I consider myself an audi guy -- on my second allroad now and I will be deciding whether to buy the current one or get into a new A4 next fall. I love the B8 but have one major trepidation. I never buy the first year of a new model, too many niggling problems to work out. The B8 will have been around for a year in europe if I hit it next fall, but it will be new to the US. So really the other vehicle that intrigues me is a 335xi.-- really just curious to see what this car is all about. not truly in the market for another 11 months. But the press has been so over the top and it is soooo much less expensive to lease than the audis that I would consider -- not to mention better mpg (currently getting 15.8 mpg-- for a whopping real world range of 225 miles per tank) that I just wanna check it out.
will pay special attention to interior quality which from what I`ve read should be substantively lesser than my audi.
any suggestions to pay attention to by those who have driven it?
12-21-2007, 01:58 PM
I never considered the xi version since I live in SoCal and AWD is not a necessity. My car has the sport package which I know is different from the SP offered on the xi versions. BMW tends to make their AWD models for all-weather use and not for performance driving. In that sense, Audi's quattro system is a better choice.
I do agree that BMW's leases are hard to beat. My 335i listed for $44,900 and I am paying $476.41/month including tax for a 3-year/36K mile lease with zero cap reduction (I put down maximum number of refundable security deposits to lower my money factor). There is no way you can get even an A3 3.2 S-line for this kind of monthly payment with zero cap reduction.
I can make the following random observations about the interior quality of the 335i as compared to my old 2.0T A4:
- Leather quality of BMW seems better (softer and more supple) than the leather seating surfaces of the Audi
- Sport seats (part of SP) are superior to the standard Audi seats
- Thick 3-spoke steering wheel looks and feels better than Audi's. Steering effort at low speeds is more but feels more natural and less overboosted.
- Pop-up cupholders seem like an after thought. The location of both is actually quite good for drinking beverages. The prblem is that if they are deployed, the passenger can hit both with his/her legs when getting in or out of the car and break them.
- The BMW does not come with a standard alarm, so you don't get a chirp confirming that you have locked the doors (ignition is immobilized, however).
- Front seat belt anchor points on the B-pillar are not height adjustable, not a big deal to me but seems like a huge oversight for a car in this price range
- Love the iPod interface (option code 6FL) and bluetooth phone integration
- radio display and functions are not as intuitive as Audi's; no track time can be displayed for CDs
- No standard in-dash 6-CD changer, but the sound quality of the standard Logic 7 system is marginally better than the stock Audi Symphony II
- No storage compartments under the front seats, just empty space where stuff will slip and slide
- No good place for the owners manuals inside the cabin (Audi/VW's soultion under the steering column is genius); the storage location for the manuals is in the trunk
- Rotary knob for A/C temperature control superior to the Audi +/- buttons, but you have to set each side separately (no synching)
- Trip computer has only basic functions (only 1 trip, no speed limit warning)
- No spare tire or jack. I haven't had any issues with runflat tires yet but do not look forward to replacing them at $250+ per tire
- Night illumination with the all-orange lighting is not as nice as Audi's white/red
- Gauge cluster is too minimalistic. I prefer Audi's separate secondary gauges with their own surround rings
- Dash and door plastics are a notch below Audi's in touch and feel but acceptable (I do not find the cheap plastics used in the 2008 C-Class acceptable)
- My interior is a two-tone lemon/black which intergates the door panels better with the black dash in terms of color but I don't care at all for BMW gray or tan interiors which don't blend with the black dash)
- I do like BMW's rear A/C vents which Audi is adding to the B8 A4
- Cool BMW ambient lighting under the outside door handles and the headlight corona rings when the car is unlocked
- Personalization options offered by BMW are not available on the B7 A4
- I do like the fact that I could get a choice of 5 interior colors and 3 trim options (S-line option on the A4 limits you to black interior with aluminum trim as the sole choice)
- I don't care for the BMW turn signal stalk operation. Some basic stuff should be left alone.
- My gas mileage is noticeably worse than my old A4. I average about 16 driving in congested city driving but was getting over 22 mpg during our European delivery trip. You will get poor mileage if you average less than 20 mph but decent mileage on the highway.
- Manual shifter is less notchy than Audi's but I have found it easy to mistake reverse for first on a couple of ocassions (You don't have to press the lever down like on the A4). I would rate the shifting about even.
