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Audi S4 vs BMW M3



  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,620
    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.


    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?

  • 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 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.
  • 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?
  • parrishparrish Posts: 10
    stealth4: I believe that you are saying that you have the automatic transmission, but to confirm, is that corrrect?? I would really prefer automatic to anything else, as this would be a family car as well as my baby. If you do have the automatic, it is very nice to hear that it performs so well for you.

    Thanks, John
  • Glad to hear of your experience with the S4. I have a 2004 S4 Avant and love it. Had a BMW 540 before; nice car...but a real bummer in snow or slick conditions. The S4 performs as well or better in dry...and just no comparison on slick.

    I'm interested in the chip change-out you made. Where did you get the chip...who installed...what was cost...and what effect on mileage and "day to day" performance.


  • TDI -

    I'm interersted and surprised about your comparison with the 540. I agree about the snow part...

    But the rest of the car? I have 2001 540-6spd, and I drove an '02 S4 before I leased the 540, NO COMPARISON, 540 was quieter, more comfotable, fast (perhaps not from a stop), better handling...

    I think the S4 changed substantially since '02 is that the difference or do we just value different qualities in the car?
  • Received S4Avant in 12/03 after 8 month wait lots of time to reconsider, drove Allroad/drove S4sedan..late model M3(02)In my humble opinion the S4Avant is as much an exercise in high performance as in style&function .My Avant solved the 3rd child issue with room to spare(previous car a TT(00))and blows the doors off unsuspecting M3's while camo'd as a wagon.Test drive them both but drive the S4 last you won't go Audi service is a plus
  • scotth6scotth6 Posts: 43
    The latest Automobile tested the S4 verses the M3 verses the Cadilac CTS-V and the M3 was their choice. The M3 will smoke the S4 except in a snow storm.
  • kevin111kevin111 Posts: 991
    The difference in 0-60 between the cars was 0.1 secs, or virtually, none.

    The M3 was the better handler, the S4 had a better ride and better for all seasons. Both were rated about the same.
  • scotth6scotth6 Posts: 43
    When the 6 speed manual M3 is tested instead of the SMG version there is at least .4 difference between the vehicles and according to some tests more than that. Every test I have read and I get Motor Trend, Road & Track, AutoWeek, Automobile and Car & Driver have the M3 6 sped manual at 4.7 to 4.8 and the S4 at 5.1 to 5.4. Just the weight difference alone makes the M3 a much more nimble car but I do like the looks of the S4 and I understand it has a nice interior and the 4 wheel drive which are all good reasons to consider one. It really comes down to personal preference, also you get 4 years free maintenance with the Bimmer.
  • scotth6scotth6 Posts: 43
    Article on friday compared the new Mercedes, S4, M3, Volvo R5 and they picked the M3 as their choice.
  • I have a M-3 Covert.w/SMG a 2003 . Asside from the fact that I lve it , you do have to get used to it. If you have it in its most aggresive mode either 5 or 6 in sequential, its not such a smooth shift, however its not supposeed to be. It feels like a kick in the pants,but man, does it go. Even more with "sport " mode on.The shift repsnse time is immediate , no way you could manually match the quickness. Plus you do not have to raise up on the throttle.I work in sales and I am in my M-3 every day. I think I used the Auto mode once or twice.This is the car to have if you want it all.
  • banxbanx Posts: 6
    While both cars have 50K warranties with free maintenance, note that the Audi gets oil changed at 5K, 10K, then every 10K after that. I believe the BMW still gets the oil changed whenever the service light comes up. In a long term test by a road mag, that was every 18.2K miles for the BMW. So if one is in the market for a used M3 that has 40K-50K miles on it, it may have had the oil changed only twice so far.
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