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Audi A6

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  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Talking about it here might help resolve existenial dliemma (also posted on M forum to see what it catalyzes there) .... Mark … Although I'm not in marketing, about 25 years ago I read a book titled "Positioning". It became a small-time classic and was reissued in a 25th anniversary edition. The basic premise (not radical, just presented with lots of interesting examples) is that a major variable in the success-equation of any product is how well it manages to position itself -- in the collective consciousness of consumers -- among its competitors. Classic examples are "Kleenex" being used by us as a symbol for any product in its class, or hearing someone say they are doing some "Xeroxing" while standing in front of another brand name copier. BMW has been a champ at positioning itself. The inline six engine, constantly refined over the years, has become an engineering icon. The 3-series was hailed by Automobile magazine as "the best compact sport sedan in the world, a car that continues to get better and better with each evolution, when it would be so easy to, ahem, screw it up? In the process of not screwing it up, BMW has produced a car that is the gold standard for its class, something that all other automakers feel they have to measure up to. Yet, no matter how hard they try, they always come up short." Audi would have to had done that with, perhaps, Quattro, but that would have required their doing what Automobile described BMW as having done (whether everyone agrees that BMW did exactly what that magazine says it did is less critical, in what I'm saying, than that it's a virtual universal belief). My experience test-driving an A6 S-Line was unique. Nothing else (and I currently drive a 3-series) drives exactly that way and, if you like driving, the way it drives is not simply different but the best in certain ways. Whatever it would take to fill in the blank I left with the phrase "in certain ways," Audi marketing hasn't done it well-enough. I've only been considering "luxury" cars for about three years, so I've had to develop my own inner landscape of the category and its subcategories. I could, I suppose, rely on nothing but test-driving to develop such an internal "map" of what's what among luxury cars, but it's typical for me to also read and discuss, in the process of getting my bearings with something new. Here's a piece of research data that tallies with my own experience. When Consumer Reports asked its huge sample of car owners if they would buy their current car again, not one BMW made the cut where at least 80% of owners said they would definitely buy or lease the same car again. The Audi A6 did make the cut (80% exactly), as did the M35/45 (92%) and the Audi S4 (81%). Whatever that is, BMW (with our collective cooperation) retains its desirability, at least in the very important sense that led me, when I went to buy my first luxury car in 2004, to think something like "I've got to have one of those 3-series cars once in my life." This probably reflects inflated expectations (for any car) or an over-investment in driving-excitement as one life-pleasure, etc, but whatever, I'm probably among a subgroup (maybe, size-wise, an important one) that might not buy a car based on "I liked test-driving that one best." I'll probably buy a mental representation of a car and then I'll be (very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, unsatisfied, very unsatisfied) with what actually happens (day to day driving, longer trips, getting things in and out of the trunk, radio, NAV, hands-free phone, mileage) compared to that mental representation. Whatever doesn't let Audi capitalize on the fact that people who actually drive them everyday would buy another one, they need to change that. I like both the M35x and the Audi A6 (V8, maybe) S-Line. Viscerally, I like the Audi experience. In terms of the cars-in-my-mind, I lean toward the M35x. Probably, I'm never 100% aware of all the influences that have led me to buy one car over another, but right now, as best I can read myself, the Audi interior feels right, I actually like the MMI, I believe my Treo (soon to be 700p model from Verizon or Cingular) will work more easily with it than M, I hear niggling noise complaints online from M owners, I worry that sound-tuned exhaust in M would wear thin, Audi tires seem more practical, and I like going with the sales underdog (Audi down, M up, right now), and too many people don't even recognize what the M is yet (also get a bad feeling from fact that Nissan can't hone engine to give better mpg). As for the M35x, there are all those "one of the best cars ever" reviews, there was the like-a-shot-off-the-line experience, there are buttons for the radio and climate controls, the rear seats recline (mostly a wow factor for passengers, but, what can I say, I'll like hearing it) -- but don't fold down (that will annoy me), the curvy front where the fenders are stylistically separated from the hood (like on the Mini Cooper), there's the predicted reliability (I expect Audi engine to sputter one morning, even here in the SF Bay Area's mild climate -- as a Passat I owned did a few times and as some online and in reviews have reported -- you know there will never be a BMW review that says the test car engine idled rough on start-up), and the Infiniti's service is highly rated and the local place has been among the top 5 in the country (while I hated the service dept at the nearest VW/Audi dealer when I had the Passat) and Audi is phasing out the Audi Advantage. I go back and forth about liking/not liking the more luxurious (as in fancy hotel room) interior of the M, compared with the (I'm in a driver's car feel of the A6).
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,094
    Then, are you going with the A6 3.2 S-Line or the M35X?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    With that information, I'm thinking my wife's next ride may indeed be another BMW. Our experiences with BMW's in general and our last 3 Series has me really liking how the dealer is treating us at BMW.