Hopefully this is somewhat useful to you. I would not pay too much attention to naysayers who bash BMW's interior quality. My A4's cabin was beginning to display some creaks and rattles starting early on. The BMW seems to be put together as well, if not better. Audi obviously spends more resources on interior materials and design, but the E90 Series compares decently to the B7 A4. The B8 might be a different story.
Finally, the coupe body style is more attractive on the outside, especially the rear end, but I drive my two kids in the car everyday and had to go with the sedan.
12-21-2007, 04:25 PM
wow thats a great run down of the car and subjectively not too different from what I experienced today. I drove two 6MT cars -- both "xi's" first was a coupe and second sedan.
1. Coupe -- I think its a gorgeous shape. I got in and immediately felt low to the ground and very "enclosed" by the car. Coming from my allroad this is to be expected, but the beltline is definitely higher in the 335 especially in the coupe -- sedan beltline is lower making you feel like you're sitting higher. Steering wheel is small and almost felt toy like -- but meaty once underway. i agree that the dash is too minimalistic. Perfectly legible, but too small. The orange/red lighting everywhere is not as easy on the eyes as audi's white and red.
Here's the surprise -- I was expecting neck snapping speed/throttle response but what I got was very smooth and linear unlike the throttle response in my 4.2. a few times in second gear I gunned it and it responded like my 4.2 -- right now fast. But the overall sensation is buttery and strong. I liked it after the initial adjustment. Probably much easier to drive smoothly. The ride and bump absorption is just amazing. Harsh potholes and uneven pavement were just delt with and no shuddering/skipping or jarring. This is a big difference from my allroad and the best chassis tuning I have ridden in. One car had the standard setup and the other had "sport" I think they are the same except for the seats and steering wheel in awd guise for BMW.
The stereo is a great big step down from my bose system I felt tho I didnt have time to really tune it to my liking.
2. Sedan -- same wonderful engine. Felt that I was sitting higher in the car as the belt line is lower. This had the sport seats -- definitely feel great and fit me well. Esp with thigh support extended. The steering wheel is meatier with thumb rests. This one had i-drive and nav. I do like nav so I would get it. i-drive is fussier than the Nav+ on my ar. But not insurmountable.
So in summary it is a jewel-like impressive car that fits like a glove. I am sure I would get better than 15.8mpg in it and I do think it would be very entertaining.
I want to test an automatic with paddles to see what that is like. 1/2 of my driving is in NYC and I know I will tire of a stick. The B8 cant get here soon enough.
12-21-2007, 05:43 PM
I know this is off topic a bit but your comments about the bump absorption and classic tuning is something that I can comment on. I used to have an allroad which I traded in for an A6 Avant 3.2q S-line. The ride is like day and night. The allroad, wonderful car for what it is, is a generation or 2 behind. My A6, even with the S-line suspension is noticeably better in ride/handling than the allroad. My friend also has a 335i that I frequently ride in and they feel very similar, although they are not exactly in the same class. My suggestion is that you should check out the A6 since you are driving the allroad now. If you need the space then the 3 series will be too small.
12-21-2007, 07:03 PM
I've been lucky enough to sit in a B8 and believe me its a huge leap up from the B7. It makes the car feel like a mini A8 in my opinion. As well, space feels almost the same as an A6 inside which many have already said. I was in a 335i coupe at the motor show as well and even though the interior was nice, it wasn't brilliant like the B8s. I accidentally bumped the wood interior inlay on the BMW door and it crinckled in, maybe that was an exeption to the usual, but the B8 felt as solid as a rock everywhere.
I can't comment on driving as I havn't diven either of them and it is subjective as to whether or not the interior really matters.
To me its extreamly important because thats where I will be spending all of my time, the exterior is important as well, I think the B8 has it on that as well. Definitely over the 3 series sedan and even better than the coupe which is one of the nicest looking BMWs.
It seems as though Audi offers pretty crappy deals on leasing and priceing in the US from what I hear all the people on here saying. I'm lucky where I am the pricing is much better and similar to the competition, or below it. They always seem to be trying really hard to keep exactly up to date with Europe e.g displaying the B8 last October, displaying the R8 when it first came out, bringing the RS6 over. The AoA doesn't seem to really follow the Europeans acting on their own thus separating them from the way cars are released etc in Europe (from what I have heard people saying on here). Its a real shame I think because they are ruining the experience in a lot of ways.
Also, one thing that I have always found interesting is that people never compare Audis or BMWs to Mercedes Benz on these forums. Why is that? They make some good cars, although I do prefer Audis to them.
