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Re: A4 or 323 (archive)

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Posted by Robert on September 24, 1999 at 01:08:08:

In Reply to: A4 or 323 posted by satchmo on September 23, 1999 at 22:04:32:

I test-drove both the A4 2.8 Quattro and the 328i and 323i. The 323i and 2.8 are definitely comparable, performance-wise. Don't let the engine capacity throw you off. The 1.8 is not a direct competitor to the 323i. I bought a 323i. I don't think I'd have been unhappy with the A4, but the 323i won due to the better handling and the more refined design.

A4 Pros:
- AWD
- Peppy performance, particularly in low gears.
Good handling.
- Less expensive
- More amenable to chipping/mods (esp. 1.8)
- Devoted user following (e.g., www.a4.org)

Cons:
- More than halfway through design life; will affect resale value.
- Interior relatively Spartan/unrefined.
- Not driver-centric.
- Finish not as good as BMW.
- Ugly steering wheel (though the one I tested had a sport wheel with a thicker wheel than the BMW, which was nice).
- VERY Poor rear legroom.
- Poor trunk volume.
- Hard to map out the feature packages.

323i Pros:
- Beautiful human factors. Very driver-centric.
- Good rear legroom.
- Good trunk room.
- Excellent handling.
- At beginning of design life (helps resale)
- More attractive overall exterior design
- Devoted user following.

323i Cons:
- More expensive
- No AWD (but Dynamic Stability Control should help)
- Acceleration performance not as "perceptible," particularly accelerating in first. I think part of this is due to the seat design: you don't get the "kick in the butt" from a start, but as others have noted, all of a sudden, after rowing the gears to 4th, you realize that you're passing 80.
- "Standard" features missing from base model, such as individual reading lamps, trunk release (just the key; the button present on the 328 isn't on the 323), no center armrest. BMW's having a hard time creating a meaningful market differentiation between the 323i and 328i. Things should be easier when the 330i comes out.

To be honest, if I were living in a state with a lot of snow, I'd be thinking truck or SUV, not a sedan or coupe.


: I know this is a Bimmer site, but I can't decide between the two.

: I drive in 5 months of snow, so I don't know if the new traction control in the 323 actually work.

: Objective comments only. Thanks




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