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Sorry about the length of this, I did not mean for this to be so long but I thought this might be useful to other people cross shopping or comparing the V to the S4 and M3.

Well let me start off by saying that I am a new 05 V (black/black) owner (I have only had it for a little while so far). Previously to this I had a 2004 e46 M3 and a 2001 S4 (b5 gen, not the current generation though I have driven those (both b6 and b7) quite a few times.

First let me get the whole car reliability issue out of the way. With the S4 I had turbo failures (when it was still stock), transmission issues, and a host of other items, which kept it in the shop. Once I started modding the Audi the local dealerships basically would try and deny service at the drop of a hat. Now on the M3 they are known for having engine failures (great thing on a 50k car). I did not have an engine failure, though my vehicle had to come in a few times for recalls relating to oil and bearing issues. When engine failures initially started happening (and even up until now) BMW was happily denying warranty claims on anyone whom had nearly any mod done (they were even trying to deny some claims based on "hard driving"). Other then that, I had electrical system issues (including a dead battery at one point) and synchro issues. All of these were covered under warranty but it didn't make me feel that this was a "superiorly engineered vehicle". I am betting that the Cadi will perform up to the standards of the vehicles above.

The M3's engine requires you to rev it quite a bit before you get any real power out of it and you can't really drive around in traffic at low rpm's easily. The S4 (and V) on the other hand have plenty of torque down low and allow you to easily drive the vehicle in the type of traffic you will spend 90% of your time with the car in. I really do think the V is excellent at this. If you drive your vehicle at all during rush hour traffic you will appreciate this greatly.

On this note, the V's boosted steering response takes some getting used to. It reminds me quite a bit of what the new 5 series steering is like. Once you get used to it though you really do appreciate how well the system works. It makes slow speed maneuvers easy, as apposed to being comparatively somewhat of a chore in either the M or S. Again the reason the I bring these up is for me I spend allot more time doing this then testing the handling limits of the vehicle, so it's nice to have a vehicle that makes this an easy task. Once you get moving though the steering has nice weight and feedback which gives you a great driving experience.

With AWD the current S4 will probably win any street stoplight races among these three unless you get some great conditions and a perfect launch, or you race to quite high speeds. On the other hand, once you are rolling I will say that the V is the fastest of the bunch especially on the highway. I know of at least one e46 M3 owner who learned that the V is faster on the highway :lildevil: (and yes he was trying each of the 3 times). Since in my M3 previously I had my fair share of encounters with S4's (b5/6/7) I can confidently say that the V is faster (stock vs. stock) then all of them.

As far as modified performance, I am not even going to begin. The reason is that with enough money you can make anything very quick. If you start talking "bang for the buck" then you can end up debating until you are blue in the face.

As far as handling goes, all three vehicles handle extremely well. I personally think that the M3 has the edge here mainly due to weight and overall vehicle balance. Both the S4 and V are quite porky compared to the M3 and no matter how well they handle their weight they are not really going to be as nimble as the M3. Let me put one important point here, when it comes to handling at the track/autocross a big part of this is the tires you choose. With the crap tires that some times come OEM (like on the b5 S4) allot of times you can make huge gains in grip/handling (and lap times) just buy getting better tires.

Now I know everyone goes gaga over the Audi's interior. It is also splattered all over the how the Cadi supposedly has a cheap interior. Let me just say please go sit and drive all 3 before you go spouting this crap. All of them have very nice interiors and are quite different.

The materials used in the Audi are very nice, but the seating is cramped (especially in the rear seats) as well as headroom is pretty poor. The vents have popped off into my hands before and it always seems like the Audi interior needs allot more care and feeding to keep looking good. In the M3 the interior is very nice and I really do think they do it nearly perfectly. The center stack (nav/radio/controls/etc) is slightly turned towards the driver really giving you a cockpit like feeling. I really had no problems with that interior other then that brushed aluminum pieces which got scratched easily or got dirty otherwise way to easily. The problem with the M3 is that while the driver and passenger are in comfort, the poor people in the rear seats require great yoga skills to prevent blood loss to body areas if they try and remain in those jokes of rear seats BMW put in the car.

