From the Audi Rings to the BMW Roundel - A Battle Royale in Retrospect

by Bimmerfest.com Member - Dr. 328xi on September 20, 2013, 2:59 pm
Warning - this is gonna be a long post...

I've mentioned in several other posts that I was one of BMWs conquests with the F30, pulling me from Audi to BMW. I figured now that I'm 1600 miles in, it would be an ideal time to reflect on transition and see what experiences others have had transitioning to BMW from other brands (lux or otherwise).

For the BMW lifers, this thread may be a little uninteresting, although I've definitely learned a lot hearing how you all feel about the changes to the core of the brand and the "broader appeal" that seems to be the current mission.

When I first got my 328ix, I was in love with it. Every detail. It could do no wrong. It could have spit oil out of the air vents, and I would have found a way to accept and embrace it as a "quirk."

Anyway - the honeymoon period is over, and I've started to look more objectively at the car. I'm still happy with it, but not as ecstatic as I was. In a lot of ways, I miss my Audi. Below is a breakdown of the BMW vs Audi based on my experiences. So here we go. I broke it into categories to try to make it more readable.

The Vehicles:
2006 Audi A3, Premium Line, 6sp DSG, 2.0T gas engine (200 hp)
- For fairness, I will also consider the current A4 when appropriate, as I did extensively test drive the A4 when considering my most recent purchase
2013 BMW 328ix, Sport Line, 8AT, 2.0T gas engine (240 hp)

Exterior:
The F30 is gorgeous. I still admire it whenever I see it in the driveway. I think my old Audi (and the new ones as well) was a great looking car, but I'm definitely giving exterior design to the F30 for sure.
Winner: BMW

Interior (materials/comfort):
The F30 falls apart here. The leather feels like plastic. The sport wheel can't hold a candle to my old Audi wheel, which had better feel/thickness, nicer materials and better tactile controls for volume/track search on the wheel. The seats in the BMW are much more supportive, especially the adjustable bolsters - but they suffer from the same cheapo dakota leather on the steering wheel. As much as I love the design and support of the BMW sport seats, every time I sit in the F30 and put my hands on the wheel, I miss the superior interior materials of the Audi. I won't even comment on the stupid joystick shifter - even in the honeymoon phase the day I brought the car home, I hated that thing...
Winner: Audi

Interior (layout/ergonomics):
The ergonomics of the BMW are really nice. Things are well laid out, easy to reach, and generally easy to use. It's hard to really compare to my old Audi because I opted against MMI or Nav, so I had an old-fashioned cd/am/fm with buttons. Based on my experience with the new Audis, the ergonomics still probably go to BMW, but I think this one is a toss-up.
Winner: Push

Electronics / Stereo:
I can't compare directly because, as stated above, I didn't have a nav/MMI on my Audi. I did have several loaners with the MMI from Audi, though, and it functioned very well. The satellite radio screens were basically identical to BMW. The overall controls are about the same with a little rotating puck to control the interface. In both, I generally find I can use simple functions while driving without significant distraction, but more complicated functions have to wait til a red light or require me to pull over. Where this section really diverges is the stereo. The base stereo in the Audi is fantastic. I'm sure the B+O stereo is even better, but I would have never considered it because the base was excellent. The BMW base stereo is anemic in comparison. It sounds good at high volume, but at "normal" volumes, it sounds thin and muddied (this is not a source issue, as I mostly use CDs or my iPod connected by USB, so I'm comparing identical sources).
Winner: Audi

Acceleration:
The F30 has more horsepower and more torque than a comparable Audi in the same class. It's faster. Simple. My old A3 felt quick in a way that the F30 does not, but the F30 feels and is the faster car. This also applies to the F30 vs a current model A4.
Winner: BMW

Handling:
I won't compare the A3 to the 328 here because that's not a fair comparison. The F30 is a huge car in comparison to the A3, which shared a platform with the TT rather than a comparable sedan. The A3 was easier to throw around, and I'll just leave it at that. The 328 and the current A4 was a different story. The 328 is definitely more of a driver's car in the handling department. It feels more planted in the corners, and feels more nimble in most driving situations.
Winner: BMW

Braking:
What is up with the brakes on the F30? The numbers in all the tests aren't that terrible, but they just feel like they have no bite. I have no fear that they won't stop the car, but I do really have to mash on the pedal to get a fair amount of stopping power. The Audi definitely felt more responsive, as did the newer models I test drove.
Winner: Audi

Final Score: BMW 3, Audi 3

Great. A tie. Kinda anticlimactic, huh?

