cruising

67 dB

70 dB

70 MPH Cruising

71 dB

73 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The A4 has .4 inches more front shoulder room and .1 inches more rear legroom than the 3 Series Sedan.

Ergonomics Comparison

Consumer Reports rated the A4’s headlight performance “Fair” to “Good” (depending on model and options), a higher rating than the 3 Series Sedan’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the A4 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A4 will cost $195 to $1140 less than the 3 Series Sedan over a five-year period.

The A4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the A4 will retain 51.83% of its original price after five years, while the 3 Series Sedan only retains 43.83% to 46.54%.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A4 will be $3985 to $9673 less than for the BMW 3 Series Sedan.

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