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BMW 4 Series vs Audi A5 – which is best?

As soon as one German carmaker realised it could charge more for a car with fewer doors, the rest followed suit with their own swish two-door coupes.

That's why we now have a wide choice of handsome four-seat premium coupes, with the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5 being two of the most desirable options.

But which of these autobahn bruisers is the best pick for you? We'll pit them side-by-side to help you decide. Once you've chosen, check out how much you could save by buying either as a used car from Motorpoint.

BMW 4 Series vs Audi A5 compared

BMW 4 SeriesAudi A5


  • Feels more special to drive
  • Entry-level engines are stronger


  • More affordable as a used car
  • Traditional good coupe looks


  • Pricier on the used market
  • Divisive styling


  • Not especially sporty
  • Basic petrol engine feels underpowered

Styling and design

BMW 4 Series vs Audi A5 front
BMW 4 Series (left) vs Audi A5 (right)

Looks are in the eye of the beholder but, for us, the old 4 Series has nicer front-end styling than the new one. BMW's tried to give the car a distinctive face with oversized snout-like 'kidney' grilles, but they rob the car of some visual width and leave it with a slightly awkward expression. Move past the front and the 4 Series makes a much better impression, looking lower, longer and more dramatic than its predecessor, with all the stance and impact you'd hope for at this price point.

The A5, meanwhile, simply translates Audi's familiar front-end styling and neatly creased bodywork onto a handsome coupe profile. Critics might say the car does little to differentiate itself from the rest of Audi's range but there are a few aspects we quite like. From the side, for example, the A5 has a gently angled roofline unlike the 4 Series' more curved silhouette and, if you squint, we think the Audi's profile almost resembles some classic '60s American muscle cars.

Interior and practicality

BMW 4 Series vs Audi A5 interior
BMW 4 Series (left) vs Audi A5 (right)

German brands have been known to occasionally copy each other's homework. As a result, there are more similarities than differences in these cars' cabins. Black soft-touch surfaces feature widely in both cars, with aluminium-effect accents to add more brightness. Key controls for climate and audio are proper buttons, which makes them easy to use and understand, and the build quality across both cars is near faultless.

Be aware, 4 Series models still have a rotary controller in the middle, allowing you to use the infotainment system without messing with the touchscreen. Facelifted A5 models from late 2019 removed their equivalent rotary controller in favour of a larger touchscreen – it's hardly a challenge but it isn't quite as easy for the driver to use while keeping their eyes on the road.

As for space, both cars perform fairly well considering their coupe profiles. Adults will fit in either car's rear seats reasonably easy, with rear headroom being the main limiting factor – those over six-foot might have to slouch a little. Both cars also come in a five-door coupe-saloon form – the 4 Series Gran Coupe and the A5 Sportback – bringing a healthy boost to rear seat space as well as much easier access. Cargo space across all models is respectable – enough for a family holiday – but neither is the best choice for carrying tall or bulky items.

Engines and performance

BMW 4 Series vs Audi A5 driver's dials
BMW 4 Series (left) vs Audi A5 (right)

You can't compare entry-level 4 Series and A5 models because the least-powerful BMW – the 184hp 420i petrol – is a closer on-paper match for the A5's mid-range 190hp (later 204hp) 40 TFSI engine. The Audi also offers a more affordable 150hp 35 TFSI petrol, for which the BMW doesn't have a direct competitor.

Despite this, we'd avoid that version because it feels a little strained when you ask for full throttle. The 420i and A5 40 TFSI are both noticeably stronger, making them more relaxing when you ask for extra overtaking power. Beyond these options, the 430i and A5 45 TFSI offer faster acceleration times but we're not convinced the extra grunt is worth the cost. That's because both of these cars offer proper performance options – the spicy M440i and extra-hot M4 in the BMW camp, and the equally potent S5 and RS5 in the A5 range.

While we think it's best to pair a handsome coupe with a petrol engine, you'll find lots of diesel options across both cars. Audi's 35 TDI and 40 TDI engines are both fantastically smooth, with linear power delivery and great long-distance economy. The BMW's 420d and 430d also offer excellent all-round performance although they're a fraction louder under acceleration than the Audi.


BMW 4 Series vs Audi A5 side
BMW 4 Series (left) vs Audi A5 (right)

The 4 Series has lots of reassuring grip and stability, so day-to-day driving is extremely confidence-inspiring, but it's how the car behaves when you're having fun that marks it out. Your fingertips pick up on the lightness and agility from the front axle, combined with the sensation of being 'pushed' around corners thanks to the car's classic rear-wheel-drive layout. All this entertainment doesn't cost much ride comfort either, with enough compliance that you could drive the car every day without getting a stiff back.

While it's also a great all-rounder and very easy to drive, the Audi misses out on this last degree of driver entertainment. Nevertheless, its controls are accurate and predictable, and the A5's excellent composure means you can hit some alarmingly high cornering speeds without the hooliganism displayed by more obviously sporty cars. Like the BMW, there's a slightly firm edge to the suspension to achieve the Audi's high-speed stability, but just enough bump absorption that long journeys aren't a chore.

Value and reliability

BMW 4 Series vs Audi A5 rear seats
BMW 4 Series (left) vs Audi A5 (right)

Prices for these two cars are extremely close as brand-new buys, and they remain close as they age through the used market. That said, the Audi's values soften a little quicker on the used market, which means it's typically the more affordable of the two at the time of writing.

Overall depreciation for these cars should be fairly slow. They're desirable models from desirable brands, which usually means they'll hang on to more value for longer than a similar model from a more niche manufacturer.

Servicing and maintenance will be more expensive for these two cars than mass-market manufacturers – that's usually the price of admission for driving premium cars like these.

Recent reliability surveys have indicated that BMW cars may be slightly more robust statistically speaking, but we've not heard of any widespread issues with either the 4 Series or the A5. You can get greater peace of mind by selecting an extended warranty when you buy either car, which insulates you from the cost of unexpected repairs.

Which is best?

BMW 4 Series vs Audi A5 rear three quarter
BMW 4 Series (left) vs Audi A5 (right)

For us, we think the BMW slightly takes the lead in this comparison. It's a little more expensive than the Audi and its front end might look a bit unusual, but it feels more special from behind the wheel and, well… you don't have to look at the outside while you're sat inside the car.

The Audi also has a long list of talents, however, so it's still worth cross shopping against the 4 Series – especially if you're not so fussed about the sporty driving experience. It's a spot cheaper and, arguably, better looking, with a plush cabin that's just as luxuriously appointed as the BMW.

You'll find big savings on a wide selection of used BMW 4 Series cars and used Audi A5 cars at Motorpoint. For more tempting two-door options, check out our picks for the best coupes on sale.