Last post on Jan 15, 2009 at 1:22 PM
You are in the Audi A4
What is this discussion about?
Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Car Buying, Wagon
#14 of 35 reliability question
Nov 08, 2007 (3:35 pm)
Folks, I am looking at the 2003-2004 325xi or 2004-2005 1.8 A4. Both in wagon form (dogs). They both have
2) Manual tranny (essential)
BMW is reputed to be more reliable than Audi. But it's a lot slower (they fixed it in 2006 but it's too expensive).
I realize I would have to get an extended warranty no matter what choice I make, but I would like to minimize the risk of getting stuck on, say, I-70 in the middle of Winter. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
#15 of 35 Re: A$ vs 328xi [badnews]
Dec 18, 2007 (6:47 am)
I'm glad to see there are others out there trying to make this decision. I am in need of a car with a split personality:
1) daily commuter car (i.e., decent MPG)
2) that will double as dog/kiddy transport on weekends (wagon/SUV storage), and
3) that will also be our "night on the town/adult" car, the car we'll use to go to weddings or use when we go to dinner with another couple (which means I'd like it to be a "nice" car with a decent back seat).
After finding "new" cars cost-prohibitive, I narrowed the field down to a pre-owned (2004-2006) Audi A4 or A6 Avant (wagon), a 3- or 5-Series wagon, or an x3.
For starters, I don't think the larger A6 or 5-Series are going to fit into my budget; they are hard to find to begin with, and tend to be in the $30k+ range (I'd love to stay under $25k).
I test drove a 2006 A4 Avant. I loved it. I came home from the drive humming about how that was the car for us, done deal. I even emailed 15 dealers online via Audi's website and eBay Motors, located a beauty in NJ, and drove 90 minutes to see it. Then I once again sat in the back seat, in the light of day, and realized that it was a non-starter for me - you can't ask an adult to sit back there for any length of time. I am 6' tall, and couldn't sit with my knees straight or get it without hitting my knees on the seat; my wife 5' 8" had similar troubles. Killed me because I loved the car, but it's just tiny in the back.
By comparison, I sat in the back of a 3-series (albeit the sedan model because there was no wagon in the lot) and it was actually comfortable - it's maybe 3 inches bigger, but it makes all the difference in the world.
Two things are concerning me about just going for the 3-series wagon. First, I am a city driver with little need for ground clearance or offroading capability, but at the same time we do get 3-4 weeks of snow cover a year, and I HATE bottoming-out my car doing everyday tasks - driving up my driveway or into a parking lot. Second, I will be having kids (with luck) during the life of this car, and while I have no personal experience I am told that lifting an infant in/out of an SUV is a lot easier than lifting one out of a sedan or wagon (I should add that I have a cranky back, so this is pretty important).
This brings me to the x3. I drove it and it was nice. There are plenty out there and for better prices than the 325xi (I've been looking at 05 and 06 models). I think the only things holding me back right now is that it's not great on gas (a factor that started me looking to downsize), and I kind of like the idea of being a bit "different" by having a wagon-that-can-drive-like-a-sports-sedan.
I am at a standstill right now. Thoughts? Other options? Words of encouragement?
#16 of 35 Re: A$ vs 328xi [bryan3536]
Dec 20, 2007 (11:06 am)
Just a thought, and many may find this a four letter word, but: Saab 9-5 Wagon or 9-3 Sport Combi (wagon)? Sorry, family had a couple of quirky Saab 99's in the '70s and we had a '95 900 so I've got a soft spot in my heart for Saabs. Fun and functional. And for my family at least, reliable... And I'm sure you could get a deal.
