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Audi S5 Sportback versus BMW 435i Gran Coupé in comparison test

Rossen Gargolov
Audi S5 Sportback versus BMW 435i Gran Coupé
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F ahrdynamics is at first glance yes quite a clear term, at least that's how we use it most of the time. Just woe, you think about it a little more extensively. Then it becomes clear that it has two facets - and cars like the Audi S5 Sportback and the BMW 435i Gran Coupé make you aware of this again and again.

Let us pause the thought: On the one hand, there is of course the maximum Driving dynamics, the real ones, if you will. The one that arises when you push a car to the limit. All d'accord? Great, because there is also the other form, the emotional, the felt driving dynamics, which are not physically created from the interplay of longitudinal, lateral and negative acceleration, but subconsciously in the palms of the hands, toes and buttocks. It cannot be measured, expressed in numbers and occasionally - not infrequently - it even contradicts them.

Audi S5 Sportback with a grumpy sound, but a tranquil impression

To put it in a nutshell To get a point: Sometimes you get in, think wow, how he turns, lies and hangs on the gas, madness. And then, as soon as you really push, you realize that as much as one was led to believe is not behind it after all. Usually, Audi S models also follow this trend. Some even think they kicked him off. Anyway, they definitely don't boycott him. The S6, S7 and S8 are even true masters of the driving dynamics illusion, and in the end the S3 is not quite as performance-focused as it is presented, the same applies to the S1. But there is one exception: the Audi S5, which actually puts its light under a bushel - at least in terms of power delivery.

Its three-liter compressor is basically a seasoned guy: immediate, persistent and even one in the end Reason that the BMW 435i will have failed here, but appearances are deceptive. Specifically: Although in the comparison test with its Launch Control it pushes itself off powerfully on the all-wheel drive, continues to sprint energetically and shifts without interrupting the tractive power, it looks tough, tormented and strained in everyday life. The only question is: Why?

Dissonance between rhythm and thrust in the Audi V6

Two theories : One is based on the long translation of the large gears, from which you of course have to free yourself again during the intermediate sprint -by downshifting or by fitness. Theory number two comes from the sound. It is created artificially via playback - you don't have to find it good, okay. But that's not the point.

What bothers is this dissonance between rhythm and thrust, this din that the Soundymposer makes on the one hand, and the not always overambitious development of power on the other. In short: the two just don't go together, act like a techno beat under a cuddle song and ultimately distort the perception - to the disadvantage of the Audi mind you.

BMW 435i Gran Coupé impresses with a smooth six-cylinder

With the BMW The 435i is the other way around: it is actually slower than the Audi, certainly not slow, but not quite as fast as it feels. But as I said, this is not a drama in this class, but a custom. And it is probably what customers want who make a conscious decision in favor of a coupé rather than a coupé. Its charged three-liter motor is smooth, effortless and always hits the right note with the mix of exhaust gasps and high-speed timbres. He has character and charm - some say he is the last heart behind the kidneys. And even if a lot of it may be true: He also has to thank his transmission for being in such a good position.

BMW is currently on some wrong track: they have recently started building vans, three-cylinder, front-wheel drive - all creepy. But this combo of straight six and sports machine is a masterpiece. Relaxed, almost playful, the two do gymnastics over the steps, hug each other sooooo tenderly or whip each other if you keep the speed range tight. The only real problem is the body in which it is all. Because just like the Sportback dress of the S5, the Gran Coupé is a compromise between space, sportiness and image - and if you don't care about the latter, it is certainly a lazy one: heavier and taller than the corresponding coupé, narrower than the conventional station wagons of the 3 Series and A4 . With a bad tongue: the synthesis of the disadvantages from both worlds.

No performance model planned for the BMW 435i

Audi also has a rear axle lock in the surcharge list in the form of the so-called sport differential (900 euros): ImIn contrast to its BMW counterpart, it is electronically controlled and also works actively with torque vectoring, but under far more difficult conditions. Let's explain it this way: The BMW 435i Gran Coupé is fundamentally more athletic - a good 120 kilos lighter than the always all-wheel drive Audi S5 Sportback, better balanced, much better. With him, the lock does not have to compensate anything, it is enough if it outlines everything a little. And that's exactly what it does: traction, cornering behavior - everything seems this bit sharper and more snappy than in the standard trim. In short: It is a nice added value for the driving dynamics - both for the measurable and for the emotional.

Audi S5 Sportback shows technical sophistication in Hockenheim

On the other hand, it is a prerequisite for the Audi that something like dynamics can arise at all. An Audi S5 Sportback without a sport differential has never been tested. And as soon as you have a few fast corners behind you, it's clear why. Shifting the torque in the direction of the loaded rear wheel creates a turning movement in the direction of the apex of the curve, which eliminates understeer - they say. It may not be quite like that: In very tight bends, the Audi S5 Sportback still pushes over the front axle in the comparison test, but it actually alleviates it - clearly and so eagerly that you even have to appease the system in the slalom using comfort mode.

In Hockenheim, the Audi then also shows its technical sophistication. He resolutely stabs fast corners, skilfully drives through wider ones, bites and toil. The most important thing: Here on the track, where the engine only rotates in the upper quarter of the speed and is not even embarrassed to descend into the major gears, the two sides of the driving dynamics finally agree. In other words: the S5 drives energetically, and it feels that way.

BMW 435i Gran Coupé is missing the last consequence

The BMW 435i had to swallow half a second in the comparison test - which perhaps not everyone would have expected in the form. It's as clear as day, the BMW supporters will rage, after all, the test car lacks all-wheel drive. Justified objection, but it's not that simple: On the one hand, this results in a not inconsiderable weight advantage for the BMW; on the other hand, test history shows that xDrive models usually perform at a very, very similar level to rear-wheel-drive models.

No, the reasons for the lag actually lie in the driving behavior, which the closer you get to the limit, the further and further away from the lively feeling. Or in clear words: Despite M accessories, the BMW 435i Gran Coupé remains one of these 95 percent cars, as there are many at BMW apart from the thoroughbred M models.

It turns in really neatly, lies full in the handand can be dosed squeaky clean for turbo conditions, only it offers less resistance to the lateral force than the S5. The body leans further to the side, but from a certain point on it simply doesn't get any lateral support - primarily on the front axle. So it's the old song that we have often sung about the mixed tires: It comes from a time when BMW was wildly thrown at the rear, when the rear was so light that it had to be somehow supported. It is simply counterproductive on a tamely tuned 1.7-ton limo, and a cross-locked one - always provided, of course, that it is about driving dynamics as we understand them, the maximum, which is also decisive for the result.

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