Who said exercise programs have to be tough, energy-sapping and sweaty? Test of the diesel coupé dynamic Audi S5 TDI and BMW M440d, which can also comfort and manage a good 1,000 kilometers without refueling.
Have you ever spent more money to get less? Friends of star kitchens may know this, or racing cyclists. Some celebrate small portions on oversized plates, others carry several thousand more to the bike dealer for carbon frames lightened by a few hundred grams. With the BMW M440d, it is around 48 cents per gram of ballast overhead if you order the 5.8 kg lighter carbon roof, which is offered exclusively for all M models and is of course installed in the test car. And as if the configurators at BMW had guessed, the 4 Series M-Diesel including this carbon fiber part weighs exactly the same as the S5 Coupé TDI, namely 1,836 kg. Both two-door models are otherwise quite similar, offering four seats, six cylinders, around 340 hp and exactly 700 Nm of torque. If you take a closer look, you can already see clear differences on paper, such as the weight distribution and the engine concept.
To guess that the S5 is more front-heavy than the BMW, you don't have to get on the scales, you just have to look under the bonnet, where the V6 turbodiesel protrudes significantly over the front axle. The doubly charged in-line six in the M440d, on the other hand, sits further back, so that although the mass balance between the front and rear axles that is typical of BMW is not achieved, the distribution of 53 to 47 percent comes quite close to this ideal (Audi: 58: 42 percent ). You will promptly receive confirmation of the visual check on winding country roads, where the BMW also dances easily through bends where the Audi (driver) is already panting a bit.
BMW M440d xDrive: Rear pusher
Objectively, i.e. when measuring the driving dynamics, it looks different. In the slalom alley and when changing lanes twice, the S5 not only easily keeps up, but with its 255 wheels on the front axle, it also stomps considerable times into the asphalt in a neutral to slightly understeering manner. The M440d can't quite keep up because it's always pushing with the rear and demands more effort from the driver.
Nevertheless, the M appears lighter on everyday life than the S, which is also due to its variable sports steering, which can be easily dosed, but which is sometimes stingy with manual torque between 45 and 90 degrees. The feedback at the Audi valance is actually a bit better, the response from the middle position is clear and linear, so that there is no unrest even at high motorway speeds. In the city or on the country road, however, you never really get warm with the 1,000 euro dynamic steering, which adjusts the support and translation depending on the driving situation.Because from about half a turn of the steering wheel, i.e. mainly in tighter bends, it surprises with such a direct reaction that you run the risk of oversteering and the front wheel on the inside of the curve shaves the turf or, worse, scrapes the curb.
The BMW corners more precisely, playfully, less distanced and more agile because the rear cooperates very easily. And also because the adaptively damped chassis (600 euros) binds the 4.77 meter long two-door car with a wheelbase of 2.85 meters more intensively to the road, rebounds and compresses less, without tending towards unnecessary hardness.
Okay, the Audi (980 euros), which is also equipped with adjustable dampers, filters small bumps more finely, so that little of it reaches the 4.71 meter long body. However, the rear responds to coarser suggestions with stronger body movements, the front wheels on the outside of the curve dive deeper, thus disturbing the curve flow a little. The S5 chassis fits best in auto mode, with the dampers adapting to the situation - a good compromise between sport and comfort. In "Dynamic", on the other hand, the Audi seems jittery and stiff-legged, causing unnecessary movement in the structure. The 4er is best driven in "Comfort", so it still offers enough dynamic potential, although here and there you can already notice that the tread of the Pilot Sport 4S on the front axle is a few centimeters narrower than that of the PZ4 P Zero on the Audi.
The fact that you notice this is also due to its cultivated B57D30T0 in-line six-cylinder, which thanks to two-stage turbocharging always feels good on the gas and ensures that with the 225s at the front you have a little more sliding friction due to the quickly applied, enormous thrust at the corner exit are confronted As befits a BMW, the xDrive distributes most of the torque to the rear, so that from time to time you start to wonder whether there are really drive shafts installed at the front. A nice drift can therefore not only be controlled with the gas foot, but - depending on the curve radius - also initiated.