So, with neither brand having a clear advantage in my completely made up scoring system, how did I make the decision to jump ship. Well, most important was dealer experience. BMW acted like they wanted to make me happy. They showed me how their product worked, highlighted the benefits and helped me find the car that made me happy. Audi (my current dealer, not the one I worked with on the A3) did not. I struggled to even get someone to acknowledge me in the dealer (bear in mind, I drove to the dealer in an Audi...), and they simply seemed uninterested in my business or helping me in any way.

Beyond dealer experience, I really loved the look of the F30 and I was enthralled with improved performance feel of the F30 over the A4 (part of this purchase was getting a bigger car than the A3, so the A4 or allroad were my best options).

In the end, I'm very happy with my car. I'm also happy it's a lease. I kept the Audi for 7 years, and I have no intention of keeping this car after the lease. As much fun as I'm having, I miss the higher quality interior of the Audi. I miss the way I felt every time I got in that car even after 7 years. I don't know if I will be staying with BMW in 3 years or going back to Audi, but at a minimum, the F30 is not the car that has made me a "BMW Driver For Life." The A3 and F30 have certainly made me a German driver for life, though.

If you actually read this far - congratulations. I applaud your stamina. I'd love to hear what others who are coming from other brands think of their F30 and where they see themselves heading with their next car. I'm off to audiusa.com to drool over some photos of their sexy interiors...


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29 responses to From the Audi Rings to the BMW Roundel - A Battle Royale in Retrospect

Capobranco commented:
September 20, 2013, 3:18 pm

When I "see" a Cadillac - I see through it - like it's not there - likewise Audi....the brand holds no appeal for me.
Dr. 328xi commented:
September 20, 2013, 3:22 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capobranco View Post
When I "see" a Cadillac - I see through it - like it's not there - likewise Audi....the brand holds no appeal for me.
I can see that. Although, that's probably part of the appeal to me. I like the subtlety, which is why I had no interest in the Msport this time around. I loved the invisibility combined with performance in my A3, whereas I definitely feel more conspicuous in a shiny black BMW.

While the Audi is often considered an overpriced VW, there's a level of craftsmanship and quality in the interior materials that BMW just can't match currently. I love the driving dynamics and the exterior design of my car, so I'm hopeful that interior quality will improve, but from what I've heard around here, I won't hold my breath for BMW to increase the quality of their interior materials any time soon. We'll see what's out there for the 2016s when my lease is up, I suppose.
Capobranco commented:
September 20, 2013, 3:33 pm

We all have our private battles - mine is over on the far side of the Audi showroom - yes that bottomless pit of darkness - p o r s c h e - I won't go into it but my first MT as a teenager was a 911. Porsche tugs at my heart strings, as does BMW - I wrestle with M3 vs 911 - indeed, looking at the cars - the new 991 is persuasive - I hope the new M3/M4 will be compelling. However, when I think about my past experiences buying and servicing a Porsche vs. my BMW experience - game over. BMW has treated me very well - I buy into the total experience - I am a BMW customer.
bkurtz86 commented:
September 20, 2013, 4:05 pm

