BMW 440i vs Audi S5
Do you have a R1million to spend on a coupe? Are you torn between a BMW 440i or an Audi S5? Well, you’re in good hands, TheMotorist is here to help you decide…
If only things worked like that. You read an article online. You make your mind up and off you go into either an Audi or BMW dealership and you drive away as the sales team cheers you off. Firstly, sales people don’t cheer you off, by the time you’ve driven off they’re just super glad they don’t have to talk about discounts with you anymore. I digress. The truth is, if you’re going to spend R1 million, you kind of know what you want. Right? Also, we all have preferences – so if you’re an Audi guy, get the S5 and if you like Beemers, give them a ring. What we want to do in this article is objectively compare the two models and see what comes out on top. So first and foremost, the looks.
Who’s the fairest of them all?
The 4 Series is a hit in SA. Everywhere you go people are driving these things. The problem we have with the 4 Series is that besides the amount of exhausts you have and the badge in the rear, they all look the same. Obviously, you have different model lines to choose from, but we wish the 440i had something about it that says, “I’m a 440i, not a 420i!!!”. Don’t tell me the two large exhausts are the differentiator because non-car people won’t even notice that. The S5 at least has different outside trimmings compared to the standard S Line models, so you can notice a slight difference. Again, it’s not huge because Audi loves to keep things low-key but you do have four exhaust pipes on the S5. So there’s that. The interiors on both cars are top notch, but the S5 has nicer seats and the BMW has a nicer dashboard. The S5 does have Apple CarPlay so that’s a big win, but BMW’s infotainment system also works really well. Whatever you do in both cars, you always need to go for the higher spec sound system. Audi calls it 3D surround and BMW has Harman Kardon.
The only reason why you’d be buying either an S5 or a 440i is because your co-worker has a lesser model and you want to show them who’s boss, no? Either that or you’re a petrol head and fancy yourself some speed. This is the trickiest part between choosing between these two cars because both have SUCH nice engines. The Audi sounds nicer since it’s a 3.0 V6, but BMW’s new in-line 3.0 6 cylinder “B58” is the Greek yogurt of the range, so pure and creamy. Both cars feel just as fast and understandably so as you get 240kW in the 440i and 260kW in the S5. The BMW may have less power, but you’d have to be mad woke to notice a real difference. Where the difference comes in, is the drivetrain setup.
Quattro VS RWD:
The age-old debate between 4WD and RWD is a long standing one. We all love a good “slidey” RWD car but ask yourself, when am I going to do big slides in my car? If drifting is a concern, then the 440i is the obvious choice. But answer me this, do you attend many track days? Do you have access to an airfield? Do you have an endless budget for tyres? If you answered no to two of those questions, then RWD vs 4WD shouldn’t be your concern. “But don’t Quattro’s understeer?” You may wonder. Anything understeers if you come into a corner too quickly. The fact is that both the S5 and the 440i handle beautifully on regular roads and twisty ones, the average person will enjoy both cars at speed.
So, what’s the best then?
Again, both packages are very good indeed. The Audi wins when you’re sitting inside the car, but the BMW looks better on the outside. The Audi sounds better and has one hell of an engine, but the BMW’s engine is just as good. Money talks and this is where most decisions are made. The S5 will cost you R928 000 whereas the 440i will cost you R864 976. Both those prices don’t include options but an approximate difference of R60 000 between the two is interesting. If you’re financing, it’s not going to be a huge difference, either way you’re in for a big installment. What would we take home? I hate to say it but the BMW 440i is our top pick and before you scream “We knew it!”, the decision is based largely on the following: It’s all good and well to buy a new car but a time will come when you need to get rid of it. This is where the BMW wins because it’s biggest disadvantage is also its biggest advantage. There are many 4 Series models on the roads so you may lose out on the exclusivity you’ll have in the S5, but there is a bigger demand for the 4 Series in the used market. This means that when the time comes for you to trade in your 4 Series, you’ll get a better trade in value over an S5, purely because of the demand. For that reason, we’d drive away in the BMW. Besides that, both cars are a very good match for each other.