Social
KIJO - Twitter KIJO - Facebook KIJO - Instagram

Luxury Website Design: BMW vs Audi

Chelsea Davies

Author Image: Chelsea Davies
luxury website design
Share This:
Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on Linkedin

In this article, we analyse two luxury car websites, BMW and Audi. Both deliver impressive digital platforms, but who does the best job of presenting their luxury vehicles to online clientele?

BMW are masters of functionality. If their cars are designed with the same level of detail as their website, then BMW drivers are to be envied. We will show you the features and effects that BMW utilise to achieve such a smooth, expertly thought-out user experience.

Audi’s website equally packs a punch, but it’s their overall impact that is most impressive. What the site lacks in detail it makes up for in bold visual aesthetic and unique styling. We’ll walk you through how they’ve done it.

For luxury businesses aiming to create a website that provides ultimate functionality along with chic design, BMW and Audi each provide ample inspiration. The web design team here at KIJO have been imagining and developing bespoke websites for luxury brands for years. If you see something that would work for your business, message us and we can make it happen.

Table of Contents

BMW and Audi at a Glance
First impressions: Using Homepage Layout Features to Grab the User
Special Features: Car Configurators and Feature Pages
User Experience: Who Offers the Smoothest Navigation?
Visual Design: Which Overall Aesthetic is the Most Appealing?
Overall Best Luxury Website

BMW and Audi at a Glance

BMW

Bayerische Motoren Werke GmBH, now more simply known as BMW, was founded in 1916 in Munich, Germany. Originally, BMW specialised in building engines for multiple applications. They manufactured aircraft engines during WWI before shifting to railways, brakes and motors in the years that followed. 

The mid-1920s saw an increase in popularity of personal vehicles, and BMW’s first motorcycles and cars entered the market. BMW predominantly targets affluent professionals and families. However, alongside their more practical family vehicles, they have a broad range of coupés and convertibles.

Audi

With a chequered history of mergers and wartime closures, Audi has existed in one form or another since it was founded in 1899 in Cologne, Germany. The 1971 advertising slogan for Audi’s futuristic NSU Ro 80 model, ‘Vorsprung Durch Technik’ (‘Advancement Through Technology’), swiftly became adopted as the key message underlying the company ethos and expertise, and remains synonymous with the brand today.

Their focus has long been to create practical yet powerful machinery, suitable for daily life without compromising on luxury. These days, their range of vehicles consists mainly of hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs. There are a couple of coupés and sports cars thrown into the mix, most notably their popular two-door Audi TT model.

First impressions: Using Homepage Layout Features to Grab Attention

BMW’s UK homepage uses a full-page image grid format that we have rarely seen on luxury car websites. The effect is simple yet striking and immediately engages the user. The focal image shows a black woman leaning on the new electric luxury vehicle, highlighting modernity from the outset. BMW is showing inclusivity and diversity alongside a commitment to environmental change, which is far more impactful than simply explaining it in a mission statement on an obscure webpage. In light of the UK government’s commitment to phasing out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, highlighting an electric vehicle straight off the bat positions BMW as supportive of environmentally and socially conscious customers.

luxury car websites

Calls to action to ‘Find out more’, ‘Register your interest’, and ‘Search now’, are clearly encased in white and blue buttons. Simple presentation of next steps makes for a seamless customer journey.

Underneath, a product grid shows  BMW’s car models, arranged by series in an easy-to-navigate structure. Presenting products on the homepage is a common feature across luxury car websites. BMW provides excellent filters, allowing you to search ‘Models’ or ‘Body Types’. However, to view more product details, users must load new pages. This doesn’t provide the ideal usability for browsing customers. BMW could have made a more advanced feature that provided in-page expanding images or quick view details.

luxury car website

Audi’s homepage is more focused on presenting the company’s overall vision. On first viewing the page, users see a full-screen auto-play video of the latest model, accompanied by the tagline, ‘Future is an attitude’ and a link to ‘Explore the Audi vision’. Once the video has played, the site automatically scrolls to the second half of the homepage, leading the users directly to links and content.

luxury website design

Audi has used a grid layout to present all of its homepage elements within a single screen. Initially, it seems like a busy page, but it is a refreshing change of format for users which sets Audi apart from its competitors. The bold photography has created a consistent palette, with red, black, grey and white the primary colours. With moving images and mouse rollover effects, it’s a dynamic page that packs a lot into a small space.

luxury web design agency

Most Effective Homepage: Audi

It was a very close call as BMW’s page is very practical with some brilliant in-page design elements that streamline the customer journey. However, Audi’s originality and bold visual impact made a more lasting impression.

