The war between luxury German cars often comes down to these two German dark horses, Audi vs BMW. If you are looking for your next luxury ride, you must have come across the perplexing choice of having to choose between these two.
While both these German Giants have made their names across the world as A-Listers, selecting one can be inevitably tough, according to the Audi and BMW specialists. These fierce co-rivals i.e. Audi vs BMW, are highly revered among luxury car lovers everywhere. With the kind of models that these two manufacturers produce, both Audi and BMW are the pioneers of the auto industry. So naturally, you are dazed about which is the ideal ride for you. Instead of spending time toying between the two options, read this article to help make up your mind.
But before we draw a comparison between the two, let us give you a brief intro to the widely renowned manufacturers.
Audi vs BMW: Which one is the true OG automobile pioneer?
A decade or two ago this would have had a simple answer. For a smooth driving experience and high performance, BMW would be a go-to. If you wanted the extra all-weather use of a four-wheel-drive system because you live in a snowy place, then you get an Audi. However, it does not have a straightforward answer anymore. Today Audis are also amazing drives. They’re sturdy and responsive. But on the other hand, BMW has leveled up. It has now enabled all-wheel-drive, which is now equipped in all of its sedans as well as SUVs. Audi used to one-up BMW in interior design, but that too has changed.
That said, BMW still has an edge over Audi. BMW still uses rear-wheel-drive tech across its lineup. This gives more balance, higher response, and better handling of its models. So by comparison, the front-wheel-drive tech used by Audi feels very limiting. Front-wheel drive platforms, used by Audi tend to push the engine forward in the car’s structure. This added weight on the car’s front tires results in lesser handling and slower response. Please, note that Audis’ aren’t poor performers, they just don’t offer the same level of immaculate engineering and dynamics as BMWs.
Now that we have cleared out the key distinction between the two, let’s guide you through the ideal option for you.
What is the difference between Audi and BMW?
Let us compare the two based on the 8 key parameters:
When buying a car, aesthetics are sure to become a major decisive factor. So we’ll start with the styling aspect of the models of these two.
BMW models have a bolder appearance with their infamous emblematic grille. Their cars have a muscular structure and have a Bentley-like look and feel to them. Perfect if you are looking for class and style. There is no way to tell which manufacturer has the upper hand when it comes to exterior design. It completely depends on the buyer’s preferences. Audi is known for its sporty and subtle design, which is something that is uniform across its entire range. If you like the timeless sturdy-sporty look Audi is the one for you.
Speaking of interior styling, Audi does it supremely well. For most Audi models, the cabin has an austere dashboard and soft-touch plastics with metal trims. The seats are super comfortable and are made of up-market leather.
This does not imply that BMW compromises on the quality of its interior designs in any way. It’s just that in comparison to Audi, BMW just does not cut it.
When it comes to performance BMW cars are known to offer a better driving experience than Audi. BMW specializes in making cars with top-notch engine performance. Whereas, Audi uses the same engine and other parts as Volkswagen. Some people perceive this as something that diminishes Audi’s brand image to some extent.
BMW uses rear-wheel drive technology across most of its models. This offers more balance, faster response, and much better handling. In contrast, the front-wheel-drive mechanism used by Audi may feel limiting. These front-wheel-drive platforms used by Audi sedans tend to push the engine forward in the car’s structure. Because of this additional weight over the front tires, there is poorer handling and slower response. Please note that this does not imply that Audi’s performance is subpar in any way. It just means that you don’t get the same level of engineering and dynamic tuning as BMWs.
3. Maintenance cost
All new BMWs come with free maintenance for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles. It includes oil and filter changes. That said, a typical BMW maintenance costs around $17,800 in the first decade of its life, this is quite pricey in comparison to other luxury cars. On the other hand, Audi does not provide complimentary maintenance with any of its cars. In the first 10 years of an Audi ownership, a typical Audi costs $12,400 in maintenance. Both BMW and Audi are notorious for having extremely high maintenance costs. There is no lesser of the two evils when it comes to maintenance costs.
Speaking of reliability, BMW has a definitive edge over Audi. All BMW models are given an above-average reliability rating. For instance, the popular 5 Series are highly rated, but the 2 Series, 4 Series, X1, and X4 also scored pretty well. Audi’s scores are quite low and most of its models have overall average scores. Only 3 models out of Audi’s 12 models have an above-average predicted reliability rating. The ones that score below average are A5, A7, and A8, and four others.
