Roadfly.com         Roadfly Home | Features | Car Review Videos | Car Reviews | Cars For Sale | Used Car Parts Classifieds | Forum | Car Review Archives | Forum Archives Index



PDA



Steve
10-19-1999, 10:38 PM
Hello all,<p>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!<p>Basically, I'm in the market for a "high performance" sports sedan, and want your thoughts on these 2 cars.<br>My favorable observations of the 2 cars:<p>M3:<br>-Sportier feel<br>-Much more appealing/aggressive exterior styling (I know..very subjective)<p>S4:<br>-Quattro<br>-Seemingly more value for the buck (in terms of features, options, etc.)<br>-Comparatively cheaper and easier to modify (a simple chip upgrade from TAP boosts bhp/torque by ~80 each!)<p>Basically, it would be used as a daily driver (future family car?) and a fun "weekend warrior" when the SO is out of town...<p>Thanks in advance for any responses, and my apologies for bringing up what must be a tired, repeated subject!<p>Steven<p>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)<br>

Bruce
10-19-1999, 11:29 PM
<i>: M3:<br>: -Sportier feel<br>: -Much more appealing/aggressive exterior styling (I know..very subjective)<p>: S4:<br>: -Quattro<br>: -Seemingly more value for the buck (in terms of features, options, etc.)<br>: -Comparatively cheaper and easier to modify (a simple chip upgrade from TAP boosts bhp/torque by ~80 each!)</i><p>you DO realize this is the E<b>46</a> forum right? The E46 M3 is not out yet and is not a competititor to the S4. The E36 M3 (the one you are probably thinking of) went out of production in September.<p>do you really NEED quattro where you live?<br>any data on the life expectancy of the engine with the increased boost a new chip adds?<p><i>: 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)</i><p>a clutchless manual using a manual is basically IMPOSSIBLE aftermarket...there are some Euro tuners that have kits to make a "tiptronic" for regular auto cars

Bruce
10-19-1999, 11:30 PM
<i>: M3:<br>: -Sportier feel<br>: -Much more appealing/aggressive exterior styling (I know..very subjective)<p>: S4:<br>: -Quattro<br>: -Seemingly more value for the buck (in terms of features, options, etc.)<br>: -Comparatively cheaper and easier to modify (a simple chip upgrade from TAP boosts bhp/torque by ~80 each!)</i><p>you DO realize this is the E<b>46</b> forum right? The E46 M3 is not out yet and is not a competititor to the S4. The E36 M3 (the one you are probably thinking of) went out of production in September.<p>do you really NEED quattro where you live?<br>any data on the life expectancy of the engine with the increased boost a new chip adds?<p><i>: 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)</i><p>a clutchless manual using a manual is basically IMPOSSIBLE aftermarket...there are some Euro tuners that have kits to make a "tiptronic" for regular auto cars

Ray Koch
10-20-1999, 10:03 AM
<i>: Basically, I'm in the market for a "high performance" sports sedan, and want your thoughts on these 2 cars.<br></i><p>Well if it is a sedan you're looking for M3/4s were last made in 1998 and the E46 version wouldn't be here till at least 2002 if they make them at all. So you would be looking at a used M3 compared to a new S4. I'm biased towards the M3 (of course) because of its incredible handling but the S4 may be the better choice for you. IMHO, the only way to really decide which one is right for you is to test drive both.

NB
10-20-1999, 06:08 PM
<i>Try going to the S4 forum. Ask the same question and you'll probably get some fairly unbiased answers considering that people there did pretty much the same thing as you by cross-shopping.<br></i>

Steve
10-20-1999, 06:31 PM
<i>: Try going to the S4 forum. Ask the same question and you'll probably get some fairly unbiased answers considering that people there did pretty much the same thing as you by cross-shopping.<p></i><p>I will try that; thanks!<p>

VrooM\\\
10-20-1999, 06:35 PM
Good site. I've been there a few times. These guys aren't as harsh as the E36 M3 site (but they will be -hehe).