12-21-2007, 09:08 PM
12-21-2007, 09:09 PM
12-21-2007, 10:19 PM
The interior of the B8 is definitely more "bling" than the B7, if that is the right word. I don't feel short change even getting use to the A6. However, the truth is that it is nowhere near as roomy as the A6. It is close to the C5A6 and I can genuinely sit in the back without my knee touching the sear in front even with me driving (I am 6 ft).
12-22-2007, 05:45 AM
-- the 3 does/did feel too small. I really want to like it because I want to get a more economical car thats awd/fun to drive and has some space for stuff/bikes/kids.
I think i'm describing an A3. But will my ego allow me to go "downmarket?"
12-22-2007, 05:50 AM
12-22-2007, 01:18 PM
I might return to audi someday... but the leases and their HP numbers dont make much sense to me... good luck with whatever you choose...
12-22-2007, 03:04 PM
12-22-2007, 08:18 PM
I live in SoCal, but I'm in Philly for the holidays, and it was my first chance to try my buddies 335 - six speed manual, xi, loaded, and he just has the basic Procede chip, no exhaust. His car has a sport suspension, but the xi's sport suspsension isn't as low or stiff as the rwd version. His previous car, a modified B6 S4, was a car I enjoyed quite a bit.
I was running the car around Manayunk and East Falls, and the thing is a blast. iDrive and the interior in general don't please me, but the seats are worlds better than my Audi, and I think this thing is a blast for the money. Hard to beat.
12-23-2007, 03:26 AM
As compare to the allroad the performance is similar but in a different way. The 3.2 is smooth but without the explosive midrange of the 2.7T, let alone your 4.2 V8. One thing about the 3.2 is that it is very economical. I am getting about 20% better than the 2.7T. Overall I am extremely satisfy with the 3.2
12-23-2007, 11:56 AM
It's the same car, so why even bother "upgrading" when the all new A4 will be here in 10 months or so. If you have to buy a car now, I would skip the B7 and go BMW. If you can wait, get the B8.
I just wouldn't spend the money on a B7 for a design from 2001 (europe).
12-23-2007, 01:23 PM
This buying a second year release is pure myth - my B7 was one of the first bought in Canada and so far no problems what's o ever? Lucky maybe, but this is my second A4. Curiously, I also had a string of BMW's and I think that the 335 coupe is a smoking car. I cant wait for the A5 to be available in Canada.
12-23-2007, 04:21 PM
I am a former B5 and B6 1.8tqms owner. I couldnt stomach the B7 (too similar to my B6 with some added fugliness. Besides the B6 & B7 don't have enough rear legroom for me anymore. The B7 Audi is just uncompetitive with the e90 BMW. The e90 interior is very nice, just a bit small and cramped up front with just barely adequate storage.
I had ordered an e90 328xi 6MT last February (including the 6FL! option). However, before I could take delivery, I backed out just as the ship with my car was about to hit port in NY: Black on Black, Sport pkg, leather sport seats, 6FL, and a few other necessary bits.
I ended up getting a 2.0T VW GLI 6MT instead.
The BMW was nice, very nice, but still wasn't sure if it would work for us for the long haul. The original goal was to get an e92, but my wife and I were disappointed by its hatch area and it was not available in 335xi trim. We already had a dog and were planning on a family soon. I couldn't see our dog being comfortable in that hatch. Since I didn't want to order a 6MT e92 that might have been difficult to sell and not the LT car solution that we were hoping for I decided to order an e90 instead.
Over time I felt that since I was already compromising by getting a sedan I figured I would compromise further and save $15K since I figured this car would be a short term solution anyway. We have a baby on the way now, and I'll be in a better position to assess our needs next year.
A B8 Avant may be a better solution long-term, or maybe something else. I REALLY wanted the BMW straight-six. Performance in the sedan was good enough in the 328xi (felt sluggish in an automatic e92 tester) The 335i performance was simply superb.
12-25-2007, 06:28 PM
if you don't mind, what was your residual and MF?
12-26-2007, 09:51 AM
I got the car for $800 over Euro Delivery invoice price which worked out to something like 11.8% off the $44,900 MSRP.
The base MF at the time was 0.00175 but ED lease MF is increased by 0.0003 since BMWFS makes your second payment for you while the car is in transit.
At the time, the MF for a B7 A4 3.2 quattro S-Line was at least 11 percentage points lower. There was no way I could have gotten that car for the same monthly payment since the low Audi residual kills you.