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Audi A6

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  • Has anyone bought that ridiculously expensive Motorola analog phone that Audi sells that can be installed in the armrest on the A6? I know it's analog and I know it's expensive (approx. $600 installed), but I really like the idea of using the steering wheel phone controls (from a safety standpoint). Try driving a manual transmission A6 2.7T and using a Nextel at the same time! In fact, Brookline, MA became the first town in MA to pass a law prohibiting driving while holding a cellular phone!

    Also, does anyone know the number of phone numbers you can program into this Audi Motorola analog phone?

    Lastly, the service manager at Clair Audi in Boston informed me that if I tried to have an after-market phone installed by a phone shop, it would burn out or blow something in the phone system?!?! Has anyone installed a phone in the armrest that uses the pre-wiring AND steering wheel controls?

    If any of the experts out there could help me with these questions, it would be appreciated.
  • Rick,
    Finally drove the A6 2.8 yesterday and loved it. My concerns about interior space are put to rest. And contrary to all the talk about the lack of power in the 2.8, it blows the S80 away. It's more than adequate for my needs. Going to drive the Saab 9-5 and today, then make-up my mind. But for now, I can't see how I wont opt for the A6...provided I can find an attractive lease package. My January lease date seems like too long to wait before I can get behind the wheel of an A6 everyday.
  • mpuzachmpuzach Posts: 635
    It will be interesting to see how you feel the 9-5 stacks up against the others. I see it as being quite different from everything else in its class. (I mean that as a compliment in some regards, but not all!)

    Now that you've driven an A6 2.8 (was it a quattro?), it sounds as though you're as confused as I am about why so many refer to it as being so "under-powered". Your personal experience is a perfect testimonial in support of deciding based upon one's own test drive, and not strictly upon the opinions of others.

    A couple of other things for your consideration, as you get closer to pulling the trigger:

    1. Listen to both the standard and Bose audio systems before you decide which to get. They have very different sound characteristics, and it's by no means a given that you'll prefer the sound of the more expensive Bose; many people do not.

    2. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Premium Package (multi-function steering wheel, memory front seats & outside mirrors, auto-dimming inside & outside mirrors, and xenon headlights) is well worth getting. Unfortunately, ordering it disallows you from ordering the bargain-priced Celebration Luxury Package (moonroof, leather, HomeLink). In order to get the features from the Celebration Luxury Package included on a car with the Premium Package, you'd order the stand-alone leather option and Sunroof Package. It's goofy, and it's more expensive, but it's worth it.

    3. You have to see the colors (interior and exterior) in person in order to make the best choice. I encourage you to see as many as you can find before you decide, as there are so many choices. If you're unable to find in-person examples of the less common interiors (maroon/black, vanilla/royal blue, tungsten gray cloth), e-mail me and I'll try to e-mail you some pix.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

    - Mike
  • Perhaps I can help you on this...

    Had a non-Audi hands-free Motorolla permanent install with 99 memory slots done on my '98 A6 2.8Q when it was new 3-years ago for about $375. Just had it re-installed into my new '01 A6 2.7T by the guy who does all my dealership's phone installs. Had the dealer re-code the EPU for the phone functions on the steering wheel. Simple to program the system to read the memory locations stored in the phone---Now I can use the steering wheel functions to scroll the alpha & numeric memory slots (with read-out on the dash display) and send/receive/end calls. It's really fabulous!

    So it can be done with a Motorola unit that's less expensive than Nokia, but it is a permanent install, not removable. Just remember to have the system plugged into the factory set-up, and then program the phone to have the NAME REFERENCE option turned on. One note- when programming car system, keep radio function operative (the owner's manual says you can have either radio or phone instrument panel display operative, but it only worked for me with the radio display on). With the phone turned on, just depress the two center steering wheel function buttons simultaneously for about 5 to 10 seconds and you'll see the car's system learning your phone's memory locations in the dash radio display (you can release the function buttons once the process begins).

    Good luck!
  • dwpcdwpc Posts: 159
    If you check the FAQ page at Audiworld.com, you'll find fairly detailed instructions for integrating a Nokia digital phone into the A6.
  • Mike,
    First, thanks for pointing out all the details to look for...unfortuantely, got your message after I drove the A6. Although I was fairly well versed on the details of the A6, I definitely need to visit a dealer again as I felt rushed during the process. I drove a 2.8 without quattro, by the way. Regarding interior, I did see a 4.2 trimmed in Ambiente (Vanilla/Royal Blue leather) which would be my choice today. I know Vanilla is not practical...but it's a lease! Color preference: Ming Blue. I think it's a classy combination. I also like the Light Silver, but overdone in the A6. I would want to stand apart from the pack.