Bjorn
10-24-1999, 02:50 AM
I drove an S4 today. I was out looking for a A4 <br>Avant. They are hard to find in Seattle. <br>The S4 is a very nice car. Nothing wrong with it. <br>However nothing special about it either. <br>The seats are nice, but decidely not nice as my 99 M3c. <br>The only element they have which I lack is variable lumbar support. Which <br>as the most know is avilable aftermarket and doesn't actually add that much. <br>XENON lights are nice (see my comment on lumbar support). <br>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...". <br>The stereo is not as nice as my HK. In fact it was a little disappointing.<br>The steering wheel is nice (I like the telescope & tilt), but the end driving position it offers is scantly better, then an M3. <br>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. <br>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 <br>monkey chunks. The rear seat is more crowded then even my M3c. And the <br>rear seats are the worst leather covered butt-pads I have ever seen sat (no <br>kidding hard as anything you ever felt in a church pew). Which makes buying the S4 for it's rear seats seem silly. <br>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. <br>Pure speed? The m3 is faster. Handling? The m3 handles better. Drivers <br>input and control? The M3 is better. Comfort? The m3 is better. Luxury? <br>The m3 is better. Looks the s4 is better. Cost to upgrade? The s4 is <br>better. Bang for the buck? The s4 is better. Foul weather? It's traction <br>control vs AWD, neither is really better. All in all the M3 is better. <br>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 <br>in your M3. At least if you love to drive. <br>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, <br>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. <br>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.<br><i>: Hello all,<p>: 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!<p>: Basically, I'm in the market for a "high performance" sports sedan, and want your thoughts on these 2 cars.<br>: My favorable observations of the 2 cars:<p>: M3:<br>: -Sportier feel<br>: -Much more appealing/aggressive exterior styling (I know..very subjective)<p>: S4:<br>: -Quattro<br>: -Seemingly more value for the buck (in terms of features, options, etc.)<br>: -Comparatively cheaper and easier to modify (a simple chip upgrade from TAP boosts bhp/torque by ~80 each!)<p>: Basically, it would be used as a daily driver (future family car?) and a fun "weekend warrior" when the SO is out of town...<p>: Thanks in advance for any responses, and my apologies for bringing up what must be a tired, repeated subject!<p>: Steven<p>: 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)<p></i>

rickp
10-25-1999, 01:58 AM
Guys,<p>I agree with most of what Bjorn says, except:<p>1. S4 was faster than the M3 in C&D, but they have idential 5-60 speeds so I bet they're about equal.<p>2. For day-to-day driving S4 will be faster b/c it has lower peak torque with the quattro soaking up small road perfections. Peak torque (258 ft-lbs) is at 1850 RPMs! As a result, the S4 does 0-30 in 1.8 seconds!!!<p>3. In the rain, traction control takes away power to keep you from slipping. Quattro adds power! The S4 will leave the M3 way, way behind......<p>4. The BMW is a better handling car hands down! It's lighter, RWD, and has a 50-50 balance, so it's a "purer" sports car. Although...while the M3 corners significantly better, you can get back on the gas faster with the S4 because of the traction of quattro.<p>5. You hear the engine on the M3 more and it sounds pretty dang cool! Although the S4's twin turbos sound cool as well...........<p>6. I think the S4 has the edge in luxury (M3's steering wheel doesn't even telescope, doesn't have xenons, nav?, etc.). Most auto rags state that Audi now exceeds BMW in fit and finish. <p>I agree with Bjorn, the S4 is a much more modern looking car. Although I think the 328Ci is slightly better looking than the S4. <p>Audi cabins just look more luxurious than BMWs overall. While the 3 series cabins are getting better, they still look kind of plasticky, IMO. I've sat both in a 2000 328Ci (which I seriously considered buying) and in a 2000 S4. The S4's cabin wins hands down.<p>7. You can tune (just add an ECU chip) an S4 to 325 hp or more for under 1K!<p>In sum, I would say that the S4 and most other Audis (except the TT) are more about luxury/sport, while the M3 and most BMWs are about sport/luxury.<p>It depends on what you want. Apples and oranges! <p>Rick

