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Audi S4 vs BMW M3



  • esfesf Posts: 1,020
    "So you can't really compare the S4 and M3 right now, they're playing leapfrog like Ford and Chevy does with its trucks and M3 is just about to leap over S4."

    You're right about that, but Audi always has a backup plan. The new RS4 will be as competitive as the new M3 in all areas, and even supplies 100hp per litre. It is quick, fast, sophisticated, stylish, and very performance-oriented.

    Also, when the new S4 comes out in 3 years (or 2 years after the new M3), it will again leap over the M3, most likely having the current RS4's engine.

  • salrafsalraf Posts: 17
    anyone have any idea on the resdual and money factor for an s4?

    also is there a substantial difference between 2005.5 and 2006?

    deals are more plentiful for the 2005
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hi - see the exchange at this link: dal2, "Audi S4: Prices Paid & Buying Experiences" #43, 11 Feb 2006 9:24 pm. That's probably the best place for further questions on an S4 lease. Good luck.
  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    The day the S4 leaps over the M3 is the day the sun fails to rise. Resale value, relibility, and performance say's the the S4 continues to play catch up. When the S4 can hold it's resale value against the M3 perhaps then a reasonable debate can be put forth, until then it's all talk. However like most S4 owners, it's ok to dream. :)
  • In Edmunds top residual high performance cars the S4 is listed but the M3 is not. i have looked at the site of one of the noted watchdogs for reliablity and the bimmers don't do so well in the 3 year strecth. i have heard lots of good things about the S4 but i am really looking forward to the return of the 2007 RS4. Granted the M3 does seem to be the one to beat year after year.
  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    I suggest you look at Kelly Blue Book and compare any year M3 to the S4. Be warned, you might get depressed. It's not even close.
  • tenzotenzo Posts: 24
    Hi. Guys
    I got a 06’ 325i 9K miles on it, and plan to trade in to 03 M3 conv. w SMG and NAV (42800, dealer asking for and pretty much all the available options on it) they are willing to pay 29800 for my 06 325i and here is the detail. Tell me what you guys think about this deal.

    My 06’ 325i
    STEPTRONIC Automatic Transmission $1,275
    Premium Package $2,900
    Cold Weather Package $1,000
    Xenon Adaptive Headlights $800
    All-Weather Floor Mats $78
    Aluminum Pedals $85
  • jackreidjackreid Posts: 2
    I have a 97 328is, and the engine light has been on for four of the nine years. These foreign shops are useless in my opinion and would just bring the car to BMW. Everytime my light has been on,it was due to a bad 02 sensor and I had it replaced. I brought the car to another shop and was charged sixty dollars to diagnose the problem and they didn't know how to fix it. I would just try BMW.
  • rhino01rhino01 Posts: 8
    I am in the process of replacing my 06 Chrysler SRT8. I have looked at many cars in this or similar classes. From all my magazine and online research I have narrowed it down to the BMW M3 and the Audi S4 (the wife didn’t approve the 72K budget for a loaded RS4). The Chrysler was bought sight unseen to replace a 04 Corvette Z51 due to a new requirement for rear seats. I wanted a “4 door Corvette.” After almost a year I have been unhappy with the car for multiple reasons but that is not for this forum.

    I began my test drives with the Lexus IS350 and the Infiniti G35 coupe. I felt that the IS350 just was to biased to the luxury side of the luxury/sport equation and was not available in manual. The G35 just did not have enough oomph. So I went to the Audi dealer to test drive a S4. Incidentally they had 2 of the limited to 250 25quattro editions and said they once had a total of 5. I did not care for the boy racer looks but it was inviting considering it was also discounted. I drove the S4 with the sales person. He was very laid back and let me have fun with the car. I felt that it was a great luxury car with excellent all around performance. It did not have the freight train feel of my SRT8 but it had a great shifter and just felt smooth and composed in anything I made it do. My only 2 gripes were the lack of touch screen for the NAV and the arguably minor loss of straight line performance compared to my SRT8. The rear seats are for kids just for short trips. We have an SUV for the family work so just having usable rear seat is the only requirement for space. The car had a very polished look inside and out. Everything looked well designed and elegant. I would imagine that most non-enthusiast could not tell the difference from it and an A4. Overall, I was very pleased with the car.

    I then drove to the BMW dealer to drive an M3. They had quite a few in inventory. All of the coupes had the competition package. We started our drive and the sales person was taking me on what I felt like was a Sunday drive. I started to drive more spirited when I got the chance but then was scolded by the sales person telling me that I should not be driving the car that way. I felt that he thought that I should buy the car just because it was a BMW and that I did not need to see the potential. With what little I got to experience, I felt that the M3 was the race car of what I drove. It accelerated hard and I could feel it unlike the S4. It felt like a smaller more optioned version of my vette. But I had many complaints. The exterior screamed look at me. I would not want to attract any more attention from the local authorities. The interior was the opposite in my opinion. The supplemental instrumentation felt early 90’s at best (the 06 330 sedan in the showroom did not look that much better). The Alcantara steering wheel looked after market and made my hand sweat. The sales person said it was from the spirited driving. This was doubtful as my right hand was fine and he barely let me do any fun driving. The silver cube trim looked cheap and had a raspy feel. The Nav/stereo seemed archaic compared to what I have seen recently. The fit and finish of the carpeting seemed like an afterthought. The door felt klunky when I opened and closed it.

