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Audi S4 vs BMW M3

jlmagicarethusjlmagicarethus Posts: 2
edited April 8 in Audi
I'm looking into getting either a S4 or M3 of 2004. I want to know the positives and negatives of each car.
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Comments

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    jlmagicarethus, it would help if you would ask some specific questions and tell us a little more about what interests you. For starters, what body style? I believe the only one the two share is a convertible. There are logistical issues about where this discussion should take place, so we definitely need to know that.

    Give us some more information and we'll help you out as best we can. But essay questions are kinda tough to answer sometimes. :-)
  • I own a 2003 M3 Coupe and a 2002 M3 Convertible, both have 6 speed sticks. My 2003 has 12,000 miles with 0 problems, my 2002 has 18,500 with the only problem being I had to replace the navigation system (under warranty). The M3 Coupe is the best car I have ever owned and I will surely buy it when my lease runs out. I get 20 miles to the gallon in the city and got 26 on a 450 mile drive to Florida at 85 miles an hour. I prefer the ride of the Coupe over the Convertible. I have read some complaints about the SMG option. If you live in a climate with snow you may want the 4 wheel drive of the S4. The back seat of the Coupe can easily handle two small adults but don't try it in the Convertible.
    Overall, the quality is high with great power and outstanding handling especially in the coupe. I hope this helps some.
  • Well...I don't really have a preference on the body style. I test drove both cars and I like both of them. Power, options, luxury. All I want to know is the positive and negatives of both vehicle like which one is probably more reliable.
    Which one is the most likely to breakdown the least times.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Okay, well I going to move this to the Sedans Comparisons board and make it a full-fledged comparo instead of just a question. It doesn't belong on the Sedans board and I don't really know where else to put it if you haven't decided on a body style.

    I would like to suggest that you'd help yourself out a lot if you did some research to help you narrow down your own preferences and thoughts. That would give you a basis for us to try to assist you.

    And don't forget to use the Make/Model search on the left side of the page to find our existing and previous discussions on these vehicles. There is a lot of information here already that will benefit you greatly. The "Search This Discussion" feature on the page bar is very helpful in finding posts containing relevant keywords.

    And if I can help you find any specific resource, don't hesitate to drop me an email.

    :-)
  • The M3 now has a 6 year 100,000 warranty on the engine. When they initially came out in 2001 there were a small amount of engines that blew up,
    BMW changed the oil to 5W60 weight to correct the problem. I have not heard of any problems on the 2002 or 2003 models. The 3 series is a very reliable car, I owned a 2001 330cic that I put 32,000 miles on with 0 problems and previously owned a 328ci and 325i. This is a proven highly reliable car and the only issues could be the SMG option. I can not speak for the Audi but any new model usually goes through a small amount of problems. The M3 has a 4 year 50,000 mile warranty, they even replace lights and wind shield wipers and all maintance is free. You can get it certified for about $1,000 which gives you a 6 year 100,000 warranty on most parts. The M3 also has a high resale value.
  • For some of us, the S4 doesn't shine in any one area but does very well in all areas.

    Sound perhaps like a "YAWN?" -- yes, until you factor in that the S4 is all wheel drive.

    And that makes a big difference.

    Both cars go, both cars are very quick, fast, nimble, etc.

    When the road is dry.

    The Audi, however, goes when the road is not dry.

    And that makes a huge difference here in the southern part of the north when we have lots of moderate snow days that basically paralyze a 1.5MM population metropolitan area. The Audis go, most BMW's sit and spin.

    An "M3x" from BMW would probably be an Audi beater -- for my money, right now, it is the other way around.

    My next car, based on what I know TODAY, will be an S4 Avant (I currently have an 03 allroad 2.7T 6spd).
  • Given the relative excellence of both, which one can you see yourself in that will give you that "buzz" that can only come from a limited production high-performance car?

    It's early Saturday morning and you enter your garage to take it for a spirited drive... which one makes YOU feel the best?... gives you that certain pride of ownership?... begs you to hand wash it lovingly?... begs you to drive it like you stole it to put that huge grin on your face?

