Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2013 BMW 3 Series VS 2013 Audi S4 Near Phoenix, AZ

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2013 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2013 Audi S4

Safety Comparison

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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 S4 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 S4 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 S4 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 S4 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 S4 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 S4 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 S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.6 inches

.8 inches

Neck Injury Risk

32%

42%

Neck Stress

115 lbs.

205 lbs.

Neck Compression

44 lbs.

70 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 S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

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

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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 S4.

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

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 170 amp alternator. The S4’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 110% better than the S4.

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

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The ActiveHybrid 3’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 2 more horsepower (335 vs. 333) and 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 325) than the S4’s 3.0 supercharged V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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On the EPA test cycle the 335i xDrive Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

AWD

Manual

20 city/28 hwy

17 city/26 hwy

Auto

21 city/31 hwy

18 city/28 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the 3 Series Sedan’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The S4 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 S4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan stops shorter than the S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

70 to 0 MPH

164 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 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 S4 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 3 Series Sedan is 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the S4.

The 328i goes through Road & Track’s slalom faster than the S4 (69 vs. 68.4 MPH).

For better maneuverability, the 3 Series Sedan’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the S4’s (37.1 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 50 to 550 pounds less than the Audi S4.

The 3 Series Sedan is 3.2 inches shorter than the S4, making the 3 Series Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Road & Track, the interior of the 328i is quieter than the S4:

3 Series Sedan

S4

At idle

39 dB

47 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

74 dB

50 MPH Cruising

60 dB

71 dB

70 MPH Cruising

65 dB

73 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan has 5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S4 (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 S4.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The 3 Series Sedan has a larger trunk than the S4 (13 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

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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 S4 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 S4 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 S4 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 S4’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the 3 Series Sedan and the S4 offer available 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 S4.

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 S4 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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Insurance will cost less for the 3 Series Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 3 Series Sedan will cost $890 to $1835 less than the S4 over a five-year period.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW 3 Series Sedan will be $5110 to $10798 less than for the Audi S4.

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