I agree with OP on almost everything. I am no BMW super fan or Audi Super fan, more of a German fan. When i was looking around for a car i pretty much knew it was either going to be BMW or Audi. I tested 5 different cars and at the time in came down to two. A5 or 3 Serious coupe...oddly enough i went with the 335 sedan because i cant ever seem to back away from the family first concept. My wife forced me to get the MT that i wanted(she does not know how to drive a MT). I had the two cars identical in my own scoring category. In the end i contacted 4 dealerships. The two that stood out to me were both BMW dealerships. All 4 knowing that i would not have a car upon arriving in Germany because i would be waiting on mine to be shipped. 2 of them offered me loaners for up to 90 days no restrictions other than staying in the country of Germany. Both were BMW. How i ended up choosing was just how easy it was to read ones version of adding optional add on's compared to the other. One thing that i love about Audi is i dont see 100 of them a day....but maybe thats the reason behind it. Also one other major factor was how easy it was to tell the pricing for BMW up front. 39800 for base model of the 335xdrive. Audi all it said it would be lower than the price shown....WTF is up with that
bmwdmb1 commented:
September 20, 2013, 4:41 pm

I agree with much of what the OP stated. Which is why I decided to hold on to my S4 when moving to an AH3...they both has their unique pluses and minuses and I greatly enjoy each in their own way.

One point I absolutely agree with is dealership expedience. BMW wins this hands down...it isn't even a contest (at least in my experience locally).

What may have turned me into a possible repeat BMW owner in the future is the European Delivery experience. The complete immersion into the brand and the company culture is an amazing experience...and really helped cement a connection to what BMW "means". Not to mention you are treated like gold.
gkr778 commented:
September 20, 2013, 6:31 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwdmb1 View Post
What may have turned me into a possible repeat BMW owner in the future is the European Delivery experience. The complete immersion into the brand and the company culture is an amazing experience...and really helped cement a connection to what BMW "means". Not to mention you are treated like gold.

This, combined with the experiences offered right here on Bimmerfest and with BMW CCA, provided the impetus for me to order an F30 320i and consider BMW for future automobile and motorcycle purchases.
greywolf328i commented:
September 20, 2013, 6:36 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. 328xi View Post
Warning - this is gonna be a long post...


Interior (materials/comfort):
The F30 falls apart here. The leather feels like plastic. The sport wheel can't hold a candle to my old Audi wheel, which had better feel/thickness, nicer materials and better tactile controls for volume/track search on the wheel. The seats in the BMW are much more supportive, especially the adjustable bolsters - but they suffer from the same cheapo dakota leather on the steering wheel. As much as I love the design and support of the BMW sport seats, every time I sit in the F30 and put my hands on the wheel, I miss the superior interior materials of the Audi. I won't even comment on the stupid joystick shifter - even in the honeymoon phase the day I brought the car home, I hated that thing...
Winner: Audi

Coming from a VW, I have completely the opposite view of the F30's interior. This is not saying the VW was worse, just no comparison. I had leatherette in the VW, which honestly felt just fine and was very resilient to wear. The leather in my F30 feels somewhat similar, which is a good thing to me. I didn't want a very soft, shiny leather because it would just wear out easier. The seats in the VW lacked any real support for a long distance trip. The F30 feels like a Lazy Boy compared to them. They are one of the best features of the Sport Line to me. The interior of the F30 feels familiar to the VW, very German. I've rode in a couple of Audi's before, I know that their interiors are definitely a step up, but I haven't felt that mine is anything but exceptional in the F30.

I definitely looked hard at Audi before I bought my 328i, but ultimately the lack of progress in the motor is what killed it for me. The 2.0TSI is an excellent engine, for a few years ago. But the power and efficiency of these newer BMW engines makes it a landslide victory for the F30.
Supermax commented:
September 20, 2013, 6:53 pm

Definitely an interesting read. I really like the way Audi cars look, but I've heard so many bad things about the reliability, from so many sources, that I may never try my luck with an Audi. A few comments...

Quote:
The F30 is gorgeous.
Agreed. The F30 is definitely the most beautiful car I've ever owned. Walking up to it in a parking lot, I can't help but be proud of how great it looks.

Quote:
Stereo: It sounds good at high volume, but at "normal" volumes, it sounds thin and muddied.
You know what? I've always wondered what the problem was, but I think you nailed it. It sounds perfectly fine when it's really loud. Really good, in fact....probably better than any stereo I had previously. But anywhere less than "loud", something is definitely missing.

