Originally Posted by dadC4s
I had been planning on a new M3 to replace my Z4 M coupe when it comes off lease in March but today I drove the new S4. Its a very impressive car and was a hoot to drive. Very fast, very solid and the dual clutch tranny was sweet. The Quattro is a real advantage given all the rain and snow we see in the midwest. The car is more comfortable and practical and with every option (Voice activated Nav, Bang and Olufsen stereo, adjustable suspension and torque distributing rear diff, rear view camera, sunroof, etc etc) is just under 60K. It also gets 28mpg on the highway! Someone please tell me why I should spend 10k more for the M3, I am starting to waver....
As I sat in the same situation as you are just a few months ago I feel I can give an insight in this.
Firstly the car. Impressed I see, I was too and I repeated the same comment you are writing here because I honest felt and still do that it offers 95% of the M3's potential for less money and still maintains the advantage in the wet and snow. So why didn't I jump? Well the simple answer was price after you spec it to a decent level, I don't know how it's priced across the pond but here you would have been adding the think end of £9K or 25% of it's basic cost in extras which everyone knows you'll lose a minimum of 60~70% of their values once you leave the showroom.
Now if you are likely to spend similar money on your M3 in extras then by all means you will be no worth off with the S4 and still be saving money to start but I doubt you will need to spend as much on the M3 in comparison as all the really important goodies come standard on the M, like the LSD, cruise control, parking, full leather, etc, etc.
So where does that leave you. Seriously I don't know I've driven both the 335i and S4 and I can't agree that it's nearly as good, it's doesn't offer the things on your list like Dual Clutch, B&O speakers, diff, adaptive suspension or Audi select (similar to the M-button). Think of the S4 as a stepping stone between the 335i and M3 but with awd and you won't be far off.