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      04-22-2021, 11:48 PM   #1
EnlightenedOne
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Question 2018 330i xDrive vs. 2018 A4 Quattro

I know there might be a little bit of bias in here haha... but Iím currently trying to decide between these two cars. Hoping some of you can make me aware of some things I might be missing that would make the 330i the better choice.

Both cars are 2018 models and both have around the same mileage and are around the same price... so itís really just come down to the features of each.

BMW:
Has touchscreen
Has head up display
Doesnít have digital dash
Has basic (bad?) audio system
Is perhaps a tad slower 0-60
Doesnít have a spare tire

Audi:
No touchscreen (have to use controller thing)
No head up display
Has full digital dash (virtual cockpit)
Has Bang & Olufsen 19 speaker audio
Slightly quicker
Has a spare tire
Might be quieter inside overall

Any thoughts or things that Iím missing about why the BMW would be better? I keep flip flopping between the two.
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      04-22-2021, 11:57 PM   #2
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Are you actually in Florida? Why are you looking at an xDrive in Florida?
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      04-23-2021, 12:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedRaider1 View Post
Are you actually in Florida? Why are you looking at an xDrive in Florida?
Oops, nope. Iím in Utah. The last time I was on this forum years ago I was in Florida with a 135i.
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      04-23-2021, 12:14 AM   #4
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Have you driven each of them? What is causing you to flip flop?
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      04-23-2021, 12:26 AM   #5
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The BMW should drive more like a rwd car. It is designed as a rwd car. The motor sits further back in the engine compartment, mostly behind the front wheels. It should be better balanced than the Audi. A 50:50 weight distribution. The Audi is designed as a fwd car. Its motor sits further forward in the engine compartment, with more of it sitting in front of and directly over the front axle.

I would say how important more sporty driving dynamics are to you is the main factor in your decision.

The head up display is very nice to have. The touchscreen, not so much. Itís actually fairly dangerous to use while driving. I find Audiís virtual cockpit to be too busy, just too much going on. Iím perfectly content to look at BMWís iDrive screen, which is right at eye level.

You can have a sport suspension with Quattro. You canít with xDrive.

Iíd rather have Audiís Bang & Olufsen stereo than BMWís base stereo.
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      04-23-2021, 12:38 AM   #6
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The sporty driving dynamics are the main thing. I havenít had the chance to drive the Audi yet but plan to tomorrow. So you think the BMW feels sportier overall? The 330 Iím looking at does have the M Sport package, although Iím not sure if that really adds anything other than a better steering wheel and some random body bits.

Iím thinking the same thing about the head up display versus the virtual cockpit. Iím not a fan of the manual dials in the BMW, but I think having the speed as a number in the HUD will make up for it.

The audio is a bit of a drag but Iím hoping if I go with the BMW the Bavsound $500 speaker upgrade will at least make it tolerable.
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      04-23-2021, 12:49 AM   #7
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Yes, I think you’ll find the BMW has sportier driving dynamics than the Audi. The Audi’s fwd architecture makes it more prone to under steer/wanting to plow ahead. It will probably feel overall more front heavy than the BMW.

I just bought my rwd 340i M Sport in Texas and drove it back to Chicago. I really enjoyed the head up display. And the navigation display on the iDrive screen was right in my line of sight and worked just fine. I think planning on getting some Bavsound equipment is probably a good idea.

You are correct, on an xDrive the M Sport pkg gets you the better steering wheel and the exterior trim pieces. It makes no change to the suspension.

It’ll be interesting to hear your thoughts on how the Audi drives in comparison to the BMW.

Last edited by RedRaider1; 04-23-2021 at 12:55 AM..
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      04-23-2021, 06:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnlightenedOne View Post
I know there might be a little bit of bias in here haha... but Iím currently trying to decide between these two cars. Hoping some of you can make me aware of some things I might be missing that would make the 330i the better choice.

Both cars are 2018 models and both have around the same mileage and are around the same price... so itís really just come down to the features of each.

BMW:
Has touchscreen
Has head up display
Doesnít have digital dash
Has basic (bad?) audio system
Is perhaps a tad slower 0-60
Doesnít have a spare tire

Audi:
No touchscreen (have to use controller thing)
No head up display
Has full digital dash (virtual cockpit)
Has Bang & Olufsen 19 speaker audio
Slightly quicker
Has a spare tire
Might be quieter inside overall

Any thoughts or things that Iím missing about why the BMW would be better? I keep flip flopping between the two.
Touch screen doesn't matter much unless u use car play or android auto. Do both have that option and is that important to you? Also, bmw doesn't do Android auto.