#17 of 35 Re: A$ vs 328xi [bryan3536]
Dec 28, 2007 (10:05 am)
Bryan, I hear you brother. It sounds like you and I are searching for the same automobile. In my case it's my wife's car. Her lease is up on her Freestyle in one month. She likes the vehicle (size, cargo) but I'm indifferent. I'd prefer better gas mileage and a vehicle (with cargo) a bit smaller so as she can't keep half a garage worth of junk in it. I also think she can get by on FWD vs AWD to improve MPG. I'm driving an '07 X3. I LOVE the thing. MPG has been decent to very good. Around town I get 19-21 and avg anywhere from 24-27 hwy depending on how loaded down I am and if A/C is running. I call those very decent numbers for a very fun vehicle to drive. My bluetooth behaves wacky but otherwise it's a perfect vehicle for me. Note that prior to the X3 I had a 325xi. Great car to drive but the tires (RFTs) sucked; had 3 sets within the first 20k miles. I also found the car a tad small for me (I'm 6'2") with too small a trunk. For the wife I've been searching CPO cars for a 2004 A6 Avant or a 2004 or 2005 9-5 wagon. I really like the looks of both and think I could live with them (i.e. not tire of 'em) for several years. They both get reasonable mpg (Saab>Audi but that's FWD v AWD for you), have ample cargo, and have the feature and fun-to-drive factor. I have one child so it all works for me. The wife likes the heighth of an SUV (i.e. Saturn Vue, Taurus X) but the mpg, and lack of fun-to-drive don't entice me.
#18 of 35 Re: A$ vs 328xi [georgek2]
Dec 28, 2007 (8:40 pm)
It's been a brutal week in car-search land. We've been visiting relatives in Florida all week (I live in NY) and thought this would be a perfect week to find a car and, if we bought one, drive it home. Didn't go so good. The 2005 BMW 3-Series Wagon that I thought was the answer to my problems turned out to be a non-starter - I couldn't possibly put my 95+ lb. dog in the back of the car without the seats going down, which sort of defeats the purpose (at least for us). While the back looks long enough, it slants so severely, so quickly after the "end" of the back seats, that a tall dog can't really fit back there.
We then took a test drive in a 2005 Mercedes E-Series wagon - a car we never would have considered except that we were working with a dealership that my in-laws use (and love - for what it's worth, Mitch and Jason at Melbourne FL Mercedes/Audi/Porsche are solid guys that I recommend to anyone). We loved the car so much - so smooth, so darn nice inside - that both the wife and I were fully willing to overlook the grandma-ish styling and sat down to talk price. He handed me the Carfax and . . . for the first time I realized I was looking at a RWD wagon, not 4Matic (Mercedes' AWD). In the Northeast no one would consider such a thing; in FL, that's all they drive. So, we were back to square one. My wife, inexplicably, doesn't want a wagon - any wagon. She doesn't like the looks of the Audi A4 Avant or allroad. She thinks the Volvo V50 is lame. She thinks Suburu's are "Vermont Mommy Cars." She would "think" about a Volvo XC70, but try to get her to look at one and . . . not real motivated. For some reason, she's just not into the BMW X3, yet likes the X5. I am at a loss.
As an aside, we were at the dealership and our friend Mitch put us in a FWD Audi A4. Again, not a car I would have considered initially - we were looking for a sedan/SUV compromise in a wagon (or at least I was) - but it was just a great car to drive. The back seats are usually too tight for me (6'1") but we were finally able to figure out the front seat adjustments and it was fine (this was a 2006; I've been in a 2004 before, and I think you lose a few inches). Anyway, we loved the car and almost pulled the trigger before calmer heads prevailed and steered us back to task - buying a wagon/SUV.
At this point, I've exhausted the options in the low-end luxury field, and am back to the usual suspects - Honda and Toyota, names I hesitate to even raise on a board like this. I think we're going to opt to replace our CRV with yet another CRV, though we'll spring for the leather and heated seats. It's tremendously depressing, but I think it's the right thing to do right now.
Next car search starts in 5 months . . . Good luck all.
Jan 09, 2008 (2:47 pm)
Wow I thought this thread died a year ago. Just an update and general response to some of the issues raised - not in any particular order.
Wives don't drive Sport Wagons. They see them as station wagons, as my sister says, "like Mom always had to drive". Many woman always make remarks about men and their cars, but I think we are in fact more practical. Even if practical is which car can I drive faster in the mountains. Women buy SUV sometimes because they say they need the room when in fact a van always holds more, is easier to load and unload and is easier to drive. So don't be surprised if she doesn't get it when it comes to wagons. Remind her that it is the more sophisticated choice - "it is what all the europeans drive".
As far as big dogs go, if you need room behind the second row for a dog over 45 lbs forget it.