Quote:
What is up with the brakes on the F30?
Interesting. When I first got my F30, I also felt like the brakes were bad. My previous E90 seemed to brake much easier. In reality I don't think it was any better, but it just felt better. The F30 felt closer to my wife's X3 in terms of braking...like the car was giving its all to slow down, whereas in the E90 it felt effortless. But over time, I don't know if I just got used to it, or maybe the brakes got worn in. Either way, they feel much better now after about 6k miles.

Quote:
I'm off to audiusa.com to drool over some photos of their sexy interiors...
Hehe, I've yet to find a car site that has a car builder feature as perfectly streamlined as BMW's. I can spend hours on bmwusa.com building cars, but all other sites seem needlessly complex. With BMW, you can see how each feature looks from every possible angle, but with others, including Audi, this seems much more limited for some reason. Many sites have like two total static pictures to look at, one exterior and one interior. Pretty much a joke compared to BMW.
kpgray commented:
September 20, 2013, 7:02 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. 328xi View Post
.... most important was dealer experience. BMW acted like they wanted to make me happy. They showed me how their product worked, highlighted the benefits and helped me find the car that made me happy. Audi (my current dealer, not the one I worked with on the A3) did not. I struggled to even get someone to acknowledge me in the dealer (bear in mind, I drove to the dealer in an Audi...), and they simply seemed uninterested in my business or helping me in any way....
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwdmb1 View Post
...One point I absolutely agree with is dealership expedience. BMW wins this hands down...it isn't even a contest (at least in my experience locally).... Not to mention you are treated like gold.
+1

The Dealer is the key here. When I went to test drive an Audi, the first time I waited 45 minutes and the dealer was not busy. The second time, after making an appointment, I arrived on time, the receptionist made multiple calls to a sales rep who seemed rather anoyed with the questions I had and I left rather disappointed. A few weeks later, I went to the BMW drive event where I then had a side by side comparison of the new 328i xDrive and an A4 including driving both. The BMW won in the AWD category, if just engaged me better, felt better balanced. The BMW also won in the looks category both exterior and interior. Finally, the dealer experience was the best I have had, they answered all my questions, and if they did not have an answer, they spent the time to get it. As for my Acura, the dealer was very good, almost on par with BMW, but the new Acuras are, dare I say, Fugly!?! As far as the Cadillac dealer, they are pretty good (better than the Audi) and have improved dramatically over the last few years but still have a ways to go to meet the BMW.
GeoX750Li commented:
September 20, 2013, 7:14 pm

Excellent post, it would be great to make back it to BMW for them to consider.
GaryW commented:
September 20, 2013, 8:55 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf328i View Post
Coming from a VW, I have completely the opposite view of the F30's interior. This is not saying the VW was worse, just no comparison. I had leatherette in the VW, which honestly felt just fine and was very resilient to wear. The leather in my F30 feels somewhat similar, which is a good thing to me. I didn't want a very soft, shiny leather because it would just wear out easier. The seats in the VW lacked any real support for a long distance trip. The F30 feels like a Lazy Boy compared to them. They are one of the best features of the Sport Line to me. The interior of the F30 feels familiar to the VW, very German. I've rode in a couple of Audi's before, I know that their interiors are definitely a step up, but I haven't felt that mine is anything but exceptional in the F30.

I definitely looked hard at Audi before I bought my 328i, but ultimately the lack of progress in the motor is what killed it for me. The 2.0TSI is an excellent engine, for a few years ago. But the power and efficiency of these newer BMW engines makes it a landslide victory for the F30.
Agree with op and yourself .. I'm very much a German car man .. Had the Porsche as a young guy .. Gave it up when the kids came along and moved to bmw .. Never owned an Audi .. But during my research and test driving I kept thinking the Audi was playing poor cousins to bmw .. I felt the Audi was very "plastic" in terms of both internal and external finish ... Moved quickly from E90 to F30 half way through E90 lease and I love it (sport line 320i 8AT)

My only one peeve ... I'm average height (5 10 in old measure) and when seated I can't get the right seat height/ steering wheel position to be able to see stop start button or the wiper stalk without leaning forward .. Not a big thing but I always wondered what the design team use as their typical driver specs ?

