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Audi A4 2005+

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Comments

  • mileswmilesw Posts: 29
    To MarkCincinatti...
    I was very impressed by your methodical test drive and thorough reporting. I can relate to your test-drive approach -- I'm an engineering professor and I once spent an evening with friends mixing ingredients in minute proportions to determine the optimum Bloody Mary recipe.

    Now to my questions...
    I'm just beginning to shop for a replacement for my 1997 Audi A4 (2.8 V6, quattro, manual), but have not begun test driving yet. I'd love your input.

    Here's a little background: I plan to switch to automatic, since my wife is just learning to drive (she somehow survived to her 40s without it, and I don't think she can deal with a manual).

    I have really loved my A4, but there seem to be a lot of AWD sport sedans now.

    1. What do you think of the Infiniti G35x and the M35x? Reviewers rave about these, but the G35 (even the 2005) looks cheap to me. I haven't seen the M35x in person, but I'm not sure I want the bigger car.

    2. How would you compare the 2005.5 A4 (both engines) with a 1997 A4? (the Business Week article says you've had lots of Audis, so I thought you might have experience with this)

    3. Having driven the automatic 3.2, how miserable will I be switching from manual? I've driven manual for ages, but I live in Chicago, where you don't get to fully enjoy it. How does the automatic deal with tight curves?

    Any thoughts you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your informative posts.
  • djca33djca33 Posts: 10
    I'm putting down $3000. The B7 is the new model with the big grill. The B6 is the model you've seen people driving around for the past few years. Go to www.fourtitude.com or vwvortex.com and look in the galleries section. You'll see the different models there. Most dealers should know about the program, however, I have found out that some don't....but they weren't familiar with the College Grad Program either.
  • taxman10taxman10 Posts: 59
    I'll give you my opinion.
    My new B7 A4 stickered at $36,696, invoiced at 34,402.
    I got 1,000 off the sticker.
    There are various costs associated with any lease or purchase - plates, acquisition fee, etc. And there are sales taxes, at least in CT.
    I went for 36 months and 12,000 miles. My cap cost reduction expense was $1,710. I was looking to get to a monthly cost , including the state of CT sales tax of $450 - that's approx. $422 per month before sales tax
    If yor $5,500 was all up front cap cost reduction AND you paid other fees on top AND that $359 has sales tax added, you may have paid a high price.
  • Markcincinnati, i did not buy, i leased. that is why i wanted to know yor opinion since you were taking about lease rates and how bad they are with audi.

    taxman: it was 5500 down total, including everything. and 359 a month after tax
  • greg945greg945 Posts: 7
    I've spent about a month of near-sleepless nights, painstakingly researching "$35K sports sedans" that might replace my VW Passat. I follow the automotive world closely, so it was utterly clear that the only four contenders would be the manual-transmission versions of the BMW 3-series, Audi A4, Acura TL and Infiniti G35 (with a bias toward the G35 due to the fawning praise of all my favorite car magazines.)

    I had pretty much decided that, although this will be "my car" and the roomy Volvo wagon will continue to pull family duty, I really needed the car to pitch in as a second family car. On that basis, I dropped the BMW and Audi from my list, thanks to their now-legendary miniature rear quarters.

    That brought on an intense, soul-searching debate (aided by several test drives) as to whether I could overcome the G35's somewhat sub-par interior, and (for Chicago's horrid roads) a rather harsh ride and gain a wonderfully balanced, "throw it into that curve in 3rd" machine. Or...could I get past Japanese "Speed Racer" styling, and Acura's somewhat ridiculous burdening of its Accord FWD platform with near-300 horses, and sink down past the high windowsills into the TL: The best value proposition in the category (period!)...I mean, navigation, 5.1 channel sound and Bluetooth for $33K, with a touch of negotiation??

    My wife is a good sport, and accompanied me on some wild-eyed test runs, but in the end, I had to agree with her that, as fun as the G35 really was, it put us too close in touch with the inadequacies of IDOT.

    Then, curiosity got the better of me, and we decided to "drop in" at the Audi dealer to see if the new B7's might have a smidgen more rear space than the B6, and to see if 30 extra ponies made the 4-cyl. even more entertaining.

    Well, the back seat appears as cramped as ever, but...after riding in the big G35 and TLs, the rest of the B7 fit like I glove. I'd somehow forgotten that I was *meant to drive a VW/Audi*, with the good-natured, light shifter; taut but never harsh springing; balanced and confidence-inspiring handling, free of ugly compromises; and a beautifully understated, impeccably tailored interior.