Otherwise sounds like the a4 suits your needs better
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      04-23-2021, 07:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnlightenedOne View Post
The sporty driving dynamics are the main thing. I haven’t had the chance to drive the Audi yet but plan to tomorrow. So you think the BMW feels sportier overall?
The driving dynamics is imo much better than A4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EnlightenedOne View Post
I’m thinking the same thing about the head up display versus the virtual cockpit. I’m not a fan of the manual dials in the BMW, but I think having the speed as a number in the HUD will make up for it.
In terms of functionality, the virtual cockpit is much better than 6WB in BMW. I think that without 6WB, the HUD is simply a must-have (especially because the BMW's dials are not backlit in daytime). You can get 6WB retrofitted, but it does not much more than the enhanced dials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EnlightenedOne View Post
The audio is a bit of a drag but I’m hoping if I go with the BMW the Bavsound $500 speaker upgrade will at least make it tolerable.
The A4's B&O is actually much better than F30 H&K. While it depends on your taste, you might expect the need for full audio upgrade (amp/dsp, speakers, woofers, door upper trim) possibly worth $2k to get the car sound good.
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      04-23-2021, 08:54 AM   #10
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Just rehashing what's already been said, but...

(spoiler alert, I'd go with the 330i)

Straight line performance wise, they are pretty much identical. Throw some curves into it, and things change a bit. The A4 feels and handles much better than your average FWD car (particularly with AWD), but can't completely get rid of that plowing feeling in turns. The xDrive standard suspension I've found to be more than adequate and plenty fun to drive. Plus, let's face it...when the time comes to replace the shocks and struts during regular maintenance, we all upgrade anyway. Doesn't really matter what it started out with.

BMW base audio (Hi-Fi) is not all that bad, but obviously the Audi's system in this comparison will be significantly better. Media reviewers like to fawn over the Audi's interior, while referring to the 3's as 'dated'. Having been in both, I just don't get it. The Audi is very nice but has pretty much exactly the same layout and functionality as the 3. I don't find either to be lacking or dated. I guess the full digital cluster is interesting and modern in the Audi, but I don't really see the need for it, either.

Both seem to be similar in terms of reliability and cost to own.

But, in the end, none of this matters nearly as much as the impressions you get after driving them. Good luck!
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      04-23-2021, 09:20 AM   #11
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2018 330i xDrive vs. 2018 A4 Quattro

I'd choose the Audi in this particular toss up. After owning both an s4 and a 340i I can say that the suspension and steering of the Audi is far superior to the f30 platform. The interior is also light years ahead of the f30 in both materials and layout. I have HUD and honestly the only time it is useful is when using in car navigation at night. If you have polarized sunglasses on you can't see it anyway. Touchscreen just adds another component of your car that's going to get grease all over it that you will have to clean lol

Drive the Audi, choose the car that feels better on the road, all the other stuff is small potatoes in comparison.
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      04-25-2021, 06:32 PM   #12
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Did you drive the A4 yet? Have you decided which you like better?
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      04-25-2021, 08:58 PM   #13
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I'm going to say something controversial here:
Get the Audi. Compared to the 3 series, the A4 feels better built, more luxurious, and the tech is out of this world. The driving dynamics are also very good. It doesn't feel as raw as a BMW, but it's still a fun car to drive.
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      04-25-2021, 10:32 PM   #14
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Drove the A4.

Pros:
Car is very quiet even on the freeway. Checks the box for me for a good road trip car.
Interior is nice.
Exterior styling feels more edgy and modern.

Cons:
The car might be ďfastishĒ but doesnít feel that fast to me. I donít know if itís the way the transmission is setup or what or if Iíve just been spoiled by faster cars.
I donít like the rotary control deal for the screen on the dash.
Also donít like that the screen on the dash isnít a touchscreen. Having to use the rotary controller for Apple CarPlay seems like a huge step backwards.
Virtual cockpit is just okay, but the main use of it seems to be to display nav maps and the inability to send CarPlay from the dash screen to the virtual cockpit screen means you can only use the built in Audi navigation... so it makes it kind of useless for me since I prefer to use the connected nav apps on CarPlay.
The car seems soft to me. I donít know if this is just because itís a luxury car or what but Iím use to having much more steering and suspension feedback. Might just come with the territory.

So... basically walked away from that one. I can tell I wonít be happy with it.

Now the question is if I will like the 330. Going to drive it again this week hopefully.

Thereís also a part of me that thinks maybe I should just hold out until I find a good M2 as that might be the car Iím looking for. If anybody knows of one let me know! Haha
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      04-26-2021, 09:00 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnlightenedOne View Post
Now the question is if I will like the 330. Going to drive it again this week hopefully.