    So in comparison, I loved the performance of the M3 over the S4 but I felt the S4 was more rewarding overall. The majority of the time I am driving only mildly spirited and prefer the comforts and luxury over track capability. I could see people who base a higher level of performance as stronger criteria to pick the M3. In my younger days I probably would have.

    There was also a $7k price increase for the M3 over the comparably equipped S4. I could not see the justification. So I don’t believe the recurring issue of resale to be as valid. Especially in my case where the Audi dealership was more willing to negotiate price than the BMW dealership. That being said, I don’t believe that resale should be a strong criteria when buying a car. Most cars are pleasures not investments. If I was buying just transportation, I would probably buy a base Corolla. I believe a person should buy whatever car that they will enjoy not what has the best resale. I don’t keep my cars long so I just consider cars an expense for my enjoyment.

    I agree with what many people said: I would buy the M3 for the track but the S4 for everyday. So I am going to order an 07 S4 since none of the in stock S4’s are in the colors I want and they are not building any more 06’s.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Interesting post and I appreciated the well written comparison of the S4 vs. M3. However, I did get a kick out of:

    I believe a person should buy whatever car that they will enjoy not what has the best resale. I don’t keep my cars long so I just consider cars an expense for my enjoyment.

    preceeded by

    ..the wife didn’t approve the 72K budget for a loaded RS4.

    For what it's worth, I've kept my 1995 Nissan Maxima for 12 years and 155k miles (still have it at our second home). When I was thinking of splurging for a Boxster S, my wife kicked me in the pants to get a 911S Cab. Mostly so all of us could fit in it (2 kids), but also on the basis that (1) if we keep it a long time, the extra cost is worth it and/or (2) if we don't, the high 911 resale value will be a benefit.

    I've always thought that resale value should be relatively more important to someone who doesn't keep cars a long time. But I agree, cars are not investments.
  • bornoborno Posts: 77
    Very interesting posts. But my cars 1-2 years old and try to keep awhile. LOVE my M3, but know that audi is an everyday car. Haven't driven S4 but have to agree that it is a daily drive that meets more needs of more people.

    Live in Mass, and own 01M3cic, and an 00A6Q,2.7t, both 6sp.,wife drives awd sienna. The problem is that I need a vehicle to tow a boat with. love both my cars for thier intended purpose. bmw is pure sports car, with limited use season, have hard top, but prefer A6 unless it sunny and 60+. Audi is also a blast. Estimated values are M3,$36K/A6,$12K Total $48K. Way I see it, options are:

    1. Keep both, get 4th beater truck,$7K, to move boat, except all three vehicles could have high maintenance $, plus Insurance $$. Have camp to park truck. Total $55K

    2. Replace both for an X5, or Q7, still pricey, $60K, and lose all benefits of having bought exhisting vehicle used and good prices, variety, etc.

    3. Replace both with 4Runner, save a few bucks now and when 11 year old son gets closer to driving p/u an used S4 cab., that can be driven in winter on snows, unlike M3.

    4. Replace Audi with decent tow vehicle like 4Runner,$36K, still pricey, but would allow me to keep m3 for awhile. Total $72K, bit too much.

    See, I'm a bit car crazy, like the rest of you, but really need ideas on best solution to problem, leaning towards #2 or 4, but 1 + 3 seem to make more sense. Insurance and maintenance are some concern, but with a total of 15K miles annually, and vehicles already in excellent condition, I'm not to worried about repairs/maintenance. Just raised insurance deductible to $1K so insurance isn't to bad either.

    Any help is appreciated!!!
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 875
    used F150, or silverado to pull the boat, [15-20k] sell both the Audi and the bimmer and get a certified S4 or M3. Problem solved :P
  • rhino01rhino01 Posts: 8
    Easy solution:

    Get a boat too big to pull so you have to leave it at a marina. You can sell your wife on not having to get another. :)

    Now if you are talking about a fishing boat, I can understand the need to pull it. You can get a fairly loaded Ford F-150 for about $10K off of sticker. That would be about $22K.

    If you love your M3 keep it. I regret having gotten rid of the Corvette. I would get another one in a heartbeat but my wife has not signed off on 3 vehicles for 2 drivers yet.
  • arvin1arvin1 Posts: 9
    I would go for the m3..they are both good cars but the bmw is better..
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    Waiting for an 2007 S4 is not a bad idea. 2007's will have the new FSI injection and the hp is bumped up to 350. More power and better fuel economy :)

    The 25th anniversary cars are really nice. But at 62 grand, I'd spend the extra money to get the RS4, or just order a regular 07 S4 to get the FSI.
  • rhino01rhino01 Posts: 8
    All my research on performance sedans was for naught. My wife finally acquiesced to having 3 cars. So we got her a fun car and I got to order a 2007 Corvette. I guess I will be moving over to the Corvette forum. Thank you for all your comments.
  • socaljoesocaljoe Posts: 6
    I'm not sure if anyone has posted this, but it's a comparison between the M3 and S4 M3 vs. S4
  • esfesf Posts: 1,020
    I had the same problem on my 2006 A3 for about two months. I brought it to the Audi dealer for the 5000 mile checkup, and they fixed it no-charge.