    This, and an Audi apologetically committed to doing better on reliability and service. I wanted to cry...hadn't it been hard enough to get myself to think that an Acura could be cool?

    So, here I am at the crossroads again: Can I ignore the fact that my 9- and 12-year old sons are not, in fact, getting any smaller, or that they need Dad to truck them around when the Volvo is parked at the mall?

    If I could wait around 6 months for the new Passat, believe me I would...I never have understood why the Passat could be endowed with most of the A4's basic goodness, but none of the passenger room.

    Can someone slap some sense into me, and send me off to the Acura dealer, where the Abyss Blue 6MT with Camel leather awaits me???

    --G.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    Based on the newness of the A4 (B7) any discount off MSRP ranging from 0% to just under 5% is possible. I would think you should be able to get about 3% off the sticker unless inventory is really low, there are no other dealers near and/or demand is off the scale high.

    I don't understand, nor do I need to, the rationale of putting $5,500 down. The only way I look at this is to suggest that for each $1,000 you put into a leased car (that you initially, at least, have no intention of buying, at the end of the lease) the payment drops perhaps $20. If the term is 36 months, and you bought down the payment by $20 (just as an example) the monthly cost without the down payment would be $720 higher over the term of the lease ($20x36). If this example holds true, then you could have put the money into almost any liquid high income investment and taken the $20 out each month and been ahead by the delta between the $1000 - minus the $720 + plus the income earned on the declining balance over 36 months.

    It seems to me that putting money down on a lease makes the car cost more than if you put nothing down.

    It is a free country, and you should do what makes you happy or comfortable or whatever.

    I have just never been able to make money down on a leased car a workable option.

    Now, if the $1,000 down reduced the payment by $50, that might make some sense since the cost over the term of the lease would be reduced $1800 netting you an $800 benefit.

    I have not noticed the cost reduction per $1000 to be that great, historcially, however.

    So I can only comment that if your discount off of sticker was ~3% that you did fine.

    My dealer was able to come up with about $2000 off on an A4 that was ~ $44,500. On the A6, however, the most I could get off (at the beginning of 2005) was $1500 on a $52K car.

    Again, my concerns were less with respect to the MSRP than the depreciation and money factors that Audi Financial structures. My experience has been that Audi Financial usually has more generous depreciation numbers than other financial institutions.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    1. What do you think of the Infiniti G35x and the M35x?

    Both of these Infinitis are quite nice. However, the M35x is the clear choice here. The G35x is powerful, well appointed and overall I would not have any problems if it were my daily driver -- but even with its improved interior for 2005, it is from that one perspective a notch below the Audi A4's interior. Last year, the G35 "beat" the B6 A4 in a comparo in C&D magazine. The Infiniti was #1, the Audi was #5 (of seven).

    The M35x gives up nothing -- it reminds me very much of a somewhat more powerful new Audi A6 3.2 with sport package. The Audi, in relative terms, is sluggish when compared with the M35x, and the interior of the Audi is still at the top of the class -- but the Inifinit's interior is a close second. I liked the Infiniti better than either the RL or the new GS -- but the GS from Lexus, did seem to be the poshest interior in the land. That poshness does not catapult it to a higher status than the Audi however. Audi, regardless of what other things you may have heard, "knows interiors better than anyone!"

    So, the M35x with 280HP, 270 pound feet of torque and a 5 speed auto with Infinitis take on RWD biased AWD, is the Japanese BMW (so says at least two auto magazines.) I understand this sentiment.

    I wonder if this is an indication that the auto journalists felt that the M handled better than the Audi (Motor Trend, for one, certainly felt it did) since Audis tend to have more understeer than BMW's (coming soon better balanced Audis, but not here today). So net net, I'd take the A4 over the G35 price not part of the equation and vice versa if the deal on the G35x beat the A4 (the G35 is more powerful than the Audis, BTW, big time -- and the warranty is to 60K b2b and 70K on the powertrain.) Are you spotting a trend here?

    2. How would you compare the 2005.5 A4 (both engines) with a 1997 A4? (the Business Week article says you've had lots of Audis, so I thought you might have experience with this).

    Night and day difference. The new A4 is a jewel (in either guise). If I were getting one with an auto, I'd go ahead and get the 3.2. If a stick would be even remotely possible, I would probably find the 2.0T just perfect (and order it with all the toys, including sport.

    3. Having driven the automatic 3.2, how miserable will I be switching from manual? I've driven manual for ages, but I live in Chicago, where you don't get to fully enjoy it. How does the automatic deal with tight curves?

