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Yeap, I hate to say it.. But if you guys see an S4 on the road, don't think that you can eat it for lunch. After test driving the car, because my friend wanted to buy one, I knew it will be an M5 killer after some minor tuning. Official acceleration data is out from Autothority stating that a chipped S4 can do a 0-60mph acceleration in 4.2 seconds. This confirms my fear that my M5 isn't that fast after all.

I'll try to have a couple of drag races when my friend takes delivery and chips his car in about a month's time. I'll let you guys know the results. I don't think the results will be too desirable though... I've pushed my M5 really hard in Sport mode with the DSC off...but I can tell you this, a stock S4 sure feels like it has power comparable to the M5. I dare not imagine what a chipped one will do.

Kelvin
'00 Carbon Blk / Le Mans
 

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First of all, 0-60 in 4.anything is freakin' fast. Period. Any car that does it is a standout car. If your buddy's S4 will do that after a chip implant, more power to him. The M5 is a totally different animal. It's OK with me if there are other fast cars. I like my M5.

Second - compare apples to apples. Put a chip in the M5, too! Stock is stock, mods are mods. You can get a Viper to go 0-60 in close to 3 seconds. All it takes is $$. The Audi is a lot lighter - and has 4wd, so I would expect it to have an edge in 0-60. I'd like to see it keep pace with the M5 over 125MPH, though.

Chips can't create magic power. They can increase the rev limit, creating instant extra horsepower - but this isn't usually useful power - its ONLY at high RPM and doesn't add TORQUE, which is what matters. The only way to add torque is to improve breathing, and the only way to have a significant impact is through displacement or pressurizxation (turbo or supercharger.) If a chip can add much power to an engine without other mods, it means only that the engineers of the original engine failed, or purposely restrained the engine.

I own (in addition to the M5) a '00 A6 4.2 - not the same as an S4, but it does give me some insight into Audi. Nice car, but virtually non-existant road feel through the steering wheel and an inecusably lousy automatic transmission. Still, I'd take that car to the mountains in winter over my M5 any day.
 
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Greg,

A chipped M5 will not perform as well as a chipped S4. It's because the S4 is turbocharged. Chipping a turbocharged car does not only remove the rev limiter, but also increase the boost.

Just to illustrate to you, a chipped M5 can only gain about 25hp while a chipped S4 can gain about 70hp. Compare that in terms of percentages and weight to power ratios. You'll see what I mean. As for the 125mph test, it has to do with the car's gearing ratios. As I said, I'll test it out with my friend and we'll have the conclusions. We can even pick a test date and those who are curious about the REAL performance of the M5 can join up.

BTW, I do intend to chip my M5. Dinan's chip will be coming out in about 6 weeks.. I'll post some info on that as well.
 

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I tend to agree with Greg. Stock is stock and mod is mod. S4/M3/C43 would be in one class, S6/M5/E55 would be in another, and S8/M?/S55 would be in a totally different class. I wouldn't say a chipped M5 is a S8 killer.
 

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Here in Europe the S4 is not highly rated. Its main weakness is the lack of feel in the steering, blandness and lack of sporty feel. It really gets killed by the M3 in every comparison over here although remember that the M3 has 340bhp. I have never heard of any of the chip manufacturers claiming an increase of 75bhp by only replacing the chip and no other work. Please let me know who it as I'm sure all the other S4 owners would like to know as well!!!!
 

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Let's not forget that the M5 engine is capable of far more than what it has been programmed to be right now. This is straight from the mouth of a BMW Motorsports engineer. (I forget which article, but I remember it for sure)

I would venture to guess that the largest delta in a chip upgrade would be in the tuning of the "VANOS" engine (V for variable) and have little to do with rev limiters.

Also, the thought of more horses on the M5 is downright scary. Brake upgrades would be a must.

Rumor has it that BMW will release an M5 chip upgrade to make ensure that M5 owners won't feel ripped off when a new M3 puts up a great fight.

Personally, I would rather wait and go with a chip upgrade from the BMW M engineers who know this incredibly complex engine best.

Don't forget the Porsche brake upgrade if this ever happens!

-Sam
 

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i agree with blue max. maybe it was a red audi! after driving my '92 M5 since new, and preparing to take delivery of a new M5 next week, i'd never look back, unless to see a receeding audi in the rearview...
 
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Guys,

I'm an M5 owner too.. and frankly, I am not too happy with the knowledge that the S4 costing half the price of my car can handle and accelerate that well.

Sure that car doesn't have as much feel as the M5, but you get less body roll and more power (weight to power ratio). I have driven many fast cars before I owned the M5.. and frankly, I think the M5's power is disappointing. For a 400hp motor, I expect to be able to feel more thrust.

I guess this is the result of my expectations after reading about the M5 on the Messageboard. Some people make absurd claims that the M5 can outrun a 911TT, keep up with a Lambo Diablo, possibly outrun a F355. I just think that these expectations should be brought down to more a realistic picture of what the M5 can really do. We're not the king of the hill guys..

