Road & Track magazine published an interesting but in the same time strange comparison of two vehicles that not many will dare to put head-to-head: the new BMW 335d, a diesel powered car and the Audi A4 3.2 Quattro, a direct-injected gasoline-powered sports sedan.
As a disclaimer posted by R&R as well, the 335d was equipped with Sports Suspensions while A4 Quattro was running with stock suspension settings.
Before we go further, how many of you really think this is an insane comparison and how many of you will bet on the Audi? Well, I have to admit, I did…… Was I wrong? Let’s find out next.
Okay, we can agree diesels are much improved. But that doesn’t mean we want one providing the motive force in a BMW 3 Series, right? After all, it’s hard to envision true back-road thrills with an engine that tops out at 4600 rpm. How does it respond when driven hard? Is it slow and heavy? More importantly, how does the BMW 335d compare to a state-of-the-art direct-injected gasoline-powered sports sedan, in this case Audi’s excellent A4 3.2 Quattro?
While that makes our test an apples-to-oranges comparison, we’re much more concerned about the engines involved here anyway — their power, performance, driveability, fuel consumption…and fun.
Unfortunately, even in outright acceleration, the Audi gets smoked by the BMW diesel. With 265 bhp and “only” 243 lb.-ft. of torque from a direct-injected 3.2-liter V-6 — and despite the launching traction of Quattro all-wheel drive and a curb weight almost identical to the BMW’s — the A4 can’t overcome the BMW’s monstrous 425 lb.-ft. of torque. Although we bettered the acceleration times over the previous A4 3.2 we tested, the Audi’s 0–60-mph time of 5.9 seconds lags significantly behind the BMW’s 5.3.