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Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 418d in comparison test: elegant four-door cars in a duel

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 418d in comparison test
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K lar yes, the big one The importance of the flap and its flexible interior is still far underestimated. How often have fridges and garden furniture had to stay outside just because brave notchback sedans resist bulky items? But why does it have to be a station wagon even though a coupé would be so much fancier? It doesn't have to, says after Audi, now also BMW and brings the 4 Series Gran Coupé into position against the Audi A5 Sportback, which has been built since 2009.

BMW 4 Series is easier to operate

With their flowing roof lines and frameless door panels, both see themselves as finer, more elegant alternatives to the A4 and 3 Series - a little flatter than the sedans, but more comfortable and practical than conventional coupés. Thanks to the rear doors, the rear seats can be boarded without acrobatics, and the reduced headroom and all-round visibility as a tribute to the lively line can easily be overcome. Plus the plus in variability, with the BMW even offering an electrically operated tailgate as standard and an optional three-part folding rear backrest.

The mercy of its later birth is also shown by the easier operation via iDrive controller, including larger ones , razor-sharp map for the navigation system as well as additional safety features such as traffic sign recognition or automatic distance control with stop-and-go function. The Audi A5 Sportback won't be able to add anything until the model change next year, but otherwise doesn't look a bit outdated.

Light-footed BMW

Especially in terms of comfort, the Audi A5 Sportback is still fully up to date, bounces much more gently and noticeably bothered the occupants less with rumbling noises or vibrations on carious slopes. Long journeys can be unwinded on the large optional sports seats, and the two-liter TDI is acoustically pleasantly restrained. In addition to the diesel of the same size, the chassis of the BMW in particular strikes harder notes, absorbs transverse joints and frost cracks quite tight and stiff-legged even in the comfort mode of the adaptive chassis (1,100 euros) the Gran Coupé, however, does not owe it. The BMW looks very agile and light-footed, steers extremely precisely and willingly and always offers perfectFeedback from the variable sports steering (250 euros), but in return a certain nervousness up to and including straight-line stability. In any case, the front-wheel drive Audi A5 Sportback moves more stoically on its way and completes the driving dynamics tests similarly quickly and safely despite stronger understeer and body roll.

Audi A5 Sportback with exact six-speed transmission

Also in the longitudinal dynamics both with the tested basic diesel engines on the same level. The two-liter turbodiesel does not have to inspire anyone with great emotions, but rather serve as an efficient source of power in everyday life. They do this with commitment and different accents: In terms of power (143 hp) and acceleration, the BMW has slight advantages over the Audi A5 Sportback, but needs higher speeds for this, as well as for developing maximum torque.

No problem for the spontaneously appealing direct injection engine, especially since shifting with the exact, appropriately stepped six-speed gearbox is simply fun. So if you like to grapple hard and hit the clutch pedal, you can still do without the otherwise highly recommended eight-speed automatic converter (2,150 euros). With the Audi A5 Sportback, the continuously variable Multitronic (2,200 euros) is only available if you choose the normal 2.0 TDI without the addition of Ultra.

Audi A5 Sportback consumes 6.3l /100km

The Ultra, including the optimized tires, chassis set-up and gear ratio, costs 400 euros extra and improves the efficiency class from A to A +, but above all the efficiency itself. At 6.3 l /100 km, the Audi A5 Sportback swallows an average of half a liter less than the 418d and thus covers 1,000 kilometers, shows well-groomed manners, runs quietly and with little vibration. In addition, its six-speed transmission is easy to operate, albeit a bit clumsy and not quite as precise.

The brakes work powerfully and steadily here and there, and there is a wide range of options for both the Audi A5 Sportback and the 4 Series Assistance systems as well as seductive extras to choose from - which quickly drives the stately basic prices to over 50,000 euros. This also applies to the A4 and 3 Series, and in view of the better equipment, their beautiful brothers are only a few hundred euros more expensive. You can easily risk a big mouth.

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