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Audi A4 2004 and earlier

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  • Paul-- Agreeing with comments already made (and btw, I do regret not getting the sports pkg. on my pre '02), as I stated before, there have been numerous comments about the '02 standard suspension "feeling" similar to the pre '02 sport package, I have a suggestion to make. I'm assuming you're looking at a 3.0, if so, it does come with the 16" tires as standard; so give it another test drive to see if it suits your handling cravings. If it does, you'll have a car that you might not have to change tires for snow (comes with all-seasons) and you can spend the money saved for Xenons ...as Billy stated, get the Xenons. I wasn't impressed with them initially but now I couldn't buy another car without 'em! I know you already said that you could tell the difference with the Bose (probably because of the added subwoofer) but I do agree with Billy and Barry ...it is overpriced. If I were to do it again, I'd skip Bose and maybe add a small after-market amp and a subwoofer ...it would save a lot of $$$'s.

    --'rocco
  • 1 Qt? or 2 Qt?

    And, ECU upgrade is good?
  • lauk0dglauk0dg Posts: 563
    Engine oil? You mean for an oil and change situation? Which engine you running? 3.7qt for a 1.8T engine oil and filter change if you have that engine.

    ECU upgrade? You mean chipped? Well your car will have a lot more torque and somewhat more hp but of course it will void the warranty if you try to claim the parts damaged due to chipping. It's like putting more chips on a gambling table.....if you win, you gain a lot more.....but if you lose, you are going to lose quite a bit. I was thinking about chipping for a while but now I feel with more power I'm going to get pulled over for speeding quite often.

    Billy
  • I got a 1.8T, and I am thinking about ECU upgrade.
    Thanks for answer...
  • I am thinking of buying a new car. Looked on volvo s60 & A4. Any advice?
    By the way about buying a used or a new car. I had a honda accord 9 years ago I paid $15K for it. I sold it for $7500 with 75k miles on it. No repair no nothing. It cost me 10 cents a mile and the pleasure of driving a new car.
  • dej0dej0 Posts: 36
    Hi Gang,
    I know I don't post that much, but I do follow this board and the 3 series board every day. I noticed lots of folks saying they really need the xenons and others regret not getting them. So I ask, why? I do not drive too much at night, and I have never noticed a problem with my '97's stock lights. I hate it when I see the blue glare of xenon lights coming at me, probably because they are different from other cars and the change seems weird to me.
    After talking to my significant other and crunching some numbers it looks like I can maybe replace both my '90 Miata and the '97 A4. I drove the new A4 with the 3.0 and loved it, got to get my wife in it. We will drive a 325 over the holidays, though my local dealer says he won't have a manual transmission available (and he calls himself Performance!). We are also considering a Toyota Prius as a second car. Yes, I know, ugly, slow, very ugly, and very slow. But it gets 50 mpg in city driving, and that is all the Miata gets to do now that we have a child. It would be an OK commuter car, and it does leave some extra money for more goodies on the 'nice car.'
    So this is my question, why should I get xenon lights over, say, heated seats? If I don't do that much night driving, should I just bag them? Since I have a 2 year old, an improved stereo is not an option. She doesn't like my music loud, and actually prefers to talk through most drives. Thanks in advance and I hope to have news of a new vehicle after the Holidays.

    Happy Holidays to all.

    Ned
  • If you have to make a choice, go for the bun warmers. Xenon's are great, but if you do little night driving skip it.
  • Hi Ned-- Yup, I agree with Curt. From what you've said, yes, I'd probably agree that maybe your money is better spent going with the heated seats than Xenons. I do a lot of night driving and a lot of that is in the rain so that's why I stated that it would be hard for me to buy another car without them. But if you are satisfied with your '97's headlights, then I see no reason why you'd be disappointed with the stock headlights although the new models now use projectors. Projectors throw out a more defined beam which have a distinct cut-off at their outter perimeters --so to some, it takes a little getting used to. As for the blue glare you refer to that come from Xenons, starting with the '01.5 models, Audi now uses a newer Xenon bulb which has a beam that appears more like an intense white light with a slight purplish-like color on its outer edges than the completely bluish color of the early Xenons. I thought mine were defective at first because they weren't the intense blue like those of the Bimmer, TL, MB, S2000 or older Audis.

    And as far as the heated seats go, that's another option that I'd have a hard time doing without now that I have two vehicles that have them. They're definitely an option worth considering.

