2008 BMW M3 Coupe vs. 2008 Audi S5 Coupe Comparison Test

2008 BMW M3 Coupe

(4.0L V8 6-speed Manual)
  • 2008 BMW M3 Coupe vs. 2008 Audi S5 Coupe Comparison Test Video

    Watch the 2008 BMW M3 Coupe vs. 2008 Audi S5 Coupe Comparison Test Video on Edmunds' Inside Line | October 14, 2009

1 Video , 23 Photos

  • Article
  • Top 5 Features
  • Second Opinion
  • Data and Charts
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
  • 2008 BMW M3 Specs and Performance
  • 2008 Audi S5 Specs and Performance

Before you start sending us flaming e-mails complaining that a comparison between the 2008 Audi S5 and the 2008 BMW M3 Coupe is an obvious mismatch from the get-go, you should know a few things.

Our first full test of the $53,000, all-wheel-drive 2008 Audi S5 was a bit of a revelation. With a 354-horsepower version of Audi's direct-injection 4.2-liter V8 under its hood, the voluptuous Audi S5 ran a 13.3-second quarter-mile at 104 mph, just 0.1 second and 2 mph shy of the 420-hp 2007 Audi RS4 sedan. What's more, the S5's slalom speed is within a couple mph of the harsh-riding RS-spec sedan. "It ran a 13.3? With that kind of speed, who needs a $67,000 RS4?" we asked ourselves.

So we acquired (hastily perhaps) another 2008 Audi S5 and set it against the new 2008 BMW M3 Coupe, a car now fortified with V8 power for the first time. Speed-reading the specifications sheets of these two cars, they seem like natural rivals: the 354-hp, all-wheel-drive 2008 Audi S5 measured against the 414-hp, rear-wheel-drive 2008 BMW M3.

But as it turns out, we gave the 2008 Audi S5 a bigger challenge than we had initially intended.

D-Day
Were we foolish to pair these two high-performance coupes? The test numbers recorded by our previous 2008 Audi S5 were no fluke, as this time around we managed to coax another tenth or two from the car from Ingolstadt, validating our instincts.

Once you factor in the NHRA-style 1-foot rollout that most magazines use for acceleration testing, the all-wheel-drive 2008 Audi S5 leaps to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds (4.9 seconds without the rollout), and then crosses the finish line at the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds at 104 mph. Exploiting its tenacious all-wheel-drive grip, we even slightly improved our previous slalom speed. As our test-driver notes, the Audi S5 is "rock-solid in the slalom, especially during on-throttle transitions." It's the kind of thing where AWD pays dividends. So capable is the S5 at distributing power intelligently that it rockets to a 69.0-mph average over the 600-foot course. Lateral acceleration measured on the skid pad remains an impressive 0.91g.

Switching cars and techniques, we backed up BMW's claims of explosive acceleration from the 2008 M3. Launching the rear-drive coupe requires prudence, but getting it right results in a 4.3-second run to 60 mph as measured with a 1-foot rollout (4.6 seconds from an honest dead stop). Continuing unabated down the drag strip, the Bavarian's quarter-mile time is 12.7 seconds at 112 mph.

Yeah, the 2008 BMW M3 is fast, all right. There was a time when such numbers belonged to muscle-bound hyper-cars like the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Dodge Viper or Porsche 911 Turbo.

Yet the M3's talents run deeper than drag racing. As our test-driver says, "One of the fastest production cars we've tested through the slalom. Very easy to maintain control at the limit. Steering delivers excellent feel and response for the inputs given." Stitch together a run free of tipped-over cones and the result is a speed of 73 mph, a record for a car that's in volume production. Skid pad? The BMW M3 with its weight distribution of 51 percent front/49 percent rear plus a trick electronically controlled rear differential produces levels of grip you expect from a sports car, with a performance of 0.95g in lateral acceleration.

Low-Impact High-Performer
A week's worth of commuting in both cars reveals one of the reasons we like the 2008 Audi S5 so much. The S5 offers us impressive performance on-demand, yet it's not particularly demanding of the driver. Maybe this is where the Audi will outperform the BMW, we thought.

The S5's clutch uptake is smooth and linear. The shift linkage doesn't take much effort, although the throws to grab a gear are fairly long. The shift action is always easy and intuitive, even when hurried. Meanwhile, the S5's non-adjustable suspension is thankfully compliant and supple on both city streets and highways. It has a sporty well-balanced ride and not an abusive, sports car ride. While the 2008 Audi S5 feels alert and ready for action, it doesn't feel aggravated by everyday life.

