BMW Z4 versus Audi TT – war of the roadsters

Guess we can’t get enough of the Germans. Or is it so that so many German cars have inundated the Indian car scene that we are falling short of options? Whatever be the scene, we at Indiandrives love the German cars. They are so boringly perfect that you tend to look out for faults in their build quality or other things. On the contrary, Japanese cars have more of that fragile build quality thing but totally dependable reliability. Well, the battle in this article ain’t about Germans and Japanese. Its more about the Germans versus Germans. This time, its arch rivals, BMW and Audi. Both have their roadsters in the name of the BMW Z4 and the Audi TT. The Audi TT in India is a very famous car and one which many would call as a mini R8 whereas the BMW Z4 in India is more Japanese than German in its looks. So with no bias on either car, the contest is all set to begin.

Looks

In this segment, its all about desirability and both the cars are equally desirable. However in my honest opinion, it is the Audi TT which slightly inches forward with its stately looks. The long snout of the BMW Z4 in India never really cut the mustard with most of the staffers at Indiandrives and even the ladies gravitating more towards the Audi TT. The Bulgarian beard for the front end along with the LED wrapped head lamps and large air dams would catch any one’s fancy. The strong shoulder and waist line hint at aggression and merge so subtly into the rear tail lamps. The all LED configuration for the tail lamps ensure that one doesn’t miss out this car on the highway or on the street. The twin fat exhausts reminded me of the Audi R8. The BMW Z4 in the meanwhile also cries for attention. Its long snout not withstanding, it is overall a handsome looking car. Its Corona head lamps scream for attention whereas the kidney grille somehow doesn’t look too good in front of the Audi goatee. The alloy wheel design of the BMW Z4 however is far better than the Audi one. Where the Audi’s wing mirrors look functional, the ones in the Z4 are more aerodynamic. The nicked in stop lamp and the dual circular exhausts are the talking point of the rear of the BMW Z4.

The Audi TT in India wins this round as it is simply too cute to be dismissed whereas the BMW Z4 on its own looks good but pales in comparison with the TT.

Cut to the interiors and both the cars here are German in their own right. The Audi is the more flamboyant of the two in the interior part. The leather seats with red inserts and liberal dashes of chrome all around make this cabin look very special. The flat bottomed steering wheel and the red color for the instrument cluster also signifies that this is a high end German car. One also sits a bit higher in the Audi TT. In the meanwhile, the BMW Z4 in India is more about subtlety. It has that typical BMW steering wheel with all the controls on it and those meter dials which may look boring in daylight but as the sun sets, those meter dials feel better than those on the TT. Seating is low to aid the center of gravity and handling for this rear wheel driven car. There are  two child seats in the rear for the Audi however for the BMW, there is no such provision. Well, as discussed earlier, there is nothing to fault in the cabin for both and both feel extremely well put together. Feature wise, both are feature rich and one wouldn’t feel anything lacking in either of the cabins. Going by the comfortability factor of both the cars, the Audi rates a bit higher because of the comparatively high set seats than the BMW. Boot capacity for the BMW is 310 liters while for the Audi, it is 250 liters. The BMW’s boot capacity however reduces significantly with the top down, to 180 liters.

Tough call, this one however the Audi wins again due to the sheer practicality it offers with 4 seats and good looking interiors.

Now comes the real part where I am sure the Bimmer will win. Any BMW for that matter is tuned to have perfect race car like handling characteristics. The BMW gets aluminium axles instead of the conventional steel ones found on cars in this category. Though BMW don’t proclaim themselves to be aluminium kings, the fact that they use the metal is proof enough that they take it seriously. Due to a 50:50 even weight distribution, the BMW Z4 in India balances its act well. Being a rear wheel driven vehicle, the Z4 is one hell of a fun machine. There are 3 modes of driving the BMW Z4. One is comfort –the one which is used for mundane driving, next is the Sports mode – used for some fun driving and the third one is the Sports+ mode – the maniac mode for driving. Few would rarely select the last option. The BMW also gets a launch control wherein traction control is turned off (it is also turned off at the Sports+ mode). Handling is exemplary and never once did I feel that this car would break traction and plaster me onto some other car or structure. Yes, with traction control off, tail spinning antics are possible. Ride quality is typically BMW stiff but then in the Sports+ mode, it is overtly so. However ones driving sports cars wouldn’t mind the trade off.

The Audi TT in India comes to the party with Quattro all wheel drive system. Like we all know, Audi makes extensive use of aluminium for construction of its cars and the TT is no different. So one gets the typical Audi ride quality that is expected from Audi’s sedans and also the immaculate handling of the Audi R8. Where the BMW sometimes felt like it has reached the edge of its handling capabilities, the Audi is more like a leech which will not let go off its victim. However ride quality, even though was promised would be good, was more on the bumpy side. It is softly setup and ingress egress isn’t a problem in this car. And did I mention that both the cars please aurally. The BMW at slightly higher revs whereas the Audi starts its vocal drama from lower down the rev range.

No questions for this one as the BMW Z4 in India wins this round.

Engine options are single for both the cars in this comparison here. The Audi TT in India gets a 3.2 liter V6 FSI engine. Light alloy cylinders and forged steel pistons ensure that 250 Ps of maximum power is put out whereas the peak torque of 320 Nm is also developed between 2000-3500 rpm. The 6 speed S-tronic DSG gearbox can be driven both in comfort and Sports mode. Slot the system into Sports mode and the Audi TT moves from 0-100 kmph in only 6.3 seconds whereas the top speed is 230 kmph. The BMW Z4 in India, on the other hand, gets a smaller 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six engine which develops 302 Bhp of power and peak torque of 400 Nm at 1300 to 3700 rpm. It gets a 7 speed dual clutch transmission. The run from 0-100 kmph is completed in only 5.2 seconds whereas the top speed is an electronically limited 250 kmph. Brakes work fantastically for both with the Audi registering far more pedal travel than the Z4. Safety is equally good in both.

Coming to the fuel efficiency, the BMW Z4 in our earlier tests had returned 6.7 kmpl for the city and 10.2 kmpl for the highway. The Audi TT was the one which had to prove its mettle and it returned a tad lower than the BMW figure with 6.3 kmpl and 9.6 kmpl respectively.

The Bimmer clinches this round due to its superior engine and fuel efficiency figures.

Testing any sports car is an exhausting affair as one tends to be more attentive due to the speed warped zones that these cars take one to. Nevertheless, the main aim of this cars is to provide motoring thrills to the maximum. They are the kinds which would attract all the eyeballs in an event, look too much like sports cars but still can be used as everyday cars. It depends on how one looks at them. The TT would steal the limelights once you look at it and also the interiors would make you go wow. However when it comes to performance, the BMW eclipses the Audi and regains lost ground with its fun to drive factor. The Audi TT price in India is Rs 46 lakhs whereas the BMW Z4 price in India is Rs 61 lakhs. Both these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. At this price, the Audi definitely wins but for the true enthusiast, it would be the BMW.

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