Subaru AWD vs. Audi Quattro

Hello everyone, I have been scanning the posts in this NG for the past three hours and I am confident the questions I have will get answered (at least give me some food for thought) by some knowledgeable Subaru
and Audi fans...
I am moving to the Vancouver area after several years abroad and will be looking for a new car as well. I will be living and working in the city during the week, but I forsee many weekend jaunts into the great outdoors and communte to Whistler EVERY weekend during the Ski/Snowboard season.
At the moment, I am considering the following options (in no particular order)
1. Audi A3 2. Audi A3 Quattro 3. Subaru Outback 4. Subaru Legacy 5. Subaru Legacy Wagon 6. Subaru Impreza Wagon 8. Audi A4 Sedan 9. Audi A4 Wagon 7. Audi A4 Quattro Sedan 8. Audi A4 Quatto Wagon 9. VW GTI
Becuase I plan on driving in some adverse mountian weather, AWD is a feature I require. I have not had a chance to try ANY of these cars yet, as I am still on the road, but I would like to get some feedback on these choices. Basically, I have kind of grouped these choices into groups along these lines.
1. GTI-A3-Impreza Wagon 2. Legacy-A4 3. Outback-Legacy Wagon-A4 Wagon
I am espcially looking forward to hearing people's thought on the Outback Vs. Legacy Wagon. What are some of the major differences? Also, does anyone else consider the Impreza Wagon to be able to compete with the A3? I would LOVE it if the VW came with an AWD system, but after hearing some pretty bad things about VW reliability, I might have to rethink it.
What are the qualitative differences between Audi's Quattro system and Subaru AWD?
What about Navi systems? Does anyone have any experience using them? I have been living in Japan for the past four years and most cars on the road (including taxis) come equipped with them. They are IMMENSELY useful, and to be honest I don't think I would drive in Japan in a car without one. What is the perception of them in North America? Useful or just "show-off" toys?
Thanks for ANY help anyone can give!
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wrote:

My observation of these two vehicles is that the Outback suspension rides higher than the Legacy wagon, but both cars are similar and very nice, with the OBW having a few extra comfort features.

This one I can address as we have a 98.5 2.8 A4 Quattro and a 99 Legacy OBW in our family. The Audi beats the Subaru hands down. Given the choice in really bad weather, we pick the Audi every time. It's a heavier, more solid car that just holds the road much better. It also costs more to buy and to maintain, but the safety and the ride are just fantastic. The Subaru is very good, but the Audi is superior.
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You didn't really say whather you prefer a manual or automatic transmission or a 4- or 6-cylinder engine.... If AWD is a must, then you need to probably drop the A3, as only the 6-cylinder is available with quattro, and it can get very pricey in that version. Not even sure if you can get a manual trans with that car in 6-cylinder version. A shame, as a 2.0T quattro A3 would be VERY nice indeed..... And I'm not sure about the availability of a manual trans in the Subarus, you'd have to check that out as well. I believe most of the Outback models are automatic-only. Once you determine the trans and engine preferences, you can whittle the list down a bit. I have no personal experience with Subarus so can't comment on them based on personal experience. Oh - they used to have 2 different AWD systems, depending on the transmission (man vs auto) - not sure if still true or not, but the 'better' one came with the auto.
Dan D '04 A4 1.8Tq MT-6 Central NJ USA
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2.0T quattro manual is available in the UK so may come to the US. It isn't available with an auto. The V6 is available with both manual and DSG transmission in the UK
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