    This leads me to the answer of your second question. Yes, I drove the 9-5 SE on Saturday and found it to be a very unique car. Truly different from all else in the category, which I find attractive. And I don't see many on the road in Los Angeles...also appealing. Found the power to be on par with A6 2.8, if not slightly more spunky. It put the S80 2.9 to shame (I won't pay the extra for the T-6). However, I did not walk away from the 9-5 drive with the same overall excitement I felt after I drove the A6.

    In terms of interior, I found the 9-5 pleasant with lots of attention to detail, and the standard On-Star is a nice bonus. Plus, I don't have to add any options to the SE. It has everything I want standard. In terms of size, the 9-5 has a slightly larger interior than the A6 (99 vs. 98.3 EPA), but the back seat felt much smaller in the 9-5. Finally, in terms of financing, I understand Saab offers some killer programs that also make it an attractive choice.

    My dilemma remains: The A6 2.8 is definitely my first choice, with the 9-5 SE as a fall back. But, I am not passionate about either car's exterior styling. For me the S80 wins in that arena. But I find the S80 drive and interior styling slightly dull. Plus, I understand Volvo does not offer attractive lease packages. I guess the net-net is that I will spend more time in the car than out of it, so just how important is the sheet-metal?

    Your thoughts on the virtues of the A6 vs. the 9-5 would be appreciated.
  • mpuzachmpuzach Posts: 635
    I'm flattered that you asked for my thoughts, Jim! Interestingly, I went to the San Francisco auto show on Thanksgiving Day and checked out the 9-5. I should point out that I've never driven a 9-5 so I can only comment on "static" observations.

    Having driven Volvos (and liking them a lot) for 11 years before getting my A6 this year, I was prepared to like the 9-5. Indeed, it is a terrific car, nicely-equipped, solidly-built, the whole deal. In my book, though, it's not as nice as the A6. Again, my reasoning is at least partially a result of incomplete information, but here it is:

    Getting the admittedly subjective styling issue out of the way first, I personally am very fond of the A6's and not at all fond of the 9-5's. Both are unique, neither is likely to be mistaken for something else. To my eye, though, the A6 looks much more sporty (which I prefer) and the 9-5 looks "long in the tooth". It's just an emotional thing, but sitting in and driving the A6 makes me feel younger than I am (49), while the 9-5 makes me feel older.

    Again, admittedly subjectively, I much prefer the interior styling of the A6. The two cars take dramatically different approaches to this (as you've seen), but I find the Audi's interior lines and shapes to be more pleasing.

    As for features, neither car is a slouch. Among the edges that I find in the Audi are:

    - 5 speed automatic vs. 4 in the Saab

    - Tiptronic (I'm not aware that Saab offers an equivalent.)

    - FULL instrumentation (including voltmeter & oil TEMPERATURE gauge)

    - Availability of xenon headlights (FABULOUS)

    - In-dash auxiliary stereo display (frequency/RDS info/CD track/tape function)

    - Both cars deliver 200 h.p., but the A6 2.8 does it without a turbocharger. (My most recent Volvo, which I still have, is a 940 Turbo. It's been very reliable for 255,000 miles, but I must say that with the A6 I really like that I don't have to let the engine "idle down" for a minute or so before shutting it off.)

    - The price of the Audi includes all scheduled maintenance for 4 yrs./50000 miles.

    - The A6 back seat will accommodate adults comfortably all day long. Note the raised area of the rear headliner above the back seat.

    - Nobody short of a custom coach builder offers as many interior choices as Audi. If Vanilla/Royal Blue is your pick, then it's got to be an A6. (By the way, I've seen the Ming Blue/Vanilla/Royal Blue combo; it's VERY elegant while still providing a sporty feel.)

    - In my opinion, the 9-5 can only compete with the 2.8 FrontTrak version of the A6; throw in quattro, the 2.7T, or the 4.2 and there's no contest.

    I think we all take a lot of things into account when making the major decision of which $40K car to buy or lease. Among them are price, value, features, anticipated reliability, overall driving experience, dealer network, and styling. The cars you're considering are pretty close to each other price-wise (specific leasing deals notwithstanding). All of the contenders are great cars and their features are pretty darned similar. Sure, one has On-Star, another has pretty red lights and another has air vents mounted in the B-pillars, but none of these are likely to be deal makers or breakers.

    Perhaps the best tip I can give you is one that I learned when I was shopping earlier this year; it assumes that you're at least "somewhat" a "car guy": For the moment, forget about prices, lease deals, and warranties. Think ONLY about the cars themselves. Which do you like the best? Factor in those variables that matter to you, probably styling, features, overall driving feel. This was the process that pushed me over the edge. I looked at, studied, researched, and test-drove the S80, Acura 3.2TL, Lincoln LS (V8), Chrysler 300M, to name a few. One drive of an A6, though, was all it took. I'm not even sure that I understand or can articulate the specific reasons for it. I just know that driving the car made me feel REALLY GOOD, much more so than any of the others. That was it. After figuring out that I wanted the A6, I worked the numbers. It was a bit of a stretch, but my thought was that I'd continue to enjoy the car more than I would any of the others LONG after forgetting about the few extra $$$, the lack of a small feature, or a missing aspect of practicality.

