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BMW 4 Series vs. BMW 5 Series

Comparison of BMW 4 Series and BMW 5 Series

1. Introduction

First of all, let us compare these two cars from the design. BMW 4 series design might be said as the advanced version of the 3 series. The 4 series has a sleeker shape and is lighter than the 3 series. This is actually a good way to start considering that this new car is formally introduced to fulfill a coupe car concept. With this newer look and lighter shape, we can expect that this car is more efficient than the 3 series. On the contrary, we have the 5 series which is compared to the 7 series. The shape is more like a sedan and the size of the car is large. This is actually quite suitable for you who really love a sedan car with a larger size. (Nayak et al., 2023)

Many people might get really amazed with this kind of vehicle because this car is filled with so many cool things and also it has so many interesting features as well which make this car so appealing. If you are one of those who are really in love with the brand of BMW, then you must already have known that they have released their new car which is known as BMW 4 series and also BMW 5 series. Comparing these two cars, there are different types of advantages and also disadvantages of these two cars. So, here is some of the information which might be really useful for you who are about to buy a new car in the near future.

1.1. Overview of BMW 4 Series

The BMW 4 Series is a compact luxury car and the entry level of the BMW range of coupes. It was launched in 2014 as the successor to the E92/E93 3 Series coupe. In 2017, the 4 Series range received a facelift and refresh. The new models will be arriving in South Africa in early 2018. The 4 Series range comprises of the 420i, 430i, 440i, and the flagship M4. The 430i is a new model introduced in 2017, replacing the 428i, with a 2.0L turbocharged engine producing 185 kW and 350 N.m. The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe, from my knowledge, is not much different from the 3 Series, other than a sleeker, more aggressive body design, and a higher level of standard features. The Gran Coupe is also available in the 420i and 420d, there is no 430i model. The BMW 4 Series is a modern, great looking car, especially with the refresh in 2017. It has a powerful stance and looks more aggressive than any 3 Series. The 4 Series has a mean front end with the full LED headlights. The 430i and 440i models both come with a Sportline package, which is bold and attractive with the Sport line alloy wheels. The M4 is pure muscle and looks stunning. It has all the M Performance features, including a carbon fibre roof, and it is finished off with quad exhausts, which sound amazing. In my opinion, the pick of the bunch in the 4 Series range would be the 430i, especially with the Sportline package. It looks great and has a balance of power and comfort.

1.2. Overview of BMW 5 Series

The 5-series is a line of mid-size luxury cars created by BMW in 1972. The 5-series was initially only available in a sedan body style. The wagon/estate body style (known as "Touring") was added in 1991 and the 5-door fastback (known as "Gran Turismo") was produced from 2009 to 2017. The 5-series is BMW's second best-selling model after the 3-series and in 2010 produced about 50% of the BMW's profits. The various generations of the 5-series have often been named with three-digit numbers, using the first digit to signify the platform size. For example, the 7 series is a large luxury car and the 3 series is a compact luxury car. It's no big surprise that the 5-series is positioned in the center. The present BMW G30 5-series is bigger in comparison with the previous F10 5-series. This was achieved by using CLAR stage factors which enable BMW to build their cars in all sizes. In the years following the new platform generation era, every modern BMW car a slight increase in size and weight attributes. Numerous BMW owners argue many new BMW iterations are heavy models that detract from BMW design, while BMW executives argue that BMW cars are growing in order to fulfill customer demands for more technology, comfort, and safety features. An example of this scenario can be noticed when comparing a new BMW 340i to the more seasoned BMW E46 M3, with the 340i weighing around 300-400 pounds more dependent on model.

2. Performance and Engine Options

Little can be said in the comparison of fuel efficiency between the two series, as it is generally predictable that a smaller and lighter car will have greater fuel efficiency than a larger one. BMW rates the fuel efficiency of the new 4 Series at 23-25 MPG (combined), while the 5 Series is rated at 23-24 MPG. This comparison somewhat offsets given that a typical 4 Series xDrive model weighing in at approximately 4000 lbs will actually be drawing similar gas mileage to a 5 Series rear-wheel drive model that weighs near 400 lbs less.