In addition, variations in the road surface do little to affect the noise level inside the S5, even with its standard 19-inch wheels wearing short-sidewall, 35-series Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tires. Rough, smooth, concrete, asphalt — it doesn't matter, because the S5 remains composed and notably quiet. Wind noise generated mostly by the side mirrors does fluctuate with vehicle speed and crosswinds, however.

The 2008 Audi S5's ability to cope effortlessly with a wide range of driving seems to elude most other car manufacturers today. Yet it also suggests that the 2008 Audi S5 is more of a grand touring car rather than an all-out sports car.

Dare To Be Harsh
Once you slide your backside into the BMW, you'll sense the M3's more dedicated purpose. You won't necessarily know it from the firm (but not too firm) action of the clutch pedal. And the shift lever selects each gear as effortlessly as in any BMW, with that slight bit of resistance as the gear engages. The taut ride, though, will communicate this car's true character.

Our 2008 BMW M3 Coupe is equipped with optional 19-inch forged wheels and Electronic Damping Control, which can be either a stand-alone option or rolled into the optional Technology Package (as this car has been equipped). BMW's EDC offers three distinct levels of organ-jiggling action called Comfort (livable), Normal (firm) and Sport (track-only).

In our book, the 2008 BMW M3's damping setting of Comfort is the equivalent of a BMW 3 Series with a Sport Package suspension. In this softest setting, you'll be aware of road imperfections, but only the worst of them will be jarring. The Normal setting brings you the ride harshness of, say, a 2007 Porsche 911 GT3, a car that only gets a pass from us because it's so damned good at the track that we'll endure the occasional punishment with a toothy grin. Finally, Sport means exactly that, as it's meant for the racetrack. It's too abusive for anything but a billiard-smooth surface, which rarely occurs in nature (well, maybe the autobahn).

For the record, our acceleration test has been completed in Comfort for optimal rear-wheel traction, and then we used Normal for the slalom test and Sport for the largely flat skid pad orbit. Though we've yet to sample a 2008 M3 without EDC, it appears to be a worthwhile option.

Yet even in Comfort mode, the M3's Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires slapped the pavement noticeably, transmitting a booming tire roar into the cabin. On the other hand, the M3's advanced aero package, evident from one look at those side mirrors (check out the flying buttresses), proved eerily absent of wind noise.

Engine-New-Ity
Until we had turned a camshaft in the 2008 BMW M3's V8, we had thought Audi's 4.2-liter V8 was about as good as it gets. With its snarling, multi-octave vocal range, its broad power band and its rev-happy personality up to the 7,000-rpm redline, how much better could a V8 be than this?

A bunch better. BMW's all-new 414-hp 4.0-liter V8 has a broader torque plateau and a higher operating range, not to mention 85 hp more from about 5,000 rpm on up to the redline of 8,400 rpm.

In terms of aural pleasure, we give the Audi a few points for its sexier exhaust note. But for sheer power, honors go to the BMW at both low and high rpm. Unlike the M5's V10 on which the M3's engine is based, this V8 shows no such want of torque and feels full-bodied and tractable at any rpm.

We've attached an analysis of a visit to a dynamometer with our test cars, and you can see for yourself why the Audi earned our respect, but the track-ready BMW transcended our expectations.

Inner Sanctum
Both cockpits exude the kind of exclusive ambience reserved for purpose-built cars. The interiors feature highly legible gauges and prominent tachometers and properly bolstered and adjustable sports seats. The interface with satellite navigation is high-tech, and the audio systems are suitably high end (Harman Kardon/Logic7 in the BMW, and Bang & Olufsen in the Audi). As flawless as it might be, the BMW M3's interior reminds us that BMW interiors in general are starting to look austere and could stand a freshening. The Audi's interior comes off as more interesting because it's a little more visually challenging.

Both cars feature their own version of menu-driven control knobs for the infotainment systems, but Audi's MMI system shows us that BMW's iDrive stands alone atop our list as the most aggravating electronics-aggregating system ever made compulsory by a manufacturer. We've grown to know its idiosyncrasies over the years, yet still find ourselves scrambling for an ice pick on occasion.

