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Audi A5 v Mercedes C-Class Coupe v BMW 4 Series v Lexus RC Group Test

Premium four-seat coupes such as the Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, Lexus RC and Mercedes C-Class Coupe need to be fun to drive, comfortable and refined, while being nearly as practical as the four-door saloons they’re based on. Watch our video review and read on to work out which of these handsome two-door cars suits you best.

Head over to our car deals page to see how much carwow can help you save on any of these premium coupes. To see more group tests, check out carwow’s YouTube channel.

Audi A5, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, BMW 4 Series and Lexus RC prices

Priced from £30,260, the BMW 4 Series is the least expensive car of this group and comes well equipped as standard. Basic SE trim gets a host of useful gadgets and creature comforts including heated front seats, cruise control, DAB digital radio with Bluetooth, parking sensors and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system all come as standard.

The runner-up, the Audi A5 is priced from £30,700 and is just as well equipped as the 4 Series. The next most pricey option is the £32,120 Mercedes while the Lexus RC skips out an equivalent entry-level model so costs from £36,995.

Audi A5, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, BMW 4 Series and Lexus RC styling

The Mercedes C-Class Coupe is arguably the best looking coupe of this group – its elegant curves and especially rounded roofline set it apart from the rest of the cars in this group.

Both the BMW and the Audi feature immediately identifiable features such as their brand’s signature grilles and headlights. The Lexus feels the most ‘styled’ of all the cars with a mess of lines and angles all over it – it’s certainly eye catching but it might not appeal to all buyers making it the most divisive of the bunch.

Audi A5, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, BMW 4 Series and Lexus RC interior

The C-Class Coupe’s interior is also arguably the most luxurious of the group. It offers wood trim as a no-cost optional extra while switchgear built from actual metal help the cabin feel more upmarket than rivals. It loses its lead when you use the standard infotainment, however, which is confusingly laid out, slow to respond and, in a handful of cases, simply didn’t perform the action commanded of it.

Audi is known for building excellent cabins and the A5’s interior is no exception. Excellent materials, sturdy build quality and modern, minimalist styling help it feel arguably the coolest option of the three. The BMW’s cabin is a little disappointing, however. It uses mostly the same materials, styling and switchgear found throughout the BMW range – mostly soft-touch grey and black plastic – and, while it feels very well constructed, it looks outdated and simply can’t match the desirability of the Audi or the Mercedes.

The RC’s interior is also worth a mention. Its design stands out with its various layered services, solid build quality and comfortable seats. Despite this, the RC is let down by a dated and counter-intuitive infotainment system and some pieces of switchgear that belie their bargain-basement Toyota origins.

Audi A5, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, BMW 4 Series and Lexus RC practicality

Overall, the Audi is the most practical coupe. Its 465-litre boot is the largest and most useful of the bunch, with a square shape and large opening. Rear passenger headroom may be more limited than the BMW’s, but it at least offers decent amount of legroom.

The BMW is also fairly practicality for a coupe, with the most usable rear seats and a 445-litre boot with a handy ski hatch. The Mercedes and Lexus are a little more compromised thanks to less interior space and smaller boots.

Audi A5, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, BMW 4 Series and Lexus RC engines

If you’re after a highway cruiser, the Mercedes with its 2.1-litre diesel engine will be best suited for you – it returned 57.6mpg in our tests. The diesel is also fairly quiet while cruising and has enough power to make quick overtakes untaxing.

The Lexus driving experience is worth a mention because it’s the only car in this group test with a hybrid powertrain. The ‘300h’ Lexus uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine helped by an electric motor making it the most practical car for city driving, averaging 50mpg in our tests.

Audi A5, Mercedes C-Class Coupe, BMW 4 Series and Lexus RC driving

The Mercedes provides a refined and comfortable ride, while not compromising on handling. The standard suspension setup works well but the car can optionally be equipped with optional air-suspension, which makes for an even more serene driving experience.

If you’re after a sportier car, the BMW is the one for you thanks to great tuning of the steering and pedals, and excellent body control. The Audi isn’t quite as enthusiast focussed but works better as an all-rounder with loads of grip and light, direct controls. The Lexus drive is the least pleasant – it grips well and controls its body respectably but the controls can’t match the finesse of rivals here.

Verdict

The Lexus is an interesting ‘left-field’ offering an alternative to the Germans and suits buyers specifically looking for a hybrid, but lacks the technology and driving experience to take the top spot. The Audi is a great all-rounder with an excellent interior, plentiful grip and a hugely desirable image – if you want a car that offers something in between the Mercedes’ comfort and the BMW’s driving experience, this is the one for you.

The BMW is the most fun to drive and comes with some strong engines but feels old fashioned both outside and in compared to its newer rivals. The winner, however, is the Mercedes C-Class Coupe for its controlled-yet-serene driving experience, fabulous image, luxurious interior and minimal running costs.

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Audi A5

A well-sorted executive coupe with a range of good engines
7/10
£34,385 - £44,295
RRP
Read review Compare offers

BMW 4 Series

Sleek-bodied coupe with great handling and levels of comfort
7/10
£34,300 - £48,985
RRP
Read review Compare offers
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