    Some day, auto manufacturers will realize that dealer service can play as big a role in how their brand is perceived as the quality of the product.

    It is not that the vehicle breaks down or have issues - they all do at some point. The question is how the manufacturer and dealers handle those problems that means a LOT to me.

    -Paul
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Mark ... in haste to post this before flying back to SF from Seattle, I copied in that long, paragraphless, and inconclusive draft. The shorter, edited version ended up with my saying that I'm likely going with ordering a 2007 M35x but nonetheless had questions/thoughts about Audi's failure to capitalize on something as simple as CR readers saying they'd buy Audi's again but there being no BMW that 80% or more of owners would buy again.
  • liferulesliferules Posts: 531
    Sfcharlie, your verbosity is nearly competitive of markcincinatti!

    Congrats on making the choice. I'm sorry it wasn't the A6, though. Keep in mind that many of the Audi dealerships are being remodeled and upscaled to try to enhance the exclusiveness and class image. My dealership is outstanding...
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I obsessively went through the entire history of concerns/problems with M35/45 (no similar Audi forum, for problems, on Edmunds, so maybe not fair comparison). It worries me. Most common are loose driver's seat and monroof rattle. One person had trouble with one of 14 speakers, but it was one on the seat and Infiniti would only offfer to have techs un-upholster whole seat and fix wiring. Terrible mpg. Cannot make outgoing hands-free bluetooth calls and cannot download numbers. Headlights aimed low. There are 537 posts. Gave me the impression of joining a beta test of a potentially great car. All this doesn't tally with CR's report that 95% of owners of M35/45 reported having no problems from car;s introduction through the spring of 2005, so owners had their cars a very brief time. I hadn't realized that.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,597
    sf: Would you buy or lease your Audi or Infiniti M?

    If the choice is otherwise about equal, I'd go with Audi if a lease and M if it's going to be a buy. They're both great cars and I too cross shopped the two before buying my car over a year ago.
  • bargamonbargamon Posts: 302
    Im surprised that a poll would sway a decision.

    M is a relativly new car and is likely bringing in many new buyers for the first time.

    Audi and BMw have many repeat customers.

    If having rear declining seats help get you laid, that makes sense. If just for the wow factor, Where are you sitting, in the front or back?

    Good luck
  • wbwynnwbwynn Posts: 246
    I drive a Lexus LS430 and have never test driven a M35...and won't. I have an 2007 A6 Avant on order; these are my thoughts to try to help you.

    1. There is a soul to Audi vehicles...it's something special that the Japanese mfgs have not been able to capture in my opinion. Audi is distinctly and purposely not BMW or MB...it's an Audi pure and simple.

    2. My extended test drive of the A6 Avant three weeks ago was one of the most pleasuable experiences of my life....it just made me happy like no other car ever has.

    3. I have owned an early Infinity M, BMW M530, MB 320E....nothing comes close to the experience of the A6 Quattro in any format...sedan or wagon...V6 or V8.

    The purest driving car is the A6 in my opinion; dazling tech pops don't add anything in the long run. I tire of even the Lexus tech and long for the true feel of a driving machine...,life is too short.

