BMW 5-Series vs. Audi A6

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - September 18, 2019

Audi and BMW are two of the three heads that comprise the three-make battle for German luxury-car supremacy. In recent years, Audi has made huge strides, closing the gap between it and BMW, especially between the BMW 5-Series and Audi A6. Today, Audi tends to offer more value than BMW in the form of more features for the money, but BMW still holds the brand-recognition and performance crowns. Can the Audi A6 finally surpass the legendary BMW 5-Series? Find out below.

See a side-by-side comparison of the 5-Series & A6 »

What the 5-Series Gets Right

The BMW 5-Series kicks things off with a slightly lower base price of $54,395 including destination versus the A6's base $55,095 base price. Sure, that $700 difference doesn’t mean a ton in these luxury sedans, but it leaves a little wiggle room for additional features.

The 5-Series also boasts the traditional BMW styling fans of the brand have come to love. It may feel dated to newcomers, but faithful fans will appreciate the consistency through the generations.

In the safety department, the 5-Series and A6 are IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award winners, but the BMW gets a slight jump on the A6 for its advanced safety tech. First, its automatic emergency braking can stop the vehicle from speeds as high as 25 mph, whereas the A6’s system can only reduce its speed by 22 mph, so it only mitigates damages as opposed to avoiding the collision. The 5-Series also boasts class-exclusive available safety tech, including the ability to monitor what’s coming around buildings at intersections and more.

While both sedans perform well, the 5-Series boasts a traditional rear-wheel-drive setup that gives it the sport-sedan feel so many luxury buyers seek. Plus, when you move into the 540i, its V6 engine helps sprint this mid-size sedan to 60 mph in 4.6 to 4.9 seconds. Opt for the turbocharged V8 engine in the M550i xDrive, and power jumps to 456 horsepower, dropping the sprint time to a supercar-like 3.6 seconds. The best the A6 can do is 5.1 seconds.

What the A6 Gets Right

While the BMW caters to its fans in its design, the Audi A6 boasts a more modern look with its large singleframe grille, angular headlights, and sharper body lines. This style continues inside with a smooth combination of luxury and tech. The A6’s cabin also offers an extra inch of rear leg room, making it more accommodating for taller riders.

The A6, while pricier than the 5-Series, makes up for its higher entry fee with additional standard features. The A6 comes standard with all-wheel drive, giving it better grip in all weather.

The BMW 5-Series is well equipped, but the A6’s standard leather upholstery, LED headlights, 19-inch wheels, tri-zone automatic climate control, navigation, subscription-free Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto give it a leg up.

There’s Value in That Higher Price

Buyers who want the most premium standard features for the money will find that in the Audi A6. Yes, it costs more up front, but the extra standard features it includes more than make up for the extra $700 on its sales price. And we’re not even considering the extra value that comes with its standard all-wheel drive.

Our Verdict: BMW 5-Series

While the Audi A6 and BMW 5-Series are rated very similarly, there are distinct differences. The key features that set the 5-Series apart include its brand cachet and its traditionalist-pleasing rear-wheel-drive setup.

Take a closer look at the BMW 5-Series »

Take a closer look at the Audi A6 »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter

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