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Audi A4 Avant vs. BMW 3-Series Wagon vs. Mercedes C-Class Wagon



  • badnewsbadnews Posts: 14
    I've owned my 328xi wagon for a year and a half. Some observations.

    The back seat in the BMW has more leg room, but overall the a4 Avant has more cargo room.
    The Audi interior is more geared for the luxury class, while the BMW seems a bit more utilitarian (non- I Drive)
    The Audi is nose heavy and feels it.
    The BMW suspension feels a lot tighter, but it is also rides harsher on rough roads. It may be in part because of the runflats tires.
    As mentioned the BMW has run flats and no spare. The Audi has a spare.
    The Audi 3.2 feels quicker than the 328 and the 328 is definitely peppier than the Audi 4 cylinder.
    The BMW AWD works well. I'm sure the Audi is at least as good.
    Pricewise the 328 comes right in between the 2 Audi engine configurations.
    My preference would have been a 335 wagon but they don't make one.
    I had to go with the auto tranny because of a knee problem. I hate this transmission. Also with the auto and AWD the car feels a bit sluggish at times. I think a stick would solve that problem. And if you don't need AWD that would help then. A 328i with a manual would be plenty quick for me.
    I love this car (I hate the transmission).
    Knowing what I know today I would buy the same car. If I could live without a wagon I'd buy a BMW 335xi sedan.

    Hope this helps.
  • fzzlfzzl Posts: 3
    To follow up on my January comments, i'm still enjoying the 328xi wagon. I've found that i prefer driving in DS mode, since otherwise it's a bit sluggish (like badnews said) starting from a stop (and there are lots of stop signs/lights where i live). The wagon is MUCH peppier from a standstill in DS mode. No real changes in mileage, though i've noticed the average mpg creeps up when my wife's been driving it more than me, go figure. Like badnews said, if this wagon came as a 335, it'd be awesome, though maybe a bit overkill. I ended up getting around 2k off msrp, which is decent considering i basically had to custom order the car (couldn't find anything with our specs on the lots), i'm sure we could've gotten a better deal if we had found something we liked on a dealer's lot.

    I've never driven a Q7, X3/5, so can't comment on those. When comparing the A4 2.0/328 wagons, the bmw was the clear winner for me, handling felt tighter and it was just more comfortable for me. They didn't have a 3.2 for me to test drive, so i can't compare with that, though i probably would've liked it more than the 2.0, which felt "laggy" to me. You really just need to go test drive these cars at the same time. I actually drove the bmw first, went and drove an a4, then went back and drove the bmw again on the same day to confirm my opinion. I'd recommend you do the same.

    And yes, to answer your question, the a4 and 328 wagons are the apples to apples comps/competing models (and not the 5 series).
  • r34r34 Posts: 178
    I have a 2002 Saab 9-3 and is looking for something that is sportive with a big trunk.
    I really like the Saab, especially when I was getting things from IKEA. Too bad Saab doesn't have a similar hatchback now (the combi doesn't look very sportive).

    I like the Allroad and the old twin turbo S4 wagon. Too bad so sad. I am looking at a 328xi wagon and a 530xi wagon.

    I was surprised to find out the fuel consumption of a X3. I think it's very good for a V6 SUV (crossover??). It's almost as good as a 328xi wagon with bigger interior and trunk. Manual transmission is also bonus. I guess it may have more body roll because of its higher ground clearance.

    Is there a sport package to lower the vehicle (or something to adjust the suspension like the Audi allroad)?
  • I had a 2007 5 speed X3 with the sport package and manual. It was very very close in terms of driving pleasure to my 2003 330i (had a sports package too) which I sold (I moved to WA state where it snows so I wanted something better in the snow). Anyway, the sports package rocks in the X3. I had the 17 inch wheels due to the fact the 18's can be a little harsh. One time I was missing an offramp and I looked to make sure it was safe and zoomed over going pretty fast and the X3 never lost it's composure. Great SAV. The X3 does not have an 'adjustable suspension' however.
  • Has anyone had a chance to drive the new A4. Specifications look impressive
  • "Has anyone had a chance to drive the new A4. Specifications look impressive "

    I've driven the new A4 several times. The car finally comes with an auto tranny that doesn't completely smother the two liter engine (this is partly due to the new four banger). The new ZF unit supposedly shifts in around 100 milliseconds and is actually smoother than the DSG trannies on the A3 series.

    For my tastes the standard suspension is way too soft and dulls the handling. Anyhow I ended up ordering an Avant Premie Plus with the only option being the sports suspension. This keeps the price from going through the roof.

    My single misgiving is that the Avant only comes with the auto tranny. I have never owned an AT-equipped car before but... I need a good platform for hauling a kayak and frankly the Avant looks much sharper than the sedan.

