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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > 330i, A4, IS, Test Drive



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      01-08-2006, 10:47 AM   #1
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330i, A4, IS, Test Drive

Hey, yesterday I went out and test drove the A4 2.0t S-line, the 330i non-sport.(no 325i sport in stock), and the IS250.These are my thoughts...

The A4 is a solid car. Its beautiful..but only with the S package and Xenons. The A4 is the safest, has the largest trunk, and as a total package..its better for the money then the 3 series. It handles smoothly the brakes are amazing..a little bit too grippy but not like the 3 series, which are like glue brakes. The Audi has that asist steering that changes ratio and I didnt really like it at first cause it seemed to light, but I got used to it a little bit by the end of the test drive. The audi takes curves pretty well. Also it has the quattro which is safer in wet conditions. The sales person at the Audi dealership was by far the most helpful and the facility that they have cannot be beat. Also, the Audi is the cheapest lease even though it is more expensive then the IS250?hmm..The Audi takes off the quickest going from 0-30 or 0-40, which i really like because not to often doo I have a chance to let it go from 0-60 on any of the horrible raods in my city, which makes 0-60 numers useless to me. The audi has the most comfortable seating position of the 3, and has the most ergonomic interior. Honestly I thought the Audi was a great car in all respects..And it looked hot in black.

Then I went to the BMW dealership because i wanted to better compare the Audi to the BMW. The 3 series is a good looking car. The visibility in the 3 series is worse than the Audi and the mirrors are a little small.The BMW trunk is big but did not seem as big as the Audi. The backseat was also not as comfortable. The interior was much nicer and very modern, especially with the IDrive. The dealer was horrible. It was the most unorganized dealership i've ever been to. My sales person barely spoke english, was dumb, and took about 45 minutes to find a car to test drive. When i asked the manager what was taking so long, he said the lot back there was a mess..Idiot..lol..doesn't matter though cause it was the cars i was comparing. While at the dealership an IS 350 pulled up to the BMW 330i so i had a direct comparison side by side. The 330i is nicer looking. The IS has gotten uglier the more that I see it. Finally he brought out a car. I wanted to test a 325i sport, but all they had was a 330i nonsport. Man that CAR IS A BEAST!!!!OMG it blew the Audi away in every respect. The steering is just so tight and precise. It has no lag like the Audi. YE N/A!!! I did not think the 3 series would live up to all the hype that I've given it..but it was even better than i expected. The 330i is really fast. I don't need that speed but now that i've driven it I don't think i will be able to get a 325i lol.The steptronic is sooo nice... i did not think it would be that close to manual. The BMW made me smile when I drove it..unlike the IS, or A4. What a car.. handles better than any mercedes. I cant wait for the e92....When the hell is that thing comming out.

Next I headed the Lexus dealership to test the IS. The IS is nice..Not anything great nor bad. My mind was already made up at that point, but I still wanted to try the IS. THe IS has a horrible seating position. If you raise the seat your head touchs the roof. If you lower it, you cant see over the steering whell. The Windshield is too rakish. The Lexus has the ugliest interior, but the softest seats. The trunk is tiny, and the back seats are the smallest of the three. The IS interior only looks good with the NAV. Otherwise it looks cheap. Driving wise the IS250 is slow. Real slow. I would like something faster, but I dont need the IS350 with 306 hp. They should make another IS300 or something, with the same amount as the 330i. But with a cheaper price. I think that would do really well. The IS also has tha asist steering, but its not as bad as he Audis asist steering. The IS is just so plain. I can barely remember what it drives like unlike the A4 and the 330i. Its just drove. It a very comfortable car and I can definately see it being a hit for the old guys who want a sportier car but won't dare leave lexus. Anyone who says the IS handles better than the 3 series doesnt have a clue. Cause it doesnt. One more note, the doors on the IS did not have a solid shut feel to them unlike the A4, which seemed the most solid, and then the 3 series which came in 2nd.

Overall...the BMW is the car for me. The A4 is a great somewhatgirls car, except in black.It really is a solid performer. Great looks, comfortable seats, decent engine, with a sporty attitude. It is a great overall package and probably better than the 3 series for the money. The IS is the worst of them all. It just is so uninspiring and did not take the curves like the BMW. The BMW makes u want to go all out unlike the IS, or the A4. The IS is good for the loyal lexus owner. It looks sporty and nice, and sounds good on paper but take it on the road, and it can't compete. The BMW just wins because it is the ultimate driving experience
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      01-08-2006, 11:07 AM   #2
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Just my initial throughts of the Audi A-4. I test drove the A-4 Sport model 6 speed. To be honest, I wasnt comparing it to a BMW at the time, but the new 2006 passat (top end model @ 38K). We also recently purchased a 2006 Jetta TDI (diesel) to combat the higher gasoline prices.