    BW
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    "I drive a Lexus LS430 and have never test driven a M35...and won't. I have an 2007 A6 Avant on order; these are my thoughts to try to help you.

    1. There is a soul to Audi vehicles...it's something special that the Japanese mfgs have not been able to capture in my opinion. Audi is distinctly and purposely not BMW or MB...it's an Audi pure and simple.

    2. My extended test drive of the A6 Avant three weeks ago was one of the most pleasuable experiences of my life....it just made me happy like no other car ever has.

    3. I have owned an early Infinity M, BMW M530, MB 320E....nothing comes close to the experience of the A6 Quattro in any format...sedan or wagon...V6 or V8.

    The purest driving car is the A6 in my opinion; dazling tech pops don't add anything in the long run. I tire of even the Lexus tech and long for the true feel of a driving machine...,life is too short."
    --------------------------------------
    I love this posting and the passion it reveals. I drove the M35 first among the LPS. So, that might account for my sense that it does have “soul,” assuming we mean the same thing by that metaphor. I then drove a couple of Lexus cars and didn’t have fun driving any of them. Finally, I drove the A6 and became tormented by its distinct “soul” and the M35’s also-distinct “soul”.

    I’ve not been one who believes the Japanese car manufacturers just don’t get it and the Germans do. I like specific cars, or not.

    Every time I test-drove an A6 with V6, I was aware of its being exquisitely nimble, like a great football running back, but I also felt annoyed by the slight hesitation I felt taking off from every start. The M35 simply took off.

    I felt more comfortable in the M35 seats, going back and forth between the two dealerships (they happen to be on the same street, about two minutes apart) several times.
    Going around a twisting test-drive route, both cars stayed on the cliched “rails”. I couldn’t move either one an inch off course.

    I am hoping to wake up one these mornings and feel unambiguously in love with one and not the other, but so far … ambivalence reigns.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Somwhat less poetically or passionately than you stated your sense of Audi, Strategic Vision, in announcing its 2005 "Total Quality" winners, said: "The common thread in Nissan and Infiniti models is superior delivery of power, style and innovation," [not gimmicks], "that create a strong emotional response in new owners." That's how the M35 worked on me and the feeling I got from other cars didn't trump that initial hit from the M35 rear wheel drive with torquey engine and five speed manu-matic that "blips the throttle" (I think that's how auto pundits put it) on manual downshifts. Plus, what can I say, it looks sensually curvaceous to me :)
  • habuhabu Posts: 52
    wb,
    Congrats on your order. My Avant just turned 800 miles and every one has been better than the last. Last tank of gas was 24.5mpg. The ride is luxury and sport in the perfect combo for me. I removed the A6 and 3.2 badging today and the tail looks better, less broken up by the numbers. The Atlas Grey has been through a few decent rains and does not look at all like it need a wash.
    Can you tell us why you ordered an '07? I recently read in Motor Trend that '07 will be the last year for the "included maintenance" benefit from Audi.
    I have looked everywhere for a set of cross bars for the roof rails on my Avant. If you know of a source I would be happy to hear about it.
  • wbwynnwbwynn Posts: 246
    My dealer was willing to honor his price quote for an in-stock vehicle or a 2007 order. They did not have the exact options I wanted on an in-stock car, and I wanted to sell my Lexus myself.

    Unfortunately, I am told the "included maintenance" goes away in 2007. The 2007 Avant does have a few new things: a rear view camera with advanced parking system, power tilt & telescoping steering wheel, and some additional colors on the nav. I am also hopeful they will have some form of ipod integration with the MMI to be announced very soon.

    Bottomline, to maximize the value of the Lexus; I had to be patient, so an order made the most sense. BTW, they still have not released pricing for 2007.
  • breldbreld Posts: 1,349
    For those of you who just purchased (or ordered) your A6, how is pricing on these, relative to MSRP or invoice?

    I'm still deciding between a 530xiT, RL and the A6 Avant, but I'm very drawn to a white Avant at a local dealer. It's equipped to my tastes, and is my first choice color. Its MSRP is just under $52k, and I'm wondering if they would go as aggressive as $48k for it, being a 2006 model at this time of year.