I've had my 07 328xi Sport Wagon for a year and here are some observations. When I bought my car I did not focus on the runflats. Having had them, I am not a big fan. If all you do is drive in urban areas or within 100 miles of a BMW dealer I don't think they are a problem. As far as wear is concerned, they should not wear any quicker than similar tread designed regular tires. There were some problems with certain Bridgestone OEM, but they are being replace for free if they show irregular wear in the first 10K miles under warranty.
After a year of driving I love my car more today than I did when I bought it. I do miss some of the bells and whistles of the A4, but I could have bought some of them as options if I hadn't been so cheap.
Occasionally I long for the additional hp of the A4 3.2.
While I might not buy an A4 this year because the model is changing. I also would definitely not buy the new one in the first year of production. There will be many problems with the new car.
As for the A6 or 5 series wagons, they are much bigger and much more expensive. I don't need the bigger car and couldn't afford one anyway. I like the way the smaller car drives. Again I have no experience with Mercedes or Saab. I did test drive the last version of the Volvo V70, but they have a new model this year so I can't be any help. They do not seem to be any cheaper than BMW or Audi.
Before you buy check model specific websites. E90 Post is a great one for the 3 series and will give you all you need to know about the car and how to save money buying one. You can also get great deals on complete replacement wheels and tires with little or no mileage for cheap. Crazy BMW owners are always changing out their wheels as soon as they buy their cars.
#20 of 35 a4v.bmwv.merc
Jan 11, 2008 (8:24 pm)
I have an '08 328xi wagon. In the month or so that i've had it, i've gotten around 17mpg. I live in a pretty hilly area, so that probably explains the somewhat disappointing mpg, generally i get much better mileage on the highway (in the 25mpg range or so). I'm about 6ft, and with the seat adjustments i fit fine (if i don't lower the seat i can push my head into the roof). I test drove a handful of cars - infinity fx35, audi a4 wagon, subaru outback wagon and bmw wagon. The bmw wagon was by far the best driving experience. It was also the most comfortable. That being said, it was also the most expensive. It definitely drives more like a car than a wagon or suv, which i think is a good thing. The back is fairly tight, but i've sat in it to test it out and it seems fine for me (again, I'm 6ft, with fairly long legs). It's not an expedition, but it's not super-cramped either.
Price-wise, you're probably better off going with a used audi based simply on this: I see a million A4 avants driving around but hardly any bmw wagons. If you go to a bmw dealer, you probably won't have many wagon options, though you'll have plenty of sedan options. With supply/demand laws being as they are, you'll be able to get a much better deal on a used audi avant than a used bmw wagon, as there are a lot more of them around. That being said, i think the extra $ for the bmw is worth it. With respect to the mercedes wagons, i have noticed that they are significantly larger, but they seem a lot more "boaty" to me. But mercs generally don't appeal to me that much anyway.
#21 of 35 A4 avant v. BMW328wagon v. infiniti ex
Apr 14, 2008 (6:40 pm)
just found this site after a full saturday of driving cars. have been driving saabs for 20 yrs.. have a 9-3 combi which I have been satisfied with but my 18 yr old daughter thinks there not cool and my wife wants a change. looked at the A4 avant, bmw328xi wagon and infiniti ex - the infiniti is too stylized for me, the A4 and bmw felt pretty similar but I did not sit in the back seat and have been reading all over the web that the space in the back seat is an issue - the bmw is pricey but they seemed to be willing to be aggressive with leasing deals(maybe because the economy is having an effect even at the luxury end sales) - my concern is whether the storage space in the bmw is comparable to my 9-3 which has always seemed pretty spacious for a non-suv - if the audi backseat is a real problem than I'm down to the bmw v. saab 9-3 or 9-5 - any thoughts if you guys are still out there
#22 of 35 Re: a4v.bmwv.merc [fzzl]
May 27, 2008 (10:14 pm)
Thanks for your info. I am in the same boat as the others deciding between Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 series Wagon. 1st of all, are they comparable? ( i.e. 3 series is the comparison and not the 5 series wagon?) Any further thoughts since January of 08? Should I consider X3 SUV also along w/ BMW wagon?
(I am also considering Audi Q7 and BMW X5 if decide to go w/ 3rd seat option).
Thanks so much.
#23 of 35 obsevations
May 27, 2008 (11:14 pm)
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.