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Decisions, Decisions. the Audi A3 or a BMW 3-Series?

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On a daily basis in the media we are bombarded with individuals bemoaning the fact that credit is scarce and countless people are losing their jobs. But not all of us live in daily fear of being deemed redundant members of the workforce. Not everyone longs to spend their summer wasting their Government aid money on beer and potato chips in the quest for funemployment.

But even if you are secure in your job, many people are finding that they still want to save money wherever they can. It is always a wise idea, no matter how gainfully employed you are, to keep some sort of nest egg for that possible rainy day. One manner in which many people are saving is by leasing or buying a less expensive luxury car. In all honesty, do you really need that fully loaded BMW M5? Lets be real here. That car is the automotive equivalent of stuffing your pants.

A shrinking bank balance shouldnt preclude you from the unique joys of owning a vehicle with the propeller or four rings on the hood. Audi and BMW are both highly ambitious automakers facing the same sales losses as other mainstream automakers like Ford and Nissan. The only difference is that these automakers have had years of selling their cars at huge profits. So now they have the financial backing to offer inexpensive lease and financing deals. And nowhere are the deals sweeter than at the bottom of their model lines.

Many people recoil in horror at the notion of buying the cheapest model line in a luxury car makers lineup. But the fact of the matter is that the Audi A3 and BMW 1 series are more fun to drive than the majority of their pricey brothers and sisters. Both are available with manual transmissionsa must for any enthusiastand both are available with engines that have been named World Engine of the Year as voted on by the international automotive press.

The 2 liter direct injection engine in the Audi also features turbo-charging which affords the engine a flexibility and rev-happy nature not found in most competitors six cylinder engines. This engine is also highly fuel efficient with a highway rating of over 30 miles per gallon. The 135i engine is rated at 300 horsepower and is probably the closest thing to a true muscle car available from any German manufacturer. It also differs from American muscle cars in that it features strong brakes and razor sharp handling. Try taking a corner in a 135i and a Dodge Challenger and you will feel the difference I am talking about. It is sort of like the handling difference between a speedboat and a Carnival Cruise Ship.

In this mindset here are a few preconceptions people have about basic luxury models like the A3 and 1 series. For those who could never imagine lowering themselves to something beneath a basic A4 or 3 series, here are a few pros, cons and outright falsehoods regarding these budget luxury models.

The A3 and 1-Series have Cheap Interiors

While cost cutting is a little bit more evident in the A3, the 1 series is just as solidly built as a 3 series just at a smaller scale. At first glance the dash may appear overly simplistic and bare in the 1-series. But on further inspection any driving enthusiast will find everything they need is clearly labeled and within easy reach. Not all interiors need 18 million buttons and a mouse to be luxurious. And when specified with the must-have sport package the 1 series has the most gloriously tactile shift knob and steering wheel in all of creation.

Again, the A3 might have a dash made of slightly cheaper plastic than that of an A4 but do remember that this is a far cheaper car. But compare this interior to that of pretty much any C-Class or similar in price top line Camry or Accord you will see that the A3s interior is still very much an Audi design. Pleasingly simple and Teutonic, the A3 has an interior that appears built to last. Surprisingly enough this car features more precise build quality than the newer and far pricier Q5. It also, especially in front wheel drive 2.0T form, handles far better than the nose heavy A4.


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