    I like the looks, inside and out, of the A6 the best, think the BMW drive is somewhat livelier, and the RL is a screamin' deal with the current incentives.

    I've driven all three of them a couple of times each, but am curious as to others' impressions as well.

    Thanks for any advice!

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2015 GTI - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,094
    For 4 years or 50K miles, the Audi Advantage, apparently, can be had for a retail price of $550. I assume it may even be able to be discounted.

    Seems like NOT a bad deal to me.
  • habuhabu Posts: 52
    breld,
    my deal was through Costco in April. The Avant was on the lot and stickered at 56,300. Costco price was 53,800 and the 1,000 Audi Conquest program cash (which I think stopped on 4/30) got me to 52,800. This was at a fairly small dlrship in Tacoma, WA. My experience has not been very good as far as the dlrship goes, but the car is spectacular. I would offer 47k for the car you want and come up to whatever you feel is reasonable. I sold Volvo's for a while and my experience was that amost of the customers I worked with felt I was lying since I was a "car salesman". I found all the people at the Audi dlrship have lied to me, from the salesman to the general manager. They have also lied to Audi USA. I wrote Audi a 2 page letter detailing my complaints and have spoken with Audi USA 4 times on the phone. The Audi rep gave me the manager's excuse for my not having plates yet and it was a lie. I hope you have a better experience, but be skeptical whenever they tell you something like "we can't go any lower".
  • wbwynnwbwynn Posts: 246
    I have seen recent deals from $4000 off MSRP to $400 over cost; you should be able to do something in this range on in-stock 2006. I have also seen some dealers who would not budge much off of MSRP...I didn't talk long with them.

    You can be aggressive, but don't try to steal the car....it's not a Ford. Buy the white Avant; there's nothing like an Audi...really.
  • breldbreld Posts: 1,349
    Thanks for the advice. I had also heard of deals of $4k off MSRP, so that's why I thought $48k on this particular car may be doable (just under $52k MSRP). But you never know - the salesman talks about management wanting to move the A6's, and that he can make me a "smokin' deal," but their idea of a good deal could be very different than mine.

    Obviously, I could simply make the offer and see what happens, but I'm not quite there yet - still liking the BMW quite a bit. Don't want to make the offer, have them accept it, then say, "Oh, really? I was just testing the waters." :)

    There are two factors that are holding me back on the A6 - 1) Reliability concerns and 2) Responsiveness of the engine (3.2).

    The reliability concerns come from a poor experience with a Passat I owned a few years back (I know, this probably isn't a good basis), and the relatively poor ratings from Consumer Reports.

    And as far as the engine, I just didn't feel like the car was very "peppy," though it was very smooth and refined. And it's not like I'm coming from a particularly fast car (TSX). It could be that I'm just getting used to an automatic trannie (this would be my first one).

    Any owners care to share some insight?

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2015 GTI - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • sirenasirena Posts: 2
    Help, please. I started looking too early (3 mos. left in my current SUV lease). Audi dealer found my first choice (white) right away - brought it in from another state - 06 A4 Avant Quattro 2.0T w/Premium, Audio(XM)and Sunroof options.
    Not sure if this deal is a smart one, especially factoring in two mos. of double car payments because of my current lease...is this one I shouldn't let get away?
    Here's the deal on the table:
    36 mo/10K/yr mi.
    MSRP $37,310
    Payment $499
    Residual 57% $21,266
    MF .00120 (isn't that high?)

    Thanks for your advice!
  • psychdocpsychdoc Posts: 147
    ***Responsiveness of the engine (3.2)... I just didn't feel like the car was very "peppy," though it was very smooth and refined***

    First of all, it's a 3.1 liter engine. Audi has always lied about this and it's very annoying. The convention in the automotive world has always been to designate the displacement of an engine rounded to the nearest tenth of a liter The putative 3.2 engine has an actual displacement of 3.123 liters and, as such, should be badged a 3.1 liter engine.

