8th Jan 2015, 20:08

Totally understand what you mean by the car's handling. Having owned five used ones over the last 20 years (an '81 Coupe GTS, an '84 80 GTE, an '88 80 1.9E Japanese import, a '92 80 2.0E Japanese import, and a '95 A4 1.8i Japanese import), it's a comfortable and solid car, but not very engaging (though not as lifeless as many Japanese family sedans).

I was in Sydney and got picked up by a friend in a new A1 hatchback, and I was underwhelmed - WAY too spartan and sterile, didn't get "wowed". I must say though that differences in trim, engine and suspension do make Audis feel very different - a friend lent me his '98 A4 2.8i and the ride was superb, the performance was smooth and very effortless (vs. loud and unrefined on my 1.8), the automatic gearbox (5-speed vs my 1.8's 4-speed) was very slick and had well-spaced gear ratios, and the seats felt very comfortable where mine felt nothing like them. It's almost like my A4 1.8 and his A4 2.8 were built by totally different manufacturers.

I now drive a 2001 BMW hatchback with a manual gearbox for 4 years now; very contented - the steering and handling are very confident, and for a 115 BHP engine, the manual gearbox makes overtaking easy with the perfectly-spaced gear ratios between 3rd, 4th and 5th gears. The seats are brilliant - even without lumbar support adjustment. I can almost safely say my next car will be another BMW - as long as I could find one with an increasingly rare manual gearbox.

8th Jan 2015, 22:05

After reading your original review and half way thru the update, I was about to suggest to you - try BMW, but then realized you already bought it! So good call. Would love to hear about your experience and a comparison to Audi.

I have owned BMWs for past 15 years. They have their fair share of complaints on the forum, but my experience has been pleasant, but not so pleasant with Audi. Audis using oil seems to be a factory issue. Also Audi's CVT was a painful experience.

10th Jan 2015, 15:28

A very well written and honest review, and one I have to agree with. Audi are making some lovely cars at the moment, but there is something missing. Everything is spot on, but still, somehow, misses the point in my eyes. That's when it dawns the car is designed to impress the neighbours and your mates at the pub, but not actually the driver. No character at all. The BMW will add a fun factor that's hard to beat, while still being as well built. Personally, I've now changed to a more understated Volvo (comfort is now more important than fun), but every time I drive it, I can feel its soul. I can feel that it was built with me and my family in mind, and I feel like it's a member of the family, with lots of user friendly clever touches that Audi wouldn't use, because only the owner would notice.

31st Jan 2015, 23:52

I just posted the first review of the BMW 428i if you want to take a look.