    Prius! ...good decision! I'm assuming that more hybrids will appear in the future with hopefully better styling. I've heard that next year, Honda will be putting the system used in the Insight in a Civic sedan. I don't know when it's due to be available, but maybe you might want to wait and see how it will compare with the Prius. I'd definitely consider a hybrid for a commuter car and will be watching closely as the selection develops in the future.

    Good luck and keep us informed.

    yury-- I looked at the S60 too. I don't know, for some reason I just wasn't that impressed with it. It didn't handle like the A4 and I actually think that reliability would be worse from what I've heard from people who own Volvos. And yup, can't beat the reliability of those Accords, can ya? *chuckles*

    --'rocco
  • lauk0dglauk0dg Posts: 563
    Well Hondalover, are you looking for the S60 AWD or the regular FWD S60? I drove V70's quite often as a rental car and they are nice vehicles. One big complaint about it is, the suspension is way too loose. It doesn't take turns well and you can hear tires squealing and everything. And you would think because of the soft suspension it should take highway expansion joints well.....nope. You can still feel them. It also doesn't have the German car feel.....it doesn't have a soul. You get to Point B comfy in the Volvo, but in a German car like an Audi, you "regret" you are already there cuz you wanna keep on cruising around in the A4. I had an Accord for a little more than 5 years and drove it for 120k miles with minimal problems, none of them required a tow truck. The Audi might not be as reliable as the Honda, but heck, I am willing to trade that for the driving excitement (OK we're not talking about Pontiac's here).

    Ned, I regret getting Xenons cuz yes, I do a lot of night driving and with the icy white beams they look a lot brighter and sharper, and of coures there's the "luxury car" feel towards Xenons. If you don't do that much nite driving, I'd agree with 02A4Curt that you won't need Xenons. Bun warmers are a nice touch though, and of course that depends on where you live. Here in Chicago I like them a lot and wish I got the heated steering wheel like the Allroads.

    Billy
  • lauk0dglauk0dg Posts: 563
    It's been a while since I read such a negative car review on Edmunds...... and Audi wins again.


    http://www.edmunds.com/reviews/roadtests/roadtest/48463/article.html


    Just in case anyone out there who's considering it.....beware!! The engine is a close relative to Taurus's and the chassis is from a Ford Mondeo/Contour. EXciting.


    Billy

  • ...but what do you expect, it's a FORD! ;-)

    --'rocco
  • That is a harsh review.
  • Conventional lights are OK, especially if you drive little at night. However, as I consider them a safety item and the bun warmers a luxury item, I would possibly take a deep breath and contemplate the differences. My friendly dealer told me (and he sells all kinds of cars) that over the years he would notice people would spend large sums of money for sunroofs and other luxury touches (and sunroofs that they rarely open) -- but wouldn't spring for the optional airbags, or other -- fill in the blank -- safety oriented options.

    I bring this up not to disagree with the other posts, because I fundamentally do agree with them. The bun warmers are fantastic and they are good both day and night. But I am on my 5th Audi with Xenons, my last non-Xenon Audi being a 1997 A8, and I think they are GREAT.

    I just would hate to know that I haven't stirred up the pot a little bit.

    Happy holidays.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I guess that I am with you on this one; my current car has Xenon headlights and NO bun warmers. Given that I am the kind of person that sets the climate control at 64 degrees year round, said bun warmers seemed unnecessary to me.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Where heated seats show their worth is where there's a need to park the car outside in a very cold environment. Under those conditions the heated seats become your most cherished option.
  • *sheesh* ...if you're buying a 30K+ vehicle, why not just get both heated seats and Xenons? I really don't think it should be that much of a debate. At this price point and above, one should just get what suits ones desires. Since I've now experienced having both Xenons and heated seats, when I'm in the process of buying my next car, I'll definitely include both those options if available. I never thought I'd use heated seats but since I open the sunroof even when it's freezing out, I love the feel of warm buns as the crisp air circulates the cabin. I never thought HIDs would be necessary but after experiencing them, it'll be difficult to order another car without 'em. IMHO, if one is in the market for a luxury or near-luxury car, there shouldn't be any "on-the-fence" expressions when considering options. If you can afford that type of car in the first place, then you should be able to afford any of the options that you really desire ...if you know you won't use or need it, don't get it; if you suspect you want it, then get it.