Gary w
Andy6027 commented:
September 20, 2013, 9:14 pm

The only thing I liked better about the Audi A4 when I test drove it is it was SO quiet on the highway. Didn't like the poor acceleration at low speeds. Found the suspension too harsh. Steering too soft. Didn't like the interior of the Audi--maybe cause that one was all Blake, just felt too dark. Also mine didn't seem to have an armrest. Loved everything about bmw, so comfortable, smooth, powerful. Dealer kept saying slow down and didn't even realize I was speeding. Only major complaint is the engine noise. Maybe the radio would sound better if engine weren't so noisy!
fourbmws commented:
September 20, 2013, 9:26 pm

I posted a version of this on another thread. Had a 2000 Audi A6 2.7T. Good car in so many ways but a piece of crap from a reliability standpoint. Five dealers in three states always left me feeling as if I owned a VW. My complaint to Audi NA received essentially a "we see you had more problems than you should have but we're not going to do anything about it" response. That's what drove me to BMW. My third (fourth if you include my partner's) is about halfway across the Atlantic now. Does BMW need to continue to earn my loyalty? You bet. Do I seriously worry that the dealer that has treated me so well is going to change? Not in the least. Will I ever buy another Audi? No way.

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daders commented:
September 20, 2013, 9:46 pm

It's interesting people's perspective...I feel exactly opposite from OP in interior quality. Perhaps it's because I only had 5 series vehicles prior to picking up the A4 we currently have. What I do know for fact is the engine of our A4 lags when first punching it (same as BMW in Eco/normal mode, only difference is BMW can alter), the seats are not as comfortable, there is already a plastic creak/sound in the dash I never heard on my 99 528it (dumped at 186k miles) and still don't have on my 93 525i. And the kicker, my 93 525i with 203,550 miles gets the same mileage as my A4 (now at 51,500).
Top that off with a service department lead that will not acknowledge the legitimacy or (even worse) has said something is fixed only to have to turn around before halfway home because it isn't (happened twice now) has convinced me Audi is not getting any more of our money.


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johnc_22 commented:
September 20, 2013, 9:49 pm

I traded my 2007 335i for a 2013 Audi A4 Premium Plus, MMI, B&O, Sport. I'd had an F30 loaner for 3 weeks with Sport and Premium and mainly didn't care for the size, road feel or interior materials compared to the car I was leaving behind. While the F30 328i is clearly the faster, more efficient car, I just didn't find it to be a $8K better car (leftover 2013 was a very good deal with 2014's already in the lot).

Both cars have electric steering, the F30 tightens up in sport mode, the Audi tightens up the faster you go. Neither is as good as hydraulic. The sports package on the A4 soaks up bumps way better than the E90 ZSP, but the F30 sport line is even cushier.

I have no illusions about reliability long term from either car, so that was not a major deciding factor. Neither car is as immediately raw or sporty as my E90 335i with ZSP, but for daily commuting you can't go wrong with either one. The Audi is much quieter overall with better sound isolation from road and wind noise.

Just my $0.02.
Nordique commented:
September 20, 2013, 10:07 pm

After two bimmers, I looked at Audi--beautiful cars--before I ordered bimmer #3. On the Audi site, I did not see a sport package in the configurator. I don't feel I need AWD in Seattle and really have loved RWD on the road and on the track. I don't like leather or nav or more audio; I just want a real driver's car and my new bimmer is exactly that.
Dr. 328xi commented:
September 21, 2013, 12:05 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by daders View Post
It's interesting people's perspective...I feel exactly opposite from OP in interior quality.