As both cars are rear wheel drive out of the factory, the 4 Series using an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmission, while the 5 Series utilizes an 8-speed automatic. Both cars offer all-wheel drive models in the form of xDrive. While strong engine options are available for both series, the 5 Series can boast a 300hp inline-6 engine and more powerful V8 and turbocharged V8 options for M series cars, providing a stark difference to that of 4 Series power options, potentially drawing customers in who are considering a 4 Series strictly for its impressive top-level engine choices and want a similar package in a more luxurious sedan. Step-motronik transmissions are available only with the 5 Series, and while the 4 Series has various handling-related features such as an available variable sport steering option, these technologies and high level of engine tuning are catered more towards what would be the average 4 Series buyer who opted out of purchasing a lower-end M3.

And heavily tuned suspension, the handling of the 5 Series cannot be paralleled by that of its smaller sibling. Comparatively, the 4 Series excels more in the realm of acceleration and using the power of its engine, while the 5 Series focuses more on luxury and comfortable performance over sheer speed. This can be seen through the acceleration of the base model 4 series, the 430i, going from 0-60 in around 5.5 seconds using a 4-cylinder 240hp engine.

2.1. Power and Acceleration

The engine for the BMW 4 Series is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. The 428i comes in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, with the 428i xDrive. The convertible version has the same trims, but is only offered in all-wheel drive. Furthermore, the 435i has a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The coupe and Gran Coupe are offered with the 435i rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, while the convertible is only offered with rear-wheel drive. The engine for the 5 Series sedan is significantly more powerful. The 528i comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 535i has a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 that produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The most powerful engine that the 5 series comes with is the 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 that produces 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. This comes on the 550i and is also on the M5 with a significant power increase. In terms of actual acceleration, the 435i and 535i tested very closely. The 435i did 0-60 in 4.9 seconds, while the 535i did it in 5.1 seconds. This is also similar to the Audi A7 which has been said to be the 5 series' main competitor in the past and is a great alternative to the A6. The 4.4-liter turbocharged engine is impressive, doing 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. This is significantly faster than the A6, which Audi had already said was conservative in performance compared to the 5 series. The M5 is blistering fast with a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds. These times consider the fact that both the Audi and Mercedes E class no longer offer V8 engines. Overall the 5 series has similar acceleration to the new 4 series which is a very good thing considering the 4 series' acceleration is similar to the previous generation 5 series.

2.2. Fuel Efficiency

Both the 4 Series and 5 Series use an 8-speed automatic gearbox, and unlike the 4 Series, the 5 Series offers all-wheel drive. The 4 series comes with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The 428i uses the well-known 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo inline 4-cylinder engine that has been tuned to an impressive 240 horsepower and 255 ft-lb of torque. The 435i uses the BMW N55 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder that has been upgraded from the 3 series to more appropriately respond to the 4 Series. Cookie cutter compared to the 3 Series, this engine has been specifically tuned to put out 300 horsepower and 300 ft-lb of torque. The additional 15hp on the 428i and 32hp on the 435i compared to the 3 Series models creates a noticeable difference that will be appreciated by drivers. The 428i is available as either a coupe or convertible and the 435i is available as a coupe, convertible, or Gran Coupe. The 428i will also be offered in the future with a turbodiesel engine, the 428d. The reason the 4 Series does not offer the same Gran Turismo option as the 3 Series is to visually differentiate the 3 and 4 series even further and shift the 4 Series to fill the shoes of what the 3 Series used to be. A step up from the 4 Series, the 5 series offers essentially 3 types of driving experiences. If you are looking for a comfortable, daily driving luxury sedan that will save you money on gas, the F10 528i will be the best choice for you. With the same 2.0-liter BMW TwinPower Turbo 4-cylinder engine that is in the 428i, and at 240 horsepower and 260 ft-lb of torque, this is the most fuel-efficient engine that BMW offers in a 5 Series. With near 30 MPG on the highway you'll be saving loads of money by making the switch from a 6-cylinder. If you're a powertrain enthusiast and are unwilling to budge from a comfortable, mid-size sedan, the 535i is the best option for you. Available with either a RWD 300hp inline 6-cylinder engine or a more fuel-efficient AWD 300hp inline 6-cylinder engine, this is the best combination of performance and fuel efficiency in a 5 series. Now, if you're seeking a marriage of luxury and increased versatility on a BMW platform, the F07 550i GT goes above and beyond its class in an unorthodox fashion. With a 445hp V8 engine and only offered as a 4-wheel drive, it pulls quite a bit harder but this is offset by an unimpressive 22 MPG. The GT is greater in size and more compartmentalized what 5 Series and X5 owners have claimed as being too similar over the years. The 4 Series has the more varied and newer options in terms of engine type, the 5 Series has a more comprehensive relative engine selection. (Ghayal et al.) (Ding et al.2020)

