Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Audi A6 VS 2016 BMW 5 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 Audi A6

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2016 BMW 5

Safety Comparison

The A6’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi A6 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 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the A6 and 5 Series Sedan have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The A6 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The 5 Series Sedan’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The A6 has a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 5 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Both the A6 and the 5 Series Sedan 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, daytime running lights, available crash mitigating brakes, night vision systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Audi A6 is safer than the BMW 5 Series Sedan:


5 Series Sedan


5 Stars

4 Stars



5 Stars

4 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

410/454 lbs.

427/544 lbs.



5 Stars

4 Stars




Chest Compression

.4 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

134 lbs.

161 lbs.

Neck Compression

12 lbs.

40 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

373/478 lbs.

511/511 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi A6 is safer than the 5 Series Sedan:


5 Series Sedan

Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

8 cm

Chest Evaluation



Max Chest Compression

22 cm

32 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

1.5/.8 kN

3.1/1.8 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



Tibia forces R/L

2.6/1.4 kN

5.9/2.5 kN

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 Audi A6 is safer than the BMW 5 Series Sedan:


5 Series Sedan

Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

1.1 inches

1.2 inches

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

51 G’s

55 G’s

Hip Force

700 lbs.

759 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A6 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2016, a rating granted to only 61 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 5 Series Sedan is not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the A6 has a standard 180-amp alternator. The 5 Series Sedan’s standard 170-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 Audi A6’s reliability will be 56% better than the 5 Series Sedan and the Audi A6 2.0T will be 89% better than the 5 Series Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 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 14th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th.

Engine Comparison

The A6’s 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (428 vs. 413) than the 5 Series Sedan’s 3.0 turbo diesel.

As tested in Motor Trend the A6 3.0T is faster than the 535i Sedan:


5 Series Sedan

Zero to 60 MPH

4.4 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

13 sec

14 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

107 MPH

99.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the A6 3.0T Quattro gets better fuel mileage than the 535i Sedan xDrive (20 city/30 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

The A6 TDI’s standard fuel tank has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the 5 Series Sedan ActiveHybrid’s standard fuel tank (19.2 vs. 17.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The A6’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the 5 Series Sedan’s standard fuel tank (19.8 vs. 18.5 gallons).


Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the A6’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 5 Series Sedan:

A6 2.0T/TDI

A6 3.0T



Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14 inches

13.3 inches

13.7 inches

The A6 stops much shorter than the 5 Series Sedan:


5 Series Sedan

70 to 0 MPH

169 feet

172 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113.5 feet

127.3 feet


60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the A6 has larger standard tires than the 5 Series Sedan (245/45R18 vs. 225/55R17). The A6’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 5 Series Sedan (255/40R19 vs. 245/40R19).

The A6’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 528i Sedan’s standard 55 series tires. The A6’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 5 Series Sedan’s optional 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the A6 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 528i Sedan. The A6’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the 5 Series Sedan.

The A6 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 5 Series Sedan, 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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A6 is 1.1 inches wider in the front than on the 5 Series Sedan.

The A6 3.0T Quattro handles at .95 G’s, while the 550i Sedan pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A6 3.0T Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the 550i Sedan (25.1 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 26.1 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the A6’s turning circle is .4 feet tighter than the 5 Series Sedan’s (39 feet vs. 39.4 feet). The A6’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the 5 Series Sedan xDrive’s (39 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A6 3.0T Quattro is quieter than the 535i Sedan:


5 Series Sedan

At idle

41 dB

41 dB


72 dB

78 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The A6 has 2.1 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the 5 Series Sedan.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the A6 owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the A6 with a number “8” insurance rate while the 5 Series Sedan is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A6 is less expensive to operate than the 5 Series Sedan because typical repairs cost much less on the A6 than the 5 Series Sedan, including $230 less for a water pump, $228 less for an alternator, $136 less for front struts and $523 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the Audi A6, based on reliability, safety and performance. The BMW 5 Series Sedan isn't recommended.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its December 2013 issue and they ranked the Audi A6 3.0T Quattro first. They ranked the BMW 535i Sedan xDrive fourth.

Strategic Vision rates overall owner satisfaction with vehicle quality. The Audi A6 is ranked above average in the Luxury Car category. The BMW 5 Series Sedan is ranked below average.

The A6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 5 of the last 17 years. The 5 Series Sedan has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Audi A6/S6 outsold the BMW 5 Series by almost three to one during 2015.

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