Audi RS 5 vs BMW M4: Which Ultra Sports Coupe Should You Buy?

Historically, the battle of Audi RS 5 vs BMW M4 has tipped toward the Bavarian outfit. However, the latest generation of both models brings them closer than ever. With the introduction of the Audi RS 5 Competition, the BMW M4 Competition finally has a true rival. But which of these super coupes should you take home? That depends on your preferences, as each of these models do things their own way.

A red Audi RS 5 Competition on a windy mountain road.
The 2023 Audi RS 5 Competition delivers better handling, but no power upgrade | Audi Media

Audi RS 5 vs BMW M4: By the Numbers

On the spec sheet, there is no doubt that the BMW M4 Competition still outclasses its Audi rival. The BMW M4 Competition delivers 503 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque with rear-wheel drive dynamics. Zero to 60 mph flies by in just 3.4 seconds as you rifle through the eight-speed automatic transmission.

Meanwhile, the Audi RS 5 Competition uses 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 to send 444 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel drive system gets that power to the ground to remarkable effect. That said, it still loses the drag race to 60 mph, clocking in at 3.5 seconds. A scant difference, sure. But a difference nonetheless.

A blue BMW M4 Competition drifting
The rear-drive BMW M4 Competition lets you have more fun on track | BMW Group

Rear-Drive Dynamics vs Audi Quattro Control

The similarity in acceleration time is likely due to how these cars get their power to the ground. The Audi RS 5 Competition uses all four wheels to get you off the line, which makes for repeatable acceleration with less faffing on the throttle. However, the BMW M4 Competition sends all its power through just the rear wheels, making hard acceleration more engaging at the expense of ultimate power delivery. You can have your BMW M4 with xDrive if you want the all-wheel drive confidence, though it does slow acceleration due to the added weight.

It’s when you get to the corners where the Audi RS 5 vs BMW M4 Competition starts to heat up. For the extra power of the BMW, the rear-drive dynamics make it a tail-out adventure when the road gets twisty. Experienced drivers will find a smile unwittingingly plastered across your face when carving your way through a set of sweepers. 

Looking at the Audi RS 5 Comp, confidence is your best friend. The Quattro all-wheel drive system means you can reliably punch the throttle on corner exit. With all four wheels pushing you forward, you lose some liveliness in the steering wheel. However, the torque shoves you back into your seat with enthralling conviction, and you’ll quickly get addicted to the feeling of putting your foot down.

A close-up of the Audi RS 5 Competition grille badge
The Audi RS 5 doesn’t pack any more ponies behind this stylish grille | Audi Media

Drive Mode Settings

For ease-of-use, the Audi RS 5 Competition is easily the winner. Drive mode selection is a breeze, even when choosing your own custom settings. Adjust roll-bar settings, damping, steering feel, and throttle response on your own to set up your ideal drive. Or choose from the range of presets to quickly hit the road.

On the other hand, the BMW M4 Competition offers a staggering set of drive mode settings, to the point of being cumbersome. Sometimes you just want to get in and go for an enjoyable drive, and the M4 Competition can be difficult to get your head around. Fortunately, there are preset options to work with, but tailoring a custom experience can be an exercise in patience.

A purple BMW M4 Competition with bronze mesh wheels
When it comes to looks, the BMW M4 Competition is a head-turner | BMW Group
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Audi RS 5 vs BMW M4: The Verdict

So which of these models is the right choice? Truthfully, you’ll have a great time in either one. If you prefer the front-engine, rear-drive formula, the BMW is a clear winner. Slightly quicker to 60 and more engaged handling makes this a true driver’s car. However, the Audi RS 5 Competition presents a more daily-driver-friendly experience, especially if you plan on hooning through all types of weather.