BMW M340i vs Audi S5: Which car should I go for

I have also test driven the BMW 530d & added it to my list. Apart from that, another contender is the Mercedes-AMG GLC 43.

BHPian animeshc recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


This was a question I have been meaning to post for a while but it's difficult to express what you yourself don’t know, which in this case was an exact requirement for a car. At the risk of being judged as completely irrational (which to a certain extent I agree with), here I go!

I probably don’t need one but the boredom of the lockdown last year allowed an empty brain to cook up some ideas and to some extent rationalize them on the grounds of uncertainties and fragility of life as demonstrated by Covid.

We (me and my wife) thought of buying a car that looked cool, sounded good, is fun to drive and would take us to different corners of India once WFH/Covid ends. Ideally, this would also be our primary car, a Thar Convertible has already booked the slot (in our heart, haven’t actually booked it yet) for our weekend ride. Primarily, it would be just the two of us but once in a while, we may have parents or friends visiting and it would be good to be able to take them for a ride (so ruling out any two-seaters).

We started with a budget of around 60L and the initial choice was the Mini Convertible. Once we checked it out in person, we realized that even though it ticked 3 of the 4 boxes, it would be difficult to use it as the primary or touring car because of the practicality aspects. The back seat is too cramped for even short rides.

With that out of consideration and no specific car in mind, a phase of endless showroom visits and test drives began. We tried out the C class, 3 series (330Li as the regular one wasn’t available for TD), XE and even the GLC and X3 (though SUV was not our first choice given the Thar angle). Without going into too many details, I would just say that none of them really appealed to the heart.

When the heart ruins your budget

One car that really stood out in one of our showroom visits was the C43, which was way out of budget. It was so good that we even considered extending our budget (which of course didn’t happen overnight and involved various philosophical discussions with a bunch of close friends over multiple days!). But eventually, C43 was ruled out on grounds of practicality and one of the Team-BHP owner reviews around it, though I can surely say that it remains closest to my heart on all other aspects.

Enter M340i

With the M340i coming into the equation, we had a new option to go for! It took us more than one TD and a lot of chats with existing M340i owners to convince ourselves around the ride and seat comfort. Look-wise, it didn’t stand out, to begin with, but grew on me with time. I would be honest to say that the great online reviews also biased our decision to some extent.

Enter 530d

During one of the TDs of the M340i, we came across the new 530d and the interior definitely looked a class apart. It also felt more comfortable than the M340i. The test drive was amazing and in the conditions I drove in, the difference in power compared to the M340i wasn’t obvious. Just the exhaust was missing.

A long debate on M340i vs 530d began and while the 5 series ticked most of the practicality factors, that’s what it was, a practical choice! We hadn’t started the search looking for a practical option. The novelty factor of being one of the fastest cars on road along with that beautiful exhaust kept tipping our decision in favor of the M340i.

And we solved the dilemma

Finally, after 3 test drives of the M340i, we decided to go with it assuming this is the best time to buy it given our age (early 30s) and 530d could be bought at a later point in time. Though by the time we decided, the bookings had stopped for M340i and right now the dealers are saying it will resume in Jan.

Or did we!

Enter S5! Meanwhile, I got a chance to check out the Audi S5. It was a very short test drive within city conditions so couldn't test the acceleration/handling aspects much. The interior felt more premium and comfortable, though the steering felt too light. Exterior look-wise also, I would prefer it over the M340i. The big questions remained over the pricing and driving (online forum suggests turbo lag in S5 compared to M340i though I couldn't feel it during my short TD).

S5 vs M340i?

Now the dealer has got back and is offering close to 8L discount on a specific pre-configured model that they have in their showroom. I am guessing with some more negotiation, we would be able to reduce the pricing difference between M340i and S5 to ~10L from the original 19L. With these points in mind, I wanted to check with you all which one would you recommend?