    I guess I've taken much too long to simply suggest this: Given the cars you're considering, go with the one that you like the best, not because it comes with a better lease deal and not because somebody else likes it the best. If one of them gets your heart pounding and your adrenaline up (like the A6 does mine), get it and don't look back. You won't regret it.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!

    - Mike
  • Your thoughts on virtues of the A6 vs. 9-5 are appreciated. And I also got that hard to articulate feeling you mentioned while driving the A6...it just feels right.
  • for those of you who have an Audi with the Touring
    Continental tires: are you satisfied with the
    performance of the tires--are they acceptable for
    driving in heavy snow--what are your likes and
    dislikes--would you buy them again

    I test drove the audi a-6 but settled for the 300M
    based on styling, roominess, performance and
    comfort. Got .9% financing and below invoice
    pricing which sealed the deal. Love the car except for somewhat higher road noise than I would have liked.

    My problem is that I hate the goodyears it comes
    with and when they wear out I will seek another
    brand. There are only a few choices for exact size replacements--Bridgestone Revo's, Michelins,
    Contis and Goodyears. Michelins wear quickly and
    are expensive, Goodyears slip in wet weather,
    Revos are very expensive and not too good in the
    snow. I hear the Contis are a bargain and grip
    well in wet or snowy weather.

    Are the continentals H-rated or are they V rated.

    All comments, good or bad, are appreciated.

    I loved the ride of the Audi, but love many
    aspects of the 300M and enjoy the cost savings.
    Enjoy your Audis!

    Easyrider300M
  • What could I expect the useful life of an Audi A6 to be, that is driven 15,000 miles per year in the south east?
  • mpuzachmpuzach Posts: 635
    It will be interesting to see what kinds of responses you get to your question. The current generation A6 was introduced as a 1998 model, so I doubt very much that there are many that have reached the ends of their lives!
  • rjsenrjsen Posts: 30
    I had an A4 that came with Continentals (H-rated ContiTouring), and they were terrible. Very noisy, poor dry grip, etc. I don't know how they'd do in snow, but I definitely can't recommend them in general. You might look into Pirellis (generally good tires, perhaps a bit pricey) or Yokohamas (good rep, pretty cheap), but the bottom line is that you have to pay to get good tires, and tires that are good in the dry usually aren't too good in the snow. Best thing would be to use Z-rated tires in the summer (Michelin Pilot Sports, Bridgestone Potenza S-02 PPs, etc.) and performance snow tires in the winter (Michelin Pilot Alpins, Bridgestone Blizzak LM-22s, etc.), but I can certainly understand if you don't want to spend that much.
  • I have had 24 Audis since 1978 -- only 1 of them came with good tires (personal opinion). Audi is not alone in "undertiring" their cars. I have certainly never replaced the tires when new, but when I replace the tires, I generally upgrade with what is called "plus 0" sizing. For example, if the car comes with 205 x 55 x 16 tires, 225 x 50 x 16's will work just fine on the factory wheel (the formula is available @ many web based tire stores -- and will make certain you do not "go overboard" on your selection).

    My 2000 Audi A6 4.2 came with 255 x 40 x 17's and they were Dunlop 9000's. These tires have been fantastic -- I would get them again. Unfortunately, my 2001 Audi A6 4.2 Sport came with Continental tires (same size as above) and I do not think they are as good as the Dunlops. I put Pirelli Asymetrico (?) on my 1997 A8 after the factory tires (Goodyear GS-D's) gave up the ghost @ 18,000 miles.

    I generally read the reviews On-line for H,V,&Z rated tires in the size that will accomplish a Plus 0 upgrade -- I look for performance, road noise and durability -- in that order and then I usually buy the "best" I can afford at the moment -- often a major brand name is "on sale" on one of the many web sites that sell tires.

    I generally have them shipped to my dealer and put on the car (mounted and balanced) which means I get to keep using the Audi Advantage (assuming the car has under 50,000 miles on it when I make the switchover.)

    I have found that Audi Quattros take on totally new personalities with Plus 0 sizing and perhaps getting away from the All Season rubber that seems to come on so many cars (from all mfgr.'s) these days. Here in southern Ohio, driving a quattro with ABS and ESP, summer tires provide Year Round drivability and the only time I have even been stuck was when all four tire's contact patches were on "glare" ice (I assume I would have had the same problem with winter -- non-studded -- tires too).