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I guess it's really just the steering wheel that sours me on the F30 interior. The sport seats are great, perfect blend of comfort and support. The cheapo steering wheel just kills me - it feels like plastic, and I miss the chunkier sportier wheel from my Audi. I know the Msport wheel is supposedly better, but the sport line wheel is already an "upgrade" and its just not sporty. And considering that my hands are always on the wheel, it's a tough detail to just ignore.

Oh well, live and learn. Still having lots of fun with the car...just starting to view it more objectively now that I've had it for a little while.


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Dr. 328xi commented:
September 21, 2013, 12:09 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by fourbmws View Post
I posted a version of this on another thread. Had a 2000 Audi A6 2.7T. Good car in so many ways but a piece of crap from a reliability standpoint.

Sent from my Nexus 10 using BimmerApp mobile app
Interesting - my A3 was rock solid. Most reliable car I've ever owned. Other than an a/c compressor, no major repairs in 7 years. Never broke down. Never failed to start. Even did well in the crazy Chicago blizzard in 2011.

I'm hopeful the F30 will be equally reliable, but it'll be under warranty for the life of the lease, so I guess it won't matter.


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hollowar commented:
September 21, 2013, 9:00 pm

Had a 1998 A6 - drove it into the ground, then gave it to my teenage daughter. Great car, ran like a tank and when I gave it to her, it had over 160K miles. Bought a 08 A4 SLine - great car, lacking on low end acceleration but great in the Minneapolis winter. In the market for a new car, test drove plenty of 2013 A4s and appreciated the jump in firmness but did not like the lack of acceleration.

Dealer experience was similar. Pulled up in my A4 and the salesperson kind of treated me like boo-boo. Limited stock at the dealer and he did not follow-up too well. Decided to take a look at the 328i, and really dig the styling. As others have stated, the BMW dealer experience was second to none. Similar experience with the Service area.

The 13 A4 seemed dated. I believe the body style is reaching end of life, but compared to the 328i, I had to go with the Roundel. Interiors, agree with the original post. The A4 seemed more put together, tighter. The front end of the BMW to me is the distinct feature. I catch myself admiring the lines with every errand run.

What got me was the reliability of the Audi. While the Service Department was decent at the Audi dealership, I lost an ignition coil and it spooked me a bit. My A6 had more issues when it came to tie rods, which steadily increased in price as the car matured. I got the dealer to throw in the extended warranty plus extended maintenance on my 328i, so I sleep easier. I am looking forward to winter and my xDrive. Both Audi's handled the Minneapolis winters splendidly. The A6 had better low end torque. The A4 revved a bit higher of course. Despite the A4's SLine, the 328i's handling and acceleration so far has me exited beyond belief!

Having the option of going between Sport and Comfort is still an experience for me. I notice the acceleration and response change, which to my wife's dismay is becoming a frequent setting change. Would appreciate that being a default setting.
Cjs2002 commented:
September 21, 2013, 11:53 pm

I agree with the OP almost completely. I really like the seats, engine and AT. I am not thrilled with the weak brakes and iDrive reboots. I'm still not sold on the BMW service being superior to competitors. Just like the OP, I can't picture this being a 5-7 car for me.
mrstas commented:
September 21, 2013, 11:59 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermax View Post
Definitely an interesting read. I really like the way Audi cars look, but I've heard so many bad things about the reliability, from so many sources, that I may never try my luck with an Audi. A few comments...


Agreed. The F30 is definitely the most beautiful car I've ever owned. Walking up to it in a parking lot, I can't help but be proud of how great it looks.


You know what? I've always wondered what the problem was, but I think you nailed it. It sounds perfectly fine when it's really loud. Really good, in fact....probably better than any stereo I had previously. But anywhere less than "loud", something is definitely missing.


Interesting. When I first got my F30, I also felt like the brakes were bad. My previous E90 seemed to brake much easier. In reality I don't think it was any better, but it just felt better. The F30 felt closer to my wife's X3 in terms of braking...like the car was giving its all to slow down, whereas in the E90 it felt effortless. But over time, I don't know if I just got used to it, or maybe the brakes got worn in. Either way, they feel much better now after about 6k miles.


