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Used test: Audi A5 Sportback vs BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé

If you want the style of a coupé and the practicality of a five-door hatchback you'll like the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. But which makes the better used buy?...

New Audi A5 Sportback vs BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

The contenders

Audi A5 Sportback 2.0 TDI 190 quattro Sport S tronic

List price when new £38,005
Price today  £20,000
Available from 2017-present

The A5 Sportback maintains a smart, sophisticated and sleek persona, despite its added practicality.


BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé 420d xDrive Sport

List price when new £37,335
Price today £20,000
Available from 2014-present

The 4 Series Gran Coupé is known for its sharp handling, but can it compete with the svelte Audi?

*Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing


So, you want a sporty coupé but are having trouble selling the idea to family and friends? If five doors, five seats, a sizeable boot and reasonable price will seal the deal, a used Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé will prove heroes. Few combine style and substance like these two executive cars

We’re testing them here as five-year-old cars, and that means a saving of more than £15,000 over the price of a new one. Both come with frugal yet potent 2.0-litre diesel engines and the all-weather traction of four-wheel drive, not to mention driving experiences that promise an ideal balance of sportiness and luxury. 

Which fabulous five-door makes the better used buy? Read on to find out.

Audi A5 Sportback rear

Driving

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Sensible the engines may be, but there’s certainly no shortage of poke in either car. Both are evenly matched for power, and while the A5 proved fractionally swifter in almost all of our acceleration tests, the 4 Series felt similarly strong. The difference was mainly down to our A5 having a speedy-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox, whereas our test 4 Series had a notchy six-speed manual. Experience tells us it’s worth going for BMW’s optional eight-speed automatic, because it (slightly) improves performance and is even smoother than the A5’s auto ’box.

 During cornering, the more natural weighting of the 4 Series’ steering impresses. The A5’s is a bit too light in Comfort mode, while Dynamic adds a gloopy weighting, like the tyres are turning in treacle, but no more feedback. Even so, the fact that the A5’s steering is quicker helps to make it feel keener to turn in to corners and it can ultimately carry more speed through corners than the 4 Series. It just won’t put quite as big a smile on your face.

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe rear

In most driving conditions, the A5 is the more comfortable cruiser, even when fitted with optional 19in wheels, although our test car also had the excellent optional adaptive suspension. Only the worst ruts cause any discomfort. As for the 4 Series, its optional 19in wheels and run-flat tyres transmit every imperfection in the road; this can be tiring over long distances.

The A5 is also far more refined; its engine is much quieter at idle and is barely audible at 70mph. The 4 Series has a gruffer-sounding engine that never completely shuts up, even on the motorway.