Rear seating is surprisingly good in either four-passenger car, but the advantage belongs to the BMW with its obvious advantage in headroom. Squeezing yourself past each car's motorized front seat is also easier in the M3 because it's got a grab handle fixed to its headliner. We also appreciated the BMW's arm that presents the front seatbelt. The Audi still relies on the age-old man-scratching-his-own-back yoga pose to reach the belt, which gets old.

Go Time
Included in the BMW M3's $3,250 Technology package, you'll find the seemingly innocuous M Drive button. It's actually magic, as it allows you to save your preferred settings for the suspension dampers, throttle mapping, steering effort and level of assistance from the dynamic stability and traction control systems. Tap the button and the M3, like a weapon, goes to locked and loaded. By the way, these preferred settings may also be programmed into various ignition keys to suit a number of tastes or abilities of multiple drivers.

While a talented driver may disable all the M3's electronic traction aids for track use, we found the M Dynamic Mode function for the stability control particularly useful for public roads. It allows enough wheelspin to produce tire smoke and a pretty thrilling yaw angle before reeling in the car. It's so good that you might think you're an extraordinary driver when, in fact, M Dynamics was doing all the work in the background.

The Audi S5 has a similar three-tier stability control system, and it also proves to be an excellent tool for dispatching a canyon road while ensuring the car can still bring itself home in one piece. Yet there's far less ability to perform gratuitous tail-out antics in the all-wheel-drive Audi S5. In an attempt to minimize the inherently awkward dynamics produced by a nose-heavy weight distribution of 60 percent front/40 percent rear, the S5 distributes 40 percent of its power to the front and 60 percent to the rear, hoping to replicate the balance of a rear-wheel-drive car.

It works, but only to a point. Last time we checked, Newton's well-educated hunches regarding objects in motion are still in effect. When shove comes to push, the nose-heavy S5 does indeed begin to understeer on the limit, though far less so than any Audi we've driven with the exception of the midengine R8.

The Status of Our Comparison
We love the 2008 Audi S5. We love its elegance, its hidden performance potential and especially its bargain pricing. Nevertheless, the extroverted 2008 BMW M3 Coupe wins both for its undeniable dominance on the test track and an incongruous ability to do so while remaining perfectly capable as an everyday car. Toss in a track day or an afternoon on any of the roads of which we're so fond, and the Audi S5 begins to feel slightly out of place.

The new 2008 BMW M3 possesses a range of talent that few other automobiles can rival. On one hand, it drives like any other BMW 3 Series. But pull its hair, and the M3 transforms itself into a 400-hp hypercar. Like a champion barrel-racing horse, the M3 responds favorably to having its butt whipped once in a while. But if you try this with the S5, it might buck you off.

Through its own engineering magic, BMW has somehow managed to give this everyday coupe the feel of a low-volume specialty car like the Porsche 911, only with a $50,000 discount. The M3 coupe makes us wonder what BMW could do if it decided to build a midengine sports car like an Audi R8.

Sure, the 2008 BMW M3's exterior is a little forced. It's rockin' a satellite antenna faux-hawk atop its look-at-me carbon-fiber roof, and some say the gratuitous power bulge on its hood looks like a pilot whale's fleshy forehead. But we simply cannot hide our unwavering enthusiasm for the way this car connects with its driver.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

The editors picked the top 5 features that would distinguish one vehicle from the other. Standard, optional (and included), and optional (but not included) equipment were taken into consideration.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of features, it does draw a couple lines in the sand to better illustrate some key differences.

Features

Features
2008 Audi S5 2008 BMW M3 Coupe
Driver-selectable damping N/A O
Driver-stored/selected car setup N/A O
Forged aluminum wheels N/A S
Multi-threshold stability control S S
Spare tire S N/A

Key:
S: Standard
O: Optional
N/A: Not Available

Driver-selectable damping: The BMW M3 allows the driver to select from three distinct levels of suspension firmness and control.

Driver-stored/selected car setup: BMW's M Drive button retains the driver's preferred settings for the electronic dampers, throttle mapping, steering effort and level of assistance from the dynamic stability and traction control systems. It's BMW's way of going from civilian to military grade with the push of a single button on the steering wheel.

Forged aluminum wheels: The BMW M3's aluminum wheels are forged rather than cast, making them lighter and stronger per pound. This has positive effects on the responsiveness of both suspension and steering, as the unsprung mass is decreased with lighter wheels.

