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Audi S4 vs BMW M3



  • aryn7aryn7 Posts: 1
    It's only fair if you compare similar model redesigns. M3 is due for a redesign which will give it a bigger engine, S4 just did that. 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. However, the S4 is like Avis and the M3 is Hertz. BMW is just a superior brand and superior engineering. If you want a cushy interior, buy a Lexus. But if you want a car that performs, buy an M3 and pass the S4 by. If you compare the last S4 with the current M3, which is the valid comparison, and having owned both I can tell you, the S4 is a poor and distant second to the M3. It has poor reliability, sloppy suspension, poor driving dynamics and and simply doesn't hold up as well - hence the horrid depreciation of S4s. You can get into a used S4 cheaply because they fall apart, literally. Be prepared to make friends with your Audi dealer's service department. The M3 holds its value. It also has much tighter suspension (and I'm comparing an M3 convertible with an S4 sedan), precise handling, and is simply a better designed vehicle with better reliabilty. If you must drive in snow, you can do it in the M3 with snow tires if you just drive sensibly. Remember, all cars used to be rear wheel drive, the M3 has a lot of torque so you just have to drive rmore slowly and carefully. Frankly I feel a lot more comfortable in an M3 versus an S4, AWD just means all the wheels are turning, it doesn't mean the thing handles well. Even the new S4 just feels numb and lumbering on the road, the AWD gives it this clawlike feeling, whereas the M3 feels like liquid over pavement. It's hard to explain. Enthusiasts prefer M3 for a reason.
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    I wouldn't take 1/2 of what you said as being the truth. S4's do not "fall apart". That's a ridiculous statement. BMW's aren't the pillar of reliablity and are extremely expensive to fix with parts and maintenace. So don't go throwing stones at your German siblings.

    Even 5-6 year old S4's with the 2.7T Turbo can be rather expensive on the used market if they've been taken care of and can be hard to find.

    Keep your M3 and head back to the BMW forums. You obviously don't have any appreciation for the S4. The M3 is a fine car in it's own right, but you have no objectivity in being fair with other cars.
  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    The truth must really hurt about the Audi S4 being inferior to the M3. If you read all of messages on this site you will see that the statements are supported by facts and not biased propaganda. I went to Kelly Blue Book to check the trade in values for the M3 and the S4 and this is what they said:

    2001 BMW M3 in excellent condition with 100,000 mi $20,375
    2001 Audi S4 in excellent condition with 100,000 mi $12,700

    2002 M3 ( Same as above ) $22,875
    2002 S4 ( Same as above ) $14,250

    2003 M3 (Same as above) $26,100
    2003 S4 (Model year change) No Data

    2004 M3 (Same Data as above) $28,475
    2004 S4 (Same Data as above) $20,975

    Perhaps the S4 is falling apart :lemon:
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    BMW's have also have had a much higher MSRP to start with. 3, 5, 7 series up and down the line. For the same equiptment, you can pay $5 - $7,000 more for a BMW or Mercedes than on an AUDI

    If a $60,000 car depricates 50%, the resale is $30,000

    If a $53,000 car depreciates 50%, the resale is $26,500

    Numbers are relative, lemon boy.
  • Mr. bmw, you consentrate to much on the price tag, more is not always better. You talk alot about 0-60's and 1/4 miles. How well does your dinan m3 match up touring.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    A good strong post in defense of Audi, though I don't agree with all the comments about Mercedes, but I like Audis a great deal so I'll let that pass. ;)

    Anyway, I do agree that Audi is on the move and that there is no weak vehicle in their lineup at this time. The question is how does Audi get out from under the shadow of Mercedes and BMW in this country? In build quality they are seemingly better made (at least initially) than BMWs and most Mercedes (the CLS, SLK, and new S being the exceptions imo), but Audi can't catch a break in the U.S. I've liked Audi since the 5000 days, but for some reason they aren't on a lot of buyers lists when the time comes to look at luxury cars. The A8 deserves a look more than any other Audi product (except the S4 Cabrio), but doesn't get looked at by enough luxury car buyers. The default choices are still the S-Class, 7-Series and to a lesser extent, the XJ and LS430. How does Audi change this? I mean look at the A6. Stunning design inside and out, but it isn't even close to the E,5,GS,M or STS in sales. There has to be something wrong with Audi's promotion or frachise for such a stellar car to go so unnoticed.