    The 6spd tip is wonderful -- caution, it MAY be inflicted with tip lag. I have test driven the 6spd several times and found no lag, but already over on the A6 forum/town hall, some folks seem to have induced it. If it responds to the retrain command, that would probably not be so much an issue that I would avoid it -- I just like sticks, but the A4 3.2 was fantastic and the tip has a sport mode. The tip is intuitive, it knows what and when to do things, it was great on the curves, it held the gear and did not upshift, which allows you to power out of the apex of the curve.

    In a world where there was lease price parity, I might not ever have test driven the Acura, BMW, Mercedes, Infiniti, Jeep Hemi, Cadillac and others too numerous to mention here -- the edge that I believe Audi has lost has more to do with marketing than content or performance. There is something about the feel of an Audi that is ALMOST in a class by itself. Indeed it used to be in a class by itself. Now, however, there are many reasonable alternatives and Audis head in the sand leasing schemes do little to persuade me that they understand that they are perhaps at a point of inflection and that all the good to great carmakers are bringing fine premium AWD cars to the market THIS YEAR!

    Hello is this thing on?
  • http://wardsauto.com/ar/auto_audi_launches_newgeneration/index.htm

    Under normal driving conditions the next generation quattro system “biases” 60% of drive torque to the rear axle and 40% to the front. In the U.S. market it looks like only the 2005.5 S4 will have it for now; all quattro-equipped 2007 models are due to be fitted with the new system.

    You're a performance enthusiast, so is this new system a big deal to you? Assuming, of course, that you stay with Audi.
  • taxman10taxman10 Posts: 59
    I had the same conumdrum - a a B5.5 Passat GLX, 5 speed manual coming off lease on 4/1. VW said they'd allow up to 6 months extension if I was going to buy another VW/Audi car. I had not had any problems with the Passat ( called it my A5 due to the slot it fits in between the space offered in an A4 and A6 ).
    I drove the G35, Subi Gt Ltd, checked out the TL. But then saw the A4 on 2/20. The other three don't compare. I'm sure the Passat will be a fine car when it hits the US. But I picked up the A4 2.0 Q manual on 2/24.
    No regrets.
    No kids to drive around, just a 20 speed racing bike that fits nicely with the rear seats folded.
    I wonder if VW Passat 4 motion models will have drop seats when the new ones come out?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    Much ado, much ado, methinks. The Audis Torsen system is great, leaving it alone, frankly wouldn't make me think Audi was slipping technologically.

    My comments about balance, were not just the RWD biased AWD that so many auto journalists go on about -- rather they were a statement that suggested that Audis in comparison to BMW's had too much weight on the front wheels -- that is the current Audis have more than 56% of the total weight on the front end. Some other cars have closer to a 50 50 F/R "balance."

    To "shut some people up" (no one in particular), I think Audi will bring RWD biased AWD to their cars in the very near future -- but as long as the engine overhangs the front axle (since it is NOT transverse in most Audis), the balance will be more of an issue, IMHO, than the bias of the AWD system. For the record, Volvo's AWD system is 95% F and 5% rear even though it can shift torque to the rear instantly when needed. The quattro system is fundamentally a 50 50 split, making it 40 60 or whatever seems to me will have less of a dramatic performance impact than would pushing the engine back to better balance the weight.

    The performance issues that plague recent Audis are generally understeer induced -- I do not see how biasing the AWD to the rear will make as dramatic a contribution to improved handling as would getting the F/R weight distribution as close to 50 50 as possible.

    That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

    At least the RWD biasing of the AWD is responsive to the "criticism" that is "out there" -- completely rooted in fact or not.

    This change to RWD biased AWD beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but, to repeat, is NOT the end all be all for performance improvements that one could hope for.

    Funny -- the nose heavy RS6 still handled great -- Audis engineers have proven time and time again that they can engineer their cars to handle far better than their lop sided weight distribution suggests would be possible.

    Imagine how good it will be when the weight bias is improved AND the new torque split AWD system is brought on line.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    You said more or less what i was going to say!

    I've thought for quite some time that if Audi went to "all quattro all the time" they could achieve more of a 50/50 weight balance, which would greatly improve the attractiveness of the car to me. Let VW be the FWD Audi.

