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3 series or A4


Well-known member
30 Jan 2003
Okay, been pondering this for a while. The company car (C Class) goes back in March and I don't want to renew the contract as I am getting slaughtered on tax. My employer will give me £200net of tax to come out and I will use this towards a used car. The car is for the missus and I will have to drive it when we take the family out etc, therefore needs to satisfy the petrolhead in me. It also needs to be tame enough so that she who must be obeyed doesn't stuff it into a tree backwards (rules out an RS6, not that I could afford it). Needs to be an estate.

So short list is
03/04 BMW 3 series touring 320i/325i sport or
03/04 Audi A4 Avant 1.8T Quattro SE

Both cost about the same and cost the same to insure.

I have yet to test drive them and have never experienced Audi's & BMW's aftersales.

What would you advise me to get?

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23398
thought you would of gone for a volkswagon as you are so keen on the porsche marque

back on topic the audi is a better car than the bmw to many bmw on the road so resale value will be crap when you want to dispose of it

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23399
I've got a 2.0 A4 Avant Sport. For: looks, build quality. Against: ride (not well controlled, poorly damped), poorly equipped.

BM I reckon is better to drive and well equipped, but they are 2 a penny and a bit naff looking inside (without leather anyway). Residuals? FR has a point, but the A4 has just been 'updated'...

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23400
Unfortunately, I have owned examples of both of those!

BMW - nice drive, thin friable finish and prone to stone chipping. Quite a few warranty problems and then the power steering pump let go a couple of days after the warranty expired...

Audi - plenty of weight over the front wheels, hates corners, loves motorways. New tyres every 10K (get more out of the rears on my C2!). Beautifully built and kept its appearance better than the BMW

I now drve one of the Golf Mk 5s - the best of both worlds and far cheaper!

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23401
thanks for responses thus far

Have looked at VW as my old man still works for them, don't like the passat and the Golf only looks good as a hatchback.

BMW, I am being lured by the ride quality, I've driven a friends 325i convertible (same chassis)

Audi, interesting comments re the ride quality, would a Quattro make any difference? Sport pack?

re-sale will be in 3-4 years, both cars have had recent facelifts, the audi more so, interesting point regarding the amount of BMW's around, don't see many touring though? Audi Avants seem more popular round here.

BTW do BMW's come with indicators? :wink:

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23402
A4 is prob' the better car, better to look at, touch, equipped et al, but a bit more in depreciation...

but for the "mrs" would she really notice the difference in ride, prob' not...(?) but as they all come with traction control et al.. you're unlikely to stuff tree's

although 3-series estate is stronger at depeciation esp the 320d.... although never a fan of the orange dash as the look & fell to the audi is much nicer...

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23404

The Mrs won't notice but I will!

Can anyone comment on the difference on the road between the Quattro and the front wheel drive.

My old 964 was a C4 and other than understeer when really pushing there isn't much in it. The Mrs wants an auto and the Quattro is 6 speed only, *****. If its worth it I will try and convince her to drive the 6 speed.

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23406
Had 3-series and A4, I'd say both very well built, good customer care, reliability is much and much the same for both.

However if you're at all concerned with the way it handles, then BMW is much better by a long way, especially when pushed. The BMW engine also feels a lot silkier. Audi if probably more comfy and a bit more spacious. Take a test drive and within 2 corners you'll notice the difference in handling! We've now settled for a 5-series which is not a great deal more in price but heck of a lot more space in the back (pretty crap on a 3 BTW) and handles even better.

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23417
fwd v quattro.. they do feel VERY different...

but the driving effect is very much the same..... fwd will start to understeer much earlier, and for you the composure of a quattro makes the car a much better one... in reality the audi's in fact all audi's are better cars as a quattro.....

in the dry it's not so much of an issue, but in the wet and worser conditions it makes for a positive difference... effectively you feel the pull of a twd but with quattro it's less of a pull and you can feel the car being pushed as well.. although the system is front wheel biased, so will always feel more fwd than rwd.. but it does feel lie more of a car...

although all those ad's where the 4wd vehcile is driving in snow / going up mountains is all very well, but when it comes to stopping and going down mountains it will then became like any other car !

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23418
I would go the A4, had both to drive for a bit - my younger bought a A4 Turbo Quattro and it was really really nice!

I had a 3 series touring for a few days whilst my car was being viewed before being sold and it wasn't too great. I prefer the exterior of the BMW but the interior, build quality and ride of the Audi!

My wife is really trained - she is begging for a Boxster (987) - no arguments there - ordering it next week for early March delivery!

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23422
BM is the driver's car, no doubt. Poon, what about a Subaru Legacy estate. Well thought of, bullet-proofa nd good residuals - and 4WD (though do you really need that extra hardware?).

Mick, is your (wife's) 5 a new shape or old? IMHO the old one is a real classic, esp in Sport-ish looking form (and just as good a drive as the old I reckon - from what I've read).

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23456
It's the last model. When we bought it last yr, we had a choice of either this few mth old ex-demo (wanted a new old shape but they stopped making it) or a new new shape but for the same money, less spec. Hated the look of the new shape, In the end we went for this one. Good spec with Sports pack, handles brilliently, bags of room at the back, with super silky smooth 3.0l six, can't be happier. I'm sure the new 5 is better car mechanically, but boy is it ugly!!

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23458
Maxy, I have considered the Subaru but think its ugly IMHO, funny thing is I also think the BM will be more of a drivers car esp the 325i Sport with M kit, rear wheel drive, but for some reason I have always wanted an Audi. Must be a throwback to when Audi and VW shared showrooms, my Dad used to/still does work for VW and I used to sit in brand new Audi Quattro's (of rally fame) and dream of having one.

the 3 series is slightly more expensive but generally better specced, this decision is hard, I will attempt to test drive both this week.

I am quite interested by the Audi's multitronic, from what I have read on their website it sounds the perfect auto, my C class's box is awful, it takes 2 seconds to respond to the throttle! Urgh

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23461
I would definately go with the 325 just for its ride/handling. There is a good reason they sell in Mondeo quantities. In hindsight, I wish I had bought a 330i Sport Touring instead of the S4 but I fell for the performance figures. Great on motoways but it is too soft/roly-poly and too much understeer on the twisties!

I also tested a 2004 1.8T S-Line Quattro, which is not as nose heavy as the S4, so handles better but I found it a bit characterless and has a dull sounding engine compared to a BM six.

BM warranty & customer service also very good from my experience with previous M3.

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23469
Well, for a driver's car there's only one choice...!

Migration info. Legacy thread was 23470

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