Off the top of my head the following standard IS equipment helped me make my choice: better Stereo w/ in dash 6 disk changer, more HP than 2.8 Q, automatic w/ E Shift, better leather - I like the suede like substance, 17" rims and sticky tires, longer warranty, lower price point than the Audi...I think the HIDs are now standard on A4s but at the time I was looking they were not. I also like the IS looks better.
i had a 98.5 2.8 quattro tiptronic and currently drive a 2001 s4 tiptronic. i love it, i think the only car i would even consider over my s4 right now is the e46 m3 smg. if i were going out to buy a car right now i would probably get the is300 just because it is new and fresh. as you know the a4 has already been redesigned and to me it looks ugly. and bmw is just plain overdone, meaning to me that too many people have it. but the one thing that bugs me about the is300 is that all the hondas/acuras/chevys have the is300 knock off lights, it really takes away from the is300. but if it wasnt for the s4, i prolly would still be in my 2.8 quattro tiptronic, and not even considering any other car.
Annie, did you get the A4 because it is a better autocross car? I would think with the smaller engine and a turbo, you will probably get close to 50/50 weight ratio and have more low end punch.
But isn't A4 heavier than IS, even the 1.8?
I could get the A4, have a GREAT winter car (it's a Quattro) for $16K less, pay off my Honda, and with about $2K in upgrades have a much more fun, much more powerful car than the IS! - for $1200 I can get an upgrade to bump it to 210hp, and 250 lb-ft of torque! Already have H&R race coilovers on it...
heck, it was more fun to drive bone stock than the IS was... 99.9% because of the tranny. I didn't like not having control, I didn't like how short 2nd gear was, it just was wierd... I guess someday I'll learn that I won't be happy unless it's a manual! I'm too performance oriented...
And I'm not sure, but I think the cars weigh about the same. Selling it didn't have much of anything to do with autocross - the 1.8T is NOT the car to have for stock class (the 2.8 is better unmodified for autocross). The IS actually handled very well, but I already have my autocross car, the S2000... although a chipped 1.8T would be awfully fun to play with in Street Modified... hmmmm...
2001 Honda S2000 - bright yellow, of course
1997 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro - guess what, it's YELLOW!