Originally Posted by The Economist
Having never even considered a 3-series before, I think that BMW has done an excellent job with the F30. Some "purists" may lament certain evolutionary necessities, but BMW has done a great job keeping up with and adapting to the times by giving us a fine, grown-up sporting saloon within the constraints of the modern regulatory regime.
I do think, though, that Audi has done a better job with its product positioning.
First off, I like the idea of specializing in AWD - nice niche to carve out for yourself. You know that if you want the best in AWD (which I could care less about), you will need to at least consider Audi.
Second, and more importantly, is the S4. You know your volume mover is going to be the A4 2.0T - most people (keep in mind this is an enthusiast board, so your opinion does not count with the collective wisdom of the auto buying masses) do not care about the finer technical details. They care about superfluous niceties - bells, whistles, whatnot - but do not really care about the driving experience, so long as it gets there and is plush and comfortable. That is where the S4 comes in... Audi is smart enough to know that the person willing to shell out more for the engine is more of a nut, so why not offer something a little more special?
That is where BMW has lagged. You have the RS5 and M3, and you have the 328 to compete with the base A4. And the 335 does compete with the S4, but it certainly does not feel as special in the line up as the S4 does in the Audi line up. Perhaps that is what BMW was trying to accomplish with the M Sport line but is has fallen short.
Now, I considered both and ultimately I thought the 335 was the better car, but given that the volume model is the 328 (according to my dealer who sells one 335 for every ten 328s), you would think that BMW would market the 335 product in a similar way to the S4.
Then again, it does not really matter for this type of crowd who is more focused on the finer details. I just thought that it may make a difference from an overall marketing standpoint.
You totally forgot about the IS models from BMW. Z4 335is and 335is which are both step ups from the base 335's and would compete with the S4 type Audi's.
1995 325i, 1996 328ci, 1997 528i, 1997 Z3 2.8,2001 X5 3.0, 2001 330i Convertible, 2002 M3 Convertible, 2003 M3 Coupe, 2004 M3 Coupe, 2004 Z4 3.0, 2004 X3 3.0,
2007 X3 3.0, 2007 335i Convertible, 2013 X1 28 sdrive,
2014 M235 manual