BMW M4 vs Porsche Cayman S vs Audi RS5

10 Jul, 2014 10:10am

We see if new turbo BMW M4 Coupe leaves Porsche and Audi rivals trailing

However, as it enters its fifth generation, the legendary machine faces the biggest shake-up in its long history. It’s been given a turbocharged engine for the first time, plus the M3 Coupe is no longer – it’s now called M4, with the M3 badge reserved for the saloon. The new M4 Coupe certainly has all the ingredients to succeed, including a heady 425bhp power output, race-bred suspension and lots of other high-performance upgrades.

But how will it fare against two equally impressive rivals? The Audi RS5 is the four-wheeled equivalent of an iron fist in a velvet glove. It mixes sleek styling and an upmarket interior with thunderous V8 pace.

Then there’s the Porsche Cayman S. It can’t match the BMW and Audi for versatility, but it sets the benchmark for driver thrills. So sit back and relax as we pull the gloves off in this knock-out encounter.

BMW M4 review

Audi RS5 review

Porsche Cayman review

Click on the links above to read each in-depth review, then read on for our verdict.

Head-to-head

Under the skin

Despite claiming very similar performance stats, our trio takes a different approach under the skin. The BMW uses turbochargers and a traditional front-engine and rear-wheel-drive layout – which results in playful handling.

Audi mates a naturally aspirated V8 to a four-wheel-drive system for a secure, but lifeless, driving experience. And the Porsche gets a balanced mid-engined layout and traditional flat-six motor.

Driving modes

All of our contenders have a range of selectable driving modes, but the BMW’s set-up (below) is confusing. The steering, engine and chassis have separate Efficiency, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes.

Models with the DCT auto box also have three different shift strategies. Fortunately, you can mix and match them via steering wheel-mounted M1 and M2 buttons.

Other bodystyles

The M4 shares its mechanicals with the four-door M3, while Porsche offers the Cayman’s engines in the Boxster roadster. But the Audi’s V8 is the most widely used, appearing in the RS5 Cabriolet, RS4 Avant and R8.

Verdict

1st: BMW M4

Fans of fast BMWs should rejoice, because the new M4 is one of the best M cars yet. It wraps up supercar-rivalling performance in a practical four-seater body. It’s not cheap, but few cars provide as much performance per pound.

2nd: Porsche Cayman S

2014 Porsche Cayman front

It's a narrow defeat for the Cayman, which still sets the standard for driver involvement. The Porsche is also great value in this company and is powered by a charismatic engine. But it can’t match the M4’s impressive all-round abilities.

3rd: Audi RS5

Although the Audi feels outclassed in this encounter, it’s still a likeable and capable machine. Its muscular V8 is a gem, and its four-wheel-drive system allows you to have fun regardless of the weather conditions. It’s well equipped, too.

Figures

BMW M4 Porsche Cayman S PDK Audi RS5
On-the-road price/total as tested £59,145/£67,515 £51,245/£64,751 £59,870/£62,640
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000) £29,573/50.0% £23,316/45.5% £24,906/41.6%
Depreciation £29,573 £27,929 £34,964
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £3,634/£7,267 £3,042/£6,085 £4,129/£8,259
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £3,594/£5,990 £2,916/£4,861 £3,511/£5,851
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 42/£529/J/£265 41/£466/J/£265 45/£574/L/£485
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £1,000 (5yrs/50k) £480/£610/£480 £44pcm (3yrs)
Length/wheelbase 4,671/2,812mm 4,380/2,475mm 4,649/2,751mm
Height/width 1,383/1,870mm 1,295/1,801mm 1,366/1,860mm
Engine 6cyl in-line/2,979cc Flat 6cyl/3,436cc V8/4,163cc
Peak power 425/5,500 bhp/rpm 321/7,400 bhp/rpm 438/8,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 550/1,850 Nm/rpm 370/4,500 Nm/rpm 430/4,000 Nm/rpm
Transmission 7-spd auto/rwd 7-spd auto/rwd 7-spd auto/Awd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 60 litres/sealant 64 litres/sealant 61 litres/sealant
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 445 litres/N/A 150 l front/275 l rear 455/829 litres
Kerbweight/payload 1,497/543kg 1,370/325kg 1,715/500kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient 12.2 metres/0.34Cd 11.0 metres/0.30Cd 11.6 metres/0.32Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (unltd)/3yrs 3yrs (unltd)/3yrs 3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers Variable/153 20,000 (2yrs)/36 Variable/121
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 10th/24th 6th/6th 12th/23rd
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars N/A N/A N/A
0-60/30-70mph 4.5/3.5 secs 4.0/3.5 secs 4.4/3.6 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 1.9/2.7 secs 2.8/3.7 secs 2.5/3.3 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th 3.2/4.0/6.0 secs 4.3/5.2 secs/N/A 4.6/5.7/7.7 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 155mph/2,000rpm 174mph/2,000rpm 155mph/2,400rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 45.3/33.3/8.3m 44.6/32.1/8.8m 46.2/33.2/8.2m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph 65/49/61/68dB 65/56/68/77dB 68/45/55/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 21.1/4.7/278 miles 26.0/5.8/366 miles 21.6/4.8/290 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 25.5/42.2/34.0mpg 24.8/44.8/34.4mpg 19.6/34.0/26.9mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 5.6/9.3/7.5mpl 5.5/9.9/7.6mpl 4.3/7.5/5.9mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 309/194g/km/31% 251/190g/km/30% 302/246g/km/35%
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/camera Six/yes/yes/£330 Six/y/£348/£1,044 Six/yes/yes/£340
 Adapt. dampers/cruise/active control Yes/yes/yes £971/£267/£1,368 £1,710/yes/£900
Ceramic brakes/leather/heated seats £6,250/yes/yes £4,977/£1,428/£284 £5,250/yes/yes
Metallic paint/xenons/sports exhaust Yes/yes/no £588/yes/£1,530 £614/yes/£890
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth Yes/yes/yes/yes £2,141/y/£324/£446 Yes/yes/yes/yes

Disqus - noscript

Suffice it to say it is refreshing to see Autoexpress pick a BMW over their perenial favourite Porsche.
This rather unusual verdict drops more than a hint that the M4 is truly an extraordinary coupe.

how is that v8 in the RS4 more economical than the 3 litre TT straight 6 in the m4?

A mid engine RWD car is a choice made for driving characteristics and practicality is a secondary concern. A front engine 4 seater is a different animal. The 4WD Audi is for old men.

The Porsche should be compared to Lotus Evora, the Porsche will win. The M4 is closer in choice to a C63 AMG Coupe. The Audi is more of a pensioners chariot.

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Cayman everyday in this trio.

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