I'm not saying that the M5 is a bad deal here.. For $82,000 I'll still buy the M5. It definately has the most luxurious contemporary interior styling and quality I have ever seen. It has enough power to play with at times. It has the most unique and beautiful wheels. If we were to do a comparison to the E55 and the XK8, none of them come close to what BMW has to offer. We're getting a good deal.
 

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I agree with Kelvin, but I'm glad he said it first. I, too, am somewhat dissapointed with the raw acceleration of the M5. Don't get me wrong; the car is very quick, but somehow I expected to be shocked by how quick, which I am not. However, I still am very happy that I chose it, and would make the same buying decision over again. It is a great all-around machine.
 

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I must also agree with Kelvin and Ken based upon first-hand knowledge. I'm able to compare my M5 to both a 993TT and the S4 on any given day. While I think the M5 is a great car, it's no performance match for the TT. My wife's S4(stock)is obviously not as fast as the M5 and the tranny/shift linkage needs some aftermarket improvement to be up to par with the M5, but IMHO it's a blast to drive -- feels more nimble--and offers great value. I'm often caught liberating my wife's car for a fun drive. There are lots of great cars in the market place--just because the S4 is one of them, this in no way diminishes the magnificence of our M5.
 

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Hey guys, i'm a E39 M5 owner too. I think you're unfortunately too used to the power of your 400 hp's, and the feeling of power in a car is completely different think than the effective acceleration you have.

We bought in our business this M5 and for this summer a Ferrari F355 F1 Rosso Corsa (that is me that compared on raw straight accelerations). We exchanged the cars for some days and i drove the F355 F1.
The Ferrari is of course another car ; you get a much better feeling of performance, with all the big sound around and the hard pedals. But i can confirm that before 5000 rpm, the acceleration of the F355 is clearly worse than the M5, and in this time the M5 is much better. I pushed the F355 to 280 kph on the speedo, and it was then very hard to push more. Moreover, after 240 kph the acc. begins seriously to disappear, more than in the M5.
The M5 engine is a more powerful engine than the F355, that's all.

Kelvin, if you do not trust me that the M5 has almost better straight accelerations than the F355 over 60 mph, did you compare these cars in reality ?? Please do !
Same point with the Lambo (Diablo model 2000) ; do you think i'm just kidding telling that it is similar acceleration on motorway compared to the M5 ? I'm like you, before i saw that yes i wouldn't expect that at all !!

Why do you say that you're disappointed by the raw acceleration of your M5, as you know as well as me that the acc. perception is very subjective, depending on what car you've driven before, or if you've your M5 for months or just some days !!
I'm sure your M5 would do 0-60 0.5 sec better you'd still be disappointed by its acc one month after !

Buy a superbike if you don't want to be disappointed by the acc. for some months !!
 
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The M5 delivers it's performance in such a refined fashion that you can't be surprised that people think it is slower than what it is. You read about how incredible the performance is and then take the car out and expect it to be so fast it's scary ... in truth, the car is so driveable and the power very useable that you can be fooled into thinking it's not so fast until you look at the speedo. In addition, I noticed increased performance as I put the miles on.

Chip the M5? Somebody let Mike Valentine know that we need an upgrade.
 

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I agree totally with Tom. You cannot compare two cars acceleration just by feel. Old cars with around 180-200 bhp often feels pretty quick while newer cars with 300bhp can feel less quick. Newer cars often has much smoother engines with less peaky torque curves and everything is more refined. Compare a E36 328i with a E46 328i, the E36 feels much faster but they are about equal. Or a M Coupe(Euro) and a M5...
 
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Tom,

I only had my car for 2 weeks, not "some months". It has 1600 miles on it already.
 

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Kelvin, simply stated a stock S4 is slower than an M5. Of course, the M5 may seem slower the same way an 850csi will seem slower than other cars because the delivery of power is so deceptive.

If you are upset that a chipped S4 will beat your M5. Sell your car. If your intent was to buy the fastest car on the road, you shouldn't be driving a 4000lb car.

BTW, a Pontiac Trans Am, Corvette, etc. will match the performance of even a chipped S4 stock. Are you going to go out and get one of those?

Also, I have heard a Stage I chip will not invalidate your warranty but that won't get you to 4.3 seconds. That is Stage II or III and will invalidate the warranty on a brand new $40k car. Not a wise move.

Stock for stock the M5 is faster period. The S4 was barely faster than the E36 M3 in a direct comparison to 60mph and this is with awd.

With that said, if you want something smaller and lighter, that can be modified to just over 300hp very cheaply which would put you close to the M5 in performance, get the S4.

BTW, play closer attention to your speedo when in your M5--I think it may be faster than you think.
 

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You guys fell for the bait. Who cares what a chipped Audi or Civic will do. Is there a waiting list on either of those?

The market has spoken loud & clear!
 