An additional outside contender is the AMG GLC43 which I haven’t test-driven yet but the exhaust and on-paper numbers are very tempting. With some discounts available from the dealer, it might be a couple of lakhs more expensive than the S5 quotation I got. Feature-wise GLC43 is richer, the interior is slightly outdated (missing the new interior available in the A-series and soon to be released C class), available color choice isn’t the first choice but isn’t very bad either.

Ok, I shall stop now!

Just to summarize the long confusing thread, the choice is between M340i and S5 (~ 10L more than the 340i), outside contenders are the GLC43 and 530d. Please suggest

Also just for additional context, our current ride is an Octavia and we aren’t looking at the used options as of now.

Here's what GTO had to say about the matter:

Nice position to be in. Congrats in advance, man.

In your shoes, I would go for the M340i. It is an incredibly special car, the likes of which we don't see too often and every owner I've spoken to is crazy about the car. Just thinking of my highway drive in it makes me smile. A car like the M340i will give you immense pleasure & satisfaction over a 10-year period. You will never regret buying it. It's also faster, cheaper & more reliable than the S5 (going by BMW's usually spotless reliability record on the forum).

Would keep the 530d as the second option. Two main advantages would be diesel economy while touring (15 kmpl is unbelievably possible) and the fact that it's a segment up (although it doesn't show in the rear seat legroom). Would tilt toward the 530d only if your running is going to be high enough for the fuel costs to make a difference. Powerful turbo-petrols give just 3 - 5 kmpl when driven hard.

Here's what BHPian androdev had to say about the matter:

This is an unregistered car, so I am guessing you can get it registered in any state.

Most cars listed in your post are kind of sleeper cars. They are nice cars but don't really stand out and easy to get confused with their regular variants. It's great if you want it that way.

Otherwise, I suggest you go with somewhat niche cars like A (hatchback) AMG, Coupe/cabs from Mercedes, Mini, Z4, TT, etc. Don't bother with seating four in comfort when the car is primarily meant for your wife and you. If you try to check everything, it will end up as a boring choice albeit functional. It helps to have some "car of my childhood dreams" type of criteria. Keep your Octavia (and postpone Thar).

Here's what BHPian Peri_patetic99 had to say about the matter:

I think the 530d is the most practical option out of your choices, but since you're looking for the novelty factor, you'd be better off with an M340i or the GLC43 AMG. I feel the GLC is outdated and you will miss out on the newly updated MBUX system that is present even in lower segment cars like the A-class. Also, since only you and your wife would be using the car for majority of the time, it does not make much sense to go for a bigger family sedan/SUV type vehicle.

Alternatively, if you do want the extra seats, you could have a look at the 6 series GT M-Sport which I believe is cheaper than the GLC, and IMO, it stands out since there aren't many on the roads currently (of course if you find the design to be attractive). It has a good amount of torque and is quite decently specced (it's supposed to be slotted between the 5 and the 7-series).

Here's what BHPian Turbanator had to say about the matter:

I am not a fan of VW/Audi and since this is going to be a daily drive car for OP plus a long-distance car, I will not at all consider S5. Audi’s business model is very clear, price at par with other two Germans and then discount and get business. Audi/VW are notoriously bad at honouring warranties and regular maintenance costs will also be higher than BMW.

Given the age of the OP and budget, a brand new M340 will be my pick.

Here's what BHPian hrk997 had to say about the matter:

An M340i is the best pick, BUT, if you plan to drive it anywhere outside your home state on long drives, bad roads will pose a serious problem. A GLC 43 is much more feasible for longer drives and touring. It sounds pretty good, is very powerful and looks very cool. The M340i, on the other hand, is a 3 series at the end of the day. Within city limits, I am not sure how much faster it can be driven over a regular 330i which itself is pretty powerful for Indian roads. As for the novelty factor, only a handful of enthusiasts would know it's a powerful M340i as a result of which the GLC 43 would have a greater road presence.

My suggestion would be to go for the GLC 43, which has the added bonus of practicality. Go for the M340i if the driving dynamics of a sedan are more important to you than the practicality of an SUV.

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