Audi S5 TDI Quattro: Powerful, but hesitant
The Audi needs a lot of road surface for such maneuvers, because its quattro drive feels like it benefits neither the front nor the rear. Incidentally, you don't notice too much of the sport differential (1,350 euros) because the single-stage turbocharged V6 diesel sometimes just lets you down when you need it. Don't get us wrong, the EA897evo3 self-igniter with double SCR exhaust gas cleaning has massive torque, like the BMW it generates 700 Nm from 1,750 rpm and even maintains it up to 3,250 crankshaft revolutions (BMW: 2,250 rpm). But he reacts too hesitantly in places, hangs less vehemently on the gas, weakens especially when starting and intermediate sprints. Of course, once the pressure is there, the diesel pushes relentlessly.
But the way there is the problem, although the electrically driven compressor is supposed to improve precisely this response. So you have to lower the sole again just before the apex of the curve, so mentally always be one step ahead so that the performance is exactly where you want it. Only then, i.e. under the use of high load at the corner exit, do you feel the effect of the sport diff with its two electronically controlled multi-plate clutches on the rear axle. Experience how the coupé pulls you onto the straight without slipping, without pushing over the front end, distributing the moments to the rear wheel on the outside of the curve in such a way that you can keep the radius, go where you steer. In order to fully enjoy this technology, you have to drive extremely consciously, because you are often too late with the gas, the front wheels are already straight again before the somewhat grumpy Audi V6, which in comparison to the BMW six-row engine radiates less revving joy developed enough power.
Fast sprints with electricity
Incidentally, the mild hybrid 48-volt support here only helps to save fuel in coasting mode or start-stop operation. In the ever more economical M440d, the belt starter generator also provides support when accelerating, boosting with up to 8 kilowatts (11 hp), thus improving response and sprinter qualities. Whereby the Munich can only keep the Ingolstadt at a distance up to a speed of 100 km /h, however, falls back continuously up to 200 km /h. Both regulate electronically at 250 km/h.
Ahead - and we interpret that as negative in this case - the Audi is also ahead of the BMW when decelerating, at least from 130 km/h and regardless of whether the discs and pads are cold or warm. You can also feel differences in the metering with the brake pedal, whereby the BMW conveys more feeling at a decent temperature in the standard M sports brake, while the Audi pedal responds more finely in everyday use.
BMW: focus on driving
You can experience all of this in the M440d in multi-adjustable M sports seats, on which the belt is passed and which bind perfectly to the vehicle, but also cost a lot of money because the 990 euros for the seats alone is not enough. Because according to the price list, the extra-sporty seating is only available if you order additional options worth 2,380 euros. Nevertheless, the cross in the configurator is a must at this point, just like with the Audi for the 925 euros for the sports seats Plus with belt height adjustment, here supplemented by comfort features such as the fairly reserved massage function for a total of 1,515 euros.
Audi: High Quality
In the S5, however, you squat more on the than in the seat and, compared to the Diesel-M, you are enthroned much higher above the road than the 1.5 centimeters we determined - which is also due to the lower window line in the Audi.And if you want to travel with four people, the S5 Coupé is clearly the better choice, although people taller than 1.70 meters in the rear will not be happy in the long run. Nevertheless, compared to the BMW, there are a few centimeters more for the head under the headliner, for the feet under the front seats and for the elbows next to the side panels.
In addition, sitting in the back of the Audi is simply more comfortable because the legs are less bent and the upholstery offers more contours. When getting in and out, however, BMW has a cleverer solution ready, with front seats that move forward automatically as soon as their backrests fold forward. In the Audi, you have to hold down a button to do this.
The M440d also returns the favor with simpler operation using the rotary pushbutton. And with the more mature transporter qualities, because the coupe is primarily a 4er, despite the M badge. You can load 30 liters more luggage and 70 kilograms more ballast. In addition, the BMW has a wider trunk opening and deep moldings behind the wheel arches, so that there is even room for a golf club bag.
Sporty, economical, strong on the brakes and overall very suitable for everyday use: the slightly more expensive M440d first gets the property rating and then the overall victory.
High-traction four-wheel drive, high-quality feel, high ergonomics: The S5 Coupé is a great diesel athlete. Overall, however, brakes, engine and chassis press on the balance sheet.