    BTW, this will be my fourth A4. My current A4 is 3 1/2 years old and has had nary a problem other than a check engine light and it's putting out north of 240 hp and better than 270 lb-ft of torque. I plan on modding my future Avant as well.
  • hey byron,
    so you drove the 09 av avant and have an older a4 avant as well? my question is around the new transmission. i have had 4 audis including an allroad and an 07 a4. all were awesome, the only thing i hate is the transmission- slow to react, downshift and just kinda [non-permissible content removed]. anyway, just to clarify what you are saying.... it sounds like you agree on my assessment of the previous model's transmission and are saying that the new transmission is new and better? if so, that may mean that i don't need to go to an a3 with the dsg this time (wish they put that on the a4).

    please feel free to share your thoughts on your older a4 and the new one if you have anything else to add. i am getting a new car in april and right now am thinking about the a3, a4 avant, bw 328xi, volve v50 type r.

    also, is it me or did audi really bump up their prices? i was just at the la car show and they seemed to be a bit too high.

  • I've owned two Avants but my current car is the sedan. Naturally they were all manuals :P . On several occasions I ended up in loaner A4's (during routine servicing and one body shop visit). The 1.8t and previous 2.0t engines just couldn't muster up the grunt to deal with the sluggo auto tranny. Also the tranny just felt plain brain dead. Sounds like that's your impression as well.

    But the new ZF unit is a major step up in that it seems to have more than just a lower brain stem and shifts as quickly as the S Tronic. Those points along with the improved torque of the new two liter make for a better driving experience (since Audi is screwing us State side with auto only Avants).

    And the unit should handle an ECU reflash as I recall that its hp and torque limits are pretty high.

    Out of the cars that you mention, I've driven the A3 and the 328xi. I have never cared for the A3's handling and frankly, would buy a GTI over it. But the 328xi is another story. A friend has one and I've put about a 100 miles on it. Very nice!

    But tastes vary and you will just have to drive 'em all. That said, be prepared for a rather floaty ride in the new A4 with the standard suspension. It really needs the sports suspension to button down the handling.

    As for the B8 A4 pricing, it's not out of line with current market trends or much above the B7, it's the options that really send the price north like a rocket. If you go easy on them, then the price is not so bad.
  • We sold an ailing 2000 Volvo XC last year for a Subaru Tribeca. Wife can't get comfortable (no telescoping wheel) in the Subaru even though it has been bulletproof and rides, handles well. Looking at new and used XCs as she wants an AWD wagon. The A6 is nice, just to pricey for us, as is the MB 320. I'd consider going smaller to the A4, but the legroom in the 06-07 models is 33 inches, which is less than my cramped S60. Can't do that with a kid in the back. That leads to the 2006 325iT wagon, which seems to have better legroom in the rear. The Passat might work, but the AWD only comes in the V6 model and they didn't make them in 2006, so I can't find any. This is wildly frustrating. Budget is in the low 20's, used obviously, don't want to outlay much over what I can get for my 07 Tribeca.
  • ilmbgilmbg Posts: 8
    I am looking for either a Mercedes or Volvo wagon- older- about 1982-89. I assume there will need to be things that will need to be replaced- if not immediately, soon. Which car is better to work on- parts available/price/ease of installing. Am I being foolish for wanting the older car- it will be a second vehicle- not used very much.
    Thank you.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,250
    You don't have to go that far back to find a junker that might run. The early to mid-90's wagons with 1-200,000 miles are priced from $1000. More cheap volvo's. I assume you can wait for parts and are capable servicing brakes, waterpumps, fuel pumps, radiators. belts , hoses, suspension components and electical troubleshooting yourself. Transmissions, clutches, rear ends and internal engine components will probably have to relegated to repair shops. Make sure you drive carefully because early 80's models have pale in comparison to current safety equipment.. Just a friendly reality check for you to consider. Good luck.
  • ilmbgilmbg Posts: 8
    jayrider- No, I do not have the knowledge to do any work on an auto- I am a disabled middle aged female who knows nursing- not cars. I like the 80's Mercedes, although from 1981-1985 they are diesel, and I think with gas prices going to go up again, I would prefer gas.The car would be for when I winter in Texas- I only drive close to home for groceries, a movie- , maybe to the next town or so- nothing far. I know there probably wouldn't be airbags or other newer safety features. But it does have to be reliable.
    I have heard that Mercedes is horribly expensive if work is needed, but that if the vehicle has been taken care of they last for many, many miles with routine maintainance.
    Without starting any fights here, is Volvo as good as Mercedes?
    I have wanted a Mercedes wagon for 25 years- and I can't afford, and do not even want a new one- I like the older ones. I also like the older Volvo, so it would be between the two. (now- cross my fingers, and yours too- the realtor brought someone to look at my house today- it is for sale, and the people loved it. They are bringing a relative to see it. If it is sold, I don't NEED to buy a 3rd vehicl I can take my time to look for one for fun).
    Anyway- is one car easier/more reliable/more economical to repair?

    Thanks for your views.
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,250
    What price range are you looking at?
This discussion has been closed.