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Re: Audi fan: Have 98 A4, getting 00 S4 in Novem (archive)

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Posted by Josh Pinkert on October 25, 1999 at 13:13:37:

In Reply to: Re: Audi fan: Have 98 A4, getting 00 S4 in Novem posted by Bjorn on October 25, 1999 at 04:09:59:

Too much misinformation here to not correct it...

: Hi Rick,
: You ignore one fairly key detail. The M3 in C&D was defective. It was the slowest e36 M3 ever tested. The M3 stock is quite a bit faster then the S4.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the stock M3 is quite a bit faster. Maybe I'm picking nits, but quite a bit faster to me...would mean on the order of 1 sec faster in a 0-60 run. It *could* be a little faster, but we haven't seen true, head to head, acceleration numbers that contradict C&D. I agree that the C&D M3 was weaker than previous M3s tested (resulting in the M3 being a little slower than the S4). But they argued that other M3s could be delivered the same way. You think manufacturers would be more careful about what they give to auto rags. I have similar sentiments about recent Cobra Mustangs. Except none of them were making advertised power.


: In the rain, the value of AWD is over stated. Since speed is not limited by your ability to accelerate but your tires ability to grip. Tires grip equally well in a AWD & RWD.

A constant radius turn still requires *some* acceleration (to maintain speed). Now try to accelerate hard out of the turn. AWD has more available grip to accelerate the car. When comparing 2WD to 4WD/AWD, power divided by 4 wheels means less traction dedicated to acceleration for each wheel, and thus more grip dedicated to cornering.


Also the S4 is FWD biased (ie a FWD car with AWD added as a "tack on").

Common misconception. If it was FWD biased (or based, which is what I think you mean), the engine would likely be transversely mounted for packaging and weight consideration. But it is longitudinal. In fact, the S4 happens to be RWD biased...if I remember correctly, the torsen diff (center diff) is, by default, set at a 40/60 split. Meaning all traction being equal, it'll send 60% of the torque to the rear, 40% to the front.


It's also heavier and lacks perfect balance.

It is a heavier car. But what is perfect balance? 50/50? Perfect for what? Going around a skidpad and not accelerating or braking? The rearward bias of a Porsche 911 is better balanced for braking and accelerating. And for some reason, 911s aren't known to be drag racing cars. They have a pretty well established history of success at racetracks. So balance depends on your perspective. If you're talking about better balanced in the hands of novice drivers...the S4 might edge the M3 here. The S4 tends to push at its limit...

Basically, I think the S4 and M3 (E36) are pretty much equals. The M3 is definitely sportier, but many people would agree with me...that the S4 could be the car that's easier to live with as a daily driver. Fatter powerband. More supple ride. More amenities and luxury features. Plus, for foul weather days, Quattro is better at yanking you out of a ditch (because you *think* it makes you invincible, AKA SUVitis, and you don't need snow tires).

- Josh


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