The V on the other hand is roomy (4 normal adults can actually fit in it without cursing), comfortable and very nicely adorned. The seats are firm yet comfortable. Allot of the pieces are plastic based but really by sticking to black I believe it doesn't look all that bad. It is not up to the fit and finish of the M3 or S4 but really it's not far behind at all. After having taken road trips (8 hours or so of driving) in all 3 let me say the V has the best seats of the lot. It is the most comfortable and the only one in which I was able to get out of the car and not have various body parts ache/stiffen up etc.

Overall I am very satisfied with my purchase of the V. It provides me with all of the performance of the M3, with the comfort and drivability of the S4, and room to actually fit 4 adults for long distances. If any of you are looking at all 3 vehicles I would personally suggest you get the V (especially if this vehicle will be a primary means of transport).
 

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Great review! I had an Audi also and it was the most unreliable car I have ever owned. Maintenance costs (after 50k of course) are 2-3 times what you would pay for a Cadillac.

The English acutally compared the V to the S4 and the V pulled away from the Audi. AWD is great the the Quattro system is extremely reliable but it does at a lot of weight to a small car.

I loved the Audi's interior also but mine broke often. I personally love the look of the V's interior and exterior. The magazines and critics would be talking about how refreshing and revolutionary the V is if Lexus or Mercedes brought a similar car to the market. Look at BMWs or Mercedes interiors if you want to see the definition of plain or boring.

Audi engines do have a lot of low end torque, well most of them anyways. My A4 would fall asleep below 4 grand though. Raise that limit to around 5k if it is a BMW. The Audi's main advantage is that it has tremendous foul weather grip (better than any SUV, pick up). But driving a $50k car in the snow everyday for long trips is not in my plans.

Great review again!
 

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Thanks for the review ak6ar! Intersting comparison, all three great cars! (but I obviously like one of them better)
 

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Good info

First let me get the whole car reliability issue out of the way. With the S4 I had turbo failures (when it was still stock), transmission issues, and a host of other items, which kept it in the shop. Once I started modding the Audi the local dealerships basically would try and deny service at the drop of a hat. Now on the M3 they are known for having engine failures (great thing on a 50k car). I did not have an engine failure, though my vehicle had to come in a few times for recalls relating to oil and bearing issues. When engine failures initially started happening (and even up until now) BMW was happily denying warranty claims on anyone whom had nearly any mod done (they were even trying to deny some claims based on "hard driving"). Other then that, I had electrical system issues (including a dead battery at one point) and synchro issues. All of these were covered under warranty but it didn't make me feel that this was a "superiorly engineered vehicle". I am betting that the Cadi will perform up to the standards of the vehicles above.
There is no excuse for those two cars being that unreliable for that amount of money. If Detroit can make Mustangs and Impala SSs that race all day without breaking you sure would expect the great Germans to be able to do that at double the price!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks :)

What I think I have found is that the European sports/specialty vehicles definitely all have issues. If you check out their boards you will find people compalining about the same type of issues you find on all other boards, only the parts cost alot more :helpless: .

The difference between American and European manufactorers seems to be this. If you have a new CAI say put on your vehicle (and nothing else) and go in for some engine related failure you get very different attitudes. The BMW/Audi's of the world will basically immediately deny you warranty coverage and really give you no chance at anything else. On the other hand, the Ford/Dodge/Cadillac dealerships seem to be willing to figure out if the problem is related to the CAI or not, and if not do the work under warranty. I think this is because they are more used to seeing modified vehicles and understand that their owners will be doing this.

Now I may be spoiled since my local Cadillac dealership is Lindsay :D (I am about 10 miles from it). But I will say that with a Dodge I owned before, the dealership seemed very open to modding and dealing with the resulting warranty questions in a fair manner.
 

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MCaesar said:
Good info



There is no excuse for those two cars being that unreliable for that amount of money. If Detroit can make Mustangs and Impala SSs that race all day without breaking you sure would expect the great Germans to be able to do that at double the price!
I've seen plenty of Mustangs and Impalas break over the years. EVERY car will eventually break, even Ferraris that cost 20 times as much as the average car.

