Audi A4 Review
Originally posted on April
Driving pleasure... finally.
My personal experience with the
Audi A4 Avant Quattro 1.8T
Pros: Styling, long or short
drives, gas mileage, braking, front seating, sound system, environmental
Cons: Cupholders, performance,
exiting the driver seat.
I've had a lot of cars. 13 to
be honest. I like cars. My favorite car of all time was a 1997
VW GTI VR6 (see crash
photos...). It was a great car. My wife won't let me have
another VW because... well... a... I like to drive fast and have
a little fun when I am behind the wheel. I don't break any laws
mind you, I just like to take drives up in the California hills.
Skyline and Hwy 9 are my favs.
I had a 2001 VW Eurovan for the
last 2 years but I always felt that it lacked the feel of a nice
driving vehicle. Don't get me wrong, I liked my Eurovan. It just
didn't fit in with my lifestyle.
While on one of our weekly walks
around the neighborhood, we found ourselfs in the Rector
Audi dealership in Burlingame California. We *were* on a
walk, I didn't even have my wallet with me or any identification
so car buying wasn't in the program. We were interested in the
Audi's but didn't think we would get one this soon. Anyway, I
found myself sitting in a wide range of Audi's. We first gravitated
to the Allroad A6. Nice... so's the price tag at $54,000 bucks.
So, we sat in the A6 3.0 and test drove that one. It was very
nice. Great acceleration and very nice interior. I swear that
Audi has really really come a long way. These cars are top notch
automobiles. Every bit as good as a Mercedes or a BMW in my opinion
and I have drove all of them. I've never owned a BMW or Merc.
but I have had friends and family who have and they are unquestionably
The first thing that is most
striking is the overall appearance. Low to the ground, sleek,
aerodynamic, very classy shape and design that will not look
old in 3 years like the Saturn or the Pontiac's out there. The
German's are know for this but they do screw up sometimes.
So, we settled on the A4 1.8T
Avant. It's the wagon version. When you first sit in the Avant
it feels like a larger car than it is. The front seats are a
tad small. I'm a big guy, 6'1" 230lbs. The seat goes back
far enough, in fact, I have to pull it up a inch or two to be
right where I want be. The steering wheel telescopes in and out
(to and away from you) and up and down. All the controls for
the turn signal, cruise control, wipers, etc are just 1 1/2 to
2 inches away from the steering wheel which it just ideal.
I like to rest my right arm on
the center console armrest and when I do I can hold hands with
my wife or reach the shifter and radio controls perfectly. The
armrest has two more cupholders for say a can of Coke or coffee
but you'll find this awkward because now you have nowhere to
put your arm and reaching for your drink is just as awkward because
if you drive with your right hand then you'll find yourself reaching
for your drink with your left crossing either over you right
arm or under to take a sip. It's one of my negatives.
The glove compartment is awesome!
Wow! I could put a full Sunday newspaper in there with room to
When you sit in the Avant, you'll
notice the console that runs in the middle of the car (where
the radio is and air controls) seems to protrude into your right
leg just a bit when your foot is on the gas pedal. On long drives
it would be a bit bothersome. Then I noticed I was not positioning
my leg properly and then I found the console was almost perfect
for long driving because I can rest my leg up against the console.
If you do that though, you most likely would be using the cruise
control and move your right leg away from the console and rest
it at an angle which I find more comfortable.
The instruments are all laid
out perfectly. All are completely visible. This is a rarity on
a lot of cars even some BMWs. The instruments have a pale red
lighting scheme with white highlights. The door locks aluminate
at night with little red LEDs that are built into the lock handle/switch
informing you that the door is secure when the light is on.
Driving the avant is a pleasure,
even at 3800 pounds. It's like a rhino on roller skates I think.
I didn't get the sports package and I'm glad. I bought this car
for visiting my clients in the San Francisco financial district
and If I wanted a sports car I would've got the Audi S6 or if
my dreams would let me, the RS 6... wow... now that's a throw
you back in the seat pee your pants growler!
Okay, I wanted something practical,
stylish, comfortable, and reliable. I also wanted something from
Germany. You must admit, almost every car made today owes something
to designers in Germany. Jumbo jets owe their anti-lock brake
to them. Chrysler even copied one of VWs throw away designs for
a station wagon VW was designing for the Pacifica. If you do
some searches on Google
you'll find what I found...
Acceleration is a few bars above
adequate. 0-60 in 8.7 seconds. The quarter mile in 17.1. The
top speed is limited at 130mph but this can be... er...a.. fixed
by talking to your local mechanic. Gas mileage is really nice
at 20 city / 28 highway. Horsepower 170 hp @ 5900 rpm, Max. Torque
166 lbs/ft @ 1950 - 5000 rpm.
Engine details; oil 4.2 qts,
fuel tank 17.4 gal, cooling system 6.9 qts.
The suspension is front four-link,
upper and lower control arms, stabilizer bar, coil spring and
shock absorbers (gas charged). The Rear fully independent, trapezoidal-link
rear suspension, stabilizer bar, separate coil springs and shock
absorbers (gas charged).
Click here to see the Audi A4
Parking is great because it's
sized just right and parallel parking is a breeze. It is a tad
hard to get used to parking by the curb because the girth of
the car defeats your view of the side where you can see the wheels
so I find myself noticing when I exit that I am sometimes more
than a foot away from the curb. U-Turns are no problem with a
turning circle of 36.4 ft. This is nice for those wrong turns
one makes in the downtown alleys where space can be not so generous.
Cup holders, yes, cup holders...
one of the few negatives of this Audi. The main cupholder positioned
directly above the right hand side near the sound system couldn't
be in a more inadequate place. The cup holder itself is designed
quite nicely, holding a variety of cups up to 18oz but one must
question Audi's decision of the placement of this American necessity.
It's right there by the radio and one false move, a bump in the
road or a pothole will (even with a cupholder cover) will sploosh
a few drops of liquid on the nice console. Almost makes you think
it's a European joke. Cupholders are a American thing, most European
cars over there don't bother.
There are two more cupholders
built in to the armrest but try using these while driving. It's
almost a accident waiting to happen.
The two cupholders built into
the rear seat armrest that folds down where the 5th passenger
would be seated and that one is really nice capable of holding
normal sized coffee cups. The same armrest also holds a First
Aid kit in a bright red pouch.
Seating in the rear reminds you
of your childhood because you'll need to be a child to really
get along with it. It's pretty tight back there. I've read other
car reviews from major magazines and they rate the rear seats
of this Audi A4 Avant with a acceptable remark but I sincerely
disagree. Only small children or rover will get along with it.
The front seats are just fine
for my 6 foot 1 inch 225lb frame. In fact, it's pretty comfortable.
The driver power seat is really cool. Every control that any
other luxury car has is there lumber, etc.
This review is still in progress...