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A4Q vs. 328i (Sorry I'm Late...and Looong!)

Carl Cox asked about comparative thoughts on these 2 cars.  I thought I'd 
offer my 2 cents as I've definitely "been there, done that" in the last 6 
months.  Sorry for the late reply but I've been away for a few days and am 
just catching up with the digests.  I'm also sure you'll get lots of 
response (which I'll be interested to read as I catch up.... if 

Perhaps the simplest way to do this is to document our recent 'car-life' in 
reverse  chronological order:

We purchased an A4Q 6 weeks ago and are just 'pleased as punch' so far.  We
live in the remote regions of northern Canada (55 degrees N. latitude in
Alberta) and need reliable transportation through the long winters we 
experience.  The car is extremely capable, handles well, and is about as
comfortable as it gets on long journeys.  Power is somewhat short from a
standstill but the engine is extremely torquey and offers good performance
once it's wound up (~3400 to 5600 rpm).  We lived with the same engine in
our previous car ('93 90QS) but it seems livelier in the A4.  I think it's
primarily due to the reduced weight.

Other improvements from the '93 are IMO:
        - Stereo/CD (we chose the upgraded BOSE unit and are happy with it)
        - Overall interior ergonomics
        - Climate control system
        - Interior room
        - Improved shifter (smooth but definitive)

The '93 90QS had a somewhat stiffer suspension (which I preferred) but I'm
getting to appreciate the capabilities of the new A4.... it's just different.

I had ample opportunity to test the 328i and 328is in the last 2 years as
these were the cars that BMW provided to members of the BMWCCA who attended
the driving school at Nurburgring, Germany for the last 2 events (I've also
had a 318is and 325i at previous events).  Overall opinion..... on a DRY
track, under race conditions, the 328i has excellent power and handles well
for a sedan.  The 328is is even more capable due to the 'Sport' suspension
(available as an option on the 328i).  They come up short however (IMO) in 
the appearance dep't and interior room/ergonomics. 

In foul weather (which we have lots of) the Audi wins hands down in overall
performance, even when compared to BMW's ASC+T.  We had an '88 325ix (all-wheel
drive) before the '93 Audi and it was a super winter car but BMW stopped
NA shipment of this car in '92.  Overall cost of ownership of the BMW ix was
however, MUCH higher than the '93 Audi over the 4 years that we had each
vehicle.  We spend half our driving life off the pavement, on rough gravel
roads.  When we traded in the '93 Audi it had NO squeeks, rattles, etc.
and had earned our respect.  I can't say the same for the Bimmer.

Finally, I compared the cost of both the new A4 and 328i in similar trim 
(basically loaded- Leather, CD, Inclement Weather, Sport Seats & Wheels, 
etc.) and apples to apples (as much as that's possible) the BMW was $7000 
Canadian higher.  End of thought process........ for $7K I can spend lots of 
$ on performace improvements should I chose to go down that road (so to speak).

There are always lots of variables in any decision as big as buying a new
car.  If I was independently wealthy I'd have both the A4Q and an M3!  

Decision, decisions.......

Have fun making yours ! 

Ron LaPlace

PS- No problem if you want more specifics on anything by direct email. 
    I know I would have appreciated the input when I was in decision mode.