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We pit the new Audi A5 Sportback against the updated BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe to find out which is the better, more modern executive five-door coupe.

17 Nov 2017


When Audi first crossbred a coupe with a large hatchback, premium car buyers looking for something different flocked to the A5 Sportback in droves. The car was so well received that BMW followed suit, creating a rival badged the 4 Series Gran Coupe (4GC) which itself has garnered quite a following.

For many, these cars presented an impeccable compromise. They are sleek, practical and sporty-looking, making them great alternatives to sedans and estates. Now, Audi's back with an all new second generation A5 Sportback that's gunning for class honours once more, but its updated BMW rival isn't going to give in easily.

The Audi A5 Sportback is aiming for class honours again, despite competition from the BMW 4GC

Pace

The cars you see here are the Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI qu S-tronic Sport and the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 420i Sport, both of which employ 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engines.

The A5 Sportback's lump, however, does have a much higher output, putting 252bhp and 370Nm of torque to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. From the lights, it'll lead the 4GC by at least a car's length, given the BMW's lesser 181bhp and 270Nm of torque.

The 4GC's engine is down on power, pushing just 181bhp and 270Nm of torque to the rear wheels

Credit for the A5 Sportback being the faster car of the two also goes to its slick-shifting dual-clutch, which isn't just quicker but smoother than the 4GC's eight-speed automatic and, of course, the former's all-wheel drive quattro system.

Luckily for the Bimmer, it compensates for its lack of power with a more meaty, naturally weighted steering and a more linear power delivery, highlighting its reputation as a driver's car. However, despite its slight disconnection, the A5 Sportback's steering is quicker, which helps to make it feel keener when turning into corners. It's also the grippier one, thanks to its aforementioned all-wheel drivetrain.

Where it lacks in outright power, the 4GC makes up for with a meaty and communicative steering

On top of that, the A5 Sportback cruises more serenely, with a smoother ride than the more communicative setup in the 4GCThe A5 Sportback is also more refined on the go, thanks to a quieter engine when worked hard.

Space

Inside, the Audi continues its lead over the Bimmer in terms of cabin design. As the 4GC is the older model here, having gone through a minor update instead of the A5 Sportback's ground-up remodelling, the latter's cabin has a more expensive-feeling quality and a minimalist look that is modern and tactile.

The 4GC's cabin, is like any other BMW model, of quality and as premium as you'd expect of the brand, but considerably ageing when compared to the A5 Sportback's.

The A5 Sportback's cabin is easily the nicest and most modern one in its class

The Audi MMI setup, too, boasts more functionality with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, on top of a bigger and better-looking display screen.

In terms of occupant housing, both cars are equally practical, boasting large, similarly-sized 480-litre boots and rear cabins that are accommodating enough for adults. However, the A5 Sportback does have more overall headroom, while the 4GC has more legroom.

While the A5 Sportback offers slightly more headroom, the 4GC has more legroom

Grace

One giveaway of the A5 Sportback being the more expensive car here is also the way it presents itself at face value, with a sheet metal design comprising of sharper, more angular surfaces and a wide, flat Singleframe grille, which oozes more presence. The use of chrome window trims and its sleeker, sloping roofline further enhance its edge as an executive car.

Although the 4GC is anything but undesirable to the eye, next to the A5 Sportback, it just comes across as a tad fuddy. To be fair, though, the A5 Sportback is newer and more expensive at $271,850 compared to the $221,800 4GC (as of 13th November 2017). The 430i M-sport variant of the 4GC would've been the more appropriate rival.

It's tough to deny the obvious ageing of the 4GC when tested against the new A5 Sportback

That said, power and price aside, the point we've taken home from these cars is that the Audi has this properly thought-out. In almost every area, it has one-upped the BMW, even if the latter is more dynamically accomplished.

After endless driving and arguing, it's clear the Audi A5 Sportback has a more appealing proposition.
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Car Information

spacer

Price

: $256,930

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1984cc

Horsepower

:

185kW (248 bhp) / 6000 rpm

Torque

:

370 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) S tronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

6sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

15.6 km/L

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BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe 420i Sport (A)
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Price

: $193,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1998cc

Horsepower

:

135kW (181 bhp) / 5000 rpm

Torque

:

270 Nm / 4500 rpm

Transmission

:

8-Speed (A) Steptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.7sec

Top Speed

:

236km/h

Fuel consumption

:

17.2 km/L

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