The higher cost cars are also more complex and they usually lead the way in technology. Eventually the real world will prove if that technology is worth its cost. ABS, TCS and the SRS are a few systems that are now becoming standard in most cars. 10 years ago they were mostly an option.
 

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Very good review, I thought.

I had my 2005 S4 butt handed to me last night on my way home form Cave Creek, AZ. Owner is probably a member of this forum. If so, repond please.

We had just left a stop light and rolling about 10 MPH. I had just shifted into second and he nails it. Stayed close to him until I hit the rev limiter in second gear. Shifted into third and had to slow for traffic in my lane. This black V was all over me and all I saw was tail lights.

I'd like to try it again sometime from a dead stop. Maybe I'd have a better chance. I still think he'd kill me from about 80 MPH on. I was really impressed.

Jack Evers
Phoenix, AZ

05 Audi S4
02 Audi A4 QSport
 

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Dave's V said:
I've seen plenty of Mustangs and Impalas break over the years. EVERY car will eventually break, even Ferraris that cost 20 times as much as the average car.

The higher cost cars are also more complex and they usually lead the way in technology. Eventually the real world will prove if that technology is worth its cost. ABS, TCS and the SRS are a few systems that are now becoming standard in most cars. 10 years ago they were mostly an option.
Every car does not break at the same rate. Audis are notorious for being unreliable.

M3s blowing motors? Please tell me the time a LT1 motor blew in an Impala. Maybe when someone forgot to put the oil pan plug back in!

Audis have not had good resale for 20 years because a Toyota Camry puts them to shame when it comes to being well built.

Cadillac stepped up to the plate for 06 and finally replaced that POS rear or it would soon be in the same boat.

When people pay top dollars for a car they expect reliablity - not crap.
 

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Dave's V said:
I've seen plenty of Mustangs and Impalas break over the years. EVERY car will eventually break, even Ferraris that cost 20 times as much as the average car.
I need to keep reminding myself what you've said. I keep wanting to sell/trade the V everytime I read something has gone wrong AGAIN.Everytime I get that feeling is because I want to avoid a lemon. In all reality, I've gone thru quite a few cars already. Some of them I've replaced because of the information I get from forums. Now I've decided that I won't let that happen again. Especially now that I have about $10k in mods invested in it.

As the author of this thread has said, "What I think I have found is that the European sports/specialty vehicles definitely all have issues. If you check out their boards you will find people compalining about the same type of issues you find on all other boards, only the parts cost alot more." This is what I figured out on a VW forum. European cars are more expensive to fix and when it comes to mods, they are available but at a premium. Also, if you look into wanting forced induction, the price tag for the kit is almost 2 times more than what a Magnacharger is for the V. That's not the worst of it. Some of those forced induction kits don't even come with a carb exempt tag. So if you live in a state where modifications need carb exempt numbers, your SOL.

Either way, this thread helped me realize one more time that the V is just a car, not an indistructable Incredible Hulk car.

Who do I send payment to for counseling? :D
 

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MCaesar said:
Every car does not break at the same rate. Audis are notorious for being unreliable.

M3s blowing motors? Please tell me the time a LT1 motor blew in an Impala. Maybe when someone forgot to put the oil pan plug back in!

Audis have not had good resale for 20 years because a Toyota Camry puts them to shame when it comes to being well built.

Cadillac stepped up to the plate for 06 and finally replaced that POS rear or it would soon be in the same boat.

When people pay top dollars for a car they expect reliablity - not crap.
I know I can personally live with a Ferrari or other Italian exotic and deal with the repairs (ultra expensive ones also) to hear the sound of a Ferrari engine behind my ears.

Yes the 04-05 V has a POS rear end, but somehow most of us say I LOVE THIS CAR!
 

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MCaesar said:
Every car does not break at the same rate. Audis are notorious for being unreliable.