    *heh* ...gee, that sounded kind of harsh so flames welcome but with that said, I know, it's easier said than done. I'm naturally a value conscious shopper so I'm always comparing prices and weighing the benefits against their cost of anything I purchase. Had the '01 1.8T I bought not come almost fully loaded, I might not have ordered the car with either Xenons, heated seats, Bose, ESP or maybe not even a sunroof. But since the car came with those options, I'm glad I purchased that particular car because I really have no regrets about paying for them.

    --'rocco
  • Five Audi's currently grace our company's parking lot -- five other, former employees, also have or at least had Audis. Most of the Audi's are A4's although two of us have had either A6's or A8's in addition to the A4 models.

    Three of the current A4's are 2001 1.8T's, one is a 1999 A4 2.8.

    Two of the A4 1.8T's have ESP, Xenons, Bose, Sport Pkg (one even has an Audi rear deck spoiler). The other 2001 1.8T lacks the Bose, Xenons and ESP -- this owner regrets not getting the Xenons and the ESP. All the 2001's have heated seats, the 1999 came from Dallas -- where heated seats are in the minority.

    All are stick shifts.

    Wondering out loud, one owner said, can I have the Xenon's and ESP retrofitted? We all know the answer is yes -- but for a stack of 100 dollar bills "this high." In other words, while technically possible, financially impossible (practically speaking).

    The point about "at this price, what's an extra $500?" does have some merit. Audi seems determined to lease these things at a term between 30 - 39 months. The payment difference is real, but I think the point that was being underscored, is that at this price point it is (or should not be) material.

    See how easy it is to spend someone else's money?

    Seriously, those that opt out of the Xenons, etc. almost universally "regret" their then thrifty decision.

    At least this is the observation I have made. Now here is what most of them do -- they get the Xenons and don't get the optional paint (such as silver or pearl, etc).
  • a2374a2374 Posts: 6
    I agree that if you are going to spring $500 for either option, why not just get both, perhaps you can talk the dealer into a price suitable to you and the area. But if you HAVE to decide, I agree with Mark. The Xenons, to me, are a safety item. My 99 Accord's lights were 'ok' at best at night, but add some rain or other inclement weather and I felt like my lights were not even on. After a month with my '02 with the Xonons it'll be hard to go back. I feel it will provide me much more security in seeing the road during bad weather. My car has Xenons but now heated seats. Wanted both but the car on the lot did not have both (but I got my '02 without ordering). Being in NC, heated seats are not really a requirement as it may be in other parts.

    Good luck with the rest of your purchase!
    --Adam
  • Yesterday I had to traverse 60 miles of an almost glare ice MN interstate highway to get back home. This was my first experience driving my new A4 Quattro 1/8t under hazardous conditions. Numerous cars were in the ditch and others were creeping along at 20 mph. The Audi all wheel drive gave me a real feel of being under control of the vehicle. I felt quite comfortable cruising along between 40 & 50 MPH. When no other cars were around, I tried out the ABA, another first for me. The vibrating brake peddle and noise were a little unnerving but the car came to a straight, controlled stop in a reasonalble amount of time. Even my wife, who is really fearful of driving under these conditions admitted to feeling very secure. If you live in MN....don't even consider an Audi without Quattro.
  • kam66kam66 Posts: 31
    I've been following this board for quite some time during my research for a new car for my wife. While we've decided to get an IS300 sedan (manual), I've enjoyed reading your posts (although the shear volume makes keeping up a challenging task). Having recently driven an A4 3.0Q, I'd like to share my thoughts on the vehicle with you.

    Pluses
    -Great sports suspension with minimal comfort trade-off (car exhibited virtually no body lean during high speed sweepers, provides excellent feedback to the driver, and is not harsh at all)
    -Quattro drive train provides additional performance and safety margin over only one driven axle (I could definitely feel it pulling/pushing when salesman had me take a 35 mph curve at 70 mph)
    -3.0 engine felt strong, with a good sound (not sure why press calls it muted)
    -Offered in manual transmission (and stocked by dealers)
    -High quality materials, to include leatherette
    -Heated seat option includes rear seats as well

