Pecheles Automotive Compares 2017 Audi A4 VS 2017 BMW 3 Near New Bern, NC

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2017 Audi A4

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2017 Audi A4

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2017 BMW 3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Audi Pre Sense Front in the A4 as “Superior.” The 3 Series Sedan scores at most only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The A4 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To help make backing safer, the A4’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the A4 and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Audi A4 is safer than the 3 Series Sedan:



3 Series Sedan

Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Head injury index



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation



Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

1.3/.4 kN

2.6/3.2 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



Tibia forces R/L

2.5/1 kN

6.1/6 kN

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A4 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 44 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The 3 Series Sedan was not even a “Top Pick” for 2017.

Reliability Comparison

The Audi A4’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the 3 Series Sedan’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 11th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 14th.

Engine Comparison

The A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 72 more horsepower (252 vs. 180) and 73 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 200) than the 320i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The A4’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 4 more horsepower (252 vs. 248) and 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 258) than the 330i’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Audi A4 is faster than the BMW 3 Series Sedan (automatics tested):





Zero to 30 MPH

1.8 sec

2.2 sec

1.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

6.6 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.1 sec

11.6 sec

9.5 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.8 sec

3.6 sec

3 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15.1 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.6 MPH

90.7 MPH

97.8 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the A4’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the 3 Series Sedan:



3 Series Sedan

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

The A4 stops much shorter than the 3 Series Sedan:



3 Series Sedan


70 to 0 MPH

155 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the A4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (245/40R18 vs. 225/40R19).

The A4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 3 Series Sedan’s optional 40 series front tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the A4 is 1.6 inches wider in the front than on the 3 Series Sedan.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the 340i pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the 330i (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .7 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The design of the Audi A4 amounts to more than styling. The A4 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the 3 Series Sedan (.28 to .29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the A4 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the A4 Prestige Quattro is quieter than the 340i xDrive:



3 Series Sedan


70 dB

75 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

The A4 has .8 inches more front shoulder room and .6 inches more rear legroom than the 3 Series Sedan.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the A4 offers an optional power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer a power trunk.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The A4’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the 3 Series Sedan’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the A4 has standard extendable sun visors. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the A4 Prestige keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the 3 Series Sedan because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the 3 Series Sedan, including $43 less for an alternator, $762 less for a timing belt/chain and $218 less for a power steering pump.

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