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Compare the2024 BMW M3VS 2023 Audi S6

2024 BMW M3
2023 Audi S6

Safety

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The M3 has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The S6 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The M3 offers an optional Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor for objects to the rear and automatically applies the brakes to prevent a collision. The S6 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The M3 has a standard blind spot warning system that uses sensors to alert the driver to objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them and moves the vehicle back into its lane. A system to reveal vehicles in the S6’s blind spot costs extra.

To help make backing out of a parking space safer, the M3 has standard Cross Traffic Warning, helping the driver avoid collisions. Audi charges extra for rear cross-path warning on the S6.

The M3’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The S6 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the M3 and the S6 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

Warranty

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BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M3 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, air filter replacements, cabin filter replacement, brake fluid replacement, inspections, and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the S6.

There are over 15 percent more BMW dealers than there are Audi dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the M3’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2023 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. With 29 fewer problems per 100 vehicles, JD Power ranks BMW higher than Audi.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2022 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW above average in long-term dependability. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles in the first three years of ownership, Audi is rated below average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ January 2023 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Audi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW third in overall reliability. Audi is ranked 6th.

Engine

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The M3’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder produces 29 more horsepower (473 vs. 444) than the S6’s 2.9 turbo V6 hybrid. The M3 Competition’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder produces 59 more horsepower (503 vs. 444) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 442) than the S6’s 2.9 turbo V6 hybrid. The M3 CS’ standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder produces 99 more horsepower (543 vs. 444) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 442) than the S6’s 2.9 turbo V6 hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the M3 Competition is faster than the Audi S6 (automatics tested):

M3

S6

Zero to 60 MPH

2.8 sec

4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

7 sec

9.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4.2 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

11 sec

12.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

124 MPH

112 MPH

Top Speed

156 MPH

155 MPH

Transmission

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The M3 offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and sportiness. The S6 doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The M3’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The S6 doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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The M3 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The S6 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The M3 stops shorter than the S6:

M3

S6

70 to 0 MPH

150 feet

153 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

102 feet

110 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the M3 has larger tires than the S6 (F:275/40R18 & R:285/35R19 vs. 255/35R21).

The M3’s optional 285/30R20 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the S6’s 35 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The M3 Competition handles at 1.03 G’s, while the S6 Prestige pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M3 Competition executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.2 seconds quicker than the S6 Prestige (23.8 seconds @ .85 average G’s vs. 26 seconds @ 74 average G’s).

Chassis

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The BMW M3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 650 pounds less than the Audi S6.

The M3 is 5.9 inches shorter than the S6, making the M3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The M3 has 2.6 inches more front headroom and .3 inches more front legroom than the S6.

Cargo Capacity

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Pulling a handle automatically lowers the M3’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The S6 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Audi. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 1% lower rating, Audi is ranked 8th.

Ergonomics

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The M3 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The S6 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Laser headlights, optional on the M3, produce their light by firing blue lasers through phosphorus, a process that uses one-half the power of the S6’s LED headlights. Laser headlights can have double the range of LEDs with a much smaller surface area.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW M3 has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. Wireless charging costs extra on the S6.

Model Availability

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The M3 is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S6 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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The M3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the M3 will retain 54.52% to 54.54% of its original price after five years, while the S6 only retains 49.03% to 49.7%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the BMW M3 will be $884 to $1264 less than for the Audi S6.

Recommendations

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The BMW 3 Series outsold the Audi A6/S6/RS 6 by over five to one during 2022.

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