Go for the S4 if possible.....great car. Extensively driven both E46 M3 and new gen S4, and while both are fast and fun the Audi just feels much more expensive.......the interior, the torque and sound of the V8, Quattro,4 doors, etc.As others have said there are a fewaspects of the M3 that are better.......steering and a little firmer suspension,......but the Audi is no slouch at all andis actually more fun to drive after the first 5 minutes IMO. Ownedthree Audis in the past and they are great cars and unstoppable in the winter with the right tires. They have also been reliable........maybe not 'Toyota' reliable but not bad by any means. We're talking about maybe 1 unshceduled trip to the dealer in two years. The free maintenance is also great......haven't paid a dime for anything in the last 8 years maintenance wise.
If you need to carry stuff besides your kids (as in room behind the back seats) look seriously at the BMW 5 series sport wagons. I replaced an SUV in 2001 with a 525i sport wagon (2 wheel drive, didn't need AWD) with a 5 speed, sport suspension and a bunch of other goodies, and it's been a great car. Has way more room to carry stuff than the Cayenne/Toureg/X5, drives like a sports car, built like a vault. When I make calls from it, it's so quiet people think I'm calling on a land line from home. The new ones with AWD are very nice, although I'm not a big fan of the new version's styling.
Sorry to here about your dilema. I have a 04 S4. My wife has an Allroad. I love the way these Audis drive BUT they have both been in and out of the shop everyother month or so. These are my 3rd. and 4th. Audis and I have to say my last. My S4 was flatbeaded from my house 2X and my wife allroad 4 times. Transmission problems, computer problems, etc. As for my Sunday car, I'm in the midst of selling my 993, Caymans coming in March.
Thanks for the advice. I looked at the 530 xi today, but couldn't get a test drive. Probably never will get to try a stick, but will try an auto this week. Drove the Toureg, and it really drove like a truck, unlike the Cayenne S which drove like a car (except for the size). Drove the S4 stick, and it was fantastic on wet, winding roads. Great engine sound, too. Got the "Oh my gosh!" from my girlfriend on a few confident turns which means it must be good. The RS4 won't be available here until the summer. I did see the 25th anniversary S4 which even my daughter liked (must have been the carbon fiber), which does have some of the RS4 look. I have had two Audi's, and I did have a few problems, but nothing major. They do seem to be "hit and miss" with reliability.
I may go for the S4 this week, depending on the final word on the M3.
AllanK, somewhat in a similar dilemma as you, except that Ihave no kids. Cancelled the Cayman S order after a 7 month wait due to extremely bad service (no car is worth that!). Got a full refund. Have looked at the SLK55, S4, M3 and even the Maserati Cambrio - all within similar price range over here.
The sole distributor for Porsche here tried to interest me in a 996 C4, which about 1 year 9 months old, is similar in price to a quite speced-up Cayman S. It's got 4 seats (if you consider the kiddy bench behind as two).
Would appreciate it ifany of the folks here could help with advice on the 997s and 996s (C2 or 4). Should I not shell out a not inconsiderable sum for a 997, vs keeping my pennies and going for a used996? Currently driving an Evo9. Thanks.
AllanK - Does it have to be a new car? Now that I picked up my new Porsche I'm selling my 1999 Audi A4 2.8 Quattro. It's got 75,000 miles and is in excellent condition. I have all theservice records for the car, including the 30K and 60K, better yet, I just replaced the timing belt which needs to be done whenever Audi's hit 60-70K.It would getyou through the next couple of years while you wait for the Cayman, then it would be perfect for your teenage kids to drive.I swear by the quattro system - I haven't missed a day of work in the past four years.
Thanks for the offer. I put about 400 miles a week on my car, so I always go for new ones. The Cayman will be a weekend and fair weather car, so I would like to get a new 4DR now which I can put a lot of miles on, and keep. Then hopefully the Cayman in a couple of years.
By the way, searching the BMW sites, I found out that my problem is not unusual. My driver rear shock tower shattered. No road debris or potholes, just bad engineering. Too bad the car is almost 8 years old and well out of warranty. Still, I took photos that I'm e-mailing to BMW to see if they will make good in some way.