Audi A Bore
Being a company car driver often slants the way you review a car, the assumption is always that its free and so why should you complain about getting to drive what in many peoples eyes is a "flash motor". But you could also look on it as a extreme ageing test, 40000 miles on one year certainly starts to show the Skoda credentials hidden below the Audi Badge, and this accelerated ageing process also finds the cracks that the BoTox of self ownership hides. If you spent £24000 on your own car you would practise a process called positive reinforcement, it's the marketing equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting LalA LA I cant hear you, after all if it was your money you would try and find the good things about the Audi . I on the other hand have been spared these shackles of self-delusion, and that's why this review is so horrible to Audi.
So lets get the good things out the way first , this model Is fast and it holds the road rather well, it's a high end go-kart , before I drove the Audi Diesel I always assumed that only 3 people drove diesel, Gypsies , Farmers and all of France . They were dirty, Slow and clattery and so were the cars they drove . But this thing is quite and fast , and no longer do simple village children run up to you and try to buy a Ice cream off you when you stop at the lights. It also looks good for an estate , or should I say Avant, its poised to drive rather than carry a coffin. Its also a easy car to drive, the controls are all logical ( that's because there are not many ) the gear change is positive and all the pedals are well positioned, it's a car designed to be driven, but not very comfortably. The MPG is astonishing, and I can get what equates to 50 Mpg if you drive it like a Vicar , the problem is the A4 likes to be driven hard and fast rather like Vicars wives, but even when you are thrashing around like MK2 Escort on a bleak northern estate with your techno hard house banging out from your tinted windows and grounding out on every speed bump , you still get 40 mpg + . Another positive feature, and one which probably reflects on my own sad existence is the doors also make a lovely clonk sound, the noise which other countries vehicles don't seem to make , and the internal build quality is pretty good. It all feels solid and most importantly reliable . Its your Uncle Craig, he plays cricket , he is kind and he has a square jaw , the problem is Uncle Craig drinks a lot and one Christmas he peed himself , and that's what the Audi A4 Avant has done to me its let me down and now all its minor points are building up , uncle Craig is going to get punched.
So lets start with the practicality of the car....Audi call it an Avant because frankly if they called it an estate they would be sued , the boot is tiny . When you look at the actual width of the car its all wheel arches and lowness , hence the internal room feels like a much smaller car , more of a Golf than a large estate , sorry Avant. This cramped layout extents through the whole car, there are no clever pockets or under seat storage, no deep side pockets and laughably only ONE cup holder. How on earth are you supposed to have a nice Latte with your passenger , one of you will have to risk inner thigh burns, and that is not good. The Low door and roof line also pose a problem, as every time you get in you smack your head on the top of the door opening, and once seated you are lower than a X factor winners credibility , which if I was 19 would be a good thing, but for somebody who has come to realise that driving like a arse just gets you killed , and sitting over hard suspension 4 inches off the road is just not comfortable it is just a bore. And that's the main problem with this car , its been designed by a kid off an estate or should I say Avant who's criteria seems to be " lets have wide wheels, low hard suspension and then let me sit really close to the ground , and make it like a reverse tardis , really big on the outside but tiny like a Nissan Micra on the inside " . As with many German cars everything is Extra, this model is fitted with the S Line kit , which basically means it's a bit quicker and has even more uncomfortable seats , which in turn mean you hit your head even more often on the way in and out. It comes with a good CD/Tuner , but no Ipod interface, no multi disc , no wma/MP3 capacity and shockingly NO DAB radio , do the Germans still think luxury means a bit of pretend carbon fibre and a leather steering wheel ? I hired a Toyota Avago in Holland, which featured all of the above as standard on a car, which felt and looked like it had been made from recycled Chinese takeaway tubs and cost the same as a set of tyres on the Audi A4 ( well almost ).
Sorry to harp on about the internal room, but it's a major bug bear , this is on the surface a large car, but its tiny inside , the boot space is taken u by a massive spare wheel ( no space savers here ) and side pockets which house nothing , along with various chrome hooks all of which rob you of much needed load space . This coupled which the steep angle of the rear hatch means that its barley big enough for a weekly family shop , as for a camping weekend , well near impossible. Since first writing the review we have had a baby , and it is actually not possible to get a standard Quinny 3 wheeled buggy in the boot as well as all the other things babies seem to need.
There seem to be airbags every where, I am not to sure how many as I have yet to crash it, the majority of injuries seem to be getting in and out of the dam thing , maybe there should be on the roof contour to stop you hurting yourself. Some of the other safety features do work well the traction control stops you over egging the pudding , the ABS is wipe your face off the screen good , and the car feels safe , even through you are hugging the ground. The car also has a nice speed warning indicator, which beeps when you hit a preconfigured speed , this would be excellent apart form the fact that you have to actually put your arm through the steering wheel to use it, and you have to set it whilst the car is moving , dumb design. Another safety feature is the CD replacement stopper , I am not sure this is deliberate, but Audi have out NO storage for CDs making it impossible to carry more than one , and thus impossible to try to change it whilst driving.
