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      10-29-2015, 02:18 PM   #1
Nacho98
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320i Xdrive or A3 P+ 2.0T Quattro?

Curious what the consensus is here on these two models.

Both have pros and cons, and while the BMW is bigger they compete on price/market segment, so this could be interesting.

I'd be looking at a 320 xdrive with sport, lighting, AT (downtown traffic), heated seats, power seats, fold down seats, and possibly premium package since it would be nice to have comfort access and lumbar support. This is getting a little spendy for a 320i if I add premium, but don't really want to go all the way up to a 328 though and the 320 would still be cheaper.

The A3 would be a premium plus with the 2.0T/Quattro (Haldex), Bang and Olufsen, lighting, sport, S-line, black headliner.

Have owned 2 325s in the past, but never an Audi. Have owned a couple VWs which have been good for us. Haven't driven either the 320 or the A3 yet. Both cars come in around ~$41k MSRP.

The 320 is more practical as it's larger, and probably has better chassis dynamics. It's down on power though, and the interior isn't as nice IMO. Not sure how xdrive compares to the Haldex (read: not true quattro) of the A3. Don't like that I have to pay 5 bills just for split folding seats. Probably the biggest complaint though is no HK audio option on the 320, which admittedly is a big deal for me as I love my tunes loud and clear and like having a subwoofer without going aftermarket.

The A3 I think is the better looking car inside and out (LOVE the clean/modern interior, so fresh and different) and doesn't have the bottom-end stigma the 320 does (doesn't really bother me though, I know the 320 is probably the truest BMW built today based on history). Also makes a little more power and probably weighs less. Smaller though so less practical, may not drive as good as the BMW.

So at face value, the Audi might seem like the better choice in my case in terms of styling inside/out and features, but the BMW is probably more practical and probably more fun to drive, which makes up for some of the deficiencies. I'm kind of ehhh on the haldex setup on the A3 and don't know how it compares to xdrive.

Which would you choose and why?
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      10-29-2015, 02:25 PM   #2
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A rwd 3er and be done for it. I had the same problem like you and almost the same dilemma, ended up buying the 1er being stuck to it for almost 2 years and now got into the 3er, not jumping directly to the 3er was one of my biggest mistakes.

I tested the A3, A3 Sedan, A4 and A5... They all seem boring to me and the media interface is cumbersome to say the least in comparison to the iDrive.

Just my 2 cents
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      10-29-2015, 02:38 PM   #3
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I agree goodies wise the A3 looks good. Driving wise it has a sideways motor and at its core it's a FWD platform.

I am a big fan of the 320i, even with xDrive. I have had a blast driving them.

You can get HK in the 320i for the regular price if you have a CA who's willing to do a little legwork.

I'm also a fan of the premium package. I'd probably choose a 320i with premium even if it was a little more than the A3.
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      10-30-2015, 07:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiuman
A rwd 3er and be done for it. I had the same problem like you and almost the same dilemma, ended up buying the 1er being stuck to it for almost 2 years and now got into the 3er, not jumping directly to the 3er was one of my biggest mistakes.

I tested the A3, A3 Sedan, A4 and A5... They all seem boring to me and the media interface is cumbersome to say the least in comparison to the iDrive.

Just my 2 cents
+1

Had the same impressions when comparing BMW to similar Audi models, particularly in regard to how boring the the Audi's were to drive, and how overwhelming and ultimately underperforming the MMI is. I even got the dreaded oversteer on a couple of the Audi models, which I thought had been nicked at this point.

I think OP you'd be happier in the F30.
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      10-30-2015, 09:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nacho98 View Post
Curious what the consensus is here on these two models.

Both have pros and cons, and while the BMW is bigger they compete on price/market segment, so this could be interesting.

I'd be looking at a 320 xdrive with sport, lighting, AT (downtown traffic), heated seats, power seats, fold down seats, and possibly premium package since it would be nice to have comfort access and lumbar support. This is getting a little spendy for a 320i if I add premium, but don't really want to go all the way up to a 328 though and the 320 would still be cheaper.

The A3 would be a premium plus with the 2.0T/Quattro (Haldex), Bang and Olufsen, lighting, sport, S-line, black headliner.

Have owned 2 325s in the past, but never an Audi. Have owned a couple VWs which have been good for us. Haven't driven either the 320 or the A3 yet. Both cars come in around ~$41k MSRP.

The 320 is more practical as it's larger, and probably has better chassis dynamics. It's down on power though, and the interior isn't as nice IMO. Not sure how xdrive compares to the Haldex (read: not true quattro) of the A3. Don't like that I have to pay 5 bills just for split folding seats. Probably the biggest complaint though is no HK audio option on the 320, which admittedly is a big deal for me as I love my tunes loud and clear and like having a subwoofer without going aftermarket.

The A3 I think is the better looking car inside and out (LOVE the clean/modern interior, so fresh and different) and doesn't have the bottom-end stigma the 320 does (doesn't really bother me though, I know the 320 is probably the truest BMW built today based on history). Also makes a little more power and probably weighs less. Smaller though so less practical, may not drive as good as the BMW.

So at face value, the Audi might seem like the better choice in my case in terms of styling inside/out and features, but the BMW is probably more practical and probably more fun to drive, which makes up for some of the deficiencies. I'm kind of ehhh on the haldex setup on the A3 and don't know how it compares to xdrive.

