Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2015 BMW 3 Series VS 2015 Audi A4 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2015 BMW 3 Series

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VS

2015 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)’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 Side and Top View Cameras 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 has standard 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

4 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, lubrication and any other required 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

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 3 Series Sedan has a standard 170-amp alternator (180-amp - 3 Series Sedan Diesel and 200 ActiveHybrid). The A4’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 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 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 11th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2014 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in reliability. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 19th.

Engine Comparison

The 328i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (240 vs. 220) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The 335i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 80 more horsepower (300 vs. 220) 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 115 more horsepower (335 vs. 220) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 258) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

The 3 Series Sedan’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 258) than the A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 328d gets better fuel mileage than the A4:

3 Series Sedan

A4

2WD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. diesel/Auto

32 city/45 hwy

24 city/32 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid/Auto

25 city/33 hwy

n/a

AWD

 

n/a

22 city/32 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. diesel/Auto

31 city/43 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

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

3 Series Sedan

A4

2WD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (180 HP)/8-spd Auto

24 city/36 hwy

24 city/32 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (240 HP)/8-spd Auto

23 city/35 hwy

n/a

AWD

n/a

22 city/32 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Manual

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (180 HP)/8-spd Auto

23 city/35 hwy

22 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (240 HP)/8-spd Auto

22 city/33 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)

139 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 (49.9% to 50.1%) than the A4’s (55.8% to 44.2%). This gives the 3 Series Sedan more stable handling and braking.

The 320i handles at .92 G’s, while the A4 2.0T Quattro pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 335i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the A4 2.0T Quattro (25.6 seconds @ .75 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 300 pounds less than the Audi A4.

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 2.3 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 with its rear seat up (13 vs. 12.4 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 3 Series Sedan’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The A4 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

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.

Comfort Access optional on the 3 Series Sedan allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Audi A4’s available Audi Advanced Key doesn’t unlock the trunk.

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 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 A4.

On extremely cold Winter days, the 3 Series Sedan’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The A4 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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.

Optional BMW Apps for the 3 Series Sedan allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, tagging songs to buy them later, following twitter accounts and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The A4 doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

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

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 3 Series Sedan is less expensive to operate than the A4 because it costs $675 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 3 Series Sedan than the A4, including $75 less for a water pump, $63 less for front brake pads, $243 less for a starter, $295 less for fuel injection, $106 less for a fuel pump and $196 less for front struts.

Recommendations Comparison

The BMW 3 Series Sedan has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

3 Series Sedan

A4

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 20 years. The A4 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 18 years. The A4 has never been an “All Star.”

The 3 Series was selected by Automobile Magazine as their 2006 Car of the Year. The A4 has never been chosen.

The BMW 3 and 4 Series outsold the Audi A4/S4 by almost four to one during the 2014 model year.

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