    Choosing the best for YOU should engage both halves of your brain ;-) Make mine the M3!!
  • diver110diver110 Posts: 67
    FWIW, I have tested 2004s of both and (everything else being equal) would take the S4 over the M3 in a heartbeat. 0-60 the M3 wins, but most people are not driving these cars on tracks. The S4 has significantly more low end torque, something I am fond of, handled great, and I felt had better internal appointments than the M3. You can also drive it in the winter. The once concern I have heard is that the 2004 S4 has had some engine problems, and it does not seem that Audi makes as a good a quality car as BMW.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    Does the S4 need special Oil, when giving it an oil change? I believe the M3 does, which you can only (or mainly get) get at a BMW dealer.
  • I recently purchased a 1997 M3 with 72K miles in what seemed like excellent condition, but after driving it for a month and putting less than 1000 miles on it the "check engine" light came on. I checked the gas cap and it was tight. The car seems to be running great otherwise. What do you think? Also, the car did not come with an owner's manual. Any idea how I can get my hands on a copy? Does this car require special engine oil? Do you recommend service at a BMW dealership or a foreign car service center?
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    "Does this car require special engine oil? "

    - I think this is the only one I can answer. The Special engine Oil, I believe, is only recommended for the '01 ('02?) models and later (this last model year).

    As long as you are using Synthetic (Mobil 1) you are fine.
  • bmorofskybmorofsky Posts: 13
    I have the m-3 convertible and a friend of mine has a s-4 up north. For my money the M-3 has it hands down. Yes, they both go like stink, but only the M-3 puts that smile on your face and the approving nod, even from guys who drive Camaro's , 'vettes, and Mustangs.(And girls ,too)
  • audibmwaudibmw Posts: 5
    The Audi s4 is so fast in comparison to the M3 when you don't nail the accelerator to the floor. The M3 is cranky and feels lazy and heavier unless you rev it, then it comes alive. The S4 is quieter and has a much better sounding engine. The M3 says "look at me." The S4 says "got you." Not many people have an S4. Many people have M3's, including me. The S4 is an undercover rocket. The M3 is an arrogant rocket. The s4 is more fun to drive. I should know I have driven them both. I own a 1988 M3, which is a lot more fun than the new M3.
  • emdocemdoc Posts: 4
    I just sold my Audi A6 2.7T and am considering a M3 as a replacement. We receive some snow each year and will have to put snow tires/wheels on the M3. How reliable is the M3? Will it hold up in the long run? Appreciate your comments.
  • audibmwaudibmw Posts: 5
    Very reliable, once you get its quirks out of the way. It's built tough. Its structural integrity maintains. Snow is not a good place for it, though.
  • bmwloverbmwlover Posts: 9
    I personally think the M3 looks better, and the s4 doesnt look as great. But i've test driven both and the s4 drives like a son of a gun. M3 has the looks and accelaration, but the s4's performance is much better. I know most people have an m3, because its a great car, but not many people have tested an s4 and you should get out there today and test drive it! You will fall in love with it instantly. But if you have an M3 you have made a great choice too.
  • dougt4dougt4 Posts: 4
    wife just gave me the green light to sell bmw 330i and 84 911 to buy s4. should i do it? commute 50 miles 3 out of 5 days. love the car. back is sore in the crappy beemer seats(didn't get the sports) ouch.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    Sounds like you are unsatisfied with your current car.

    If you have researched all vehicles in your specifications/price range/reliability index and feel the S4 is the car that fits what you want/need in a car, then go ahead.
  • dougt4dougt4 Posts: 4
    the truth is my dream car is a c4, and i could buy one if (my wife didn't think they were too much of a statement)...anyway i am a car nut and want to do the right thing. i am 34 and a mercedes is not my style, a porsche is too over the top, and i don't want my kids expecting "the good life".
  • dougt4dougt4 Posts: 4
    how did you like the a6 2.7t, looking at s4 and s line a6.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 30,539
    The S4 will just be another car once you have it for a couple years. If you sell the 911, you will always be sorry. I sold my '84 Targa in '94 when my son was born. When I bought the car in '90, it was my dream car, and now I realize it still is.

    regards,
    kyfdx

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Well I have had a '02 M3 for almost two years now. I never drove an S4, but they were not the car they are now, back then.