2.3. Handling and Driving Experience

Both the 4-series and 5-series utilize double wishbone front suspension and a 5-link rear suspension. This particular suspension setup means that the 4-series and 5-series will have better handling abilities and more stable driving compared with the previous 3-series and 5-series. Specifically for the 4-series, BMW crews have managed to distribute a 50:50 weight ratio which they believe will significantly improve steering and handling compared with the previous 3-series. While for the 5-series, the distribution is around 50:50 which is the same as the current 5-series. This makes the 5-series have the same handling feeling as the previous model but with more stability in driving. Both the 4-series and 5-series have variable sport steering as standard. With an optional Integral Active Steer on the 5-series, the rear wheels will respond to the driver's steering inputs at speed by moving in the same direction, giving the impression of a longer wheelbase. This will significantly make the 5-series have a better turning circle and maneuverability. This would greatly benefit someone who uses their BMW for their driving job, like a property advisor from PropertyGuru, where he spends most of the day driving to meet up with clients or showing properties.

3. Interior and Technology Features

The 5 Series is one of the largest saloon cars on the road. It has plenty of space and comfort for the driver and passengers. The head and legroom is immense, and there is plenty of adjustment to find the best driving position. The rear seats are extremely comfortable and adjustable, with vents and climate control settings. The boot is massive, with 520 litres of space. The comfort levels for all passengers and luggage will be everything you expect from an executive saloon. With the 5 Series having larger dimensions, it will face a battery-driven challenge from the 7 Series, which offers the same advantages for interior space and comfort but with the benefit of cleaner energy.

BMW 4 Series has a comfortable and spacious interior. The cabin is driver-oriented and the seating is quite comfortable, with enough head and legroom for taller drivers. The rear seats are also comfortable for a coupe, and there are no issues for passengers on longer journeys compared to its rivals. The boot is deep and has more than 445 litres of space. The comfort levels are good, with the suspension smoothing out most imperfections. However, there is still a lot of road noise at high speeds.

3.1. Cabin Space and Comfort

Room for front seat passengers is about the same in the two cars, and so is rear-seat legroom. The 5 Series has more rear headroom and just feels more spacious overall; after all, it is a mid-size car, albeit one at the small end of that metric compared to some BMWs of the past. While you might expect a sportier car like the 4 Series to have snugger front seats with higher side bolsters, they're almost as wide as those in the 5 Series, and the ambience is only slightly different. Both the 4 Series and 5 are offered with heavily bolstered sport seats that offer a wide range of power adjustments as well as choice of leatherette, leather, and upgraded leather trims. The 5 Series offers a bit more in the way of interior storage. While the two cars have similarly sized gloveboxes and consoles, the 4's two front-door pockets are small and so is the console box. In contrast, the 5's console box is a little larger and there are smaller storage compartments located just in front of the shifter. A three-panel panoramic moonroof is optional on the 4 Series and it's a worthwhile upgrade; not only does it flood the cabin with natural light, the forward section can be tilted up for ventilation. A split-folding rear seat is standard in the 5 Series but on the 4 it's included only with the top Premium package. (On the plus side this package also includes front-seat adjustable lumbar support, seat memory, and Bluetooth.) Without the folding seat, the rear centre pass-through is the only way to add interior storage space in the 4 Series. Both cars have automatic dual-zone climate control standard, but the 5 Series is offered with four-zone control and rear cabin climate control, features unique in segments from mainstream brands. These help ensure that there is little compromise in rear-seat passenger comfort.

