Car and Driver: 2014 Audi S5 vs. 2014 BMW 435i

by Bernie McGroarty on April 3, 2014, 6:27 pm
435 v s5

Car and Driver had pitted the 2014 BMW 435i vs. the 2014 Audi S5 in a recent comparison. They actually selected the 435i M Sport for the test, to make sure they had the best possible model to dance with the S5. The 435i comes with a 3.0 liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 that produces 300 hp and 300 torques driving the rear wheels, where the S5 utilizes Audi's quattro all-wheel drive and has a 3 liter supercharged V6, putting out 333 hp and 325 torques. So, they aren't too far apart, especially since the Audi is pulling along an extra 225 pounds. Let's see how things turned out in some exerpts from Car and Driver's article.

I'll start with a couple high points, as it seems that there weren't a lot of compliments paid to the 435i in this particular comparison. The high points seem to sit with the detailed styling, inside and out and the manual gearbox. They also liked the serene, relaxed ride inside, however, that was also a downfall. It seems like it was too serene, almost detached. On to the comparison.

435 v s5
-pic Audi USA

The driving:

The driver is isolated from wheel and suspension movements, and the slow steering seems so numb that it's the pulsing of the inside-front brake rather than any feedback through the wheel that indicates you've reached the cornering limit. At 0.90 g, that limit is handily topped by the Audi, which feels like the better balanced and *livelier car. This is especially surprising given the S5's greater forward weight bias. The BMW's numbness saps driver confidence, as the car doesn't provide enough information to form a complete picture of what's happening at the tires.

In isolation, the 435i is a very satisfying car-fast, smooth, and beautiful. None of our complaints come into stark relief until you spend a fair bit of time in both it and the S5. If the S5 didn't exist, the 435i would feel great. BMW's problem is that the S5 does exist.

Where the BMW is aloof and isolated, the S5 feels alive and vivid. There's more sound and more sensation in the Audi driver's chair than there is in the BMW's.

Its steering reacts more quickly, with a degree of feedback that's absent in the BMW. At all times, the S5 feels like a car, not a simulation. Despite its forward weight bias, it dives into turns more adroitly and feels better balanced than the BMW.

Even with a 225-pound weight handicap (and carrying an extra 281 pounds on its front tires), the Audi pummeled the 4-series in every performance test, launching harder, turning sharper, and stopping shorter.


In the end, this comparison had the Audi on top. Their verdict stated that "BMW is going soft on its old priorities, just as others are zeroing in." I'm sure there are a lot of thoughts and opinions on this, so lets have them!

Read the full article from Car and Driver here.


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27 responses to Car and Driver: 2014 Audi S5 vs. 2014 BMW 435i

Fastpaddler commented:
April 3, 2014, 6:39 pm

Yes. I have the article. Electric assisted steering and isolated chassis plus quiet engine/drivetrain are considered negatives. I havent driven the S5 but many other Audis--lovely interiors materials and fitment but I find the interiors more claustrophobic and there is a boomy resonance in most of the models I drove. Ride is harder and you feel road shocks more than with BMWs and I have driven numerous BMWs over the years and owned several. I will try out a 435 as soon as they get them here which is expected shortly. I didnt like the Audi A4. Looking at the point count there were more points for 'fun to drive' and a lot of, to be expected, subjectivity. Audi does make excellent autos but I tried a couple and prefer the BM.Ws for overall driving COMFORT. It comes down to personal choice--I figure the 435i MSport will sell well.
Cheers
AL
4awesome commented:
April 3, 2014, 6:40 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie@Bimmerfest View Post
\
Where the BMW is aloof and isolated, the S5 feels alive and vivid. There's more sound and more sensation in the Audi driver's chair than there is in the BMW's.
I genuinely think that this is deliberate. The 4 series has been moved up the luxury food chain, so to speak, to be a bit less hard-edged and more relaxed and luxurious. It would be interesting to compare the M235i. Even though it is smaller, it has more similar power figures to the S5 and in my view similar design goals - hard edged driver's car.