Multi-threshold stability control: No longer a feature associated with high-end marques, a stability and traction control system can now be found on base-model commuters. What now distinguishes a sophisticated system is the manufacturer's ability to write intricate programming that doesn't simply shut the car down at the first inkling of tire squeal. Further, a multi-threshold stability/traction control system allows a skilled driver a large degree of aggressive driving before a minor adjustment to the car's behavior is made. Both of these sedans have such sophisticated systems.

Spare tire: Get a flat in the BMW M3 and you had better hope it was just a small nail in the tread. The M3's mini-compressor and a can of sealant cannot fix a shredded sidewall. The Audi S5 has a compact spare tire.

Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh says:
Apple, meet orange. That was my first thought when the S5 was pitted against the M3. Months ago, I'd spent several hours savoring the Audi's sumptuous cabin and reveling in its V8 intake note. As one of our Editors' Most Wanted, the S5 offers an unbeatable combination of luxury and sport for the money. Right? Well, preconception No. 1 busted. The M3's crushing performance comes at the expense of ride comfort, but you gain much more than you lose.

There's no way their stickers could ever be close, could they? Yet there's much less airspace between their base prices than I ever would have guessed. Well, preconception No. 2 squashed.

Yeah, but the M3's stratospheric-revving V8 is all high-strung. Wrong again. At the dyno, the difference in low-end torque was revealed as minimal and the difference in high-end torque is dramatic. And not in a good way for the S5. At this point, I gave up on preconceptions.

Here's where the S5 puts an unabashed hurting on the M3. Styling. Just look at them. The S5 has elegance and grace, where the M3 looks like Brundlefly from The Fly, all lumps and protuberances.

This S5 rarely puts a wheel wrong, but one drive in the M3 reveals they're playing in entirely different leagues. I'll take the ugly orange from the M Division with no options, making it the same price as the curvaceous Audi apple.

Dimensions
Engine & Transmission Specifications
Warranty Information
Performance Information

Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions & Capacities
2008 Audi S5 2008 BMW M3 Coupe
Length, in. 182.5 181.8
Width, in. 73.0 71.5
Height, in. 53.9 55.6
Wheelbase, in. 108.3 108.7
As-tested Curb Weight, lb 3,910 3,590
Turning Circle, ft. 37.4 38.4
Interior Dimensions
2008 Audi S5 2008 BMW M3 Coupe
Front headroom, in. 39.1 38.4
Rear headroom, in. 36.0 36.8
Front shoulder room, in. 54.3 57.4
Rear shoulder room, in. 52.8 55.2
Front legroom, in. 45.1 41.8
Rear legroom, in. 34.0 33.7

Engine & Transmission Specifications

Engine & Transmission
2008 Audi S5 2008 BMW M3 Coupe
Displacement
(cc / cu-in):
4163 (254) 3999 (244)
Engine Type V8 V8
Horsepower (SAE) @ rpm 354 @ 6,800 414 @ 8,300
Max. Torque, lb-ft @ rpm 325 @ 3,500 295 @ 3,900
Transmission 6M 6M
EPA Fuel Economy City, mpg 14.0 14.0
EPA Fuel Economy Hwy, mpg 21.0 20.0
Observed Fuel Economy combined, mpg 16.5 15.6

Warranty

Warranty Information
2008 Audi S5 2008 BMW M3 Coupe
Basic Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Roadside Assistance 4 years/Unlimited miles 4 years/Unlimited miles
Corrosion Protection 12 years/Unlimited miles 12 years/Unlimited miles

Performance

Performance Information
2008 Audi S5 2008 BMW M3 Coupe
0-60 mph acceleration, sec. 4.9 4.6
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec. 13.2 12.7
Quarter-mile speed, mph 104.0 112.0
60-0-mph braking, feet 110 100
Lateral Acceleration, g 0.91 0.95
600-ft slalom, mph 68.9 73.3

Final Rankings

Final Rankings
Item Weight 2008 BMW M3 Coupe 2008 Audi S5
Personal Rating 2.5% 100.0 50.0
Recommended Rating 2.5% 75.0 75.0
Evaluation Score 25% 82.6 78.6
Feature Content 15% 66.7 40.0
Performance 35% 100.0 74.8
Price 20% 83.9 100.0
Total Score 100.0% 86.8 74.9
Final Ranking 1 2
$66,775 $57,515

Personal Rating (2.5%): Purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she would buy if money were no object.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she thought would be best for the average consumer shopping in this segment.