3.2. Infotainment and Connectivity

The iDrive infotainment system is standard on both vehicles. While both models feature an 8.8-inch high-resolution screen, only the 5 Series has a touchpad controller. Both vehicles also come with Real Time Traffic Information as standard. However, for the 4 Series, this is only available with a subscription (after the first 3 months free of charge). The BMW 5 Series benefits from a more advanced Navigation system, which includes a 1-year free subscription to Apple CarPlay (also available on the 4 Series) and a 3-month free subscription to a Wi-Fi hotspot, neither of which are available on the 4 Series. The 5 Series comes with a 5-year subscription to eCall, while the 4 Series only has 10 years standard. This is also the case for Remote Services. Both models have access to the BMW Connected app, but the 5 Series comes with On-Street Parking Information. Standard on the 4 Series is BMW's Connected Package Professional. This includes Remote Services, Concierge Services, On-Street Parking, and BMW Maps. The 5 Series has similar bundles of services, but they are an upgrade on the standard service. These include the Connected Package, Connected Package Plus, and Connected Package Professional. All of which you can add to your 5 Series for an additional cost to gain more services over the standard package. The Connected Package Professional for the 5 Series is an upgrade over the standard package. All these services offer similar capabilities to the 4 Series' services, just in different packages with different prices, and the 5 Series requires a monthly subscription for additional Connected Package services after the first 3 years.

3.3. Advanced Safety Features

These vehicles come well equipped with advanced safety features. Both the BMW 4 Series and BMW 5 Series come standard with front airbags, front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and for our Head Protection System (HPS) (BMW's way of saying curtain airbags), active head restraints, and the LATCH system for child safety. The 4 Series takes these features one step further by including a knee airbag for the driver's side. Both cars also get an Acoustic Safety-Belt Warning System which is BMW's way of saying they have a standard seatbelt reminder/chime. Everyone's favorite, a tire pressure monitor, comes standard in both of these vehicles as well. An added safety feature to the 5 Series is the available adaptive xenon headlights with dynamic auto-leveling and BMW's High-Beam Assistant. Step up from that is the 4 Series' optional lighting package, which includes adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, sidelights, and LED fog lights. LED fog lights are also available in the 5 Series. This is where the two cars start to differentiate themselves as the 4 Series gets available Lane Departure Warning and Active Blind Spot Detection with the side and top view cameras as options. The top-view camera is an innovative feature that the 5 Series also offers as part of the Parking Assistant Package. On all models of the 5 Series, there is an Active Protection System that prepares the car and its occupants for an impending collision. (Barjin)

4. Pricing and Value for Money

Both the 4 and 5 Series share similar base prices, with the 4 Series asking roughly $2,000 more than its closely related sedan counterpart. Comparing base models, it reaffirms the fact that the 4 Series is the better value. Given the fact that they both deliver similar performance, the 4 Series will be the cheaper way to go fast and have luxury. Even comparing the top of the line 435i to a 528i, it is apparent that the 4 Series again is just the better value. With the 435i asking $3,000 more than a 528i, it is a no brainer that if you are looking to stay near the $50,000 range and get the most efficient power to price car, the 435i is still just a better option with more value. A recent study by Forbes shows that the most important factor to 15.8% of people that are purchasing a car is the cost of the car or the lease payment. This is where the 4 Series will be more attractive to many people considering buying a BMW as well. Given that the financing is equal, comparable cars between the 4 and 5 Series will deliver more value in the 4 Series. The 3 Series platform has been the most popular car that BMW makes over the years because it delivers a great balance between luxury and performance while being a cheaper option than any 5 Series. The 4 Series is now the best option for a cheaper car that delivers slightly more luxury and performance than a 3 Series. This means that people looking to spend $40,000-$50,000 for a new BMW will now consider the 4 Series, providing another reason that the new BMW 4 Series is just a better value compared to the 5 Series.

