Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 Audi S6 VS 2016 BMW M5 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2017 Audi S6

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2016 BMW M5

Safety Comparison

The S6’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The M5 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi S6 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 M5 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The S6 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 M5 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.

The S6 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The M5 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

To help make backing safer, the S6’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The M5 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the S6 and the M5 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, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, night vision systems, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

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 S6 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2016, a rating granted to only 84 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The M5 has not been tested, yet.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 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 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 14th.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi S6 is faster than the BMW M5 (base engine) (automatics tested):



Zero to 30 MPH

1.3 sec

1.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

3.8 sec

4 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

6.4 sec

6.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the S6 gets better fuel mileage than the M5 Auto (18 city/27 hwy vs. 14 city/20 hwy).

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the S6’s fuel efficiency. The M5 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The S6 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 M5, it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The front and rear suspension of the S6 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the M5, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The S6 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The S6’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The M5 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The S6 handles at .92 G’s, while the M5 pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the S6’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the M5’s (39 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the S6 has an electronically controlled liquid-filled engine mounts. A computer controlled electric current in the liquid changes its viscosity, allowing the mount to dampen the engine completely at all RPMs. The M5 uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The design of the Audi S6 amounts to more than styling. The S6 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is significantly lower than the M5 (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the S6 get better fuel mileage.

The S6 uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The M5 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the S6 is quieter than the M5:



At idle

40 dB

51 dB


79 dB

85 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The S6 has 1.3 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the M5.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The S6 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the S6 will retain 43.27% of its original price after five years, while the M5 only retains 41.98%.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi S6 will be $14801 less than for the BMW M5.

Recommendations Comparison

The S6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 5 of the last 17 years. The M5 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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