    It seems the slightly modified torque split is more of a PR move than anything else.
  • greg945greg945 Posts: 7
    Taxman,

    I heartily endorse your choice of the 2.0T quattro manaul. As Car and Driver put it,

    "The 2.0-liter, in particular, provides much more muscular low- and midrange response, with full-boost urge now so vivid that front-drive models have begun to feel the effects of torque steer—something Audi's clever front-suspension geometries had previously repressed. In Quattro all-wheel-drive models, however, the extra thrust simply hauls the car down the road in a way that makes you question the need for the V-6."

    Meanwhile, my boys will be marched to the Audi showroom this evening for one last back-seat fitting to see if I am truly out of my mind, "or what."
  • jsyarussjsyaruss Posts: 50
    Greetings folks. Question about the interior of the new A4s -- was playing around with the configurator (is that a word?) on the AudiUSA website and selected the beige leather...i noticed that the dash and all stayed grey. Is that right? For those who have seen it, how does it look? I know a trip to the dealer would answer my question, but I'm on the road and won't be back 'til the weekend... And, after being gone all week, it's a tough sell to get the wife and kids to the audi dealer ;-) So, any thoughts from those who've seen it? (I've noticed that many people on this forum prefer black, but I'm a tan leather kind of guy). Thx! S
  • mileswmilesw Posts: 29
    Thanks for the great reply! This was very helpful.

    Reading reviews of the B6 (such as the C&D article you mentioned) made A4 seem uncompetitive. It seems like the new engines in the B7 have brought the A4 back into the ballpark at least. Would you agree?

    Quick question: Can you explain what sport mode does on the tiptronic?

    Can you elaborate on differences I'll notice between my 97 A4 and the B7? Is it mainly the more powerful engines?

    Thanks again for your insightful input.
  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    So you Bike fits in the trunk with the seats folded down ? Is that with the front tire removed ?

    DL
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    The differences are manifold. First and foremost the B7 is much stiffer than the B5. The ride is, at once, more comfortable and more controlled. Handling is improved. Turn in, throttle response, appointments, fit and finish, brakes, all improved. The cars share more in looks than in any other way.

    Refinement quotient is up in the B7. Performance is up. Economy too is improved.

    Sport mode: simply put, holds each gear longer. Shifts from lower to higher gears take place at higher RPM's. The car is more responsive since at any one time the engine is at a higher RPM in sport mode than in D mode.

    I never counted the A4 out, regardless of a test report -- but Audi needed these new engines to compete in the current higher HP and torque environment we enjoy today.

    The full screen MMI navi system is great too -- not quite up to Acura's standards, but a huge improvement over nav lite.
  • taxman10taxman10 Posts: 59
    Yes. 4 Motion passats did not ( still don't?) have fold down rear seatbacks but regular front drive models do. The A4 seats in Quattro models do fold down.
    I think VW is adapting a similar rear suspension in the B6
  • greg945greg945 Posts: 7
    Ok, last night the boys were shoehorned...and I mean, SHOEHORNED...into the back of the 2005.5 A4. Big thumbs up on the "cool" factor, dude...they loved the heated seats and figured out how many Yuh-Gi-Oh cards could be fit in the space for the first-aid kit.

    Big thumbs down on the passenger space, as in, "OWWWW-WW, move your seat UP, Dad!!"

    So...it appears my little fantasy is over.

    Another look at the TL confirmed, plenty of room...plenty of yawns (and claustrophobia trying to see out).

    I am now seriously considering sitting tight until the new B6 (2006 VW Passat) is out. It solves all the space problems, makes most of the new A4's virtues available (including the tasty 2.O FSI), and offers a good value even when loaded up with goodies (keyless start, bluetooth phone link, DVD-based navi, 10-channel sound, etc etc etc)

    Now if I can just wait until September...

    -G.
  • jsyarussjsyaruss Posts: 50
    Greg - I have to ask...how big are your boys? I'm afraid I'm going to find myself in the same boat as you... I've been drooling over the new A4 for some time...just waiting 'til the time is right to make the change... I'm coming off of a way-too-big Chrysler Concorde, with oodles of space in the back (I picked it specifically because it had a ton of space for the huge rear-facing baby car seats we had at the time...)

    NOW, the car seats are gone (down to just a booster... SO, I can downsize and upscale)... a 6 and a 9 year old girl need to fit in the back (and they need to still fit when they're 9 and 12...) Fortunately, they're slight of build...

    Sorry to hear about your applecart! Now I'm worrying about mine!!!

    Help?

    Scott

    PS: As Mark has pointed out so eloquently...if we could only get leases on the A6 like the 5-series has going right now...
  • taxman10taxman10 Posts: 59
    Hold out for the Passat. It wil be a lot of car for the money.
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