Comparison: 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is vs Audi TT RS

BMW Z4 | December 16th, 2009 by 32
Z4 Vergleich 01 750x500

Okay, so we did the comparison of the Audi TTS versus the brand new BMW Z4 sDrive35is. As many of you have pointed out, the …

Okay, so we did the comparison of the Audi TTS versus the brand new BMW Z4 sDrive35is. As many of you have pointed out, the TTS is not the real competitor for the Z4is simply because it is outgunned. If you brought the TTS to a race track to meet up with the new sDrive35is, people would look at you as if you had just brought a turbocharged Beetle to do battle.

But once you get to the Audi TT RS, the real competition begin….

This time, we’re going to give you the appropriate comparison and do things a bit differently. Instead of placing the information in a paragraph about each car, we are  going to display the technical specifications in its own area listing the car and all of its attributes.

Z4 Vergleich 01 655x211

Audi has long been associated with making any car sporty and have all-wheel drive comfort at the same time, i.e. RS4, S4, S5, RS6, R8, and the list can go on for miles. But one thing that Audi also knows how to do is to add a turbocharger to a small engine in their sporty AWDers and turn them into one of the best cars around.

The TT RS is no different.

BMW’s track record also shows a tendency to take small engines and turning them into big performers. Take the 2002tii, every iteration of the M3, the list could continue with several other models. The Z4 sDrive35is seems, thus far, to be no different. This time BMW only offers an automatic transmission, and it is one very well put together – 7-speed DCT.

Audi TT RS:

Engine: 2.5L turbocharged direct-fuel-injected inline-5

Transmission(s): 6-speed manual only

Power: 340bhp/332lb-ft of torque at 1,600-5,300 rpm (250 kW/ 450 Nm)

Weight: 3,196 lbsCoupe/3,329 lbs-Convertible

0-62: 4.6-seconds

Top Speed: 155 mph/174 mph (For a nice fee, Audi will change out the stock ECU of the TT RS to give it a higher top speed)

BMW Z4 sDrive35is:

Engine: 3.0L twin-turbocharged direct-fuel-injected inline-6

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch only

Power: 335hp at 5,900 rpm/332lb-ft of torque at 1,500-4,500 rpm (Overboost function gives 369lb-ft)

Weight: 3,450 lbs

0-60: 4.7-seconds

Top Speed: 155 mph

Z4 Vergleich 03 655x188

As you can see, both cars match up pretty well. Official numbers show the BMW Z4 sDrive35is running from 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, slightly slower than the TT RS (4.6 seconds). With BMW’s Overboost function, the Z4 gets 37 extra torque in the taller gears, mostly between 4, 5, 6 and 7th gears.

The Z4 only comes in rear-wheel drive, while the TT RS sports the now typical quattro system. Opinions are split here, some are die hard fans of rear-wheel-drive cars while others enjoy the standard AWD Audis. Which one does better on track? Unknown at the moment, but we wouldn’t count the bimmer out.

Both cars ride 10mm lower than their normal Z4 and TT siblings, and both also have sport suspension buttons that allow you to control more of how the car will feel, drive and handle.

Design wise, both cars are stunning in their own way and biased opinions will always governance over the final choice. The Z4is looks muscular, the TTRS more “raw” and shows how far as Audi come over the years.

Since the TT RS is not offered in the U.S., the choice will be easier, but for those of you living in Europe, it might come down to the last fine details before putting the final signature on the sales papers.


32 responses to “Comparison: 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is vs Audi TT RS”

  1. Axelsaurus says:

    TT-RS cabrio run running from 0 to 60 mph in 4,7s, the same as Z4 sDrive35is and slightly slower than the TT-RS coupè.

  2. Saleem says:

    These are both awesome cars and your were quick to update your comparison this site is well managed you listen to your readers.

    I would pick the Audi in this scenario despite the rag top. I like the design just a little better the z4 is fearsome though. kind of a tough choice both cars look great for the selfish driving experience lol.

  3. Andrei M says:

    About the RWD – AWD on a track . I remember very well the 5th Gear comparison in one of their shows between Audi S5 and BMW 335i Coupe . The bimmer less with almost 50hp and rwd , compared to the awd audi , was faster on the track . So i think it’s not all in the spec sheet , but in the way it drives and can be driven . So i for one wouldn’t count the bimmer out at all .

    • Saleem says:

      Great point and its is also about the driver. Look at how the journalist mopped the floor for with Cadillacs ass in the M3 sedan it certainly isn’t always about 0-60 straight line and I wouldn’t count the bimmer out either it would be nice to see them track tested.

  4. :p says:

    Didnt one of the blogs said that with the overboost or the DCT, the car runs at 4.5 seconds. Andrei is right, its not all about the 0-60 but the track time. I like to see this on Top gear.

  5. viper says:

    thats interesting…audi is really doing a great job with all of their cars…
    both cars are winners here it depends on what badge u prefer but both are really really great

  6. ferrarifan says:

    just noticed.. why is the TT-RS holding boost (torque) longer when it only has one turbo??