Bjorn
10-25-1999, 04:09 AM
Hi Rick,<br>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.<br>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. Also the S4 is FWD biased (ie a FWD car with AWD added as a "tack on"). It's also heavier and lacks perfect balance. These factors would do more to hold it down in speed then the possibile intervtion of ASC would in the M3. Remember all the ASC can do is keep the wheels from slipping. not rob the car of speed.<br>Of course I'd bet if we set a limit of 50k to be invested in a "new" '99 m3 (use msrp) and a new '00 S4 the S4 would with equal amounts of money spent be able to at least match the M3 in almost all areas and exceed it in many. It is a better buy.<p><br><i>: Guys,<p>: I agree with most of what Bjorn says, except:<p>: 1. S4 was faster than the M3 in C&D, but they have idential 5-60 speeds so I bet they're about equal.<p>: 2. For day-to-day driving S4 will be faster b/c it has lower peak torque with the quattro soaking up small road perfections. Peak torque (258 ft-lbs) is at 1850 RPMs! As a result, the S4 does 0-30 in 1.8 seconds!!!<p>: 3. In the rain, traction control takes away power to keep you from slipping. Quattro adds power! The S4 will leave the M3 way, way behind......<p>: 4. The BMW is a better handling car hands down! It's lighter, RWD, and has a 50-50 balance, so it's a "purer" sports car. Although...while the M3 corners significantly better, you can get back on the gas faster with the S4 because of the traction of quattro.<p>: 5. You hear the engine on the M3 more and it sounds pretty dang cool! Although the S4's twin turbos sound cool as well...........<p>: 6. I think the S4 has the edge in luxury (M3's steering wheel doesn't even telescope, doesn't have xenons, nav?, etc.). Most auto rags state that Audi now exceeds BMW in fit and finish. <p>: I agree with Bjorn, the S4 is a much more modern looking car. Although I think the 328Ci is slightly better looking than the S4. <p>: Audi cabins just look more luxurious than BMWs overall. While the 3 series cabins are getting better, they still look kind of plasticky, IMO. I've sat both in a 2000 328Ci (which I seriously considered buying) and in a 2000 S4. The S4's cabin wins hands down.<p>: 7. You can tune (just add an ECU chip) an S4 to 325 hp or more for under 1K!<p>: In sum, I would say that the S4 and most other Audis (except the TT) are more about luxury/sport, while the M3 and most BMWs are about sport/luxury.<p>: It depends on what you want. Apples and oranges! <p>: Rick<p></i>

Josh Pinkert
10-25-1999, 01:13 PM
Too much misinformation here to not correct it...<p><i>: Hi Rick,<br>: 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><p>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.<p><i><br>: 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. </i><p>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.<p><i><br>Also the S4 is FWD biased (ie a FWD car with AWD added as a "tack on"). </i><p>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.<p><i><br>It's also heavier and lacks perfect balance.</i><p>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...<p>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).<p>- Josh

occam
10-26-1999, 12:22 AM
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.<p>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.<p>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.<p>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.<p>Both are great cars (I think). Just depends on your tastes in this stage of life (sporty, or understated).<p>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.<p>Good luck,<p>= Joe =<br>

interesting points NT rickp
10-26-1999, 12:45 AM
<i>: Too much misinformation here to not correct it...<p>: : Hi Rick,<br>: : 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. <p>: 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.<p>: <br>: : 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. <p>: 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.<p>: <br>: Also the S4 is FWD biased (ie a FWD car with AWD added as a "tack on"). <p>: 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.<p>: <br>: It's also heavier and lacks perfect balance.<p>: 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...<p>: 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).<p>: - Josh<p></i>

rr
10-26-1999, 03:17 AM
<i>: 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.<p>: 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.<p>: 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.<p>: 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.<p>: Both are great cars (I think). Just depends on your tastes in this stage of life (sporty, or understated).<p>: 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.<p>: Good luck,<p>: = Joe =<p></i>

Josh Pinkert
11-12-1999, 12:31 PM
<i><br>: 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.<br></i><p>First, I don't see what radio controls have to do with driving. When you're really *driving* and feeling everything the car has to offer, you shouldn't be adjusting your radio :)<p>And second, the way you describe the M3, I thought you were talking about an old Porsche 911. Try to get someone with a '69-'73 911S take you for a ride. And if you're really lucky, you might find your way into a '73 911RS. Very special cars that IMO, epitomize the description you've given of the M3.<p>Not flaming...just pointing it out.<p>- Josh


Roadfly Home | Car Reviews | Forum Archives Index