    I can tell you that I take my girls to school in the M3 every day and go to the track every chance I can get. This car LOVES the track. I also live in the South where there is no snow, so all-wheel drive, while neat, is not necessary.
  • titantitan Posts: 16
    Can anyone provide an indepth experience of the SMG transmission on the M3. I ask b/c I heave heard varrying opinions on this F1-like feature. Does it shift smooth between paddle upshifts/downshifts? Is it immediately responsive to the paddle shift? Without question, the SMG is a damn cool option that hopefully will provide me with the closest I be getting to an F1 cockpit and driving experience, but it is refined enough for everyday driving?

    Opinions?
  • I have a couple friends with the SMG and they like it. The one comment they both have about smoothness, is that you sort of have to still treat it like a manual transmission in that letting up on the throttle a little bit when you shift it makes it easier. This is mostly for spirited driving and at the track though. Not sure about the automatic modes. I don't think they use them much
  • paul224paul224 Posts: 1
    Hello everyone, I am new to this, but saw the member "rherzig" ask about importing an M3 from germany with a VIN that came up invalid. I am posting this to say someone please contact him and tell him that THIS IS A SCAM...DO NOT FOLLOW THROUGH WITH THIS. I KNOW ABOUT THIS ALL TOO WELL. sorry to all of you that this does not concern, and sorry for re-posting it in a couple of spots...
    Also, if you get this rherzig, you can e-mail me at cpmajka@yahoo.com for more details.
    Thanks everyone
  • hgphgp Posts: 11
    I have recently tested both cars. M3 SMG and the S4 manual. Here are my thoughts:

    Both cars are incredible. It seems like I can throw around the M3 a little more, although the engine makes more of a higher pitch "whine" than the S4. I think if you want to get an M3, the E46 would be a better alternative than the E90 M3 that is coming out in a couple of years as I'm not impressed with the new generation BMW interior quality.

    I have always found that Audi design is very nice, both exterior and interior. The S4 really exceeded my expectations and "feels" like a more substantial car than the M3. I also feel that in terms of materials quality, it is better than the M3. My only concern with the S4 is reliability and resale value. I think that the M3 is still the more reliable car of the two.

    But based solely on every-day drivability and substance. My vote would go to the S4 by a small margin.
  • jpvwaudijpvwaudi Posts: 139
    Hell, either one you're not gonna go wrong. Its like choosing Seaver or Pedro to start Game 7. Yes, I sell Audis but I love BMW too. I've driven both at length; the M3 is faster and handles a bit better, but its not as comfy, and the interiors are no match. For an everyday driver I would pick the S4 Avant. Its fast, its comfy, its roomy and you can smoke 99% of traffic off the line at a light....100% in the rain. It all comes down to personal preference. You're not gonna feel 0.3 seconds to 60, and you'll never take the car on a skid pad. Drive them again and look around you when your inside. Which looks nicer? Which has the functions that I'm looking for? Which car rides smoother? Which car has the safety features that my family needs? You can answer this for yourself.

    Edmunds says its the cheapest to own. Reliability is going to be similar. We've sold over 30 new S4's and haven't had any gremlins. Judge for yourself.
  • stealth4stealth4 Posts: 1
    I have researched and drove both the M-3 and S4. For anyone truly passonate about a spirited vehicle nothing can compare to the S-4. I have a 2000 S4 which I purchased new and installed a performace GIAC chip as well as a chip for the auto shifter. My stealth black Audi with triptonic has yet to be taken by any vehicle on the road. It is with amusment that I pull up to any BMW including the M3 and blow their pants off. I get much use out of the hazard lights " a blink that the kids use when they pass another car in a race". I even had the oppurtunity to pass a BMW 760Li at over 140 mph.The BMW still has no idea what type of Audi passed him. The GIAC chip removes the MPH limiter and increases horspower beyond belief. After 5 years of fun I have not had one problem and the S4 still performs as it did in 2000. True BMW has a name and people like to say they have a "Beamer". As for me I'll take the Audi in black that just slowly pulls up next to you in your M3 and from that moment on the only thing you see is my rear plates. STEALTH4
  • Anybody out there have data on reliability on the 5spd auto trannies for above??
    Am considering M3 convert with 107,000 on it, one owner, though carfax states it went through dealer auction recently. Is that something to be concerned about, the auction part?? Any feedback would be appreciated comparing hardtops vs convertibles too.
    Thanks!
  • Stealth4: what kind of mileage are you getting in "normal" driving. i.e. when your foot's not on the floor? Also, when did you do the chips and did you see any change in MPG after doing so?
    Monk
This discussion has been closed.