Hehe, I've yet to find a car site that has a car builder feature as perfectly streamlined as BMW's. I can spend hours on bmwusa.com building cars, but all other sites seem needlessly complex. With BMW, you can see how each feature looks from every possible angle, but with others, including Audi, this seems much more limited for some reason. Many sites have like two total static pictures to look at, one exterior and one interior. Pretty much a joke compared to BMW.
I think it's the tires. My brake feel and handling feel got much better somewhere between 2000 and 3000 miles on the odometer. I wonder if the tires need a little wear to get grippy ...
voip-ninja commented:
September 25, 2013, 5:02 pm

I agree with a lot of what the OP said, but not all of it. In my case I went from 11+ years of driving Audi A4s to my first BMW, the 328xi. For me, the 328xi is better than my A4s in almost every single way although since the new F30 is bigger than older A4s/E90s it did take some getting used to the slightly larger dimensions.

Even if all other things had been equal I would have been tipped over to getting the BMW simply based on dealer experience. There is a very large, very professional, very new BMW dealership that is about 10 minutes from my home. Getting in and out of there is a breeze. They bend over backwards to make you happy (short of giving their cars away for free).... the really long service intervals and included service is also a plus as it's fewer annoyances of needing to bring the car in for an oil change. By comparison dealing with the Audi dealership was always a PITA. Under staffed, rushed service advisors, cramped dealership 1/2 an hour away (worse in traffic) plus needing to bring the car in for servicing every 6-8 weeks, pain in the ASS.

Performance wise the 328 crushes my older A4. Much more powerful engine and the 8 speed AT (my first automatic in about 20 years) is a dream. My only issue is that there is some tendency for turbo lag, which sometimes happens at the altitude I am at (close to 6000 feet above SL).

For driving and putting a smile on my face the 328 wins (and handily I might add) over the A4.

My only current annoyances with the 328 are the aforementioned turbo lag, a few rattles in the cockpit that need to be sorted out and I wish that I had stickier tires. If I lease another one in 2 years when this one is up I will have a really hard time resisting getting a RWD model with sport rubber.
Dr. 328xi commented:
September 25, 2013, 5:21 pm

I think making this thread really exorcised my demons regarding my new car. I really do love the 328, even compared to my old Audi. I had the opportunity to visit the Audi over the weekend (sold it to a family member), and that also helped me realize how much I love my new car (despite any changes I may make on my next lease, it looks like I'm staying in the BMW fold)

Quote:
Originally Posted by voip-ninja View Post
the new F30 is bigger than older A4s/E90s it did take some getting used to the slightly larger dimensions.
Yeah, coming from the A3, it feels like I'm trying to navigate an aircraft carrier in tight parking lots...

Quote:
Originally Posted by voip-ninja View Post
Even if all other things had been equal I would have been tipped over to getting the BMW simply based on dealer experience.
There simply are no words to express how true this is. The dealer experience has been great from start to finish. Oddly enough, the BMW and Audi dealers closest to me are owne by the same group and are about a block apart...no idea why the atmosphere is so different. My old Audi dealer was great, but now they're 40 minutes from my house...so...not going back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by voip-ninja View Post
For driving and putting a smile on my face the 328 wins (and handily I might add) over the A4.
I think I really had to put that in better perspective for myself. The A4 loaners I used to get, even when they were 5 and 6 years newer, never put a smile on my face like my A3 did. The A3 was a sports car in a way the A4 never was - it could really be tossed around due to it's small size and low stance.
voip-ninja commented:
September 25, 2013, 5:31 pm

Well, if comparing to the A3 you should be checking out the 1 series, that's the direct competitor from BMW.
Dr. 328xi commented:
September 25, 2013, 5:44 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by voip-ninja View Post
Well, if comparing to the A3 you should be checking out the 1 series, that's the direct competitor from BMW.
Yeah, no 1-series hatch in the US, or I might have considered it. And now Audi is ditching the A3 hatch in the US as well.