Which would you choose and why?
Go with the 320i. As nice as the A3 is there going to be one too many situations in which it's too small. That situation will happen a lot less with the 320. And while you can up the power on either car, you can't make either car larger than it was built.

As noted, the price vs. power on the 320i XDrive doesn't make sense. Shelling out 4 grand more for XDrive on the 320 makes is much less attractive. It's practically hitting 328 (RWD) pricing.

Good luck.
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      10-30-2015, 10:17 AM   #6
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I test drove the S3. It was a fun drive, but I found the interior tasteful but very minimal (boring). And the backseat has very little headroom, so if you plan to drive any adults back there, I'd stick with the 3-series.
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      10-30-2015, 11:50 AM   #7
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Don't rule out a CPO Elite 328. You can get a former dealer loaner or executive car with under 10,000 mi for the same price as the 320 you are considering, with an additional 25,000 mi and 1 year on the warranty.

I have not driven either of those cars. I think if you don't need the room, I'd lean toward the A3. But in the end, it's going to be your car, and you have to weigh what's more important to you.
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      10-30-2015, 11:53 AM   #8
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I own a 320i and I've driven the A3. If you're looking for features/options the A3 is a good bet. If you prefer a great driving experience the 320i is miles ahead.

From an engine standpoint, the BMW N20 is better than the VW EA888, even in the detuned form in the 320i. Its very quick around town and tuned cheaply and effectively with BMS stage 1 or JB4.

From a trans standpoint, the BMW ZF 8AT is great, much better than the A3 dual clutch. And of course the 320i is available with a 6MT and the A3 is not.

From a AWD perspective, Audi Torsen is great but the A3 comes with haldex since its on a transverse platform. BMW x-drive is probably better than haldex. Disclaimer, I have RWD on my 320.

The 320i is bigger than the A3, but weight is roughly the same. I like the idea that Audi is selling a premium car that's so small, but realistically the F30 is an ideal size for me and I'd probably find A3 too small for daily duties.
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      10-30-2015, 02:41 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the feedback so far, this is helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tturedraider View Post
You can get HK in the 320i for the regular price if you have a CA who's willing to do a little legwork.
Now this I didn't know, details?

Quote:
Originally Posted by menncars View Post
Go with the 320i. As nice as the A3 is there going to be one too many situations in which it's too small. That situation will happen a lot less with the 320. And while you can up the power on either car, you can't make either car larger than it was built.

As noted, the price vs. power on the 320i XDrive doesn't make sense. Shelling out 4 grand more for XDrive on the 320 makes is much less attractive. It's practically hitting 328 (RWD) pricing.

Good luck.
The size is one of the two real concerns with the Audi (haldex/FWD platform being the other) that I think wouldn't be a problem with the 320i. I never haul people so not really concerned about headroom (might have a little one at some point but not anytime soon and the car would be gone before they got big enough for it to matter), but I do make Home Depot runs often and the 320i would be better. I like smaller cars, but the A3 might be just too small.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tex2670 View Post
Don't rule out a CPO Elite 328. You can get a former dealer loaner or executive car with under 10,000 mi for the same price as the 320 you are considering, with an additional 25,000 mi and 1 year on the warranty.
I thought about this but after 5 new cars, it's really hard to go back to used...but I think if I did go used, I'd step up to a 2013 (or hopefully a facelifted 2014) E-class. Not a lot of cars out there I'd be willing to go used on, but the E-class would be one of them. For a 3 I'd rather get a new 320 than a used 328.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjpaul View Post
From a trans standpoint, the BMW ZF 8AT is great, much better than the A3 dual clutch.
This is surprising and interesting to hear. I know the ZF is a great tranny (and actually I don't mind that it's a traditional auto so it doesn't do any odd behavior like a lot of manufacturers' DCTs), but I thought Audi/VW made some of the best DSGs around (except Porsche's PDK)?
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      10-30-2015, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nacho98 View Post
This is surprising and interesting to hear. I know the ZF is a great tranny (and actually I don't mind that it's a traditional auto so it doesn't do any odd behavior like a lot of manufacturers' DCTs), but I thought Audi/VW made some of the best DSGs around (except Porsche's PDK)?
I don't doubt that the actual gearbox is very capable. I was really disappointed with the way it was programmed to work with the EA888 engine. The trans had a very hard time deciding what gear was appropriate. That, coupled with turbo lag from the engine, made the experience very non-linear. Especially compared with the ZF8 which is almost telepathic.

(and I'll admit, I'm further biased by the lack of a 6MT. If you're gonna force buyers into your DSG, it damn well better be excellent)
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      10-31-2015, 11:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjpaul
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nacho98 View Post
This is surprising and interesting to hear. I know the ZF is a great tranny (and actually I don't mind that it's a traditional auto so it doesn't do any odd behavior like a lot of manufacturers' DCTs), but I thought Audi/VW made some of the best DSGs around (except Porsche's PDK)?
I don't doubt that the actual gearbox is very capable. I was really disappointed with the way it was programmed to work with the EA888 engine. The trans had a very hard time deciding what gear was appropriate. That, coupled with turbo lag from the engine, made the experience very non-linear. Especially compared with the ZF8 which is almost telepathic.

(and I'll admit, I'm further biased by the lack of a 6MT. If you're gonna force buyers into your DSG, it damn well better be excellent)
I think part of it may be that the Bimmer has the slicker programming, but also having a torque converter helps. Might be why the DSG often feels confused?
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