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2009 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon vs. 2009 Audi A4 Avant vs. 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

3-Series | October 3rd, 2009 by 8
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Some of us love wagons, others believe they’re the most practical car ever built, but there is that little group of people that think they’re …

Some of us love wagons, others believe they’re the most practical car ever built, but there is that little group of people that think they’re simply uncool. And then there are the fellows at Automobile Magazine who believe that wagons might return in style. To sustain their case, they remind us of an important segment of people that simply love to haul lots of things.

Now to convince us……. it will take far more than that and they’re not ready to give up, so they decided to compare some of the most luxurious wagons available in the U.S. automobile market: BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon, Audi A4 Avant and the American contender, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon.

Ever since July we’ve been hearing rumors about BMW’s plans to phase out the Sport Wagons in the U.S., of course, in favor of the new “kid on the block”, the ultra-luxurious and spacious 5 Series GT. Up to that date, the 5 Series Wagon sales totaled 395 units for the year, a comparable difference between now and four years ago when the 5 Wagon sales peaked at 2,351 units sold. Unfortunately we don’t have the 3 Series Wagon numbers, but we can suspect they’re not doing much better.

2009 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon vs. 2009 Audi A4 Avant vs. 2010 Cadillac CTS Sport WagonDespite these rumors and even though the wagon market doesn’t seem to be booming, Cadillac decided to bring out their CTS Sport Wagon, a vehicle that is hoping to be an important player in the European market as well. The Audi A4 Avant needs no introduction, the car has been around for a while and Audi fans seem to enjoy it.

But if we were to really eager to buy a Sport Wagon, which one would we choose? Let’s see what Automobile Magazine says about the three contestants.

2009 BMW 328i xDrive Sports Wagon

The 3 Series wagon does an excellent job juggling the duties of both sporty and comfortable driving. Over most roads, the 328i handled bumps and potholes with ease. Still, a few large, sharp breaks in the pavement encountered at high speed did slam the suspension against its bump stops.

There’s good reason that a BMW 3 Series is the safe bet when it comes to buying a car. It provides the comfort and luxury that drivers want every day with the capabilities to perform for the occasional heavy-footed spin. The 328i xDrive Sports Wagon is no exception, offering the same great formula with an extra dose of wagon practicality.

Interesting…we drove the car ourselves in the beautiful, crowded New York City and despite our less of a love for wagons, we liked it.

Next one…

2009 Audi A4 Avant

From afar, the A4 might be best described as an extremely scaled down Q7. Stand a little closer, however, and there’s no mistaking it for anything but a station wagon, with a large, perfectly rectangular storage area that can easily carry a weekend’s worth of luggage.

Unlike Cadillac or BMW, Audi doesn’t offer wagon buyers six-cylinder power. The familiar 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder can’t quite match the output or refinement of its larger-displacement competitors, but it’s nonetheless smooth and potent and offers the fuel economy benefits one would expect of a smaller engine (better than the BMW by a combined 3 mpg, and better than the Cadillac by 2 mpg).

What they see as a disadvantage -no six cylinder engine- some of us look it as an advantage, especially in times where fuel efficiency plays an important role in the car buying decision process.

Last one in the game….

2010 Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon

Although some wagons are dedicated to cargo and/or family transport, the CTS is all about style. With a roof 1.25-inches higher and 200 lbs. added to the curb weight but no increase in overall length, this wagon is the fashion equivalent of wearing a baseball cap with the bill swung rakishly back.

To read the entire review and to see some photos of these wagons, head over to Automobile Magazine, but don’t forget to come back and tell us if:

1. You would consider a Sports Wagon?

2. Which one would you choose?

  • ferrarifan

    Some purists even consider wagons as the proper choice for range toppers. An example would be the RS6, which is my personal choice. Out of the three I’d only consider either of the German cars.. Cadillac’s out of the question.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=650530930 Mike Messer

    I have to agree with farrarifan. Cadillac has been making a “better” overall product, but in the end it’s still a Cadillac. They’ve just been perusing what the German companies have already ‘perfected’ for years. I feel GM is still one (maybe 2) too many steps behind BMW, Audi, etc.

  • mike

    One day Americans (and Canadians) will start seeing a fuel efficient SUV in every wagon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thorgal Cyril Bouteille

    The only kind of cars which have more cargo than SUV and drive like a sedan! The perfect combination imho.
    I’m a happy 530xit owner looking forward to the F11 release praying every night that BMW will not stop US imports of this awesome car!

  • john

    I looked and test drove all three of these wagons and in the end ordered the bmw (w/msport). Shold be here end of October. Caddy was nice, punchy and had a well designed interior but drove “heavy”, the A4 was equally as nice (I’m a previous S4 owner and familiar w/ audi’s) but felt it was nose heavy and didn’t handle as I expected. I agree with others that the wagon may make a return as more Americans realize they can have the fun and handling characteristics of a sedan with the practicality and space of an SUV.

  • Maggi

    I have done a ton of research comparing the BMW 3 series wagon and the Audi A4 Avant. I had put in an order for the BMW and it had been haunting me that I never tested the Audi. I then testdrove the Audi and, in some ways, preferred it. Some of this had to do with the fact that it cost significantly less money. Anyway, we ended up buying the Audi, a 2009 with 500 miles on it with premium plus package for a great price. I’ve had it for one week and both my husband and I are in love with it. First of all, it handles beautifully, feels very luxurious inside and out, and we are getting in the high 20′s mpg. Pure highway driving must hit 30. The cabin is complicated in some respects but very user friendly and intuitive. I like the inside better than the BMW. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the BMW too! But, all in all, it feels like a better investment due to the mpg, the solidness of the car, and the better crash test results for driver and front seat passenger. I guess you can’t go wrong with either car but I have never loved a car as much as this one and I haven’t even driven it in the snow yet! It looks so beautiful too!

  • Pegscrapr

    I love wagons. I dig the uniqueness and rarity of them. They’re also much smaller, easier to maneuver and better on gas than an SUV.

    Ultimately, wagons are for people who want a sporty car that offers plenty of practicality.

    My choice would be the BMW with the M Sport Package.

  • Hickory

    I bought a 2006 BMW XIT in Oct. 2005, using it as my sports car/SUV/luxury sedan. I also like the fuel economy, which is not entirely rational, since I could have bought a gas guzzler at half the price and saved money, but I took pleasure in my relative frugality. I can haul the two dogs or enough shrubs from the garden center to fill a Saturday in the yard. I want a little more cargo-carrying than a sedan provides, but I don’t need an SUV. I have owned Audis in the past. They were lovely at most speeds but I was always aware of the increased weight on the front tires when I took a fast turn. The BMW is slightly less comfortable and more than slightly better handling than the Audis that I had had.
    My car is an E 90, if I understand the codes, and next spring the F 30 wagon will become available, with 10% more interior space, new seats, better gas milage from the new 4 cylinder engine, and electric power steering that reviewers don’t like. I will shop that sport wagon against the 3-series GT, which is a hatch-back and may haul enough cargo for me, and also the Audi A 4 Avant. My guess is that I will buy another BMW sport wagon–it suits me perfectly.

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