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Audi S4 vs BMW M3



  • 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.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,887
    I believe gets its first service at 1200 miles..

    325 and 330 get it according to service light.. Most people report that comes pretty close to 15K (15.3K on ours).

    I'm not sure if the M3 goes according to the service light after that initial service, but it is easy to check on a used one. Every BMW dealer can pull up the service history on the car.. Many owners pay for extra oil changes inbetween the "free" service intervals.

    Most people consider it a good thing, if something mechanical needs less maintenance, rather than more...


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  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Ever smoke a blown M3? 0-60 faster than your S4 can get out of it's own way. :)

    I'm not sure why you are touting passing a 760. They are very heavy cars with a 130 mph limit. Load up an additional 700 lbs of cement in your car and then blow by the 760.
  • I just got my new 2005 Audi S4 tiptronic. Absolutely the best car I have ever owned. Came out of a 540i. Beautiful interior-gray leather (black ext), great looking, fast as hell, awd, great stereo, room for 4. What more could you ask for? Handles like its on rails. I always wanted a 911. Now I know I will never get one. This thing rocks!
  • bmwcccbmwccc Posts: 234

    I seem to be in the same boat as yourself. I am also in Sales and drive 20k per year. I am in the process of buying a 2005 330Ci with sport premium etc etc etc. The last decision I can't make is SMG over Manual transmission. I understand you had a 330Ci 6-speed and traded to a M3 SMG.

    Could you give me your thoughts on the differences, I am hearing a lot of negative info on the SMG even if it will be the SMGII version.

  • How do you like the tiptronic trans with the S4? I am thinking along these lines, as I don't want a manual for what will be a family car in addition to a sports sedan.

    Thanks, JP
  • Time for a new sled!
    I am smitten by the year road abilities of the S4 cabriolet.
    Live in a limited snow region but some ice.
    I would like to know if the lack of an Audi dealer within 150 miles would make present 2003-2005 S4 owners hesitate
    MB E320 4 matic for the next few months
  • boomn29boomn29 Posts: 189
    I'd like more info on this as well.

    Found this:
    GIAC performance software for the 2005 B6 S4 4.2L smoothly delivers a 15-23 hp and 15-28 ft-lbs gain. For optimum power gains the software must be coupled with a cold air intake.

    That doesn't seem like a huge gain on top of a 342hp engine!
  • Magazine reviews mean little in real life. The two cars are very close and any 'contest' will come down to the driver. On the street, the S4 is much more livable and drivable in everyday conditions. On the track it really comes down to the driver. Heck, tires can play a larger role than engine and suspension.


    Drive both and buy the car you like. I'd bet most people would choose the S4 if they could spend a week in each car. The M3 is a blast but as an everyday driver it leaves a little to be desired.
  • ccapccap Posts: 40
    Hi Jeskali,


    I just got out of a 2002 540i 6 speed. I loved it but before the the lease was up, I sold it and got into an Infiniti FX45 becasue of the all wheel drive. I thought I was making the right choice. BOY!! Was I wrong! The ride was terrible, gas mileage was super poor around 15 mpg. Ans the AWD is terrible. I was sliding all over the place.


    Well I could go on and on. Anyway I was able to get out of this vehicle and now I am coming back to either a BMW or an Audi. I starting looking into an M3 or an S4. I hope to dive them this week. I really love the Quattro in the S4. I think the M3 is going to slip all over the place.


    Can you give me your latest impressions of teh S4 today now that you have owned it for a few months. Have you had it out in the snow? How does it handle? Did you ever look inot the M3 or another BMW? Just wanted to get some feed back for other owners. Thanks
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,400
    that will depend on tires. If you buy a set of winter wheels & tires for either and S4 or an M3, you will be amazed what a set of winter shoes can do. Both cars come with "Summer Only" Z-Rated performance tires that will render either car useless (regardless of AWD or RWD) in any sort of winter weather.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • Generally I agree. However, if you are in an area where the winters are moderate (where we are in Cincinnati, for instance), you may find yourself more able to go year round on three season's rubber in the quattro -- I have tried both all seasons and summer only tires -- the AWD seems to make a huge difference.


    The BMW would be OK with 4 winter tires, the Audi could probably be OK with 4 all season high performance tires.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,887
    Even with Quattro, I wouldn't have wanted to be on summer tires last week... The average high temperature is 37 for January in Cincinnati.. I can't imagine doing that on summer rubber..


    But, I'd take the S4 with all-seasons over an M3 with winter tires any day... in inclement weather..


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  • Played with my 05 S4 in the snow last week, was certainly better that RWD G35 with snows.


    Have Pirelli snows on S4, which I do not like as much as the Blizzaks I had on the G---very hard rubber for a snow. Has anyone found anything else in the 18 inch wheel size?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,887
    I don't know about size availability, but I have 17" Goodyears.... They ride pretty well.. Eagle Ultra-Grip GW-3.. Haven't checked lately, but last time I looked, you could read about them on


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  • I have an 05 S4 that I haven't gotten snow tires for yet. I am going to try this winter season with the summer tires before investing in a whole new set of tires. So far this morning when we had about two inches of snow it hasn't been too bad. I just took it slow and felt the abs kick in a couple of times. I'm only 6 miles from work on local roads so maybe I can get away without the snows.
  • I wish we had 37 degrees it has been in the 50's for it seems like forever and it just won't stop raining!


    Yep, I've got summer tires and I made it jus' fine through the 15" snowfall we had the day or two before Christmas (once I had my driveway cleared).


    Oh, I am NOT suggesting that anyone go with Summer tires in the Winter -- I am not buying more tires on a car that will be gone at most in 6 months, that's all.


    And, the good news is I haven't felt the need for them thus far.
  • You probably can -- yet, you may want to do some homework and check out (when you need new tires) Ultra High Performance All Season tires. They are much less of a compromise, probably will last longer and be quieter than the Max performance Summer Tires that are OEM equip. on S4's.


    Just a thought. . . .
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,887
    I agree.. most people will be better served with all-seasons... especially on a 4-season AWD car.. than getting max summer performance rubber..


    As far as the winter Goodyears that I have.. They don't even show them anymore on their website.. So, maybe they have been discontinued.. I've only had them just over a year, though..


    Anyone looking for winter tires of any type at this late date... are probably out of luck.. most sizes are sold out by now...


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  • What make tire would you suggest? I've had a good experience with the Continental Extreme Contact series on my previous A6. They handled well in snow and dry pavement without giving up too much in the summer. They were also extremely quiet compared to my previous Pirelli's. The bad thing is that they wore quickly.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,887
    What size?


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This discussion has been closed.