M3s blowing motors? Please tell me the time a LT1 motor blew in an Impala. Maybe when someone forgot to put the oil pan plug back in!
Well I've never owned an LT1, but my LS1 has bent it's pushrod's three times and at 100K mile it finally gave up the ghost and threw a rod..... In my Trans Am's deffense though I have driven the tires off the car. Anyhow every car has it's issues. I ended up buying an M3 over a CTS-V because of hte handling and I really didn't need that much back seat room. That said the V was a better value, had more features and higher comfort. If anything it's more of a Value e39 M5 than an M3 competitor since it has more of the e39 M5's personality. I have about 2K miles under my belt in a Stage I Dinan e39 M5 and the CTS-V is in every way it's performance equal and only begins to fail against the BMW when you compare the interior of a $70K car to a $50K... entirely forgiveable in my book.

Anyhow, great review!
 

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Thanks for the comparisons ak6ar. I'm new to these forums, but have driven the e46 M3 (2004) and currently own a BMW, but am looking to buy either a CTS-V or M3 or S4. I'd say the bulk of your post is right on the money.

Having driven BMW's for 6 1/2 of the last 7 1/2 years though, I wouldn't say M3's are "known" for having engine failures. I've never had anything but good luck and pleasant experiences with warranty work for BMW, which was pretty limited. I think that statement is pretty misleading.

As far as the torque and power, I think you're probably right on. Based on most posts I've read across a wide audience, I think you're right on when you say the CTS-V is the fastest, the M3 handles the best, and the S4 probably has the best interior. All are very nice cars. I think they are all probably really solid purchases, just have different bells and whistles depending on what's important to you. As far as space on the inside, I would have to guess the CTS-V wins hands down. M3's definitely have very limited space in the backseat, and doing comparisons of specs on Edmunds, S4's are in the same boat. Of course, both cars are significantly shorter than the CTS-V, so its not unexpected.

My preference of all 3 would be the M3, were the cost of the even. I'm currently still debating between all 3 vehicles, hence me registering on this forum and trying to research more about the CTS-V. I will say one thing though, if you spend some time at any of the top BMW boards like bimmerfest.com, bimmerforums.com, m3forum.net, e46fanatics.com, e90post.com, or roadfly, all of those forums are loaded TO THE GILL with people eagerly awaiting the new M3 or raving about the current M3. Its very rare to find threads complaining about quality or these other issues that seem to be more evident on this board. To be honest, I was heavily leaning toward the CTS-V this morning and today since I can get a great deal on one (employee pricing from my grandfather who was an engineer at Cadillac for 40 years, I'm hoping that applies to the V model series though, still need to find that part out), where as with the S4 and M3, it would be the deal Joe Blow would get walking in off the street.

However these forums seem like every 5 post is dealing with wheel-hop. Honestly, I'd never even heard of wheel hop till coming on these forums, its goes completely unmentioned and unnoticed on most other car boards for their models. On the BMW forums, its about 1 out of every 100 that are complaining about their cars, mostly their just salivating waiting for the next model or praising their virtues.

My concern now is, I've spent the last couple hours reading through the forums and about this wheel hop. Seem like most people are still happy with their cars, but that this flaw which has been around for a couple years, seems to be causing a large amount of contention with people.

Is this wheel hop issue a big enough deal that someone should avoid buying the CTS-V? Any comments or opinions would be appreciated. I'll probably make a new post to get people thoughts on another questions, but any feedback is appreciated. I was all excited as I learned more and more about the CTS-V and thought I had found my car (even though its a little longer than what I want, ideally, I still like the design), until I see post after post about the disgust of this wheel hop that has been around for 2 years it seems and is going unfixed by GM. :( Any comments about what you would do differently would be highly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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I have also owned a 2000 S4 and a 2002 E46 M3. The Audi is nice but feels like a beefed up VW to me. Yes the interior looks nice but will not last very long.
I kept the M3 for 1.5 years and in that time I had 3 recalls. The SMG got stuck and the car had to be towed and there were several other issues. The thing that amazed me the most was the fact that the car was shipped from the factory with the rear bumber not flush against the body. The car with all the options I ordered came out to be 56k and for them to ship a car from the factory like that is not a good thing. The dealer could not get it aligned right and I just accepted it.

German cars are not reliable....if you want reliable you go for Japanese.

Cadillac has done a great job with the V and as long as you don't do 6k rev jumps from the light you have nothing to worry about. I have a 05 and I have not had any issues with my car at all and I have attended 3 track events with it so far and plan on doing many more.
 

