In Reply to: Re: A4 or 323 posted by Robert on September 24, 1999 at 01:08:08:
Very good pro/con list. Your perceive well.
I would agree on everything except winter area weather. I live in Canada and we get some snow. I have driven Bimmers in the past through winter and they are just fine as long as you drive easy. Never get stuck unless the snow is too deep, but then everyone will be stuck except maybe SUVs. Even Audi will get stuck with the standard all seasons, low to the ground, and deep snow. SUVS are good for heavy snow areas where you go to a cottage or skiing the whole winter. Even then, a good driver with snow tires will outpace an SUV driver with no skill or confidence. Trust me, Bimmers are set-up correct. It almost always comes down to driver skill.
: 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)
: - 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