    Pirelli, Michelen, Dunlop, Goodyear, BF Goodrich all seem to have tires that will make substantial improvements in Audi quattros of just about any vintage. Heck, I even had a set of Firestone's that were great on my 1998 A4 2.8 Quattro sport.
  • What an interesting question - one with many answers.

    What indicates the end of a car's "life"? Even the worst running car can be kept on life support and kept running forever, like so many VW Beetles still on the road. Perhaps it means when the monthly repairs equal the payments on a new one? What is your definition?

    I had 2 Audi 5000 Turbos that were pushing 130K and 150K when I sold them, and they were still running and looking fine with few repairs, only one had the tranny rebuilt. There is a well cared for Audi 200 in the paper with 230K on it, still running well.

    If you take regular care of your car and don't abuse it, I see no reason 200K+ cannot be expected. I am sure many of the Audi taxis in Europe go 3-400K or more.
  • If someone handed you $50,000 and said you can buy one of these cars, BMW 530i, Audi A6 2.7T or
    MB E320 4Matic. Which one would you get?
  • For $50,ooo, consider the Lexus GS 430. It has much more power than the other cars, and with the L-Tuned suspension and steering upgrade from the Lexus dealer, it will smoke a BMW 540I. Heck of a value!
  • Can anyone comment on the reliability of the A6 2.7T????

    I was considering this vehicle in conjunction with the very reliable Lexus GS 430. The audi does have much more supportive seating though!
  • mpuzachmpuzach Posts: 635
    ...I'd start by trying to work a deal on an A6 4.2 V8; if the numbers didn't crunch, I'd go with the 2.7T.

    You don't need me to tell you that all 3 are fine cars, and I'm sure that any one of them would be a pleasure to own. Personally, I find the BMW to be a little too small (cramped) inside and its interior a little too stark.

    The Benz is looking a bit long in the tooth, and while there's nothing offensive about its styling, there's nothing very exciting about it, either.

    The A6, in my opinion, is the best blend of room, luxury, sportiness, styling, and value of just about everything out there. Mine's only a 2.8 (with quattro and Tiptronic), and it still makes me grin from ear to ear every time I get in it. I just went to the San Francisco auto show last week and revisited the BMW and Benz, and I still find both to be pale in comparison with the A6.
  • Your list of cars for $50,000 could have included the Audi A6 4.2 (list price $48,900). With the obvious bias that this forum tends toward, the A6 4.2 with premium package and sport package minus the "normal" off - sticker discount would be the car that would blow all the others away -- but perhaps not be the winner in the majority of "contests."

    The BMW and the Lexus will probably beat the A6 to 60 mph (but the A6 4.2 will beat virtually every other car you will encounter -- and in this class, there just aren't that many cars on the road). So if you are dead set on 0-60 acceleration as your key criteria, well. . . pick the quickest car.

    On dry pavement each of these three cars have similar statistics (measuring handling, braking, acceleration, etc.). The Lexus "feels" the most different of the three -- for you this may be a good thing.

    The BMW seems to be somewhat cramped inside -- but if you are not going to be in the back seat much -- or ever, who cares?

    Everything about the Audi seems understated, perhaps almost spartan by comparison to the Lexus, with the BMW being somewhere in-between. The Audi will probably be the least expensive of the three when all are comparably equipped (sticker only, your dealer's discount may even the score, or not).

    The Audi, with all-wheel drive, ESP and the sport suspension option is a very well balanced vehicle -- balanced in the sense that it does everything well, one or two things very well and one thing better than the rest (the quattro advantage).

    When, if ever, there is a BMW 540ix (which would possibly be the way an all-wheel-drive BMW would be named) I can only imagine it would then be the King of the $50,000 [super] sport sedans.

    In the meantime, the A6 4.2 quattro sport is deserving of your most critical consideration, in the price range you mentioned.
  • rjsenrjsen Posts: 30
    For a $50k A6, I'd *much* rather have a loaded 2.7T than a bare 4.2. The 4.2 looks a little better and will likely be smoother riding and easier to maintain, but the 2.7T is much more of a performance car. With the 6-speed, it'll do 0-60 in under 6 seconds. Even auto vs. auto (since the 4.2 is only available with the Tiptronic), the 2.7T is a little faster (6.6 vs. 6.7). Plus, you can chip the 2.7T and shave almost a second off that.

    As far as BMWs, the 540i is the only one that could compete, but it starts at like $53k. Great car, but it doesn't fit the criteria. The 530i just isn't as good a car on any count as the A6 2.7T.

    The E320 is nice enough, but again, can't really compete with the A6 2.7T.

    If the question were V8 midsize luxury sedans under $60k, it would be a really tough call between the A6 4.2, 540i, and E430. As long as were sticking under $50k, though, the A6 2.7T wins easily.
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