As an aside that would otherwise go unheard, I’m putting out blogs of my work versus my own thoughts, as they are two different things.
For decades, the BMW 3-Series has been a dominant force in the sport-sedan market, begetting many competitors who dare to take on the benchmark. From Audi, that competitor is the A4. In both the BMW and Audi for 2013, there are direct-injected four-cylinder turbo engines rolling out more-than-acceptable amounts of power and still give over 30mpg. Respective brands considered, each has a different way of achieving these tasks. Does the 328i still reign over the A4?
Audi’s A4 engine compartment has played host to the 2-liter TFSI game for some time, which is important since this is lauded as one of the best four cylinder engines in the world. The TFSI is known for a smooth power delivery, a cool mix of horsepower and torque (211/258 in this application), and respectable fuel economy. The Quattro all-wheel drive that Audi helped shape rally racing with is still a major draw, too. A4 brings three transmissions: a CVT for base front-drive models, with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic when the AWD Quattro tally is checked. The six-speed Quattro and CVT retain the 32mpg highway, while the eight-speed Quattro drops to 29mpg. Enthusiast speaking: the manual is the way to go here.
Unlike Audi, BMW pulls into the more classic ideals of a sports car, but throwing the practicality of a sedan. It’s been over a decade since a four-cylinder 3-Series has come to the U.S., and the first time for a turbo. However, BMW being who they are, the engine receives notoriety as well as the TSFI. Compared to the Audi’s 211hp, the BMW spins out a healthy 240hp. Though BMW’s 255ftlbs of torque is less than Audi’s 258, that amount hardly twists a finger, and the BMW comes in lower in the RPM’s. While no CVT is in the Bimmer, it won’t be missed as “only” a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transfer power to the back. Getting 34mpg highway, the 328i bests the Audi by 2mpg thanks in part to being lighter.
Sure Audi’s Quattro adds the benefit of grip; downside has long been an engine stuck far out in front of the car, and the A4 is no exception. Without AWD, it’s a front-drive vehicle which, from an enthusiast perspective, is a turn-off. Especially when one considers the rear-drive BMW gets better fuel economy with its matching (or besting) performance, while still benefiting with a larger back seat and trunk. The bench remains marked by the BMW 3-Series.
My take: Like with the Focus ST versus Mazdaspeed3, this is a performance-vehicle sort of comparison which was appreciated. Also like that article, I agreed with the winner but also know that Audi has a strong following, especially for people of more inclement weather regions. One thing I found frustrating is why BMW is so against saying what their trunk capacity is… sure I didn’t use that exact measurement in the article, but it’s still an important aspect when selling a sport sedan. Like a VW GTI, you get everyday practicality but with a hint of performance and luxury– so tell me how practical! As for Audi’s site, I must say I hate that they make it more friendly for phones than desk-tops. I sit in a time where I don’t want to scroll on a phone, so don’t make me have to do it on your site.