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Re: Audi vs. BMW (w/torsen blurb)

Phil Payne wrote (in another thread):

>Where are the magazine articles?  It's ten years since the first Torsen
>ur-quattros rolled out of Neckarsulm - I don't know exactly when the
>first Type 44s with centre Torsens came out, but it was around the
>same time.

The latest issue of CAR magazine features a direct comparison
between the new BMW 3-series, the A4 2.8 Quattro, and the new Alfa
156.  The Audi won the comparison, and one of the main reasons was
its "4-wheel drive traction".  The new 3-Series struck the testers at CAR
as being an excellent vehicle but more of an improved and polished
version of the old car rather than a "completely new experience".  Mind
you, it was a close race according to them.

BTW, the BMW had the optional 17" rims that made it look "almost ready
for BTCC" according to the reviewers at CAR.

When discussing the handling and dynamics of the cars, they made
reference to the Audi's unruffled character and tenacious grip when
being pushed hard.  They also mentioned being able to detect (what
they perceive to be) the Torsen shifting the torque around during hard
cornering but they cast it in a positive light, as helping the car to maintain
neutrality and "shifting power to the rear to rein in an understeering
front" (excuse me if that's not the exact words, but it was the gist.) 
They didn't explore any instrumented testing on different surfaces, wet
vs. dry handling, etc., however.

So it seems that some magazine testers have been able to detect Mr.
Spider, but at least in this instance, found him to be a friendly companion
rather than a malevolent parasite.  

As a side note, CAR did a big feature on the new Alfa a few months
ago and devoted a lot of words to the extensive work of Alfa to give the
156 handling that was the best in the class, even featuring a quote from
one of their chassis engineers saying "I think we're at the top" or
somesuch.  Apparently either the "top" has moved or full-time 4WD with
a torsen differential is a real handling advantage in the real world that
Alfa and BMW don't have - I doubt a FWD version of the A4 would have
won that comparison.

Best Wishes,