  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    The Numbers are not relative. MSRP for both cars is in the $50,000 range and are virtually the same. Audi's can acutally cost more than their German competition. Also, if you go to a used car lot the higher quality cars will cost more than lesser quality cars. For example a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord will be worth more than a domestic because they are higher quality cars and are much more in demand than domestic cars. The same is true for the M3 vs the S4. More of the buying public will demand the M3 ten fold to the S4. Consumer Reports stated that the Audi S4 (A4) reliablity is BELOW AVERAGE which is why the car is less in demand and will cost less than a M3 on the used car market.

    Sorry S4 owners :sick:
  • logjamlogjam Posts: 1
    Not a very convincing article. If you look at page 6 the M3 easily won both the Performance and Subjective ratings - just got dinged on price.

    I'm a bit biased as an M3 owner, but I find the exterior styling of the S4 to be a bit boring. Looking forward to the RS4, thought.
  • s4lvrs4lvr Posts: 7
    Just so we can have a fact-based conversation, the 2006 S4 sedan has an MSRP of $46.4k vs $49.6k for the M3 (base version). Similarly spec'd out their price tags are $50.9k for the S4 and $54.2k for the M3. So there is a $3.3k difference in MSRP right there. Granted, looking at KBB for both cars (2004 versions with 40k miles), the trade-in value for an S4 is $27.5 vs $36.4 for an M3. Even adjusting for the $3.3k difference in MSRP, that is still a $6k upside for the M3.

    I have always had a bias for BMWs but I really wanted 4WD (midwest weather) and I didn't like the look of the 3X-sedan (previous model). So I went with an A4 3.0Q. Have had it for 3 years now, have never had a problem with my car and I drive 18k highway miles p/year. I have test-driven an M3 cabrio and an S4 cabrio recently as I am looking to trade-in. They both drive amazingly, although the M3 feels more "racey" while the S4 is a lot more refined. Having said that, the heavy rumble of the S4's V8 is just that much more exhilarating than the high-pitched whine of the I-6!! Either way, both absolutely waste most other things on the road, eventhough the S4 is so much more understated that most people don't even know what they are up against (so I think I would quite enjoy the look of the Porsche driver who challenged the S4 and lost).

    So what do you prefer? I guess it is just personal taste. Even to the M3 lovers, you can't deny that the S4 cabrio looks stunning (and the fact that there are not that many out there means resale values are actually much better than the sedan's). Personally, I have to commute in this car and that includes 3 months of snow ... so from a safety perspective I think I am going S4

    cheers -
  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    If this is going to be a fact based discussion then by all means use accurate facts. Consumer Reports and Kelly Blue Book clearly show the M3 to be more reliable and a much better investment than the S4. Also, there is no 2006 M3 to compare to the 2006 S4. If you had your facts straight you would know that the M3 is due for a change and won't be available until late 2007. I was in Atlanta this weekend and stopped by an Audi dealer to check in on what the competition is being sold for. The MSRP for the 2005 S4 was $51,000. This is exactly what a 2005 M3 would cost. After only a couple of years of ownership the S4 will be $8,000 less valuable than an M3. If you want to buy a S4 than by all means do so. My problem is with this S4 crowd is using subjective opinions and distortions to make the unrealible and service prone S4 seem superior to the M3.
  • s4lvrs4lvr Posts: 7
    OK let's have a fact-based discussion.

    Firstly, which consumer report are you talking about? Go to Consumer , and look up the BMW 3-series and Audi A4 reports. Granted, the Audi has atrocious reliability through 2001 (it is that reputation which hurts its resale value now ... ) but has shown consistent improvement since the new shape was introduced in 2002. Indeed, in 2003 it received only excellent and very good ratings and in 2004 ONLY excellent reliabillity ratings across EVERY category. Against that, in 2004 the 3-series scores only Very Good in Fuel System, Transmission, Electrical, Power Equipment, Body Integrity and Body Hardware. Again ... these are hard facts from Consumer

    Secondly, talking about a depreciating asset like a car (regardless of brand) as an "investment" is not particularly useful. You would normally expect an investment to appreciate, not lose 30% of its value the moment you drive it off the lot!!!

