Winner: 2014 BMW 228i M Sport
Our last “Drive This Not That” feature pitted the beautiful Audi S7 against BMW’s 650i Gran Coupe, and Audi won that matchup on account of its mix of sex appeal, performance, practicality and (relative) value.
This time, BMW edges out its Audi competitor on the sheer emotionality it brings to the entry-luxury segment.
For starters, the 228i is a sensuously designed two-door, whereas the four-door A3, as handsome as it truly is, looks rather ubiquitous and has a more sterile-feeling cabin. The BMW’s “schwing” factor grows when you turn the key: the 228i M Sport’s lively steering, wonderful rear-wheel-drive dynamics and sinewy turbocharged four-cylinder with 240-hp give the 228i the edge here over the 220-hp A3
As a sedan, the A3 is better than the 228i at carrying three or four people, is a bit more affordable when loaded with options, and comes standard with all wheel drive. The A3 is also offered with 4G connectivity and slick Google maps technology.
Frankly, I can recommend each of these cars without reservation. But if I had the keys to both cars in my hand, I know which one I’d want to drive away in.
Renowned automotive journalist and gay car geek Steve Siler has turned his life-long love of cars into an enthusiastic career traveling the world to report on new automobiles as they are introduced. Siler pioneered automotive writing for the LGBT community in the late 1990s and is a regular contributor to Car and Driver Magazine, AutoTrader.com, AOL Autos, Yahoo! Autos, and the New York Daily News. You can follow his musings @silerroad on Twitter.