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Re: M3/4 vs. S4? (Longish, and PLEASE no flames!) (archive)

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Posted by Bjorn on October 24, 1999 at 02:50:00:

In Reply to: M3/4 vs. S4? (Longish, and PLEASE no flames!) posted by Steve on October 19, 1999 at 22:38:42:

I drove an S4 today. I was out looking for a A4
Avant. They are hard to find in Seattle.
The S4 is a very nice car. Nothing wrong with it.
However nothing special about it either.
The seats are nice, but decidely not nice as my 99 M3c.
The only element they have which I lack is variable lumbar support. Which
as the most know is avilable aftermarket and doesn't actually add that much.
XENON lights are nice (see my comment on lumbar support).
Other interior elements, the M3 is slightly nicer to my eyes. The S4 doesn't suck, but nothing in there got me thinking "gee I wish...".
The stereo is not as nice as my HK. In fact it was a little disappointing.
The steering wheel is nice (I like the telescope & tilt), but the end driving position it offers is scantly better, then an M3.
The drivers control and feedback is not as nice as the M3. It is nice. It is a drivers car, but not a better drivers car.
The exterior lines are a matter of taste, but I think the S4 looks better (if you can live with a sedan). But if you want a rear seat, the S4 blows
monkey chunks. The rear seat is more crowded then even my M3c. And the
rear seats are the worst leather covered butt-pads I have ever seen sat (no
kidding hard as anything you ever felt in a church pew). Which makes buying the S4 for it's rear seats seem silly.
AWD is cool. But it adds little. Think about it. In slippery conditions, are you traction limited or Adhesion limited? I seldom if ever have problems getting the car to move forward. So would the problem would not be getting pulling power (awd vs rwd) but trying to keep the tires to keep from losing their grip on the road. Where AWD is of no help.
Pure speed? The m3 is faster. Handling? The m3 handles better. Drivers
input and control? The M3 is better. Comfort? The m3 is better. Luxury?
The m3 is better. Looks the s4 is better. Cost to upgrade? The s4 is
better. Bang for the buck? The s4 is better. Foul weather? It's traction
control vs AWD, neither is really better. All in all the M3 is better.
There is no logical reason to down grade from the M3 to the S4. The S4 is a fine car for those who don't already have an M3. And I would recommend to those people. (highly). It is a heavier, slower, less agile (though better looking) car. And if you drive them back to back, you will not miss the S4
in your M3. At least if you love to drive.
For comparison sake, my BMW is my 2nd. I have a 1999 m3 convertible. All options except hardtop & automatic. Except for a ERT underdrive pulley,
hands free phone kit, and after market alarm it's stock. I'll shark it onceI get all the bugs worked out. (BMW replaced the tranny and now my MPG dropped 3+mpg). I at present plan buy no more BMW's. Due to BMW's heavy handed approach with the TSB's (which VW, Audi & others post on the web themselves). I refuse to help such a nasty company profit from such vile actions.
I live in Seattle, possibly the rainiest city in north america, with Portland pulling a close 2nd I think. And we in the north west are VERY well acquinted with driving in the rain. Sometimes for weeks on end. But at no point does a car with as excellent traction control as the M3 suffer due to traction issues. It is simply nonsensical to assert this as I have seen some Audi fans do.
: Hello all,

: I realize that perhaps this is not the best forum for an unbiased discussion, but as one other poster mentioned, I am impressed by the civility and maturity of most of the regulars here!

: Basically, I'm in the market for a "high performance" sports sedan, and want your thoughts on these 2 cars.
: My favorable observations of the 2 cars:

: M3:
: -Sportier feel
: -Much more appealing/aggressive exterior styling (I know..very subjective)

: S4:
: -Quattro
: -Seemingly more value for the buck (in terms of features, options, etc.)
: -Comparatively cheaper and easier to modify (a simple chip upgrade from TAP boosts bhp/torque by ~80 each!)

: Basically, it would be used as a daily driver (future family car?) and a fun "weekend warrior" when the SO is out of town...

: Thanks in advance for any responses, and my apologies for bringing up what must be a tired, repeated subject!

: Steven

: P.S. On a slightly different note, is there ANY possible way to convert your car's transmission to a clutchless manual? Does anyone know of tuners that specialize in this, and whether manual or automatic is better suited for this conversion? (I'd imagine it to be manual)

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