Posted by FS on December 30, 1998 at 20:21:55:
In Reply to: Need some advice : A4 2.8Q and 323 (Very Long) posted by John Song on December 30, 1998 at 19:28:16:
: Sorry about asking something that is a on going debate: Audi A4 vs. BMW 3 series. But I have a delema!
: For more than 9 months I was sure that I was going to get a A4 2.8 Quattro/Sports/Manual. I've been reading about A4 for a long time and saved enough money to buy one. Well I am not so sure now, after I test drove a '99 323 this past monday.
: I never test drove a A4 2.8 w/ Sports and Manual, as it is hard to find. So I've test drove a A4 1.8T with manual and Quattro/Sports. I was very impressed but I was thinking that 2.8 will handle better and was going to place an order for 2.8 Q/S/M.
: Then, I test drove a '99 BMW 323 a couple days ago. I never liked the way E36 looked (ugly), but I love the way E46 looks, so I gave it a try. Boy, now I think I want a 323 instead of A4(though there is a upside/downside to this switch).
: First, I test drove a 328 w/ a premium package and a automatic(someone just drove off the only manual 323 sports in the lot for a test drive). It was pretty good but I was thinking myself that it is overpriced(near $40K) couldn't afford it. Rather get a Lexus or MB, if I wanted a luxury/cushy ride car.
: I test drove a 323 w/ Sports package and a manual trans. What a drive! I was going around the turns and twist roads at 65mph+ where I normally drive my current car at around 40 mph(with a tire squeal). The car was stuck too the road as if it was glued down. I was racing through the hills and small back roads, and I must say this is the by far the best handling car that I've ever driven so far. The car let me push too the limit but was acting the way I wanted it too under the pushed-to-the-limit condition. Extremely precise. I couldn't relly push the car as I didn't wanted to rack a brand new car that is not mine, so I let it ease when I started to hear tire squeals. My test drove session through hills and back roads lasted about 45 minutes: I didn't wanted to get out the car after that!
: Then today, I finally located a dealer about 180 miles from my house who has a A4 2.8 Quattro/Manaul/Sports. I just came back from a 40 minute test drive. well, I was disappinoted. Yes, the car was faster than 323 but the body roll was rather noticable even with the sports package, the steering wheel was too light or over power assited and the back seat was just too small compared to E46. The manual felt really weird. I think the gear ratio is not as good as the BMW. It felt notchy and I didn't like the way clutch worked: it only catches the gears at the last few inches of the pedal. The car just didn't handle as well as I expected though it was easier to drive than a E46. Maybe it is due to the Dunlop SP8000 tire. If I am not wrong, 323 had Bridgestone Turanza and they are better tires. Though I must say, Quattro was working better on a tight turn than E46's rear wheel drive.
: The following is what I was impressed with the 323 against A4 :
: 1. I can really understand people's obsseion with inline 6's sound. I really liked the way it revs up. I like that high pitched sound under hard accerlation.
: 2. 323 was much quieter under highway speed than A4.
: 3. The body roll is so minial compared to A4. This thing was hugging the road. I forgot to check the tire, but I think the car had Bridgestone Turanzas. That is what I am most familar with so I knew the limit of the tire well and this car was handling extremly well.
: 4. I really loved the way 323's manual transmissin drives. I felt like I was driving an automatic. It was smooth w/ no jumpy/notchy gears.
: Well if you have read this far, here is my question.
: 1. BMW 323 is too expensive for me. After all the basic options (Sports package just cost way too much! $2400! compared A4 which is $400!). The price is comparable to an A4 2.8 well equipped!
: 2. E46 does feel more plastic/spartan. I have to pay $500 for the wood trim and still the interrior doesn't look as nice as A4.
: 3. I wanted a top of the line model(i.e. BMW 328 and A4 2.8Q) and it looks like I have to settle with 323 but 328 is over my budget, close to $40K(yes, I can save up for few more months, but I really shouldn't as I am trying to save money to buy something more substantial, like a house). I really don't care much for 0-60 time and 323 seems fast enough, but the thought of having another model (328) with faster speed kind of bugs me.
: 4. If I order, it will be a 323 with a sports package, manual, Xenon light, leather with NO sun/moon roof(I hate it when my hair start rubbing on the ceiling) and a couple other minor things(metallic paints ,etc). I am afriad that noone will buy this when I decided to sell it. It seems like EVERYONE that I know drives 328 with a premium package, a sunroof and an automatic! (to me that makes a BMW a over priced car as you no longer have a advantge of BMW hanlding). Well anyway since everyone seems to want that option(premium package, sunroof, automatic), I really think I will have hard time selling it if I decided to sell later on (remember, all of you guys are only a very very small part of the American BMW buyers who doesn't buy BMWs for statues symbol but for performance).
: Well anyway, would you buy a 323? I've been reading the newsgroup and it seems that if you don't have a 328 or M3, they think you are not even worthy of talking BMW.