20-Point Evaluation (25%): Each participating editor ranked each vehicle based on a comprehensive 20-point evaluation. The evaluation covered everything from exterior design to cupholders. Scoring was calculated on a point system, and the scores listed are averages based on all test participants' evaluations.

Feature Content (15%): For this category, the editors picked the top 5 features that would distinguish one vehicle from the other. Standard, optional (and included), and optional (but not included) equipment were taken into consideration.

Performance Testing (35%): For this particular comparison, we've weighted the vehicles' track performances greater than one for, say, minivans. Flat-out acceleration, braking and handling tests were performed in a controlled environment by the same driver on the same day.

Price (20%): The numbers listed were the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the less expensive vehicle in the comparison test. Using the "as tested" prices of the actual evaluation vehicles, the less expensive vehicle received a score of 100, with the remaining vehicle receiving a lesser score based on how much it costs.

Vehicle
Model year2008
MakeBMW
ModelM3
Style2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)
Base MSRP$58,575
Options on test vehicle19-Inch Wheels With Performance Tires, Park Distance Control (Rear Only), HD Radio, iPod and USB Adapter, Premium Package, Technology Package, Cold Weather Package
As-tested MSRP$65,775
Drivetrain
Drive typeRear-wheel drive
Engine typeV8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)3,999cc (244 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum alloy/Aluminum alloy
ValvetrainDOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake/exhaust timing
Compression ratio (x:1)12:01
Redline (rpm)8,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)414 @ 8,300
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)295 @ 3,900
Transmission type6-speed manual
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I = 4.055, II = 2.396, III = 1.582, IV = 1.192, V = 1.000, VI = 0.872, Diff = 3.85, R = 3.677
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, MacPherson struts with variable damping and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, variable dampers, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)12.5:1
Tire brandMichelin
Tire modelPilot Sport PS2
Tire typePerformance Summer
Tire size, front245/35R19 (93Y)
Tire size, rear265/35R19 (98Y)
Wheel size19 by 8.5 front, 19 x 9.5-inch rear
Wheel materialForged aluminum alloy, polished
Brakes, frontSingle-piston, sliding caliper, floating 14.2-inch ventilated/drilled disc
Brakes, rearSingle-piston, sliding caliper, 13.8-inch ventilated/drilled disc
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.3
0-60 mph (sec.)4.6
0-75 mph (sec.)6.4
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)12.7 @ 112.0
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)4.3
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)25
60-0 mph (ft.)100
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)73.3
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.95
Sound level @ idle (dB)50.6
@ Full throttle (dB)82.4
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)71.5
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsOptimal launch rpm was between 3,500 and 4,000 rpm. Minimal wheelspin generated the quickest times. 1st gear goes by so quick it's easy to hit the rev limiter. Tachometer feels like it lags behind the engine at times. Transmission is never an issue. You can shift quickly and with full force without a problem.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsOne of the fastest production cars we've tested through the slalom. Very easy to maintain control at the limit. Steering delivers excellent feel and response for the inputs given. The ratio, assist and feedback are all spot-on. Easy to maintain control on the skid pad once oversteer is induced. One notable exception is the activation of the electronic differential, as it can kick in abruptly if you're not used to controlling an oversteer situation.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsShortest 60-0-mph distance we've ever measured. Power is immediate and the overall feel is very intuitive. You don't have to push the pedal very far before you get full power. This makes it good for aggressive braking, but more subtle threshold braking can be difficult.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)421
Temperature (F)74.3
Wind (mph, direction)0
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)14 city/20 highway, 16 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)15.6 avg (19 best/12 worst)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)16.6
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,704
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,590
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)51/49
Length (in.)181.8
Width (in.)71.5
Height (in.)55.6
Wheelbase (in.)108.7
Track, front (in.)60.5
Track, rear (in.)60.5
Turning circle (ft.)38.4
Legroom, front (in.)41.8
Legroom, rear (in.)33.7
Headroom, front (in.)38.4
Headroom, rear (in.)36.8
Shoulder room, front (in.)57.4
Shoulder room, rear (in.)55.2
Seating capacity4
Cargo volume (cu-ft)11.1
