Audi vs. BMW: Which German Luxury Brand Is Best?
For instance, the duo has seven cars between them in the competitive luxury small car class, including two of the top spots. Neither has a 2017 contender in the luxury large SUV weight class. However, both brands revealed large SUV concepts for 2018: the BMW X7 and Audi Q8. Let’s head to the ring for a nine-round battle of the brands.
Check out the winners on the following slides.
Luxury Small Car
Winner: 2017 Audi A4 (Details Below)
Audi and BMW may be most competitive in the luxury small car class. BMW has four cars in this class, and Audi has three. The top-ranking Audi A4 and BMW 4 Series are the closest rivals in 2017. The BMW 4 Series boasts stronger athletic engine prowess, but the redesigned A4 delivers solid performance, plus a nicer interior that edges out BMW. The A4 has a spacious backseat for adults, which is hard to find in this class. Both cars have strong predicted reliability ratings. The A4 has solid safety scores, but the BMW is not yet rated. The Audi A4 wass named the 2017 Best Luxury Small Car for the Money.
Luxury Midsize Car
Winner: Tie (Details Below)
The BMW 5 Series and Audi A6 are evenly ranked in class overall. This is a bit of apples and oranges. While both cars have potent engine lineups, the A6 pulls ahead for its agility and powerful athletic performance. The A6 also scores a perfect 10 for safety. The BMW 5 Series is designed with comfort in mind. Long-distance drives are no problem with optional 20-way multi-contour and massaging front seats. Each car has about equal strengths, which add up to a draw.
Luxury Large Car
Winner: 2017 Audi A7 (Details Below)
The Audi A7 is a top-ranked luxury large car, and a finalist for the 2017 Best Luxury Large Car for Families. The A7, starting at $68,800, has one of the finest interiors in the luxury class. The A7 has an outstanding array of standard features. Its impressive, performance-driven engines won’t zap fuel efficiency. The BMW 6 Series has many high points, but also one of the highest starting price tags in class at $77,600. Its high price may contribute to its place in the middle of the luxury large car rankings.
Super Luxury Car
Winner: Tie (Details Below)
BMW and Audi both make the grade for super luxury cars. Gorgeous on the outside and inside, both performance-oriented sedans have several engine options, and deliver good fuel economy. The BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 seat five, with lots of passenger space in the front seat and back seats. The 7 Series offers a plug-in hybrid this year. It also has one of the largest trunks in the class, while the A8 has one of the smallest. All-wheel drive is standard in the A8, and optional in the 7 Series. The two cars even out with an equal overall score.
Winner: 2017 Audi Allroad (Details Below)
The Audi Allroad and BMW 3 Series Sport Wagon match up, but the Allroad pulls away as the winner with more standard features and overall space. The Allroad is the top-ranked wagon and a finalist for the 2017 Best Wagon for Families. The Allroad is equipped with a 252-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which can tackle poor road conditions with ease. Both wagons come with all-wheel drive. The Allroad is expensive compared to other wagons, priced to start at $44,000, which is slightly higher than the BMW wagon.
Luxury Subcompact SUV
Winner: 2017 BMW X1 (Details Below)
BMW shows its strong suit in the SUV classes. The BMW X1 ranks at the top of the luxury subcompact SUV class. The 228-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generates quick acceleration and satisfying performance. The X1 has an upscale, spacious interior and an expansive cargo space. All-wheel drive is optional this year. The X1 and Audi Q3 have perfect 10 safety scores. The Q3 falls short with limited back seat space, and a modest performance by comparison to the X1. Despite its low starting price, a la carte packages quickly drive up the price of the Q3.
Luxury Compact SUV
Winner: 2017 BMW X3 (Details Below)
The BMW X3 is top-rated and the winner of the 2017 Best Luxury Compact SUV for Families award. It bests the Audi Q5 on cargo room, with 27.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and 63.3 cubic feet with the second row folded. The X3 has a better than average predicted reliability rating, and better fuel economy than the Q5. The two luxury compact SUVs have a range of powerful engines, spacious and upscale cabins, and strong safety scores. Standard features match up as well. The X3 is priced at $40,050 and the Q5 starts at $40,900.
Luxury Midsize SUV
Winner: Audi Q7 (Details Below)
The Audi Q7 and BMW X5 are two fine luxury midsize SUVs with similar rankings. Neither brand currently offers a large SUV, but the Q7 and X5 attempt to fill the void. The Q7 has seating for seven in its standard configuration, while the X5 seats five. An optional third-row seat can be added to the X5 for $1,700, but that space is small, even for children. The X5 leans to the power-hungry, while the Q7 is more for comfort-seekers. If you upgrade to a more powerful Q7 engine, you’ll pay the same as the standard X5. Where the Q7 has solid safety scores, the X5 makes up for it in high predicted reliability. The Q7 comes out as a better overall value.
Luxury Sports Cars
Winner: Audi R8 (Details Below)
The fully-redesigned Audi R8 is a sculpture on wheels. You won’t drive the R8 for the fuel economy, but you will for the performance. The R8 is equipped with a 5.2-liter V10 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission, which delivers power, poise, and precision at the wheel. The R8 seats two comfortably in an upscale interior. The car is equipped with substantial high-tech features. The BMW Z4 is a two-seater roadster designed for an excursion down country roads. The Z4 is reasonably priced, offers multiple engine choices, and is more fuel-efficient than the R8. The R8 still manages a finer interior, and the V10 engine burns rubber (and gas) to outrun the Z4.
The Winner Is ...
Audi (Details Below)
The overall winner is Audi. The two German luxury brands are formidable foes with quality cars and SUVs. The results are closer than it looks, with two categories coming out dead even. BMW reigned among SUVs, while Audi kept its edge among the cars. As demonstrated in the battles, each model has its strengths and trade-offs. Your choice will come down to individual preference. Compare each car to find the right match for you.