    '06 Audi A3 2.0T DSG • '05 Audi S4 Cabriolet • '04 Lexus RX 330
  • bmargolisbmargolis Posts: 1
    I'm interested in an M3 with the Competition Package and can find very few of them here in the Northeast. Where did you see them?


  • rhino01rhino01 Posts: 8
    BMW of Fairfax. They had several including the Interlagos Blue fully loaded that I drove.
  • rdemasirdemasi Posts: 4
    Hi all -

    I need some help in deciding on a 2004 CPO S4 loaded with 20K miles for 40K vs 2005 M3 loaded with 10K for 50K. Any hellp is appreciated. I have kids 11 and 12. I usually drop 1 in morning to school and pick one up in evening at soccer. I want a car with great performance but also practical for my situation. I am only 3 miles to BMW but 30 to audi.

    Instead of M3, I am also thinking of 2007 330i or 350i twin turbo coupe.

    Any thoughts?
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    I think the S4 is a nicer every day driver. And if you need 4 doors with kids, the S4 adds a bit more utility. The M3 is rear wheel drive. Having Quattro for rain and all season traction is a plus for me, but you might not care. And I love the sound of Audi's 4.2 V8. A 6 speed S4 is one of the most fun and enjoyable 4 door performance sedans on the market. And the S4 is $6-8,000 less expensive new, so you can pick one up a lot less than a used M3.
  • rdemasirdemasi Posts: 4
    Thanks for your response.

    The audi dealership here actually sold the S4 I had picked out. So it looks like I have more time to think about this. I live in NC so not sure I need the AWD. Rains here a fair amount in winter and spring. Barely any snow or ice/sleet. I realize the S4 is probably more practical with the kids, but the M3 just seemed more fun to drive. Not sure what I will do.
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 875
    I suggest making a decision based on how much track time you'll put in with either car. If it is a lot, then the M3 IMO. If not very often, I would think that the S4 is superior
  • tla1963tla1963 Posts: 8
    I think that when looking into buying a used car, the s4 or an m3, you should really be very careful. These are performance cars and the previous owners might have driven them very hard so if the dealer or person has ALL service records that would be a good start. I LOVE my s4 and get many compliments plus audi's service is excellent. Love not paying for anything except gas and tires.
  • rdemasirdemasi Posts: 4
    All cars I am looking at are CPO '94 or newer with < 20K miles. They also have all service records.

    I probably will not spend much time at the track. I loved the M3 for speed and handling. I live in NC and there are lots of hilly, twisty roads around here where I would think this car would be really fund to drive.

    Audi is 45 minutes from me vs 5 for BMW. I really don't think I need AWD drive here since I am in the Raleigh area.

    Here is how I look at it:

    - looks -- M3 wins
    - interior -- S4 wins
    - speed -- M3 wins
    - handling -- M3 wins except in rain and snow/ice (the latter are very rare here)
    - practicality -- S4 wins due to 4 doors
    - service -- this is a draw but BMW is much closer
    - depreciation -- M3 wins
    - reliability -- M3 wins
    - cost S4 wins
    - snob factor -- M3 wins since this car looks much less like a 3-series than the S4 looks like an A4.

    So, I think I am leaning toward the M3, but still not sure.

    Let me know if anyone has any other thoughts.
  • tla1963tla1963 Posts: 8
    Well the distance to the dealer does make a big difference. Here in LA, every other BMW is A M3 but there aren't too many S4's around. I like the ride quality of the S4 vs the M3. One of the co-workers is a big BMW fan and has had M3 coupe and sedan but after riding in my car he feels that the S4 is a better everyday car, especially the transmission, ride quality and overall realworld performance. However, if you are going to track the car the bimmer is the way to go.
  • rjag2034rjag2034 Posts: 1
    Perhaps you should watch the Top Gear comparo of these 2 cars. The S4 slammed the m3 on their track. The general consensus was for 1 spin around the track they'd choose the m3, but for everyday driving the s4 hands down.
    top gear
  • rdemasirdemasi Posts: 4
    Thanks for all of the advice. In the end I went with the M3, for the following reasons:

    1. M3 is a more fun to drive, hands down
    2. M3 is faster and handles better, especially in the climate/terrain around here (NC piedmont region)
    3. M3 looks much, much better then S4
    4. M3 is more reliable than S4
    5. Bimmer dealership is much closer than Audi
    6. Depreciation is much better on M3

    S4 is probably a more practical car for my situation, but.....
  • bornoborno Posts: 77
    I own m3cic and an a6q 2.7t 6sp. really love both, but I would give up the audi way before i let the bmw go. the m3 is a fantastic car...congradulations!
This discussion has been closed.