In Reply to: M3/4 vs. S4? (Longish, and PLEASE no flames!) posted by Steve on October 19, 1999 at 22:38:42:
I agree with the perspectives already posted, especially many of the details. However, I believe the only way for you to tell for yourself is (as someone else posted) to test drive them both and see which one you prefer.
My take after test driving both (and driving in a few friends's BMWs) is that the BMW M3 is the consummate driver's car. It almost demands to be driven. You feel the road, you hear the engine, the car is always game... egging you on to have fun with it. It's a great driver's car. The cockpit is designed almost solely with the driver in mind (note how the center console envelops the driver all the way to the radio controls slightly aimed toward driver). Everything about the car is about driving.
The Audi on the other hand is understated, luxurious, and in many ways softer. It's more of a family car: 4 doors, symmetrical center console (i.e., not driver-centric), quattro (safety in snow), and softer ride. The car drives nicely but not necessarily energetically the way the BMW drives. (It will drive energetically when pushed however.) Where the BMW is always playful and edgy, the Audi is smooth and soft.
The nice thing about the Audi is that it has quiet strength unless pushed. The nice thing about the BMW is that it's a true sports car and creates excitement in the driver with a driver-centric experience/cockpit/feel-of-the-road.
Both are great cars (I think). Just depends on your tastes in this stage of life (sporty, or understated).
In any case, they're both good cars. Test drive them both and see which one suits you best. I think you'll notice a significant difference in feel of the cars, even though the specs for both are very similar.
= Joe =