New Audi A5 Sportback vs BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
A new A5 Sportback has swooped in to add more style and practicality to Audi’s executive car range. We find out if it has the edge over its opposite number from BMW...
What are they like inside?
The 4 Series may have impressed us over the past few years, but in this company it’s starting to show its age. Apart from pedals that are offset to the right, we’ve no complaints regarding the layout – everything falls easily to hand – but quality leaves a little to be desired. Although there’s plenty of squidgy plastic, the materials found between the front seats and around some of the switches are scratchy and look as if they have been lifted from a cheap hatchback.
However, jump into the A5 and there’s very little to grumble about. The pedals are more in line with the steering wheel and the important controls are exactly where you’d expect them, although some of our testers did wish the driver’s seat dropped a bit lower into the car.
The A5 excels at feeling like a more expensive and luxurious car. The dashboard is shared with the A4, so it has a minimalist design with attractive trims and precise-feeling switches. Importantly, all the bits you interact with regularly feel seriously plush.
The 4 Series’ standard iDrive infotainment system is as user-friendly as ever but doesn’t offer much in the way of connectivity; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring features aren’t even on the options list. They are both standard on the A5, and you also get a bigger screen to view everything on, so while its interface isn’t quite as intuitive, overall it’s the better system.
As for rear seat space, the 4 Series has a little bit more leg room, but the A5 has more head room and a bigger gap under the front seat for your feet. In both cars, you’ll sacrifice a little head room compared with their saloon equivalents, but they’re certainly roomier than the two-door coupé versions of the A5 and 4 Series.
Move to the boot and both impress; if you want better practicality, you’ll need to buy an estate. Both cars can swallow far bulkier loads than the regular saloons (the A4 and 3 Series) on which they’re based, although the A5 ultimately has the bigger load bay with the rear seats in place orfolded down. Both cars come with powered tailgates and a variety of useful straps and hooks for securing your luggage. Both also have recesses with nets in front of them that would be ideal for an ice scraper, but the A5 impresses more with a selection of hooks that would prevent a takeaway curry from ruining the carpet.