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Audi vs. BMW: Battle of the Brands

Which is better suited to you – Audi or BMW? We weigh up two of the most popular premium car manufacturers in our comparison review

A side-by-side of the Audi and BMW car logos

BMW and Audi – two German rivals that are exceptionally good at what they do.

With a long history of premium models behind them, which brand is right for you?

We compare the highlights from each manufacturer to see which option takes the crown, and nails styling, technology, drive quality, and reliability.

Find out more in our used Audi vs. used BMW comparison review.


Both Audi and BMW have long and proud histories .

The first Audi – the Type A Sport-Phaeton – was launched back in 1910, followed by the Type B the year after.

Audi was also the first manufacturer to produce a left-hand-drive car, making it easier and safer to overtake and allowing a better view of traffic.

The manufacturer has had many successes since then, including the launch of the turbocharged Quattro (sounds familiar?) in the 1980s. This was the world’s first four-wheel-drive sports car.

BMW doesn’t go quite as far back as Audi, having been founded in 1916 and originally producing aircraft engines. That’s where the BMW logo comes from – it resembles an aircraft propellor.

BMW acquired a small automaker named Automobilwerk Eisnach (AWE) in 1928, giving it the rights to its first car – the Dixi.

It’s had many successful models since then, and has successfully established as one of the world’s most well-known brands.

Trim levels

Each model in the Audi and BMW ranges is available in a number of trims, and these define the level of features and extras that your car will come with.

Audi trims

A blue Audi A1 parked under a tree

Entry-level models in the Audi lineup are known as Technik and are a great starting point.

They’re far from basic and include features like LED headlights, Audi Smartphone Interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and MMI Navigation Plus infotainment setup.

Another starting point in the Audi range is the SE models, with features such as rear cruise control, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and voice control function.

Move up to an Audi S line model for a sharper car with larger wheels, lower and stiffer suspension, and sports seats with S line logos.

There are also Audi Black Edition models, adding black styling to the S line features like darker alloys and gloss black detailing.

Audi S models are the sportiest options in the lineup, featuring quattro all-wheel drive and high-performance turbocharged engines.

The exact features that come with each Audi trim level will depend on the model you choose and the year it was produced.

Newer Audis get more kit with each trim level, while the older models might not have all the latest bells and whistles.

BMW trims

A white BMW 2 Series Coupe driving in the sun

BMW also offers a range of trims with its models, all of which differ with the car you choose.

In most models, the entry-level trim is the SE. Features can include rear parking sensors, cruise control, dual-zone air-conditioning and a 6.5-inch colour display.

The BMW Sport trim is the next option, adding sporty styling to your car and upgrading the suspension and wheels.

BMW xLine models get even more kit, which can include adaptive suspension, all-around parking sensors and digital driver display, depending on the car.

Most people find the BMW M Sport models to be the best in the range, as these cars get even sportier styling, chunkier wheels and a lower ride height.

Just like with Audi, these trims will depend on the model you choose and how old the car is.

You can find the details of each trim in our used model descriptions.


Both brands are rated well for reliability, but BMW ranks higher in reviews and consumer surveys.

Audi models also review well, however, and are rated similarly.

The fact that Audi models are built on the same platform as other cars and use the same parts might also be comforting, as you know they work well across the board.

While not all BMW and Audi models have a Euro NCAP safety rating, many options get four- and five-star awards, which means these are some very safe cars.

The BMW i4 received a four-star rating in 2022, while the BMW 3 Series scored the full five. Other options, such as the X5 and 5 Series, were awarded five stars in the years they were tested.

BMW models come with safety tech like the Active Driving Assistant package that includes frontal collision warning, lane-departure warning and blind-spot warning.

The Audi A3, A6, and Q3 were all awarded five stars on their most recent tests, and there are safety features on offer like Audi Pre Sense, adaptive cruise control, and Active Lane Assist.


Verdict: Audi or BMW?

When it comes to BMW vs. Audi, the winner will largely be based on your personal favourite. Each brand has its own benefits and things to consider, so you’ll need to take a look across the range to see what you prefer.

While Audi takes the edge for interior styling and comfort, BMW has a more refined offering of performance-centred engines that might be better suited if you like a thrill.

Styling is also objective – do you prefer sleek and classic, or menacing and sporty? A BMW will secure you the latter.

The best thing to do is take a look at our range of used Audi and BMW models and their respective reviews, so you can narrow down the options.