What the article also failed to mention is that an identically specced S5 is over 3 grand more than the equivalent 435i.
Gary J commented:
April 3, 2014, 6:56 pm

What we need to know is how the C&D advertising budgets compare between the two makers.
Michael Schott commented:
April 3, 2014, 8:11 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary J View Post
What we need to know is how the C&D advertising budgets compare between the two makers.
Seriously? The same charge made against them when BMW was winning every comparo? It's about the driving enjoyment.
mr_clueless commented:
April 3, 2014, 8:17 pm

They are not alone. Head 2 Head did a comparo of the 335 and S4 and the S4 came out on top.

http://tinyurl.com/m33vvw2

(For some reason Bimmerfest doesn't like the Youtube URL, so I converted it to tinyurl and that seems to work.)
beden1 commented:
April 3, 2014, 8:35 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastpaddler View Post
Yes. I have the article. Electric assisted steering and isolated chassis plus quiet engine/drivetrain are considered negatives. I havent driven the S5 but many other Audis--lovely interiors materials and fitment but I find the interiors more claustrophobic and there is a boomy resonance in most of the models I drove. Ride is harder and you feel road shocks more than with BMWs and I have driven numerous BMWs over the years and owned several. I will try out a 435 as soon as they get them here which is expected shortly. I didnt like the Audi A4. Looking at the point count there were more points for 'fun to drive' and a lot of, to be expected, subjectivity. Audi does make excellent autos but I tried a couple and prefer the BM.Ws for overall driving COMFORT. It comes down to personal choice--I figure the 435i MSport will sell well.
Cheers
AL
The S4 feels like a completely different car as compared to the A4.
Evenflow commented:
April 3, 2014, 8:39 pm

3 is soft, 5 is soft and heavy. I still like them a lot, but I'm pretty much into a car as an all around "tool" now.
mr_clueless commented:
April 3, 2014, 8:47 pm

It's not a bad thing if they lose a few comparos. It might help shake them up and force them to start building better cars. Of course, that will happen only if they start lagging in sales, because, after all, money is THE most important thing!

What kept in the BMW this time around was interior the manual transmission (I prefer BMW's over Audi here), styling, weight, MPG, and my familiarity with BMW. It definitely wasn't the steering which is a major step down from my E46, but which I guess is still acceptable. I have a lot of inertia...
Fastpaddler commented:
April 3, 2014, 11:07 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by beden1 View Post
The S4 feels like a completely different car as compared to the A4.
Hmm. I suspected that. The only Audi I really enjoyed was the Audi 100 of the 1970s. Later marques(havent tried S4 or S5) left me stressed and uncomfortable and, as noted, the bodies (not mine) seemed to give you a feel for the road but a lot of unnecessary feedback too. I will take out an S5 when I get into Victoria--away from my country home. I am really curious now! Besides, I am about ready to replace my 528i.
cheers
AL
beden1 commented:
April 3, 2014, 11:45 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastpaddler View Post
Hmm. I suspected that. The only Audi I really enjoyed was the Audi 100 of the 1970s. Later marques(havent tried S4 or S5) left me stressed and uncomfortable and, as noted, the bodies (not mine) seemed to give you a feel for the road but a lot of unnecessary feedback too. I will take out an S5 when I get into Victoria--away from my country home. I am really curious now! Besides, I am about ready to replace my 528i.
cheers
AL
My wife is starting to think about replacing her 535xi. After driving our daughter's S4, she is most interested in looking at an S6. The only issue will be when Audi comes out with a new replacement lineup.
Chris90 commented:
April 4, 2014, 7:43 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary J View Post
What we need to know is how the C&D advertising budgets compare between the two makers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
Seriously? The same charge made against them when BMW was winning every comparo? It's about the driving enjoyment.
It's because they love BMW that they are making a statement in every review. to say an Audi has more feel than a BMW is just ludicrous, but they're trying to get BMW to change their tune in the only way BMW will listen.
bikenski commented:
April 4, 2014, 12:23 pm

Wonder how long it will take for all of this bad press to start impacting sales. Cars are still flying off the lot at a record pace, so BMW can put the blinders on against the recent slew of criticism for now.

At some point though the "Ultimate Driving Machine" image they've built for themselves over the past few decades is going to fade from buyers' minds, and all of the sub-models being introduced will dilute the core values of the brand even further.
Fastpaddler commented:
April 4, 2014, 4:24 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by beden1 View Post
My wife is starting to think about replacing her 535xi. After driving our daughter's S4, she is most interested in looking at an S6. The only issue will be when Audi comes out with a new replacement lineup.
Hmm. I was actually considering a 535xi for my next vehicle!!
Fastpaddler commented:
April 4, 2014, 4:26 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikenski View Post
Wonder how long it will take for all of this bad press to start impacting sales. Cars are still flying off the lot at a record pace, so BMW can put the blinders on against the recent slew of criticism for now.

At some point though the "Ultimate Driving Machine" image they've built for themselves over the past few decades is going to fade from buyers' minds, and all of the sub-models being introduced will dilute the core values of the brand even further.
I agree.
Michael Schott commented:
April 4, 2014, 4:30 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikenski View Post
Wonder how long it will take for all of this bad press to start impacting sales. Cars are still flying off the lot at a record pace, so BMW can put the blinders on against the recent slew of criticism for now.