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)Standard 60/40 split, volume not specified
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years/50,000 miles
Corrosion12 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years/Unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenance4 years/50,000 miles
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot Available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBrake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake drying, brake stand-by
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard, variable-threshold
Rollover protectionNot available
Tire-pressure monitoring systemNon-specific tire, direct-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemIncluded in Premium Package
NHTSA crash test, driverNot tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot tested
Vehicle
Model year2008
MakeAudi
ModelS5
StyleQuattro 2dr Coupe AWD (4.2L 8cyl 6M)
Base MSRP$52,575
Options on test vehicleBang & Olufsen Sound System, Audi Navigation Plus With Audi Music Interface, Technology Package
As-tested MSRP$57,515
Drivetrain
Drive typeAll-wheel drive
Engine typeNaturally aspirated V8, direct injection
Displacement (cc/cu-in)4,163cc (254 cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/Aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake timing
Compression ratio (x:1)11:1
Redline (rpm)7,000
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)354 @ 6,800
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)325 @ 3,500
Transmission type6-speed manual
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)I= 3.667, II = 2.050, III = 1.462, IV = 1.133, V = 0.919, VI = 0.778, Diff = 3.889, R = 3.330
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent, multilink, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent, multilink, coil springs and stabilizer bar
Steering typeSpeed-proportional hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)16.3:1
Tire brandDunlop
Tire modelSP Sport Maxx
Tire typeSummer performance
Tire size, front255/35ZR19 (96Y)
Tire size, rear255/35ZR19 (96Y)
Wheel size19 by 8.5 front - 19 by 8.5 rear
Wheel materialCast aluminum alloy, polished
Brakes, frontTwo-piston, sliding caliper, 13.6-inch ventilated disc
Brakes, rearSingle-piston, sliding caliper, 13.0-inch ventilated disc
Track Test Results
0-45 mph (sec.)3.1
0-60 mph (sec.)4.9
0-75 mph (sec.)7.2
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)13.2 @ 104.0
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)4.7
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)28
60-0 mph (ft.)110
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)68.9
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.91
Sound level @ idle (dB)43.4
@ Full throttle (dB)77.9
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)67.4
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsA quick clutch release at 6,200 rpm nets an amazing 0-30 time. The 4.2-liter V8 is nice in S tune, but lacks the rev-happy snap and high-rpm punch of the RS version.
Braking ratingExcellent
Braking commentsPedal feel is a bit artificially stiff. Not as intuitive to modulate as the M3, but this matters little in a full-ABS stop. Still, very, very confident with zero fade from first to fifth run.
Handling ratingExcellent
Handling commentsExcellent grip and steering feel, but (again) lacks the communication of the M3. Won't rotate predictably on the skid pad even off-throttle. Rock solid in the slalom, especially during on-throttle transitions.
Testing Conditions
Elevation (ft.)421
Temperature (F)68
Wind (mph, direction)0
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)14 city/21 highway, 16 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)16.5 avg (18 best/13 worst)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)16.9
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,891
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,910
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)57/43
Length (in.)182.5
Width (in.)73
Height (in.)53.9
Wheelbase (in.)108.3
Track, front (in.)62.6
Track, rear (in.)62.1
Turning circle (ft.)37.4
Legroom, front (in.)45.1
Legroom, rear (in.)34
Headroom, front (in.)39.1
Headroom, rear (in.)36
Shoulder room, front (in.)54.3
Shoulder room, rear (in.)52.8
Seating capacity4
Cargo volume (cu-ft)16.1
Max. cargo volume, seats folded (cu-ft)Standard 60/40 split, volume not specified
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years/50,000 miles
Corrosion12 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years/Unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenance1 years/5,000 miles
Safety
Front airbagsStandard
Side airbagsStandard dual front
Head airbagsStandard front and rear
Knee airbagsNot Available
Antilock brakes4-wheel ABS
Electronic brake enhancementsBrake assist, electronic brakeforce distribution
Traction controlStandard
Stability controlStandard
Rollover protectionNot available
Tire-pressure monitoring systemDirect-pressure monitoring
Emergency assistance systemBeing researched
NHTSA crash test, driverNot tested
NHTSA crash test, passengerNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side frontNot tested
NHTSA crash test, side rearNot tested
NHTSA rollover resistanceNot tested
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