German brands are highly revered for their first-rate engineering. There is immense attention to detail. Audi falls slightly short on the reliability criteria. This is due to the fact that Audi was listed at 34th out of 40 car brands on the Reliability index. The most commonly reported issues pertain to the engine, fuel system, and cooling and heating system.
But please note that Audi comes with a 3 years /60,000 miles.
For all new cars, the Audi warranty lasts 3 years / 60,000 miles to put your mind at ease for a while.
BMW has the edge when it comes to its reliability rating – but only just. They took 31st place (rolls off the tongue, eh?). Owners complain about electric problems, oil leaks, and cooling system problems.
BMW’s warranty is more generous, offering 3 years / unlimited mileage for all new BMW cars.
So, for reliability, BMW takes the lead here, but only just.
5. Driving experience
BMW uses its self-developed rear-wheel-drive platforms which it employs on all its models. Except for the X line-up and the i8 range, BMW uses this platform across all its models. The rear-wheel drive is excellent because its architecture is responsive, well-balanced, and handles great. Many car enthusiasts believe that it functions better than Audi’s front-wheel drive. This is due to the fact that the front wheel exerts additional weight on the front tires. This results in poor handling and lethargic responses.
We are not discounting Audi’s drivability here. In fact, Audi has one of the most advanced all-wheel-drive architectures, available on the market at present. This system is called “Quattro” and it offers an excellent driving experience, especially on rough terrains. You might have to pay an extra sum for Quattro but it is a given on their high-end models.
So we can safely say that both these brands offer a sterling driving experience.
Now, this is a tough one. Let’s start with Audi. The brand has switched all the traditional dials and buttons system with their sharp Audi MMI infotainment system. You can operate everything including the sat-nav, radio, and Bluetooth with the help of this system. The newer models of Audi have an “MMI Touch” interface which is very easy to control. But some may find the touchscreen a ‘touch’ tricky to work with while driving. Overall, the functionality is top-notch and amps up the driving experience.
Speaking of BMW, it has one of the best tech systems out there, i.e iDrive system. The iDrive system lets you control using a
1. A rotary wheel on the center of the console
2. Voice commands
3. Physical shortcut buttons
4. Touch-sensitive pad
Also, the new BMW 5 and 7 series have a gesture control option.
BMW has a Digital Display Key, in the form of a small touchscreen on your handheld control key. This enables you to remotely manage the car’s functions. For example, you can check fuel levels, preheat the cabin, and even close the windows while you’re not inside the car.
There is no stand-alone winner for this parameter. On one hand, BMW offers exquisite graphics and easily usable controls. But Audi is also an equally challenging opponent when it comes to top-notch tech.
7. Safety and security
Security is a major feature to consider before purchasing any car. All except one model of Audi (Audi TT) have received a 5/5 rating, only Audi TT received a 4. BMW, on the other hand, maintains a solid rating of 5 across all its models.
That being said, both manufacturers offer a nice range of safety and driver-assist features. These features are given as a standard and some might come at an additional cost. BMW and Audi have all the basics, including:
1. Emergency Brake Assist
2. Hill Start Assist
3. Parking Assist
4. Road Sign Recognition
5. Cruise Control
5. Lane Departure Warning
Audi has no alerting issues around safety and neither does BMW. You’ll have a secure ride no matter which brand you go for.
Luxury cars are notorious for having super high running and maintenance costs. But to compare the overall costs of the two, we have provided a chart below:
There is not a huge or substantial difference between the overall costs of the two manufacturers. Prices vary based on the model. BMW was recently rated as the most costly car maker to own. It takes roughly £2,411 every year to run a BMW. Audi closely follows with £2,214/ year.
Audi is one of those brands that come with the most costly repairs. We suggest doing your own research to find out which one will be the more cost-effective option for you.
So which one is worth buying?
The Audi vs BMW war isn’t going to subside anytime soon. The two crowning German giants target the same market but each enjoys its own glory and craze among car enthusiasts.
Audi outshines BMW when it comes to tech features and styling. But BMW promises a smoother, rugged driving experience. Both offer equally strong safety features, but Audi has slightly low-reliability ratings. Coming to the price point, there’s hardly any difference between the two. According to the Audi specialist, the cost of repairs is higher due to the alleged poorer reliability.
But in essence, both these manufacturers are akin to each other. Their models have fairly comparable line-ups with somewhat varying appeals. If a sporty, sturdy ride is your thing then go for BMW. If you are looking for styling and next-level tech, Audi is the best option.
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