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The subjetive perception of acceleration is directly related with the shape of the torque curve. As the M5 torque curve is very lineal, the acceleration seems to be less that it really is, but we can´t forget that this acr is pushing hard since 1000 rpm. Different are the turbocharged cars (specially the old one: their torque curves have big peaks (when the turbo starts blowing) At that moment the perception of acceleration is very impressive, it is really higher that acceleration it self.
But don´t forget that in these kind of cars there is nothing below 2500 rpm.
 

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Final comment from a owner of Euro 321 HP BMW M3 and an Audi S4 taken from www.audiworld.com;

S4 & M3 owner views (long)
Posted by 321 Ponies on 2000-02-29 02:59:09:

I hail from down under in Australia & I currently own an M3 coupe. My wife has an S4 after trading in
here 1.8T in December. I had a 328i for a while before I got my M3, so it could be said that I am a bit
biased towards BMW.

When we got the S4 it was a bit of a novelty to me & I thoroughly enjoyed driving it around. The interior
and the climate control system is much classier in the Audi & there is less wind noise, especially at
higher speeds. One also feels much more secure in the wet in the Audi. I would never let my wife drive
the M3 in the wet. Although she's a good driver & will probably be OK, I just feel nervous when she's
out in the BMW. I know how she (the M3 that is) can bite when provoked.

My wife hates driving the M3 anyway. She says the clutch is too stiff, the car is too low & stiff, &
everything feels heavy & awkward. Not to mention, every fool in a souped up Civic (no offense
intended) wants to take you on at the stoplights. To her the M3 is more of a man's car.

She finds that the S4 is much easier to drive, requires less concentration to drive hard & feels more
comfortable. She says that it also feels faster; but that is, of course, just an illusion.

But, for the same reasons that my wife hates driving the M3, I love it & after a few months of being
infatuated with our new S4, I'm back to driving the BMW full time. It's hard to explain, but it's the kind
of car that inspires confidence & begs to be taken to the limits. When you hit a mid-corner bump at
high speed the car just squats & takes it in its stride unflustered. Its the kind of car that makes you
want to take the long way home after work.

The S4 is the kind of car you take out when you aren't in the mood for driving or when you go visiting
the folks. I mean the old man would nod approvingly when seeing the S4 but would frown when seeing
the M3 wondering if I was gong through a late 20's mid-life crisis.

I'm sure everyone is wondering about the relative performance. Well, let's just say that it's pretty close.
It's a lot closer that some of the magazine articles show. The thing about the M3 engine is that the
torque is amazing at all speeds.

It has more torque at idle (176 lb/ft) than the maximum torque of the 8v A4 2.8. If you run side by side
in the same gear & the S4 is below the boost point, the M3 will edge ahead quickly. However, the S4
has amazing tractability in high gears at low speeds provided it is above the boost point. It will then
just whoosh away from the M3. I feel that the S4 just edges out the M3 in terms of driveability & for
pottering around town at low speeds.

As the article below shows, once you reach 60 those 321 m-powered horses start to show. The M3
starts pulling away quite easily. The performance gap above 100 is quite distinct & I think that even a
chipped S4 still would lose out to the euro M3, although the gap would be less.

I have considered chipping the S4, but I have a few issues with that. Firstly, the car is for my wife & I
think that it's quick enough for her as is. If the car were for me, on the other hand, then that might be
another story.

Secondly, I don't know about you guys, but down here Audi are adamant that the warranty would be
void should any component fail as a result of a chip. There also aren't that many experienced tuners
down here.

Thirdly, I would then have to start worrying about fuel octance requirements to prevent pinging. That
means that I have to plan where I fill up because not all gas stations have super premium unleaded
fuel down here.

There's also turbo lag & reduced lifespan of the engine. Not to mention having to beef up the braking &
suspension, etc. I feel that as an overall package, the M3 offers more for the performance orientated
driver & is a much better balanced car.

I know over there the new M3 is going to more expensive than the S4, but over here they are actually
going to cost the same. The same goes for the New Zealand, UK & the rest of Europe. It kinda makes
you wonder who's going to want to buy the S4 when the M3 has a 100hp head start. I mean, do you
really want to buy an S4 & spend all that money on upping the power & suspension & braking to keep
up with an M3. Then he spends $6000 on a turbo-charger & you're back to square one.

But I guess it's not all about power. There are a lot of people I know who wouldn't even consider an M3
over an S4 (my wife & dad included) & remember we don't even get snow down here so that's not the
reason. The are a lot of strong points for both cars & the ongoing debates on this forum are
meaningless.

I am actually number 11 on the waiting list at my local dealer for the E46 M3 & expect delivery in April
2001 (don't ask). My reasons are that I'm not particularly fond of forced induction & prefer the
immediate throttle response of normally aspirated motors (gimme' a McLaren F1 anyday to a quad
turbo lagster). I will, of course, keep you guys posted on the difference between the cars.

I hope you guys forgive me for being an S4 owner that is at the moment very excited about the new
M3.




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