Originally Posted by LarThaL
Well, I am a former RS4 owner, so I think I ma in a pretty good position to answer this. Basically these cars are really equal on the overall balance sheet. The M3 will have some advantages, the RS5 others.
There is no question that AWD will allow you to just hammer the car with much less chance of losing control. I have to be more careful driving the M3 than I did the RS4, especially with the stability programs off, which is what you need to do to fully enjoy either car. Advantage RS5.
Looks are purely subjective, but I honestly think the old RS5 (pre-facelift) looked better than the new one. Audi is known for their interiors, but the grade of interior materials Audi is currently using is a step down from what it used to be. The M3 with extended leather really looks upscale IMO. Advantage M3, if optioned correctly.
Exhaust....RS5, hands down. Not even close. This is simply one of the nicest sounding stock exhausts. Period.
Engines are similar. Audi has a bit more mid range punch, the M3 screams more up top. Toss-up.
Where the M3 totally dominates, however, is the feel of the chassis, and steering responsiveness. By comparison, the Audi feels heavy, sluggish, with a less precise feel to the steering.
In the end, if I lived where there was snow, and I had to have one car, I would get the RS5. If snow isn't a concern, or you have another winter vehicle, the M3 just has a more dynamic feel.
However.....and you need to be really honest with yourself here....if you are a less skilled driver, it will be easier to extract maximum performance out of the RS5 due to its AWD.
Good write up.
It is still hard to believe that it has taken this long for Audi to respond to BMW's M3 which came out in fall 2007.