As well as the subjective anti Audi stance the following have been replaced/repaired under warranty in the first 30 000 miles ( 13 months ) Rear wheel bearing and hub, front wheel bearing , glove box ( jammed ) and CD player malfunctioning. This has now happend agan , at 65000 miles , the rear bearings are getting louder than my constant moans about the Car. The CD player has also now decied to Jam again, and the 3rd glove box has also stopped functioning. And as i count the days down on the lease the waterpump failed, and the cupholder ( overstressed as there is only one ) snapped spilling the contents of the cup all over my leg . I am literally desperate to see the back of this overpriced status symbol of the 80's, shoulder pads died, i only wish the brands and designs of the 80's would also disappear .
In hindsight I wish I had actually test-driven the Audi A4 for more than 20 minutes, and would heartily recommend that if you want one to try it on a long drive, sure its fun through the bends but were is your beach gear going to go, and how the hell are you going to get a pushchair in the boot. The AUDI looks to be designed in another age, an age when leather meant quality and the IPOd did not exist, I bet Audi are still wondering is the CD will take over from the tape as the mainstay of in car entertainment.
Audi A4 , more like AWdi ( that's me hitting my head ) A bore.
I regularly change my car - get bored, need different features etc - but am always hamstrung by the fact that I need to drive an automatic due to a semi-disabled arm. For some reason I find that the good, high-spec cars of the small to medium size never have an auto transmission. And as for a diesel engine (for fuel economy reasons) - no chance. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Audi make a diesel auto estate - fantastic! For me, reliability is very important; I have been driving Japanese cars for many years for precisely that reason (and because they tend to do more automatic versions). However, the option of a diesel automatic was too good to pass up. Having struggled with 23-26mpg on most of my cars (I do like larger engines!) it was getting ridiculously expensive. A second hand car was my only option as I had a budget of £10,000. I eventually found an S plate (3 years old) 1.9TDI 110 SE with 120,000 miles. The mileage didn't worry me - these cars can go on forever - but meant that the price was a fantastic £9,500, from a £24,000 list price 3 years before. And the car has been great. I had to have 2 wheel bearings done fairly soon (they have a design life of 120,000 miles so that was fair enough) and the driver's door lock needed some oiling, but the car has been wonderful. I've done 7,000 miles in it in six months and it has been great. I'm getting between 45-50mpg which is fine for an automatic diesel - I think the manual gets 50-55mpg. On long motorway journeys I can get 60mpg. The car is a joy to drive, fast enough for me (the red i is very important, I think!) and it reasonably comfortable. The downsides? No lumbar adjustment on the driver's seat - sometimes I find it difficult to get comfortable. It's also got a rather small boot for an estate - I have two large dogs (they don't normally go in it in case they make it smelly, but they will be for the summer holiday week, and
I expect they'll feel rather cramped. And not sure where our suitcases are going!!!). A friend has said that it can make you feel a bit queasy in the back on a long journey, but another passenger was fine. Who knows! But all in all I would say it is an excellent car - reliable, interior is as good as new on a 125,000 mile car, and it was brilliant value for money. I would buy another one like a shot!
Having spent months deciding what type of car we wanted to buy, we eventually agreed and went for an Audi.
Having just picked it up from our local dealer, this is only my initial findings and comments.
We decided on the A4 avant 1.9 TDI (red I for those in the know). Silver, Full leather interior, and all the gubbings CD player etc. I was most impressed with the cup holder in the front, which I'm sure will come in handy.
I'm not into the technical side of the car, not being interested in the engine side at all, however I am interested is the fantastic ride, the comfort of the seats, and the sheer luxurious feel of the interior and the A4 Avant does not disappoint.
We took the A3 TDI out for a test drive but we thought that due to the fact that we plan to keep this car for a few years, we would out grow this car in the near future when you take into account push chairs etc.
Secondly we looked at A4 1.8 T, this was very fast and handled well, which is something that you expect from the German car. Having driven a Peugeot 106 for the last 4 years, it was a complete shock driving a large car.
The only complaint so far, is that this car wasn't designed for a short person and the seat position when driving seems a little awkward. But I am sure that I will get used to it.
Anyway I must go now, I must get some shopping..... the shop is only 5/10 minutes walk away, however the pint of milk I have to buy is heavy, so I will have to drive.
We have now had the car for over 4 years, and after 30k miles, these are my findings:
The car is solid, you do feel safe inside. Having been in a car accident, where a fiesta didn't stop at a red light and instead end up shunting us from behind. The Audi required a new bumper and tail gate had to be replaced, the fiesta or I should say ex fiesta was a right off and caught on fire.
On long journeys the seating position is very comfortable. You can vary the seat height, which is a great feature for us short people.
However on a negative side, the leg room in the back is ridiculous. When my husband is driving, you can't sit behind him because he drives with the seat quite far back. Even when I sit forward it is a tight sqeeze, and when he decide to have another child we are changing the car... this is the main reason for doing so. A friend who has the new shape A4 also has the same problem, so it is something that they haven't addressed yet. Not good, when you have older children.
We generally get 45 miles to the gallon, which is a mixture of city driving and motorway driving. Pretty good, seeing that this is not the most economical way of driving.
Parts are cheap, and I would recommend finding a Audi specialist garage to do any mechanical work for you, instead of going to the main dealer. We had no end of problems with our local dealer, and since our problems we have heard lots of other people having similar problems.
Our car is now 5 years old and it still drives like new.
I still love it, but it's time to get a new car. We still intend staying with German cars, but we might be going to VW, for a Sharan or maybe we'll go stick with Audi and plump for an A6 allroad. Either way, German cars are the best!!!