    Thirdly ... I would direct you to and go to "build your own M3". Look to the left of the screen and you will see that BMW itself classifies it as a 2006 model. I am more than fully aware that the M3 is up for a model change (and it will get a V8, and that it is expected to deliver 400 HP , etc etc etc ....). I did not intend it to mean the new model, if you want to use that logic then Audi will be introducing the new A4 series shape in the 2007 model year which will mean a new S4 which will undoubtedly be pushed to match the Bimmer for power (it is [non-permissible content removed] for tat between those brands).

    Fourthly, get your facts straight. The 2005 MSRP for a sedan with stick was $45850 (before gas guzzler tax. See following website The comparable M3 coupe was $47300 (;_ylt=AondEun5GacdcWhT- dpCbfLuzIMQF) Even the 2006 model is $46,400 base MSRP before gas guzzler tax, which is materially lower than the $51k your are quoting. By the way .... if you talk facts - quote your source (I have as per the above links.

    It is interesting that you would say "subjective opinions and distortions" and then follow that up with "unreliable and service-prone S4". Do you have a published data source that confirms that statement? Again, Consumer dispute that view ... published data (not my opinion)

    At the end of the day, though, all this is pretty useless. Cars are so much about personal taste ... if you fall in love with a car, who CARES about the fact that after a couple of years of enjoyment it is worth a couple of grand less!! Over the same period I will have spent more than that on dinners and drinks ... something I will never remember. The car will give me daily enjoyment - can't put a price tag on that. For the record - I love the look of the M3 (especially convertible) and if I lived somewhere where it did not snow, I would buy it without a doubt ... however, I really want the 4WD because it just deals much better with inclement weather.

    Cheers -
  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    Sorry if you are having trouble accepting the truth about the S4. Let me see if I can help you understand the facts.
    1.Consumer Reports sells monthly magazines and also has a website. Got it? OK.
    2. If you go to their website you can check to see what they say about many different products including cars. Got it? Take your time, this is not that difficult to understand. I'll even make it easy for you. I have a subscription to Consumer Reports and I will for the 3rd time post what they said about the BMW M3 and Audi S4.
    Pasted below is what Consumer Reports said about your beloved S4:

    "See a summary of test findings and Quick Picks--the choices that merit first consideration.
    In a sports car we look for quickness, agility, and responsiveness. Comfort, convenience, and fuel
    economy are important, but less so than with regular cars. Of the nine cars listed in the chart below, we recommend three. The Audi S4 (1) and Cadillac CTS-V (5) have had below-average reliability in their standard versions, the A4 and CTS, respectively, so we cannot recommend them. We lack reliability data on the Mazda RX-8 (4), Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (6), Pontiac GTO (8), and Chrysler Crossfire (9).
    The Ratings rank vehicles based on their overall score in our tests, irrespective of price or reliability. Recommended models ( ) not only tested well but have shown average or better reliability, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test. Quick Picks are recommended models that in our judgment deserve special consideration based on your needs".


    All four cars have a strong engine and manual transmission, and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. The Audi and Cadillac are four-door sedans, while the BMW and Pontiac are two-door coupes. The Audi is all-wheel drive, while the others use rear-wheel drive. The M3 is the only one that meets all of our criteria for being recommended. (See CR Quick Recommendations for more details.)

    Consumer Reports would not recommend buying a Audi S4. I wonder why? :lemon:
  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    BMW clearly shows it's superiority over lesser cars like the S4 by using a inline 6 engine to trump the larger V8 in the S4. Even with the S4's larger displacement engine it will always lose to the M3. I look forward to showing all you S4 owners my tail lights should you ever be brave (or foolish)enough to make a run for it. All the talk about all wheel drive won't keep you from breathing in the M3's exhaust. Better hope Audi gets the new V10 right or develop a better supercharger like the one it uses in it's V8 in the RS6 to keep up with the mighty M5. ;)

    <a href="
  • rjlaerorjlaero Posts: 659
    So the M3 has a better resale value than the S4. Who cares?

    I'm not going to by a car I don't want simply because it's worth a few thousand dollars more 3-4 years down the road. People with high discretionary incomes who purchase 50-60k cars buy what they want. Getting money back on resale is obviously a good thing. And no doubt the M3's do have a super strong resale value. So I'll give you that.

    But why act like a child about it and say the S4 is a Lemon? That's not the case.