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TracerHawk said:
...employee pricing from my grandfather who was an engineer at Cadillac for 40 years, I'm hoping that applies to the V model series though, still need to find that part out ... Is this wheel hop issue a big enough deal that someone should avoid buying the CTS-V?
I got employee pricing through my mother on my V (my father is deceased and was a Pontiac engineer for 40 years). Also, the wheel hop is primarily a drag race phenomenon ... you're not thinking of an M3 for drag racing, so why be so concerned about it with the V? I had the GM bushings installed, but it only takes about 60-80% of it away ... that's plenty for me since I plan to keep the car a long time and I drive it with longevity in mind ... mine and the V's. Just my $0.02.
 

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Thanks for the write up.

I also looked at the V, S4, and M3 (and C55.) I think you're spot on with your analysis. I will say that the S4 has great interior, but at 6' with longer legs for my size, that car just did not fit me at all. The V and the M fit like a glove, but I though that the M had horrible interior. It just looked really cheap to me.

And yes, a lot of folks have problems with wheel hop, but there are fixes for it out there (per the threads on this board) to make it very managable. Every car has issues. Beemers have electrical issues, Vs have bad diffs and wheelhop, and Audi just fall apart...

You can get GMS pricing on the V. It's about 45-46k, 1500 in GM discounts, and 2.9-4.9% financing for an '06.

I am finally close to getting my V. I may have it this week!!!!!
 

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Rand49er: Thanks for the feedback, thats great news! I didnt realize wheel hop was mostly a drag race phenomenon. I won't be drag racing ever. I'm sure I will drive the car aggressively a good amount just due to the pure excitement of it and the power (otherwise, why get a V, just get a CTS plain I figure), but no drag racing. I'm sure I'll try to go from 0-60 pretty fast some times and show off the power to friends, but you're saying wheel hop isnt much of an issue in these instances? I won't be doing any tire burning or anything ever. I just want to get clean, fast power and acceleration, but I'd hate to be trying to show off the car and engine to a friend and get this wheelhop thats all over the forums. Also, I would have the GM bushings installed in it as well to help prevent this wheelhop assuming it is still very prevalent in the 2006's. I think I know the answer to this, but are there any negative aspects of installing the GM bushings? I'm assuming it doesnt have any and wont affect any power or speed or handling issues.

Kjr39: That's great news too, I wasnt sure if I could get the V or not. My mom said she thought it would come out to about invoice minus about 2k, minus any other GM discounts. So if its 45-46k like you said, I'll assume 45,500 right in the middle, then theres ANOTHER 1500 off in GM discounts (is this right) bringing it down to 44K, and then ALSO 2.9% to 4.9% financing for an 06??? (I have excellent credit, I think my score is like 810). If this is the case, then it would be about 44K + tax, right? That would seal the deal for me! It would be about 8,000.00 off, for a car that is right in line with the M3's and S4's, if not better in many aspects!
 

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Yup.

My brother bought a Chevy 2500HD that stickered for 46 and after discounts and GMS was 32k with 2.9% financing.

Were I you, I would go to www.gmbuypower.com, find the car, and then call the Internet Manager and ask about that car, instead of going to the dealership and talking to a salesman. My experience is that you get treated like a lepper after the salesman finds out that you qualify for GMS. (Including a dealership refusing to tell my bro a Camaro and my father contacting GM internal customer service directly to bitch slap the dealer.)
 

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TracerHawk,

You're correct, the wheel hop problem only happens on hard accelleration from a stop. I installed the BMR kit, and it's been totally manageable ever since. I love the accelleration, so I'm always hitting the gas and I must say, I never see wheel hop unless I stomp on it at the lights.

My only wish (NOT a complaint) is that the dashboard were nicer. I'm a long time Audi fan and I miss the Audiness particularly with respect to the dashboard area around the AC/radio/NAV and in front of the passenger. To me, the center pod in the V just feels "Hyundai".

When it came time to make a decision though, the fact that the V leaves the S4 and the M3 in the dust was more important than the nice interior. I have no regrets here.
 
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