    Now that I'm done ranting about that, I can assure you that this engine is simply not up to the task of motivating this car into motion from a dead stop. Acceleration off the line is, what shall we say, "slow?" That's about as good a way of describing it as any I suppose. The engine only develops a bit of umpf at about 20-30 mph and even then it sure doesn't pin you back in your seat. I don't know if it's the weight of the car, the complexity of the quatro system or a combination of these and other factors but this engine is simply not up to the task. They call it a 255hp engine (if I recall correctly) but I'm not buying it. It feels about 40-50hp more anemic than that.

    If I were you I'd test drive it extensively before buying to be sure I was happy (satisfied?) with the, shall we just say "leisurely" acceleration.
  • habuhabu Posts: 52
    There is one piece of info that may apply to your concern about the strength of the engine. The A6 has some kind of adaptive computer chip (as most lux cars have) that tries to optimize many components of engine and tranny performance to the driver's style. Unfortunately none of us can tell from a test drive what driving styles (if any) this chip has been subjected to. If you want a car that pushes you back in the seat all the time the A6 can do this, but your mpg will suffer. I drop the shifter into S once in a while and get plenty of acceleration. But I generally drive pretty conservatively so my car has learned this and we don't win many red light drags. Your style will be different and the car will respond in kind. Just not something a test drive will reveal. However, when I want to enter I5 ahead of an 18 wheeler from an on ramp I can get from 40 to 90 pretty effortlessly. Something I have noticed that another A6 driver confirms is you can depress the accelerator, watch the rpm's jump from 1800 to 2400 and the car stays in the same gear. Eliminates a lot of shifting going up hills, gives me some fine exhaust sounds and makes the ride very smooth.
    Good luck in your search.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,094
    The A6 with the V6 and the 6 speed auto really begs to be driven all the time or at least most of the time in S.

    The reason, as noted above, is that the D program upshifts early and downshifts late.

    The effects of this program (D) are sluggish responsiveness, or MORE hesitation and leisurely acceleration than the car seems to be quite willing and able to do when the engine's revs more in keeping with the engine's sweet spot of torque.

    This is the first auto I have driven that did not appear to have the dread "lag" that was first discussed as TIP lag (from tip tronic.)

    The 255 HP engine is a bit less muscular than some of us would like. But the good news is that the thing is a real gas sipper and is "adequately" powered as long as the selector is in "S" mode.

    The damn thing is really lacking in responsiveness if, like many of us, you find your self coming to a traffic light that is red, braking and slowing to an ALMOST near stop when the light becomes green. The A6 Tiptronic when in D is in 2nd gear and if it were a stick shift would, I am certain, lug the engine it slows so much.

    Then, when you release the brake and press on the accelerator (again in D) the car remains in 2nd gear and there is little pick up (apparently or really a lag, is up for some debate.)

    This can be unsettling to say the least -- some believe it is dangerous.

    Would more HP and torque help? Yes, of course.

    But, if the same situation is replayed and the selector is in S mode, the transmission will down shift all the way to first gear and there will be MORE than adequate pick up.

    Is the V6 FSI engine likely to win 0-60 time trials.

    No.

    But with a 0-60 time of 7.0 it is, to repeat, adequate to the task and still quicker than most cars.

    Try the thing for 30 days in S mode, shifting to D, if you want, on the Interstates and Freeways of our land.

    In S mode, the tiptronic does a pretty good imitation of mimicking the moves of a stick shift driver.

    In D mode, the emphasis is LOW RPM's not zippiness.

    Even the V8 version left in D behaves this way, it is, of course, less of an issue due to the higher torque of the V8.

    And, FWIW, I don't care that it is called a 3.2, it is, after all larger than 3.1. Maybe it is for marketing since many feel that more is more better.

    Qwazy Wabbits. :surprise:
  • liferulesliferules Posts: 531
    I'm with Mark. I drive my 3.2 almost all the time in Sport mode, unless on the highway (then I use "D" to get better mileage).