Anyhow, I really was not impressed with the A-4 simply because it reminded me too much of our '06 Jetta. Not that I dislike our jetta. I do, but it only costs 21K, so there was no way I was dropping 30 somthing thousand or more for the same vehicle in diffrent clothing.

Over all, yes the quality of the A4 is better than the Jetta, but not at that price. I didnt like the passat either.
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      01-08-2006, 12:14 PM   #3
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I test drove the Audi, the Lexus and the Bmw. I thought the A4 did not excel at anything, good overall car and that's basically it. I agree with you regarding the solid shut feel of the Audi is was more convincing than the Bmw. I found the Bmw more comfortable, better looking and definitely the driving dynamics of the Bmw are way superior to the Audi. Though I did prefer the interior of the Audi to the Bmw, but the Bimmer felt more expensive even with the leatherette (the Audi had leather seats). Manual transmission of the Audi felt sluggish. Regarding the dealers they both sucked. Thatís one area where the Germans really suck is with their dealers, terrible. Lexus on the other hand the dealer was much better, much more competent.

The Lexus exterior styling is whatever, not ugly and not nice, I donít think itís going to age very well. Bmw exterior styling is way superior to the Lexus, even Audiís exterior is nicer than Lexus. Where the Lexus excelled, aside from having good dealers, is in the interior I prefer it to Bmw. Its much nicer and felt more expensive. Driving dynamics of the Lexus were no where close the Bmw. Maybe if I had test drove the IS 350 it would have been different, but Is 250 does not compare at all to the 325. The Lexus manual transmission is terrible.

If you are in the market for a 325, the other models just donít come close to it. The engine is way superior to the other two, and if you drive manual than forget about the other two especially Lexus.
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      01-08-2006, 12:20 PM   #4
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Plus Bmw exterior styling is a lot nicer. When you look at the Bimmer you know you have something special. Audi and Lexus don't give you that feeling.
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      01-08-2006, 03:49 PM   #5
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I also test drove some vehicles (and dealerships) this weekend in Las Vegas...

I also test drove some vehicles (and dealerships) this weekend in Las Vegas...

First I test drove the Lexus IS250. I was very impressed with the vehicle. The leather is immaculate, soft, and supple. The real wood interior is beautiful. The car had plenty of power for my taste and the fit and finish was perfect. I would rate the Las Vegas Lexus dealer as perfect. Not too pushy, very informative, and an I received an extremely knowledgable sales person with 18 years experience in Lexus vehicles. If I were picking my vehicle by my experience with the dealer, Lexus would win hands down. I would consider the IS an extremely viable 3 series alternative.

Next I drove the Audi A4. I told the sales person that I had just driven the Lexus IS and he raved about how much he liked the Lexus. I simply did not like the Audi A4. I have driven the 2006 Volkswagen Passat and the A4 felt exactly the same to me. I was also disappointed in the paint job on the A4. The vehicle looked like it needed to be cut and buffed. The paint looked "rough" to me.

Next I went to the Las Vegas BMW dealer. I told him I had settled on the BWM 3 series, and had some very particular questions. I felt extremely rushed (even though the dealership appeared empty) and the sales person did not take me seriously. The sales person knew very little about the vehicle. I also caught some rude gestures that he indicated toward the other sales people. Basically I was wasting his time. So I left...

Next I went to the Henderson BMW dealer (about a 30 minute drive away). This is the second time I have visited this dealer. Because the dealership was very crowded I expected some delays. I looked at all of the 3 series vehicles on the lot and nobody offered to help me. So I went inside and asked for a sales person. I spoke with a salesman who was quite helpful considering how busy the dealership was. I did not feel rushed, and the sales person knew the vehicle very well.

I test drove a 330i with sport package and heated seats. The leather on the BMW is stiffer than the Lexus and in my opinion the interior is not as luxourious. I was a little disappointed in the BMW's overall interior feel. The exterior of the BMW is the best looking of any of the cars I drove, so I would rate the overall exterior appearance of the BMW the best. The BMW really shines when you drive the car. It drives better than anything else I test drove. After driving the car I can see why it is so popular.

Next I went to the Las Vegas Mercedes dealer and looked at a C230. I would rate the interior with the Lexus, and overall I liked the car and the dealership quite well. But, they never offered me a test drive (and I didn't feel like wasting their time). I personally did not like the overall exterior appearance of the Mercedes. It looks fine, but for a 30ish person it looks too much like grandpas car.