At some point though the "Ultimate Driving Machine" image they've built for themselves over the past few decades is going to fade from buyers' minds, and all of the sub-models being introduced will dilute the core values of the brand even further.
Most have us have been here long enough to know that bad reviews in enthusiast magazines and online have zero impact on sales. The typical BMW buyer doesn't read these magazines and buys the car for the mystique and badge. However they are still great cars, just not the best in class at being a sport sedan driven near the limit. There's a reason that the F3X is still on CD's ten best list as it's still the best all around car in it's class and has a basic chassis design that bests the competition. It's the tuning for enthusiasts that lets it down vs that competition.
sr5959 commented:
April 4, 2014, 5:00 pm

I've never based my buying decisions on car magazine reviews, although I enjoy reading them. I remember years ago when i was looking for an SUV all the magazines were raving about the Subaru Forester, I drove one and thought it was awful.
Fastpaddler commented:
April 5, 2014, 12:36 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by sr5959 View Post
I've never based my buying decisions on car magazine reviews, although I enjoy reading them. I remember years ago when i was looking for an SUV all the magazines were raving about the Subaru Forester, I drove one and thought it was awful.
Which just shows that each individual has his/her own impression of a specific vehicle. While I prefer BMWs, I recommended a Subaru Forester for my daughter who has twins and boogies around town a lot. After 4 years: one bulb replaced. Everything else no problems. Vehicle looks like new and is very well constructed. A lady in Victoria flipped her Forester a couple of days ago. They cut her out of her seat belt and she had only small scratches. Car was only dented on the roof and a couple of side scrapes. Do they drive well. NO. Sort of like a truck--but they have won the best SUV award three years in a row!!

AL
beden1 commented:
April 5, 2014, 3:00 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by sr5959 View Post
I've never based my buying decisions on car magazine reviews, although I enjoy reading them. I remember years ago when i was looking for an SUV all the magazines were raving about the Subaru Forester, I drove one and thought it was awful.
If you read car magazines, I'm sure you are at least swayed by what you read about cars you're interested in. If not, then why read the magazines to begin with?

I regularly read a few monthly car magazines like Top Gear and Evo. IMO, these magazines provide great insight for you to consider while test driving a car.
After Hours commented:
April 5, 2014, 3:46 pm

I learned to trail-brake into a corner at a BMW driving school. That technique overloads the outside front tire on the Audis and SAABs that I have driven in the past. When I read the Car and Driver review, I wondered whether their drivers were using techniques that favored the front-heavy Audis, and whether a BMW-trained driver might have come to a different conclusion, favoring the 50-50 balance of a BMW.
TangoRed commented:
April 6, 2014, 5:34 pm

Wishful thinking.
Sophisto commented:
April 6, 2014, 6:48 pm

Another RFT - non RFT comparo.
Does this tested 435 have the 704 suspension?, seems it is advisable to have.
mr_clueless commented:
April 6, 2014, 10:09 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophisto View Post
Another RFT - non RFT comparo.
Does this tested 435 have the 704 suspension?, seems it is advisable to have.
It had DHP.
Sophisto commented:
April 7, 2014, 2:10 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
It had DHP.
There are quite some tests in which DHP RFT BMW's byte the dust against Audi on "steering feel and handling".
Get your BMW with 704 and proper tires and you have a better driving car.
4awesome commented:
April 7, 2014, 2:55 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sophisto View Post
There are quite some tests in which DHP RFT BMW's byte the dust against Audi on "steering feel and handling".
Get your BMW with 704 and proper tires and you have a better driving car.
That seems plausible. I'm just glad BMW gives me the option of a DHP so I can have a comfortable car most of the time and a sharp handling one whenever I want it. As for steering, I have owned many cars and I must admit I must be a steering luddite - the only difference I ever notice is the amount of effort/power assist. Other than that I'm not bothered by it.
bclemans commented:
April 7, 2014, 6:44 pm

Why doesn't BMW replaces the 435i with the M435i (just like the 2 series)? It just doesn't make sense (and M335i instead of 335i) and confusing customers.

The 435i M sport in this article is quite expensive at $57,225 (without the power pack). The S5 is $59,220
bimmerfestfan commented:
April 8, 2014, 3:12 am

Does DHP give even worse steering feel than the non-DHP 435i?
Gary J commented:
April 8, 2014, 8:07 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by bclemans View Post
Why doesn't BMW replaces the 435i with the M435i (just like the 2 series)? It just doesn't make sense (and M335i instead of 335i) and confusing customers.

The 435i M sport in this article is quite expensive at $57,225 (without the power pack). The S5 is $59,220
Because the 435 has several lines.