    BMW's are no pillar of reliability and are very, very expensive to repair and maintain after they are out of warranty. So I don't what what you think you have in your M3.
  • I agree that the S-4 is a better car, faster, handles better and is a better value. BMW is a great car, but lets face it, an S-4 w 4 wheel drive cannot be beat.
  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    Who cares about resale value? Most of the informed buying public cares about resale value. Resale value is a reflection of quality and dependability. Audi will always be the step child to BMW and Mercedes for performance and image. Have you noticed how Audi is still trying to establish is image by adding that hideous snout to the front of all new cars? You don't see that non sense from BMW, Mercedes or Jaguar. Audi is still trying desperately to find it's identity. Just look at the multiple engines Audi has used over the past ten years in an desperate attempt to compete with the current German kings of the automotive industry. If image and quality doesn't matter then by all means stay with your S4. However you know in the back of your mind when you see an M3 your first initial reaction is one of admiration and respect (perhaps even fear). Audi is and will always be the step child and under dog to BMW. Accept you fate, get out of denial! :lemon: :sick: :confuse: :mad:
  • lets not talk about the future and resale values. Every article I have read writes, Audi rs4 makes the curent bmw m3 look like a civic merging on the freeway. You don't bash the rs4, because you know its better. Bmw has the 325, 330, and m3; Audi has the a4, s4, and rs4. Bmw has met its match, and please Audi the step child?, underdog?, look around, Audi is on top ;) .
  • m3_r1m3_r1 Posts: 32
    Do you actually think you make a case for Audi with biased unsupported comments like the one you just posted? I have the cure for you not knowing the truth or as I posted earlier "living in denial". Remember, the first step in dealing with a problem is admitting you have one. I have two answers for the humorous comment you posted about the RS4.
    1. Do your research and check out the M3 CSL Light Weight.
    2. If you are still in denial (and I suspect you will always be) check out the M3 GTR 450 hp V8(street version) that will make your RS4 wet it's pants. :P
  • Ok so I have been reading all of your posts and I have to say that I have never heard more ridiculous comments in my life! M3_R1... WOW... I think snobby BMW people like you are the reason I will never buy into the BMW brand. I would never want to be a part of such blind ignorance. I acknowledge that BMW makes amazing cars, but have you ever even driven an Audi? You are making some pretty presumptuous comments if you haven&#146;t. It seems to me that you are just making all of you assumptions off of some magazine articles that you read. (Most magazines are biased, so I suggest you read more than CR before posting your "facts") The first thing that I would suggest to anyone looking to buy either of these cars is GO DRIVE THEM. Both are amazing cars and both are ridiculously quick and fun to drive.

    The current S4 is only a &#147;refreshed&#148; version of the old S4 (As is the same with all the A4 family). Audi has done this to hold the market over until the new B8 A4 is out in early 2008. So it comparing the current S4 and the current M3 is totally legitimate.

    M3_R1. If you don&#146;t understand the benefit of having all four wheels able to put power to the ground (weather conditions aside) then I think you should probably do a little more research, and next time you floor your car off the line, or take a corner faster than you should, and you get those tires a&#146; spinnin&#146; out of control… maybe… just maybe you&#146;ll get it.

    I love BMW, I love Audi… I think both companies are totally innovative and make amazing cars. Audi has had a rough past with their quality, but that HAS been turned around. To me the reason to go with Audi is because it is not a BMW. But like I said you cant go wrong with either.
  • 1. Do your research and check out the M3 CSL Light Weight.
    2. If you are still in denial (and I suspect you will always be) check out the M3 GTR 450 hp V8(street version) that will make your RS4 wet it's pants.


    Unlike its Euro-spec counterpart, the M3 CSL, the CS is not a stripped-down,lightweight flyer. ... 1/4 Mile: 13.38 s @ 105.73 mph Price as Tested: $52300
    M3 GTR is a car for true purists. An empty weight of approx. 1350 kilograms has been achieved. The 4.0 litre V8 engine with a cylinder bank angle of 90 degrees resembles the race version featuring in excess of 450 hp. Due to the necessary adaptations regarding emissions and noise levels the road version still generates more than 258 kW (350 hp).
    - Im not even going to show the price!
    - m3 gtr=350hp, The rs4=420 source
    - I hope your new m3 doesn't come with this engine.
    p.s.- I hope this shows the rs4 is more powerful and has a better drive train but another note I believe your in denial the proof is in the ink. :surprise: also do your home work
This discussion has been closed.