Special Features: Car Configurators and Feature Pages

Feature Pages

Both brands put their electric vehicles front and centre, offering us a perfect opportunity to compare their design execution. Each home screen links to a detailed feature page. BMW highlights a specific electric vehicle whereas Audi has again opted for a more holistic message focussed on all future development.

BMW’s page on the ‘The iX’ model incorporates multiple design elements. They use content carousels packed with images and embedded videos, mouse rollover effects and pop-out panels containing further details and photography. The page demonstrates the astute design and technical skills of the BMW team and makes for a dynamic user experience.

luxury car websites

Audi’s ‘Explore the Audi vision’ page includes a video advertisement and vertical elements displaying the latest vehicles and Audi concept cars. The concept cars provide a rare behind the scenes glimpse into what’s coming up and demonstrate that Audi is working at the forefront of technology. However, the long columns of text used on this page aren’t the most imaginative design element for such a futuristic feature. Compared to BMW, this page looks a little flat.

luxury car websites

Car Configurators

BMW has created a compact car configurator, with a 360-degree image anchored in position alongside the selection panel. Users can scroll through and immediately see any options they select within the automatically updated image. They provide more detailed information with a pop-up screen, to avoid navigating the user away from the page. The design is cleverly constructed and makes it effortless for the customer.

luxury website features

Audi’s car configurator provides all the information a user could want with clear pricing and helpful tips. Beyond this, however, the layout of the page is poorly configured. They could make far better use of the space. Customers have to scroll to select and then view changes, which creates a difficult and time-consuming user experience. There are three pictures of the car in various positions on the screen. Audi could easily streamline the experience, utilise the space more effectively and opt for one focal image.

luxury web design agency

Most Effective Special Features: BMW

Across feature pages, Audi’s messaging is better, but we’re here to judge the website design, and BMW wins hands down.

We can’t fault Audi’s attention to detail. Both the feature page and car configurator have left nothing unexplained, but this level of text-heavy detail has compromised design. It’s not exciting or dynamic, especially compared to the pages that the BMW team have created.

User Experience: Who Offers the Smoothest Navigation?

BMW’s navigation menu makes full use of the screen to provide a thorough, logical breakdown of the site’s pages. Customers can even view all of BMW’s car models without navigating to a new page. Each navigation section provides users with the most relevant call to action buttons, making a step towards purchasing quick and easy. BMW’s navigation works equally well for both casual browsers and focussed shoppers with a task in mind.

luxury website design

Audi’s menu isn’t quite as detailed, with each option linking to a new page, rather than presenting a more targeted breakdown within the menu itself. The roll-over mouse effects are a stylish design feature. However, Audi could have incorporated extra images for an even more striking visual impact.

luxury web design

Most Effective User Experience: BMW

Visually, Audi’s menus are far bolder and more dramatic than BMW’s. However, functionality is the most important factor where navigation and user experience is concerned. With that in mind, BMW comes out on top.

Visual Design: Which Overall Aesthetic is the Most Appealing?

The visual design of the BMW and Audi websites could not be more different. BMW’s website is mainly white, with blue and black accents used throughout. Audi, on the other hand, has opted for striking colour combinations, using black, red, white, grey and blue in alternating combinations throughout the site. It’s a bold yet consistent design that creates a much more cohesive and confident visual statement that BMW.

Most Effective Visual Design: Audi

Audi’s website is more eye-catching than BMW’s, with vivid colour combinations keeping user’s glued to the screen.

Luxury car websites frequently use a white background for pages with a practical purpose that provide technical information. Product pages are more often given black backgrounds. Not only do they look sleeker and more stylish, but the contrast immediately piques the viewers’ attention. Consider varying stylistic elements such as this for your own business website, and choose colours that match your vision, product and industry.  

Overall Best Luxury Website: BMW

As luxury car websites go, BMW and Audi both do standout jobs, but for very different reasons. Audi’s website delivers an overarching vision. They have prioritised storytelling, the company’s long-term mission and bold design over minute effects and functionality. BMW has provided much more advanced functionality and has considered every detail of the customer journey.

Luxury car websites need both of these elements in equal measure. In a perfect world, we would combine the two. That’s the beauty of web design: be inspired and cherry-pick the best of what’s currently out there to make your own site standout. The KIJO team is always on hand for when you take the plunge for your own business. Get in touch to get started.