Thereís also a part of me that thinks maybe I should just hold out until I find a good M2 as that might be the car Iím looking for. If anybody knows of one let me know! Haha
I do enjoy my 330i, but everyone is different. If the first drive didn't make you completely sure, the second one probably won't either, though. At least for me, the way I feel driving a car for the first time is the way I feel driving it throughout the rest of the ownership.

No 330i or A4 is going to come close to an M2. Try driving a 230i and see if you like it. If it feels like a big step in the right direction, that might be the car for you or might convince you to hold out for that M2.
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      04-26-2021, 09:54 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auburnf30x View Post
I do enjoy my 330i, but everyone is different. If the first drive didn't make you completely sure, the second one probably won't either, though. At least for me, the way I feel driving a car for the first time is the way I feel driving it throughout the rest of the ownership.

No 330i or A4 is going to come close to an M2. Try driving a 230i and see if you like it. If it feels like a big step in the right direction, that might be the car for you or might convince you to hold out for that M2.
Iíve been considering checking out a 230i xDrive Grand Coupe... what in particular about it do you think would make it a better fit compared to the 330? Just itís size? From my limited research they seem fairly similar as far as numbers on paper.
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      04-26-2021, 10:34 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnlightenedOne View Post
I’ve been considering checking out a 230i xDrive Grand Coupe... what in particular about it do you think would make it a better fit compared to the 330? Just it’s size? From my limited research they seem fairly similar as far as numbers on paper.
fyi - the 230i xDrive GC has a transverse mounted motor and is basically a fwd car. The rear wheels only get power when the xDrive system detects wheel slippage of the front wheels. It is also nose heavy with most of the weight over the front wheels. It’s really a BMW in name only. Its transaxle is an Aisin eight speed unit, not the venerable ZF 8AT used in the F3x.
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      04-26-2021, 10:43 AM   #18
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I did a weird cross shopping between A5/4-Series for a while.

Aesthetically... the current A4/A5 was much more my style inside and out. The stereo is considerably better, the digital cockpit was nicer, and overall the cabin was fresher/more modern(by virtue that the B9 A4/5 came out years after the F30 debuted). Overall, a very nice place to be.

Drivetrain was where I ended up going with BMW. I wanted to keep my tradition of getting a manual and only the A5 2.0T came with them. They drove well, with quattro and all, but it lacked soul/edge. I was at 5000RPM and could barely hear the thing, and it was already in the S-Line package fully spec'ed out w/ the sport suspension. I was also coming from a MK6 GTI with effectively the same 2.0T so I wanted something a bit different. If the B9 S5 came in a manual (like it did in past years) I would've been a Audi owner already.

To that end, I was more focused on the driving experience that the 440i offered, which makes me giggle every time I fire it up, than the nicety of the cabin or some of the newer features of the A5 coupe.
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      04-26-2021, 10:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnlightenedOne View Post
I’ve been considering checking out a 230i xDrive Grand Coupe... what in particular about it do you think would make it a better fit compared to the 330? Just it’s size? From my limited research they seem fairly similar as far as numbers on paper.
Nothing specific really...I haven't driven one personally so I don't know how much different it would be. If the F30 just doesn't feel right to you, it could be an alternative. I do remember reading though, for the first time in...ever..., in 2015 Car & Driver didn't have a 3 Series on their 10 Best list, losing it in favor of the 2 Series for having driving dynamics more in line with how BMWs used to drive. I'm not sure which BMWs you've had before but if it's pre-F chassis, it probably feels a lot different.

A lot of us love the F30 (obviously) but in reading it seems that things have changed along the way and the F3X doesn't click with everyone who comes from EXX 3's. A 2 Series might be an instant fit, especially if the M2 interests you.

EDIT: Saw a member above post that the Gran Coupe is transverse, I was not aware of that. However, the two door 230i is the traditional RWD layout and is the one receiving praise from C&D. If you're looking for a four door though, obviously that would be out.
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      04-26-2021, 11:11 AM   #20
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If going for a RWD opens up more options, go with that IMO. AWD is so overrated and dont care where you live. Its all about the tires.
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      04-26-2021, 07:40 PM   #21
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Now Iím thinking about a 2017 or so 230i xDrive... trying to determine if there benefits in that versus the 330i xDrive or if itís basically the same car in a shorter body.
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      04-26-2021, 09:39 PM   #22
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Best way to do that is with a test drive. I haven’t driven one, but automotive journalists seem to like it.

If the feel isn’t any better for you, then it’s just a shorter car missing two doors.
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