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Re: BMW 325ix 4 wheel drive ?

> ------------------------------
> From: Mikes Garage <gml2@Ra.MsState.Edu>
> Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 23:12:43 -0500 (CDT)
> Subject: Re: BMW 325ix 4 wheel drive ?
> On Tue, 18 Apr 1995, Robert D. Houk wrote:
> > 
> >    About this 325ix, I heard a lot of good things and very little bad. That 
> >    could be a little bias coming from a BMW owner(535i). Witht he ix, you lose 
> >    a little straight line acceleration and have more drivetrain noise than a 
> >    regualr 325. I know it uses a viscous central diff -about all I know.
> > 
> > The only real thing I remember thinking at the time was that the system
> > seemed like an afterthought kinda grafted onto the base car, and not
> > "designed in", like the Audi.
> > 
> > 					-RDH
> WHAT, an afterthought.  The Audi seemed like an forethought that never was 
> developed all the way, just kidding no flames.  But the bmw is a 
> excellent car and I would go as far to say it has a much better engine than
> a five wor pot that Audi had to stay with because of political reasons.  
> I still would like to know what you mean by 'designed in' which Audi was 
> not by anymeans either.  Do you really believe that the car was on the 
> drawing board and they said "hey dont forget it will be 4wd".  All but 
> the newest audis were reversed engineered to accept 4wd or they would not 
> have had so many differences between the cars because it would have saved 
> alot of production cost for two parts where one would do.  And also Piech 
> said so in a interview I read.  Think of the engines audi could have now 
> if it had not been confined to the 5cyl, granted in some forms it is very 
> good but not in the plain jane versions. 
I have been folowing this discussion with some interest. You see, when I 
was shopping for the car I own now, I was in fact in the market for a
BMW 3-series, as I had driven those cars before and liked the handling/dynamics/etc.
I even test drove a 325iX; unfortunaltely it was on a dry road and with a somewhat
strict salesman in the car, so I didn't get to explore the handling and traction 
during wet weather. It seemed like a decent car, but I passed it over for several 
reasons. One was simply the looks of this car; the (stock) air dams and spoilers
coupled with tinted windows on this particular car gave it a boy-racer look
which undoubtedly would have appealed to me when I was 17 but which left me somewhat 
could now. The other reason was that I too had a feeling that the 4WD was grafted on
in a me-too attempt to catch up with the 4WD trend that appeared briefly during the
late eighties. I could very well be wrong about this, but I seem to remember reading
an article about the 325iX where they mentioned that the front differential was
mounted *inside* the engine sump, as there really wasn't any room for it in the 
3-series engine bay. What I am certain of is that I read a shoot-out test of 4WD sedans
in a Norwegian car magazine, where they basically stated that the 325iX should not
have made it outside of BMW, due to its unpredictable handling at the limit on snow.
Sorry, I don't have the reference handy, but please believe me when I say that
we *do* know about winter-time driving in Norway ;-).

However, the 325iX had turned me on to the idea of a 4WD sedan, since that seems like 
very useful here in Boulder, Colordao -- it is snowing outside as I write this, and my car 
had about 5" of snow on it this morning. Consequently, I decided to have a look at the Audis,
which I hadn't really even considered up until then. So I want and test drove a 1989 100 (ho hum,
but liked the luxury feel) and then a 1990 90Q 20V (every bit as luxuriuos, and BOY WAS 
As luck would have it, I did not read or even know about this list at that point
(wasn't really an Audi-head, remember) because the constant bickering and whining about 
Audis and their poor build quality/poor reliability/high running costs and now poor 
engineering would *certainly* have turned me off buying the Audi, and I would have missed
out on a GREAT car. The Audi has all the HP I want, has been *very* reliable (the only problem
I have encountered is that a couple of the lighted switches had burned out when I bought the car,
which I fixed with a soldering iron in a couple of hours -- big deal) and is a GREAT
winter-time car. All of this for about 25% less than the (equivalent) BMW 325iX.

I was reminded again about how underrated the Audi's are when I went home this christmas 
and tried my parent's 1994 Mercedes C180, currently the fave of motor journalists everywhere.
The Mercedes definitively has its good points, the biggest of which is that it is incredibly
easy to get a smooth ride out of it -- no wonder they are used as Taxicabs in Norway, Germany 
and elsewhere. However, the handling on snow was a *disaster* in my opinion, though I am 
admittedly biased from driving the 90Q. Far too easy to bring the tail out. Said taxicabs
usually have a bag of sand in the trunk during wintertime in Norway, which shouldn't 
really be necessary in a car designed during the early nineties.

I guess this got a bit long-winded, just felt like having something nice about Audis 
appear on this list for a change. Oh, and to all those BMW and Mercedes owners that
are fuming at the keyboards and getting ready to flame me: I did not intend this 
to be a flame of your cars, I am sure they are fine cars and that you are very happy 
with them, I just thought I'd share how I "defected" to an Audi.