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

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2013 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2013 Audi A4

Safety Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan’s optional front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The A4 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The A4 doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The A4 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The A4 only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The 3 Series Sedan offers optional BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 A4 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the A4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Audi A4:

3 Series Sedan

A4

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

150

252

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

35%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

144 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

64 lbs.

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

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW 3 Series Sedan is safer than the Audi A4:

3 Series Sedan

A4

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.4 inches

Abdominal Force

232 G’s

253 G’s

Hip Force

184 lbs.

242 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

64 G’s

71 G’s

Hip Force

688 lbs.

790 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

17 inches

20 inches

HIC

291

318

Spine Acceleration

38 G’s

50 G’s

Hip Force

513 lbs.

648 lbs.

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

Warranty Comparison

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 3 Series Sedan for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the A4.

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

Reliability Comparison

The camshafts in the 3 Series Sedan’s engine are driven by a hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs. The A4’s camshafts are driven by a rubber belt that needs periodic replacement. If the A4’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 170 amp alternator. The A4’s 150 amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the 3 Series Sedan’s reliability will be 54% better than the A4.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 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 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

Engine Comparison

The 328i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 29 more horsepower (240 vs. 211) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The 335i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 89 more horsepower (300 vs. 211) and 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 258) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The ActiveHybrid 3’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 124 more horsepower (335 vs. 211) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 258) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the 328i is faster than the Audi A4 (automatics tested):

3 Series Sedan

A4

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

6.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

17.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

3.9 sec

4 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

92 MPH

Top Speed

155 MPH

129 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the ActiveHybrid 3 gets better fuel mileage than the A4 FWD (25 city/33 hwy vs. 24 city/31 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 3 Series Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the A4:

3 Series Sedan

A4

2WD

320i/Manual

23 city/34 hwy

n/a

328i/Manual

22 city/34 hwy

n/a

335i/Manual

20 city/30 hwy

n/a

320i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

24 city/31 hwy

2.0T

328i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

n/a

335i/Auto

23 city/33 hwy

n/a

AWD

2.0T/Manual

n/a

22 city/32 hwy

328i/Auto

22 city/33 hwy

20 city/30 hwy

2.0T

335i/Auto

21 city/31 hwy

n/a

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The A4 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 3 Series Sedan’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The A4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 335i’s brake rotors are larger than those on the A4:

335i

A4

Front Rotors

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

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 A4 are solid, not vented.

The 3 Series Sedan stops much shorter than the A4:

3 Series Sedan

A4

70 to 0 MPH

164 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

123 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard 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 A4 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan 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 A4’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The 3 Series Sedan’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (49.7% to 50.3%) than the A4’s (55.8% to 44.2%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 328i handles at .90 G’s, while the A4 2.0T Sedan Quattro pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 328i executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the A4 2.0T Sedan Quattro (25.9 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sedan’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the A4’s (37.1 feet vs. 37.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The BMW 3 Series Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 200 pounds less than the Audi A4.

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

3 Series Sedan

A4

At idle

39 dB

44 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

71 dB

50 MPH Cruising

60 dB

67 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

71 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has 5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (96 vs. 91).

The 3 Series Sedan has .3 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, .2 inches more rear headroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan has a larger trunk than the A4 Sedan (13 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) offers an available heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The A4 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left down on the 3 Series Sedan w/Comfort Access the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the A4 can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the 3 Series Sedan (except 320i) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The A4 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

When the 3 Series Sedan 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 A4’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the A4 offer optional heated front seats. The 3 Series Sedan also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the A4.

The 3 Series Sedan has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the A4.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the 3 Series Sedan, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the A4.

The 3 Series Sedan (except 320i)’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The A4 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The 3 Series Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the 3 Series Sedan will retain a greater percentage of its original price after two and four years than the A4.

3 Series Sedan

A4

Four Year

39%

37% to 38%

Two Year

57%

53% to 55%

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