Audi vs BMW: Key differences every car enthusiast should know | Taza Khabre


  • Audi and BMW are part of larger automotive groups and share components with other brands within their respective groups.
  • Audi focuses on modern design with a minimal approach, while BMW emphasizes sporty and dynamic styling.
  • When comparing reliability, Audi models such as the A4 and A5 score above average, while BMW models such as the X3 and X5 score below average..

Audi is part of the Volkswagen Group, which also owns Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley and Ducati. On the other hand, BMW is part of the BMW Group, which also owns MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad. Both companies share many components with other brands in their specific groups.

These companies also produce some of the best European ones luxury cars, and Audi chooses a modern design and a minimal approach, and BMW bets on a sporty and dynamic style. This Audi vs BMW comparison highlights all the key differences that enthusiasts should be aware of.

We’ve collected reliability ratings and average annual repair cost data RepairPalhelping to overcome the reliability and dependability of best-selling Audi and BMW models.

Reliability and reliability

Audi’s lineup includes some of the best-selling models in the U.S., the smaller A4 and A5 models and the larger Q3 and Q5 SUVs. According to RepairPal, the A4 and A5 have an above-average reliability rating of 3.5/5 thanks to an annual repair cost of $739. The Q3 also scores 3.5/5 with an average annual repair cost of $859. The Q5’s rating drops to 3/5, ranking 11th out of 14 luxury midsize SUVs. In addition, the average annual repair cost is $978.

BMW’s best-selling models in the US include the 3 Series, X3 SUV and X5 SUV. The 328i has an average reliability rating of 3/5 and a higher average annual repair cost of $773. BMW’s SUV lineup isn’t great, with the X3 earning an average reliability rating of 2.5/5 and a high average annual repair cost of $1,034. The X5 fares worse, earning a below-average reliability score of 2/5 and an even higher average annual repair cost of $1,166.

Related: 10 most reliable Audis on the used car market in 2023

Style and external dimensions

Audi has had a sleek, modern design language for the longest time. His cars have clean lines and a minimalist approach. While this helps project a sense of understated elegance, Audi still appeals to young enthusiasts with its large selection of high-performance models. All Audi models have a single hexagonal grille surrounded by beautiful LED headlights. The design language helps to create a dynamic and distinctive front end appearance.

The rear design of modern Audis has elegant LED taillights and some models have dual exhausts, contributing to their premium and sporty appearance. Unlike most current iterations of BMW, Audi’s styling tends to be consistent across the lineup, maintaining its identity despite the wide variety of models.

BMW, on the other hand, has a sporty and dynamic style. Despite the changes in recent years, modern BMWs still live up to their “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra, embracing a sporty and dynamic aesthetic. BMW models have a signature radiator grille, despite the different shapes and sizes.

Audi and BMW offer different models such as sedans, coupes, convertibles and SUVs. They offer compact cars like the Audi A3 and BMW 2 Series, mid-size sedans like the Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series, and luxury SUVs like the Audi Q7 and BMW 7 Series. Both models also feature full-size luxury sedans, the Audi A8 and BMW 7 Series.

Related: 10 Most Reliable BMW Cars Ever Made

Safety and driver assistance functions

Audi offers a wide range of standard safety features across the range. The cheapest model of the brand, the 2024 Audi A3, received such driver assistance functions as an adaptive cruise assistant with lane guidance, Audi pre-sense front, parking assistant, lane departure warning.

The best safety and driver assistance features

  • Adaptive cruise assistant with lane guidance
  • Audi pre-sense front
  • Parking assistance
  • Lateral assistance with support for lateral movement at the rear

BMW also offers several standard safety and driver assistance features, including front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control with stop technology and movement. BMW also offers an optional parking assistance system.

The best safety and driver assistance features

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Monitoring of blind spots
  • Head-on collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking

Both models received the IIHS Top Safety Pick award, the latter of them Audi dominates Top Safety Pick+ 2023. Winners of the top-level Top Safety Pick+ award included the 2023 Audi Q4 e-tron and Q4 Sportback e-tron, as well as the 2023 Audi Q8 and Q8 e-tron and Q8 Sportback e-tron. The 2023 Audi Q5 and Audi Q5 Sportback also earned a lower-level Top Safety Pick award. BMW earned the 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for the 5 Series and X3 models.

By topic: 10 best Audis for performance and comfort

Transmission options

Audi is widely known for its Quattro all-wheel drive system, while BMW is known for offering fun-to-drive rear-wheel drive cars. However, Audi offers front-wheel drive on some lower trim levels, such as the 2024 Audi A3. Fortunately, most Audi models come with all-wheel drive as standard, starting with the A4 sedan and up. Audi used to offer rear-wheel drive in the R8 sports car, but since it’s no longer available, rear-wheel drive is only available in a few Audi electric cars.

BMW, on the other hand, offers most of its cars with rear-wheel drive. All BMW sedans and coupes come standard with rear-wheel drive. SUVs, on the other hand, mostly offer all-wheel drive as standard, with the exception of the base 2024 BMW X3 and X5.

Today, neither Audi nor BMW offer four-wheel drive systems on their cars. Instead, Audi offers all-wheel drive on almost all of its cars as standard, while BMW offers it as an option on sedans, coupes and select SUVs.

In the electric segment, both brands offer a large selection of electric vehicles, with Audi’s options having all-wheel drive and BMW continuing its legendary rear-wheel drive transmission and optional all-wheel drive on some cars.

By topic: 10 best BMWs for performance and comfort

Performance and transmission parameters

Most new Audi cars use a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. From the entry-level A3 to the Q7 SUV, there are 4-cylinder turbocharged engines of varying power. Audi also installs the award-winning 5-cylinder engine in its powerful models such as the 2024 Audi RS 3 and the 2022 Audi TT RS. Audi won the 5-cylinder engineInternational “Engine of the Year” award nine times in a row since 2010.

Even as the world moves towards electrification and hybridization, Audi also offers a large selection of V6 and V8 powertrains. More premium variants like the A6, A8, Q8 and their high-performance equivalents get either a turbocharged V6 or a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8.

BMW, on the other hand, offers a wide range of engines, ranging from 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engines to the legendary 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in luxury and high-performance models such as the 2024 BMW X7 M60i and BMW. Model series M8. However, BMW is mainly known for its turbocharged 3.0-liter 6-cylinder engine, which is installed in most powerful sedans and coupes, from the 2 Series to the base 7 Series.

Both Audi and BMW offer some all-electric powertrains, with Audi offering just three variants: the e-tron GT, Q4 e-tron and Q8 e-tron. BMW offers a larger selection of electric vehicles, including the BMW i4, i5, iX and i7. Audi only offers the base Q4 e-tron with a single motor, while all other electric vehicles come standard with dual motors.

The BMW i4, i5 and i7 get a single engine as standard, but there are more powerful twin-engine options for each. The iX is BMW’s only electric vehicle with two engines as standard.

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