Audi A5 coupe quattro or BMW 330 xDrive?

I'm in the process of choosing my new car. I definitely want a four-wheel drive because I like to drive to the mountains in wintertime. My primary concern is great handling of the car for fast cornering. I am considering the Audi A5 coupe quattro 2.0 TFSI or 3.0 TDI, probably the six-speed manual since the S-Tronic is apparently not so good at low speeds. The 3.0 TDI seems the faster, but it makes the car heavier and thus more nose-heavy which can induce understeer. They have a sport differential option which is apparently superb, but only comes with S-Tronic (and I prefer manual). What is your opinion on the sport differential and on the S-Tronic?

I'm also looking at a BMW 330 xDrive six-speed manual. I don't like the styling but if it drives better I could convince myself to get one. The motor is situated exactly on the front axis, which probably makes the handling better and an Audi-like sports differential less needed. My concern with the BMW is that it has to drive at least as good as the 330d. The 330 xDrive is also almost 100kg heavier than the A5 3.0 TDI. Is this felt? It would be ideal if I could do a head-to-head comparison of all those versions, but unfortunately this is impossible.

Asked on 18 August 2010 by Twilight

Answered by Honest John
There's a test of the A5 coupe 3.0V6 quattro at: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/audi/audi-a5-and-s.../ But it was first with the new drivetrain and has had more than its fair share of reliability issues. We don't get four-wheel drive BMW saloons in the UK, only SUVs, so I can't comment on them. And I have only driven the X1 in 2WD: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/bmw/bmw-x1-road-te.../

The quattro drivetrain of the current X6 is more tried and tested.
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