But, I started looking for a new car to replace the A3 because I wanted something a little bigger. For years, I had planned to get an S4 wagon when I finished residency and finally had some cash to spend on a car, but Audi abandoned it in the US. I tried out the allroad, but it's painfully slow and just no fun to drive.

Wandered over to BMw, and I first looked at the X1 as a somewhat bigger A3. Lots of fun to drive, but no back seat at all.

When I succumbed to the idea that I had to give up my hatch and get a sedan, the 328 blew the A4 out of the water. I considered the 328 wagon, but just couldn't justify the price jump. The 3GT didn't exist yet (and carries the same premium as the wagon).

So, 328xi it is - and overall I'm really liking it. More and more each day, too.
Capobranco commented:
September 25, 2013, 6:24 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. 328xi View Post
....
So, 328xi it is - and overall I'm really liking it. More and more each day, too.
Yep - just when you think you "got It" - you drive your 328xi and discover another subtle BMW "truth" that demolishes the 'fest generalization you were jus' about prepared to accept. I have found that I more fully appreciate and understand the depth of my 328xi Sport-line's engineering excellence as I drive it over time and on reflection.
woodswatchco commented:
September 25, 2013, 7:28 pm

I left my 2003 A4 for my 328i. It had a dolphin gray exterior and the interior was very nice even in a ten year old car. My A4 had light gray leather and a two tone gray dash with gray, gloss, fiberglass trim. It was amazing. All the plastic parts in that car were coated with the "satin feel" rubberized coating which has started to rub off in every Audi out there from that era. Whoever OK'd that crap should be shot! Performance wise it was very nice only letting me down when really pushed for speed. The two things that stole me away from Audi was that I wanted a bright color and I wanted more power. When BMW came out with the M Sport package and Estoril blue, that was it for me. I gave up on ordering another gray or silver A4 and ran for the BMW dealer. I've been happy so far. I look forward to the German, small performance cars coming out like the Audi S3 and the BMW M2. I agree with a lot of other posters that the new 3 series is a little big for some people's tastes.



Quote:
Originally Posted by greywolf328i View Post
Coming from a VW, I have completely the opposite view of the F30's interior. This is not saying the VW was worse, just no comparison. I had leatherette in the VW, which honestly felt just fine and was very resilient to wear. The leather in my F30 feels somewhat similar, which is a good thing to me. I didn't want a very soft, shiny leather because it would just wear out easier. The seats in the VW lacked any real support for a long distance trip. The F30 feels like a Lazy Boy compared to them. They are one of the best features of the Sport Line to me. The interior of the F30 feels familiar to the VW, very German. I've rode in a couple of Audi's before, I know that their interiors are definitely a step up, but I haven't felt that mine is anything but exceptional in the F30.

I definitely looked hard at Audi before I bought my 328i, but ultimately the lack of progress in the motor is what killed it for me. The 2.0TSI is an excellent engine, for a few years ago. But the power and efficiency of these newer BMW engines makes it a landslide victory for the F30.
HFW003 commented:
September 25, 2013, 8:07 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. 328xi View Post
I guess it's really just the steering wheel that sours me on the F30 interior. The sport seats are great, perfect blend of comfort and support. The cheapo steering wheel just kills me - it feels like plastic
I felt exactly the same way. You, obviously, spend a lot of time with your hands on the steering wheel and the "standard sports" wheel is a shocker.

The F20 M wheel is a direct swap and I went down that path and I am so glad I did. Definitely makes a significant improvement and I would recommend the mod to anyone who is dissatisfied with the sports wheel.

H
Pat_X5 commented:
September 25, 2013, 9:54 pm

Agree with the OP on the level of service difference here in a very competitive market (Southern California).

Audi - the 2 dealers I went to seemed poor in customer care or concern - their attitude "take it or leave it".
BMW - the 4 dealers I have dealt with have been outstanding! The best are the ones in OC (Shelly & Irvine) about 30 minutes away. The worst was the one closest to me in Monrovia.