4.1. Base Price and Trim Levels

Consumers who are interested in purchasing a BMW would like to know pricing and how they can get the most out of their money. Both the 4 Series and 5 Series range in starting price depending on the model, but given the 5 Series is a higher-end vehicle, the prices in the 5 Series range are approximately $10,000 higher than those in the 4 Series range. In terms of getting the best value for the money, the 4 Series is a better choice mainly because you are getting a lot of car for a relatively low price. Compared to the 5 Series, 4 Series vehicles come with many more standard features and have very low upgrade costs. Base price tells you which product lines to consider because BMW trims its cars to varying specifications and prices. You should expect to pay roughly $33,000 for a BMW 428i and another $2,000 if you want all-wheel drive. The BMW 435i costs about $47,000 with rear-wheel drive and $48,000 with all-wheel drive. BMW 4 Series offers many packages and stand-alone features just like the 3 Series, but they are not always offered for all models. 4 Series Coupe gives you two Premium equipment lines (Premium and Luxury). The Premium Package equips the car identically to the current configuration, while the Luxury line gives you a new transmission lever (for automatic models), a sports steering wheel, and Fineline Anthracite wood trim with Pearl Gloss chrome highlights. Coming in spring 2014, M Sport is new ground for the 4 Series. With an increased cost of $3,150, M Sport features unique 18-inch or 19-inch Alloy wheels, an increased top speed limiter (all-season tires maintain the same 130mph limitation), sport seats, and an M steering wheel. Step up to M Sport high and you will get the central feature—an all-new sports suspension that lowers the ride height of the vehicle. Going on $1,300 above the standard price is the Dynamic Handling Package, and it is essentially the same package found for the 3 Series. All packages mentioned can be accompanied by a wide array of stand-alone features.

4.2. Cost of Ownership

The four-year cost of ownership is a forecast measure, which is composed of the base price, fuel, insurance, upkeep, opportunity cost, and reduced cost to the owner. The cost for the winner is measured by multiplying the real price of the car by the depreciation rate. BMW's 5 Series GT costs $42,790.00. This will be estimated to suffer a 56% depreciation. This is a high amount of lost revenue and thus does not give a low-cost experience for the driver. The 4 series has a better result with only a 39% depreciation rate on the $40,000.00 car. This means that both cars will cost roughly the same to the driver over a time period due to increased opportunity cost and reduced cost to the owner. Although the figures state that the winner is the 4 series, the difference in depreciation rate is so big that the two cars will not have a big difference in the cost of ownership. The opportunity cost is the total interest on the new car price, plus the interest of what the car would have been depreciated. Due to the fact that the 4 series has a new cost of ownership style car on a used car price, this means that it is difficult to calculate the correct opportunity cost for the car. The projected opportunity cost on the base model is $5,536.26. This is a very low amount of money and ultimately means that the 4 series is good value for money when it comes to borrowing the cash to buy the car. The 5 Series GT has an opportunity cost of $7,121.68. This amount is high and is largely a result of the higher cost to borrow cash over a longer time period. This puts the 5 Series GT at a disadvantage to the 4 series. Opportunity cost is not taken into account by the driver and does not affect the car's performance. However, it is a measure of how much the car will cost the driver as a percentage of depreciation over a year time period. This means that it is important to consider this measure when looking at the cost of ownership.

4.3. Resale Value and Reliability

The 4 Series has a higher resale value compared to the 5 Series. According to Kelley Blue Book, the 4 Series has an excellent predicted resale value in comparison to the 5 Series. This is most likely due to the fact that the 4 Series is far newer than the 5 Series and there are more used 5 Series on the market, which drives the price down. Because BMW is a luxury brand, it has higher maintenance costs. Additionally, because the 5 Series is older, there are more potential costly issues that a buyer may have to deal with down the line. A newer car generally means fewer issues, so this affects the resale value. While it is difficult to judge reliability simply based on the age of each model, it is safe to say that the 5 Series is more reliable than the 4 Series. Because the 5 Series has a much longer production span than the 4 Series' 7 years, the proof is in the pudding. The 4 Series has had numerous recalls for fairly significant issues, such as loss of steering control due to a possible engine stall and fire risk. While all these issues were addressed and fixed by BMW, it still increases the perceived risk of buying a used 4 Series and could drive the resale value down. The 5 Series, in comparison, has had significantly fewer recalls and none of the issues come close to the severity of the ones that the 4 Series faced. This is not to say that the 4 Series is not reliable because no car is free from recalls. But in general, the fewer the recalls, the higher the reliability.


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Ghayal, A., Narkhede, P., Bonde, C., Epper, S. and Chandore, A.S., Design And Analysis Of 9 Speed Gearbox. academia.edu

Ding, H., Cai, C., Chen, Z., Ke, T. and Mao, B., 2020. Configuration synthesis and performance analysis of 9-speed automatic transmissions. Chinese Journal of Mechanical Engineering, 33, pp.1-21. springer.com

Barjin, A. F., . Airbags Simulation Using ABAQUS software. jeasweb.org. jeasweb.org