Pecheles Automotive Compares 2018 Audi A4 VS 2018 BMW 3 Near Greenville, NC

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2018 Audi A4

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2018 Audi A4

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2018 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 City 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, rearview cameras, available 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

3.4/3.4 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



Tibia forces R/L

2.5/1 kN

3.4/4.2 kN

Reliability Comparison

The Audi A4’s engines use 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.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Audi vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Audi fourth in reliability. BMW is ranked 8th.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 2.0 TFSI is faster than the 330i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (automatics tested):



3 Series Sedan

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

1.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

8.5 sec

9.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.6 sec

14.9 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.7 sec

3 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.4 MPH

97.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the A4 gets better fuel mileage than the 3 Series Sedan:




3 Series Sedan



2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (190 HP)/Auto

27 city/37 hwy

24 city/35 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (180 HP)


2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (248 HP)/Auto


24 city/34 hwy



2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (252 HP)/Auto

24 city/34 hwy

23 city/34 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (180 HP)


2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (248 HP)/Auto


23 city/33 hwy


To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Audi A4 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The 3 Series Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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, 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

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 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

Insurance will cost less for the A4 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the A4 will cost $130 less than the 3 Series Sedan over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the 3 Series Sedan because it costs $90 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the 3 Series Sedan, including $43 less for an alternator, $11 less for front brake pads, $760 less for a timing belt/chain and $217 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Audi A4 will be $221 to $5630 less than for the BMW 3 Series Sedan.

Recommendations Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the A4 first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The 3 Series Sedan isn’t in the top three.

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