Audi RS 5 Cabriolet versus BMW M4 Cabriolet

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Audi RS 5 Cabriolet versus BMW M4 Convertible
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If you are perhaps a bit older and have been reading automotive magazines for a long time, you may find it difficult to believe the following: The first BMW M3 convertible appeared 27 years ago, the then tester Eckhard Eybl drove the new one for a uto motor und sport , a convertible with 200 hp was a sensation back then. “The engine,” he wrote, “spreads torque into the wind.”

The enthusiasm is understandable, at most Porsche and Ferrari had something similar in their program at the time. And at Audi no one thought of sawing off the roof of the 200 hp Quattro and transforming it into a sports convertible. And before you shout at Treser, yes, I know it was a roadster with Quattro technology. Today the Audi RS 5 and BMW M4 have well over 400 hp, and super-powerful, sporty open-top cars are part of the portfolio of each of the major premium providers.

The Audi is the more expensive car

The one Incidentally, M3 of the E30 generation without a roof cost exactly 88,500 marks at the time, making it a little cheaper than an open-top 911. The ratio is still valid today, the BMW M4 and Audi RS 5 each cost less than a current 911 convertible, with clear advantages for the BMW M4: It is available from 78,200 euros, but the test car price is a lot higher: 112,170 euros, of which part (3,900 euros) can be attributed to the dual clutch transmission that comes standard with the Audi RS 5. The BMW M4 is also available with a manual six-box for nostalgic and shift-erotic fans.

The Audi RS 5 costs 89,900 euros ex works, with the extras of the test car at the end of the list, 113,485 euros, which means both then are close together. So it won't be the money, it would be nice if the decision as to whether it should be the BMW M4 or the Audi RS 5 could be made so easily. So let's forget the many horsepower for now, after all, the two are convertibles - and already in this discipline of completely different natures.

Which roof wins?

For this generation, too, BMW relies on the fixed retractable roof; at Audi, it can be the classic and - according to some - finer fabric roof. Very few Audi RS 5 or BMW M4 prospective buyers will be notorious lantern parkers, making one disadvantage of the Audi top obsolete. Other disadvantages? There is hardly any. Yes, the wide C-pillar (calledthe same with convertibles?), which restricts the rear view of the RS 5.

The BMW M4 is clearer with the roof closed, but that would have ticked off the main advantage of the BMW roof construction. Because in order to load the small trunk with the roof open, the entire convertible top sandwich must be raised. And when it is opened, it performs a complex choreography. It's almost a miracle that it emerges undamaged from the depths of the trunk every time. With the Audi RS 5, the procedure is not only a little faster, it even works up to 50 km /h and doesn't look like a transformer robot is about to come out of the trunk.

All of this is not surprising, What is more astonishing, however, is that the Audi soft top is also acoustically more pleasant. It gives itself the whistling sounds that the BMW roof produces at higher speeds, flapping something in the wind, but that's hardly annoying.

So the Audi RS 5 is the better convertible? There is something to it, in the RS 5 the occupants sit like in a small castle, well protected from wind and low temperatures and overall a bit more homely than in the BMW M4. The wind swirls a little more violently in it, the adverse elements do not stay outside so emphatically. You can like that, everyone else is advised to tick the item “Neck warmer, 400 euros” in the order form.

The RS 5 is more comfortable

Before we forget: The Audi RS 5 is also the better resilient car. Neither of them are comfort litters, but overall the RS 5 is a bit smoother and doesn't rumble across the streets as outrageously as the BMW M4. Both come to the test on 19-inch vehicles, the BMW M4 on Michelin Pilot Super Sport, the Audi RS 5 on Toyo Proxes T1. Both have adaptive suspensions, the RS sports suspension with Dynamic Ride plus (1,950 euros) in the Audi RS 5 and the M suspension for 1,900 euros in the BMW M4.

However, if it were only about open-top driving, it would have In both cases, the same car is given at half the price with a two-liter diesel, this is about more, and in both cases a quick press of the start button is enough. At Audi, the V8 rattles off, a bit more restrained than the BMW, which already sounds a bit cocky when starting from cold. A BMW with a big M is forgiven for that, and it doesn't sound bad what trumpets from the exhaust tract. The BMW M4 has reason to be immodest anyway: With 431 hp from a twin-turbo in-line six you can show off. The tried and tested high-revving V8 is still used in the Audi RS 5, here with 450 hp at 8,500 revolutions. Sucker against turbo, a look at the torque values ​​indicates why the sucker is on the decline here too: the RS 5 eight-cylinder lifts 430 Nm, the BMW turbo 550 Nm.

The BMW has more steam

That is actually in normal driving with such powerful enginesincidental, but when things really need to go faster, the M4 drive shows its advantages. He already has power from the low revs when the Audi V8 takes a breath and whirls up from the deep. Yeah, that's a joy with the V8, so greedy, seamless and, well, careful how it starts. But objectively speaking, the BMW M4 can do everything at least as well. The driving performance is only that slightly better that could almost be seen as a measurement tolerance, but it just feels faster.

In any case, the BMW M4 is more like the car for us play children. His dual-clutch transmission likes to be a bit naughty in sport mode, slams the gears in pretty vehemently, when he downshifts in between and thunders out of the back and makes no secret of the fact that he likes to be a little unreasonable.

That The Audi RS 5 is a little more difficult, it acts more well. That doesn't have to be a disadvantage, it's also a question of nature. How different the two really are becomes even more apparent when driving faster on and off the racetrack. The BMW M4 is almost always in front.

The BMW M4 is the faster

This is not only evident in the fixed lap times on the small circuit in Hockenheim, but above all in the fact that that they come about almost playfully. It steers in neutral and precisely, no hint of understeer, you have to overdo it to get the BMW M4 off course, also because it never leaves the driver behind the wheel in the dark about the reactions.

There Do you feel a little heavier in the Audi RS 5, it looks more top-heavy, shows noticeable understeer when turning, despite the mostly rear-heavy torque distribution of its all-wheel drive. Unlike most of its all-wheel drive Audi brothers, the RS 5 does not have a Torsen differential, but a crown gear differential in the middle, which can vary the drive torque more quickly between the front and rear axles. The fact that the Audi still feels a bit more sedate is also due to the more pronounced body movements and the less communicative steering, which is not as precise and sensitive as the one in the BMW M4.

The BMW brakes the Audi

Incidentally, both came to the test with optional ceramic brakes, and once again the BMW M4 leaves the better impression. It has the shorter braking distances and is generally more stable. Whereby there are physical limits again: Even ceramic brakes have to work amazingly with cars weighing almost two tons at racing speed, with the Audi RS 5 this is clearer, also because it is around 130 kg heavier than the BMW M4. That was better 27 years ago: The M3 from 1988 weighed 1,388 kg. However, he needed over 40 meters to come to a stop from 100 km /h. Any questions?

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