First of all, compared to the S4 and the M3, the Saab 9-3 is UUUUGGLLYY! to me at least, many people like it. I was watching car and driver and the Saab doesn't handle as well as others in the class either. But anyways, my brother has a 96' A4 and that thing is the biggest piece of shit because it is the first year A4. Other then that, I haven't heard much bad about the newer audi's. If you have the money for an e46 then that would be what I would reccomend, but I drove a 98 e36 m3 the other day and it was definately a sweet car. I talk to the guy who owns it quite a bit and he has never really had any problems with it. And there are a few other people I know with e36's of various years, same deal, no one has had problems with them.
If you don't mind me asking, what college you going to?
Dinan Stg 2 Phoenix Yellow M3