Car and Driver delivers one of the most exciting comparisons in the premium segment. The 2014 BMW 435i and the 2014 Audi S5 are two of the biggest sellers in the U.S. premium segment, and also two of the most fun German cars to drive.
Under the hood, the BMW 435i Coupe sports a 3.0 liter inline-six TwinScroll turbocharged unit producing 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission (an optional six-speed manual is offered).
The BMW 4 Series has the same 110.6” wheelbase as the existing F30 3 Series sedan. Its overall length, 182.7 inches, is just a hair longer the the F30 sedan by 0.2”. The new 4 Series overall height is 53.6 inches. This is lower than the existing 3 Series sedan by 2.7” and the outgoing 3 Series coupe by .63”, giving the car a more dynamics and sporty stance and ride.
The 2014 Audi S5 Coupe accelerates from 0-100 km/h in a mere 5.1 seconds thanks to a 3.0 liter supercharged TFSI V6 engine with direct injection that channels its 333 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque through a standard 6-speed manual gearbox or the available 7-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission. It is only available with the Quattro all-wheel drive system.
So how do the two contenders fare against each other?
Here is an excerpt from their review:
In spite of Audi’s reputation as a style leader, it was the BMW we couldn’t stop ogling. The Motoren Werke’s designers nailed the surfacing, and as our test went on, we remained intrigued by the way changing light brings out the bulge and sinew in the 4-series’s shape. Cruising from Hollywood to the start of our mountain route, the 435i was perfectly serene—hushed inside, with barely a hum from beneath the hood—and it delivered a relaxed ride. But in the presence of the Audi, even its stiffened springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars failed to fully rouse this M Sportiest 4-series. Comparatively speaking, the driver is isolated from wheel and suspension movements, and the slow steering seems so numb that it’s the pulsing of the inside-front brake rather than any feedback through the wheel that indicates you’ve reached the cornering limit. At 0.90 g, that limit is handily topped by the Audi, which feels like the better balanced and livelier car. This is especially surprising given the S5’s greater forward weight bias. The BMW’s numbness saps driver confidence, as the car doesn’t provide enough information to form a complete picture of what’s happening at the tires.
That isolation extends below the hood, too. BMW’s turbocharged 3.0-liter has the same even power delivery and stirring sound here as it does in other applications. But you have to roll up the windows, turn off the music, and make sure the climate-control fan isn’t blowing too hard if you want to enjoy that sound. For years we’ve lauded the smoothness of BMW inline-sixes, to the point that the adjective “silky” long ago became hackneyed. But it’s getting ridiculous. This engine approximates an electric motor in its polish and subtlety. We’d prefer that engineers didn’t go to quite such extremes to isolate the driver from the machinery. With the exception of Porsche, however, nobody does manual transmissions—both shifter and clutch—better than BMW.