Last I test drove the Acura TL. I was happy that 85% of the vehicle is made in the USA. The dealership and sales person were excellent. The sales person explained the navigation system in detail and I would rate the navigation system as excellent. I would actually consider getting navigation on the Acura. It was very simple to figure out and use without any manuals, it wins over BMW's I-drive hands down. Overall I was quite impressed with the Acura. For the money it wins hands down in features and overall fit and finish, and it felt much bigger inside than any of the other cars.. I would rate the Acura as the best bang for the buck. If I wanted the best luxury vehicle on a budget I would get the Acura TL.

Overall I still think I will get a BMW 3 series when the 2007 model year comes out. I think that all of the vehicles I drove are good cars, and any of them would be fine so I simply have to go with the one I liked best and it's still the 3 series.

I also think all of the other Las Vegas dealers should take a plain clothes trip to the Lexus dealer to see how to properly treat their buyers. Heck... come September I might even drive the IS again before I make the final decision... But the IS still isn't a BMW....
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      01-08-2006, 04:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
The A4 is a solid car. Its beautiful..but only with the S package and Xenons. The A4 is the safest, has the largest trunk, and as a total package..its better for the money then the 3 series.
I *disagree*.

Don't believe one minute that because a car has AWD, it is safer. This equation is just not true.

Neither for the value. Did you price a 200HP A4 S-Line? Not much different than a 325i equipped. And at resale, the A4 will eat all imaginative "better value" concept.
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      01-08-2006, 08:06 PM   #7
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I agree, 330i vs. anything else and it wins. I hardly think these comparos are very fair though.
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      01-08-2006, 09:01 PM   #8
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The last thing I expect to see in a BMW forum is the most objective of comparisons. Nonetheless, it is interesting to read about what others have said of the A4 and IS as I find myself in agreement with several opinions.

The Lexus did have a very nice interior, though I wasn't very fond of the way the center console lid opened. The IS exterior styling is contemporary and evolutionary from its predecessor, much in a manner consistent with what one might expect from Lexus or Toyota. Although I feel the IS is pleasant looking, the adjectives "traditional" and "distinctive" do not come to mind. I get the impression that it looks like a blend of Toyota Corolla, Lexus GS, Avalon and the upcoming LS, not to mention the new Hyundai. This makes me feel that the IS design is less special as it is shared by other models.

The A4 interior looks inviting, and though the seats are comfortable, they are certainly no match for the 3-series ZSP ones. The exterior styling is very clean, derivative and unmistakably Audi. Objective performance comparisons speak for themselves, as the A4 is outclassed by the 330i in practically every aspect.

I personally chose the 3-series because I have grown fond of it over its past 3 permutations, starting with the e36. The 3-series reputation as the benchmark luxury sports sedan demonstrates its pedigree and mission statement. Conservative styling cues give respect to those who honor tradition, and bestow a classic style distinction. Aside from what may be quirky electronic demons, a unique iDrive system that many despise, and a powertrain that may soon change, the e90 is a classy looking car for sports enthusiasts who value the practicality of a comfortable 4-door sedan and well-rounded performance. Its competitors are great cars too, but I am simply not excited about them.

I only wish I could speak this favorably of car sales people in general.
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      01-10-2006, 01:47 PM   #9
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bmwbenz0101, thanks for taking the time to post your impressions.

Having read some great reviews for the IS, I stopped at a dealership today to sit in one. It seemed very cozy, but the seat wouldn't go far down enough for me, and I lost interest right away.

The basic manual leathertte seat in my 325 is the best seat I've ever driven in.

For some reason, I have never even gone to an Audi dealership. I guess my brief VW ownership and my preconceptions about Audi reliability kept me from even looking.
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      01-10-2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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The Lexus dealer at Cerritos Auto Square didn't treat me so well when I pulled my 330 into a parking spot right next to a IS350. A guy came running up and told me I couldn't park there and has to park all the way on the other side of the dealership, when I clearly saw someone else parked in that same row.
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      01-10-2006, 02:56 PM   #11
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That's hilarious! If I were a Sales guy I would welcome people like you into my lot...that is, if I were comfortable with MY product!
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      01-10-2006, 03:41 PM   #12
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The truth is, the 330 did look superior parked amongst a sea of IS. Call me biased, I don't care, it just looked better. I bet he's afraid someone would be browsing through the row of cars, and suddenly sees it and goes, hey this one looks nice, I want this one, which Lexus is this? And the sales will have to go, I'm sorry, that's a BMW, not a Lexus... cue awkward silence.
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      01-10-2006, 03:44 PM   #13
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I owned a 2003 A4 3.0. Awesome *car*. Reliable, solid, well built, comfortable, awd stability in the pacnw rains; everything in that car just worked well. It had two major downfalls: the rear seat could just barely fit a rear facing car seat in the middle position (it had to rest on the front seat back edges and hit our shoulders) and it was boooooring. Since my son had just been born, I couldn't handle another year of the tiny back seat.