    In "S", the car is VERY responsive and PEPPY. Passengers agree. People sometimes get too obsessed with 0-60 numbers, and I have to admit, I was focusing on them when I was purchasing my car as well. Honestly, though, the car has plenty of "Oomph" and I have never been disappointed in it. But YMMV, so test drive it in "S" and see for yourself!
  • breldbreld Posts: 1,349
    Thanks for all the great advice. Sounds like I should take another test drive with the shifter left in the "S" mode. I did try it out briefly on a previous test drive and did notice an increase in responsiveness.

    It may seems silly, but my first thought was that such a mode was gimmicky, and that I simply wanted the auto trannie to do what it was supposed to, without some "special mode."

    I only recently came to the decision to go with an automatic. I've always had a strong preference for shifting my own gears. But once I decided I wanted a larger car with AWD, going with the auto opened up so many more opportunities. In fact, I believe the only choice in this segment these days is the BMW.

    So, I think some of my sensitivity to the responsiveness is due to being used to a manual trannie and the control that provides.

    But, I'm warming up to the idea of having an auto trannie. It just takes time... :P

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2015 GTI - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • breldbreld Posts: 1,349
    And it's not like I'm looking for the fastest car out there. I truly enjoy driving, but overall, I'm a pretty conservative driver. Like to take some corners and curves a little fast when no one else is around - that sort of thing.

    In fact, if the low 7's is accurate for the A6, it's at least as fast (if not faster) than my TSX. And obviously the TSX is not about being fast, but a rewarding drive nonetheless.

    I want that in a bigger package with AWD. And a little more punch wouldn't hurt. :)

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2015 GTI - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • liferulesliferules Posts: 531
    Well, I personally am very happy with my car. I find the drive very responsive and tight. In fact, my brother, who owns a 2006 Cadillac STS V8, finds my car to be more responsive and tighter in driving feel (common among the German cars many say)...
  • habuhabu Posts: 52
    I find my Avant doesn't feel as if it is going as fast as the speedo says it is. It is a big car and can fool you with a sensation of lower spped. Conversely, my Miata always felt like I was going 10 or 15 mph faster than I was cause it was small, low to the ground and open. If you drive conservatively the 3.2 will be a smart choice, Great mileage with enough power to have fun now and then.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    "Audi and BMw have many repeat customers."

    Are there statistics online about this?

    A "Cars Online" 04/05 study claims that more than half of consumers say they are likely to purchase or lease the same brand of vehicle that they currently own, while about 40% will buy from the same dealer. Owners of BMW, Volvo, Toyota, Honda and Mercedes indicate a high degree of loyalty to the make of vehicle.

    Yet, when CR asks its readers if they would buy the same car again, not one BMW vehicle makes the 80% repeat-prediction cutoff.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    If you drive conservatively the 3.2 will be a smart choice, Great mileage with enough power to have fun now and then.

    Well put, in my view. Imagining, from my test drives, what it would be like to drive the Audi A6 everyday, I'd put among the 5 cars I'd look forward to finding in my garage every morning. While, I chose an M35, I'd have no bad feelings if I could drive the A6 one day and the M35 the next, any week of the year. I could also have kept the BMW 3-series I was leasing and enjoyed driving that. To me, those are three daily delights for those of us who drive every day. What differentiates them on a few half-hour test drives, when we all tend to make rabbit-starts and drive at our personal handling-skill limit around S-turns, needs to be put in a more realistic perspective when we are deciding what it will be like to live with any one of those three.
  • bargamonbargamon Posts: 302
    I love my Allroad! But If I had a 2001 and it was 2004 when they still made them I too would not "get the same car"!

    Why, cuz I want a different drive everytime.

    Curious, it it "buy" or "lease"?

    Anyway We see brand loyalty everywhere. Honda people buy Hondas, Toyota people are loyal to them, and so on.

    I likley will go to an A6 if I say at Audi. I too will consider an automatic but manual 5 series BMW or X3 is mighty tempting.
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