A common misbelief is that the Audi S5 and BMW M4 Coupe (replacing the BMW M3 Coupe) is a fair comparison. In my opinion, the performance gap between the S5 and M4 is too great and therefore a better matchup would be the Audi RS5 vs. the BMW M4 (future article coming soon). However, if you’re comparing the Audi S5 to the BMW M4 or M3 Coupe, you’ll see that the options and fit & finish of the Audi S5 surpasses that of the more aggressive BMW.
Let’s start with the 2014 BMW M4, which has a release date of early 2014. The 4 series is the newest series in the BMW lineup. The M4 is projected to produce 424 brake-horsepower out of a 3.0 L twin-turbo 6 cylinder engine. With its 6 cylinder engine, unlike the previous 4.0L V8 from the M3 predecessor, the turbo 6 cylinder achieves improved gas mileage while maintaining the power you would expect out of a M-series BMW.
With the new M4 and with its new turbo 6 cylinder motor, the driver can achieve 0-62 mph in 4.5 sec, which is very impressive for a 6 cylinder turbo car. Appearance-wise the M4 still resembles the previous generation M3 coupe, such as the “power dome” on the hood, reminiscent of the shaker hood on an old American muscle car. It still shares a lot of the M-badging cues from the M3 coupe.
At the time this article was written, no interior pictures or details had been released. What we can expect is the usual leather and Alcantara suede seats with hints of carbon fiber, as well as M4 badging throughout the cabin. Before the M4 hits the streets, one might look at the interior of an M3 and compare it to the Audi S5; the S5 is more race-inspired, especially with its flat-bottomed steering wheel, driver-oriented cockpit, and more snug seats – especially in the thigh supports. So since the Audi S5 vs. BMW M3 comparison isn’t quite fair, I expect the M4′s interior will compete with the Audi RS5.
In the other corner, the 2014 Audi S5. Unlike BMW, Audi was quicker to the punch with information on its up and coming 2014.
Starting with the exterior of this car you notice that its very easy on the eyes. Unlike a Ferrari or Lamborghini, the 2014 Audi S5 has softer and subtler body lines but retains that aggressive, athletic look. For 2014 the Audi S5 keeps the quad-style exhaust pipes and its 18-inch “S” style wheels with 245/40 summer tires to keep all the power down to the road. Personally, I prefer the optional 19” 5-arm rotor-design wheels dressed with 255/35 summer tires for that extra grip.
The exterior styling enhancements that the Audi S5 receives from it’s younger brother the Audi A5 is enough to recognize the status and power upgrade. However, the S5 badging on the front grille and rear trunk lid seal in that extra confidence without being vulgar. S5 buyers can choose to replace the “V6 T” badge on the front quarter panels with a “Supercharged” badge sporting the Audi rhombus. Note: I disagree with Audi’s use of the letter “T” to indicate an aspiration change – I think “T” should always stand for “turbo” and all supercharged Audis, like the S5, should automatically come with the “Supercharged” badge.
The interior of the 2014 Audi S5 is inspired by its racing history without compromising luxury. When you first sit in the Audi S5 you notice the Formula-1 inspired looking steering wheel, which feels natural in your hands at first touch. My second impression of the interior was how well all of its parts were put together.
The quality of the leather seats (available with Alcantara inserts) immediately catch your attention and make you feel like you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The carbon fiber door inserts inspire the fact that you’re not just in a luxury car, but a premium race car.
The dash of the S5 is beautifully simplistic without the BMW’s sterility. You’ll notice that all of the buttons and toggles are at arms’ length and feel natural to use. In fact, each button feels as if it has been refined to perfection, in that there is no sloppiness or play. Unlike most cars where you have buttons everywhere and it can become difficult to find what you want, the engineers at Audi used a “less is more” approach when designing and incorporating how many and where the buttons and toggles would be.
Like the interior quality of the 2014 Audi S5, Audi did not take any shortcuts with the performance and handling of this vehicle. With its 3.0 TFSI six cylinder supercharged engine you get 333 horsepower, all put through Audi’s famous quattro® system. With the its Supercharged 3.0 and quattro system combo you can expect a 0-60 of 5.2 sec – which is .7 seconds slower than the BMW M4. Remember, the M4 is supposed to be a cut above the S5, yet it’s only tenths of a second faster – is that worth the extra $10,000 you might spend to step up?
Audi also gives you the option of having its quattro® with a 6-speed manual transmission or with a 7-speed dual-clutch “S-Tronic” transmission for quick and crisp shifts. Personally, I’m a true manual enthusiast. I feel the Audi S5 is actually better suited as an automatic (especially because the S-Tronic shifts so quickly and cleanly) – the true enthusiast is likely to opt up to an Audi RS5 to satisfy their need for that man-machine connection. However, the RS5 comes surprisingly only with an automatic to true joystick fans must stick with the Audi S5.
As for handling, Audi has included Drive Select, which stiffens the “S-specific” suspension allowing you to carve up the track or for spirited driving through the canyons. What I like about Drive Select is that it lets the entry-level performance driver tinker between “comfort” and “dynamic” modes that significantly change the feel of the S5′s handling and performance.
Here at Audi Comparisons we believe , even though the general consensus is the 2014 Audi S5 is going to be the competitor with the 2014 BMW M4 , the 2014 Audi RS5 would be a better comparison to the new M4. The Audi S5, we found, starts around $53,000; the prices of the RS5 and M4 are easily in the $60,000 and up range. Thus, I feel the Audi S5 is a great bang for the buck with the interior refinements and performance versatility one expects from a premium German automobile with racing in its DNA.Read More »