Fast forward to getting pissed at having to wait for my e90 to show up, I go test drive an IS350. The power was intoxicating. Came so close to buying one. The trunk of the IS is actually a couple of cubic feet bigger than the e90's, but the seats don't fold down. Fatal flaw this time: backseat, again, is too damn small.

For me it was goldilocks syndrome ... A4 wonderful car, but ultimately just transportation and it's back seat was too small; IS350 extremely fun amount of power, back seat too tiny to be useable (I mean, really, why not just get a coupe at that point? ... it's *that* small.) for a family. So the e90 was just right.

I know I'll get blasted for saying this in a BMW forum, but the e90 really is ugly. The more time I spend looking at it, it's just butt ugly. It tries, but then fails on it's own conservatism. But then, I think the 5 series is currently the best looking BMW made. Drives brilliantly though, so I don't care. Hopefully it'll mean I get less attention.
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      01-10-2006, 04:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obLu

I know I'll get blasted for saying this in a BMW forum, but the e90 really is ugly. The more time I spend looking at it, it's just butt ugly. It tries, but then fails on it's own conservatism. But then, I think the 5 series is currently the best looking BMW made. Drives brilliantly though, so I don't care. Hopefully it'll mean I get less attention.

I find the back seat just big enough for my little girls with their winter boots...couldn't imagine anything smaller....


You won't get blasted...we've gone back and forth a million times on whether the E90 is ugly or not and since cars a are a fashion statement, it is ultimately a subjective view.
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      01-10-2006, 04:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obLu
I know I'll get blasted for saying this in a BMW forum, but the e90 really is ugly. The more time I spend looking at it, it's just butt ugly. It tries, but then fails on it's own conservatism. But then, I think the 5 series is currently the best looking BMW made. Drives brilliantly though, so I don't care. Hopefully it'll mean I get less attention.
It's not ugly; it's an acquired taste. It took a lot of wallpaper face-time to appreciate the lines & curves on the 3-series. It is *clearly* superior to any Lexus / Acura design and competes head on w/ Audi / VW / Benz.

You want ugly? Check out the Volvo S series.
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      01-10-2006, 08:28 PM   #16
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Gotta try out the is350 with sports package. The 306hp is just so raw and fun to play with when traction control is switched off, well almost all off. I am not promoting the IS but I just find all that much extremely fun. I am waiting for the 335i or M3, I need the power.
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      01-11-2006, 09:54 AM   #17
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Check out this web site, I think it gives a good explanation of the Is350, especially towards the end.

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/con...9991324407406/
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      01-11-2006, 10:41 AM   #18
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That's a great article!
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      01-11-2006, 10:42 AM   #19
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I initially thought the E90 looked crap. I remember quipping that it looked like a "crushed coke can" to a work colleague. However I went to a conference and an SG 330 was parked in the hall where we had coffee, and seeing the shape for a few days constantly it started to grow on me.

I used to have a B6 A4, and after test driving a B7 2.0T quattro was convinced that this was th car for me. However just before ordering I decided to do a price comparison and to my surprise the 325i was only $AU300 more expensive (when I bought the A4, the equivalent E46 was $AU10k more expensive!). And for this the 325i had far more equipment for the money and had options not available on the A4. Queue a test drive of the 325 and the dealer offering me $AU8500 off the RRP, and I was hooked.

The BMW dealer here is far superior to the Audi dealer, they are even better than the MB dealerships here. They have the reputation for the best service in Adelaide.

The E90 is better than the B7 A4 is every respect. After owning an A4 for 4 years, I have to tell you the interior is VERY bland and I couldn't stand the thought of having one for another 4 years. The BMW was like a breath of fresh air, great interior design, very now esp with iDrive, and well made. The exterior design is better also.

The A4 is tired, and is a cynical update where Audi calculated to release a model to blunt the E90 release. It shows too, many aspects of the B7 are underdeveloped, it is half a car, rushed to market, and to B6 A4 owners it shows. I really hope the B8 is a great car, because good competition makes the 3 series a better car.

Compared with my 4yo A4 the E90 seemed more solid, but comparing a brand new car to and old one is not fair I guess...

As for the IS, I think is it fugly, but I haven't test driven one, so I can't comment beyond the impressions gained from seeing them on the road.
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