    1600-5300 as to 1500-4500 RPM? while the bmw was running on two.. wow.

    choosing though.. either of these cars for me, although i’d love to try bmw’s version of DSG.

    • The Lee says:

      The Audi turbo is likely larger, which typically equates to higher RPM power bands at the sacrifice of turbo lag down low. Smaller turbos (such as the N54) will usually give you a faster spool time, but without quite the high-end wallup of a single turbo. These are, of course, both VERY generalized statements.

  7. E92-Toronto says:

    Both are nice, but i wondering what’s the price different?

  8. The Lee says:

    Aesthetics: Audi still wins, hands-down.

    Power/quickness: We’ll call it an even-heat. They’re close enough to be negligable.

    Drivetrain: The fact that the Audi offers it with a true three-pedal manual transmission wins it for me, despite the AWD negative.

    Other: Coupe > hard top ‘vert for me. Until BMW wakes up and offers this in a fixed roof coupe, the Audi will get a few extra points from me.

    Overall: I’d take the RS Coupe any day of the week over the Z4, although I certainly wouldn’t turn the Z4 down.

  9. Misha N says:

    Good review. I just realized how much further back you sit in the Z4 – the door line on the TT-RS is much closer the the front wheel. I’ll take the Z4 all day!!

  10. BMfan says:

    Dont seem to see how the Audi wins in aesthetics with all these sexy curves the Z4 shows. Maybe just a matter of choice but the side pictures of both cars dont seem to convince me about the advantage everybody gives to Audi on the exterior design.

  11. XC says:

    Of course it all depends on what you like. But that’s something I love about BMW, it is true to their own heritage and history. Just check a profile view of both 1957 507 and the new Z4, in that Joy new commercial, for example. Both cars share the same language, something that you can’t say about the Audi, because there is no ancestor to compare to. If history and tradition is something that you value, then there is no question on what is your choice. As I’ve said before, BMW has certain depth and idée other carmakers; is like choosing between a pretty, hot girl for the sake of it (TT), or a pretty, well educated, good family girl with brains (Z4)…

  12. lennardt says:

    audi looks to much like new beetle to me, i don’t linke the design. 340ps from 2.5 litres is impressive, but i also like the torque of z4, which is avaliable from 1500 to 4500 rpm. z4 must be great to drive :-)

  13. viper says:

    thats what worries me… is so close to bmw in every comparison in almost every class , they are so good , the days when audi had a6 a4 and a8 and three engines only, and was close to ugly are long gone.nowdays audi makes better looking cars than bmw , well not in this case but anyway how stupid is that , the rs6 even beats the m5 , it crushes the m5

  14. 100$ GUY says:

    Well in this case seems the enthusiast choice its the Audi by default.
    Why? 6 speed manual only.
    Who would have thought that? bmw not offering a manual trans in their so called sporty Z4?
    Leaving that aside, in this case, would be a tough choice for me cause the Audi wins the exterior and the bmw wins the interior department.
    Curb weight is very low for the audi despite having AWD, amazing achievement by Audi there.
    So another plus for the audi.
    What about price?
    Audi here offers what you would expect from a bmw, quite interesting.
    Since Im not a die hard fan of the manual, I`d give the Z4 a shot, with a test drive and depending of his price/value vrs the audi. Why? because I like the bimmer interior a lot.

  15. Introducing BMW’s first roadster with a retractable hardtop. Now available for your driving creations on the canvas we call road.

  16. BOGDAN says:

    I love BMW but the TT RS engine is better. it has 340 horses from 2.5 litres compared to 335 horses from 3.0 litres. I think that audi could reach 400 horses with 3.0 litres. I don’t like that.

  17. rbama says:

    I don’t think the cars are as close as everyone thinks. I had a chance to drive a press car and feel that BMW is being very conservative with their numbers primarily due to this car being so close to the M3. I happen to own an M3 and can tell you first hand when you push the Z4 35is to full throttle it’s like being fired out of a cannon. The new 35is is really a combination of sports car and GT car in terms of handling so I feel the new Z4 was designed for a little different market than other cars which might be compared to it. Frankly, I really do not know what would be a good comparison.

  18. Des says:

    For those who says Audi has no ancestors, please don’t forget what engine it has under the bonnet – a I5, which has the same layout compared to the mile stone rallycar quattro in fact according to auto car they did made an episode abt this an the quattro. However, the Audi’s awd under steers and the turbo lag is noticeable, while the BMW is simple great to drive

  19. Doug says:

    What’s interesting is that the overboost only works “mostly” in gears 4-7. Would it be correct to guess that overboost is proportional to speed, not gears? They probably have a map to account for the greater airflow past the intercooler. Of course, if that’s the case, why not put some electric fans on the intercooler so the overboost can actually help your 0-60 times.

    This is a great comparison… wonder why I never saw this back in december.

  20. BETEP says:

    z4 35is does 0 – 60 in 4.4….

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