    Minuses
    -Clutch take-up is high and shifter feels rubbery. While this mirrors all VAG set-ups I've ever owned, it doesn't measure up to the best in the market (Test drive an RSX Type-S to see what I mean) Also, I found the armrest forced my arm into an uncomfortable position. While it can be tilted up to get it out of the way, this then renders the cup holders within useless.
    -Cramped rear seat (doesn't seem any bigger than 2001 models)
    -Accelerator pedal too close to center console
    -Pricey options

    If the car was going to be for me, I'd probably have opted for the A4 3.0Q with a manual. Since I'll be looking to replace my vehicle in a couple of years, I hope Audi makes the following improvements:

    -Improve clutch/shifter feel
    -Introduce diesel engine to NA market or improve fuel efficiency of gasoline engines (i.e., FSI direction injection gasoline engine)
    -Make xenon headlights standard
    -Improve ergonomics (cup holders are better in the new Passat)
    -Give the brakes a slightly firmer feel
    -Add European Delivery Option
    -Paint lower body cladding the same as the rest of the car

    Just my two cents,

    KAM
  • Great choice. They're pretty, they're reliable, they're prestigious, and they do have a roomy back seat. I presume you live in a mild climate area where some of the other advantages to the Quatro don't hold quite so much significance.

    Enjoy your choice, but think of us now and then as you cruise the streets on your pleasure drives.
  • lauk0dglauk0dg Posts: 563
    Curt, glad to hear it feels safer to drive faster on the ice/snow covered MN roads......did that a few times when I was still living in WI with my Accord and it's not fun. However, just remember if there are no traction under all 4 wheels, Quattro is as useless as a FWD or RWD car. Just something I thought I'd share after the Audi Quattro Challenge experience. They also pointed out that only a few of us lucky ones who got Quattro can get around easier, but watch out for other cars and (or in my opinion) some other dumb drivers sharing the road with you. Yesterday I was driving on the tollways here in Chicago and it's raining (yes right before Christmas) heavily. There was an A8 4.2 right behind me and we were going together on the left lane in a 3-lane highway faster than most of the other cars. I was almost at my exit, went to the right lane to prepare for me exiting. He stayed on the left lane so I didn't give it too much thought. Like 500 feet before the exit, all of a sudden I saw a big black shadow with tons of water spray flying across the highway trying to get off the exit. I was like, what the heck is that guy thinking.....but wait, that's the A8!!! He narrowly cut off 2 other cars causing them braking and everything. He was on the white markings separating the exit and barely made the exit. Well Quattro saves him but that's totally unnecessary and not recommended. Endangered himself and other drivers. I gotta say though, launching a Quattro in the rain is as wonderful as peaches-and-cream. DId that when I saw an Eclipse next to me with her front wheels spinning and I was 10 car lengths away in a few seconds.

    Kam66, as Ken pointed out, no prob with the IS300 if you live in mild (minimal or no snow/ice conditions). But if you do get snow/ice quite often, the RWD IS300 is going to leave you either stranded in the snow/ice or you end up in a ditch. I've seen so many BMW's either hiding in their garages or end up on the shoulder cuz their RWD system can't "push" their cars out from snow. FWD system can "pull" your car out from snow, and AWD Quattro can both "pull" and "push" your car out from the snow.

    I totally agree the shifter is rubbery and the take-up is way too high. Actually I test drove the 02 1.8T and the clutch was not as high as the 01 already. In the pre-01's the take-up point is literally 2mm below its normal resting position. I can find one good thing about it though.....it makes shifting as fast as the blink of an eye once you practise "mad rowing skills" LOL. European Delivery is definitely something they should do just like the BMWs. And definitely, paint the lowers to match the other parts of the car. It looks especially bad in the rear quarters.

    However there are some things I'd like to say about your cons and suggestions. About the pricey options, go and try to price out a BMW and even a Mercedes. NOTHING is standard.....in the pre-02 BMW 3 series even a CD player or cruise control or auto climate control is an option. They finally figure out Audi is offering an in-dash 6 CD player as standard so BMW figured out they better add in a single dash CD player as standard. About xenons being standard, even the Mercedes fastest CLK55 doesn't offer it as standard and charge them as a $850 option to the expensive price. I guess I prefer Audi doesn't charge them as standard, as some people seldomly drives their car in the dark and they don't necessarily need them.

    Sorry for the long post. My $0.01 (poor after Christmas shopping)

    Billy
  • kam66kam66 Posts: 31
    Right now snow/ice isn't a problem as we live in South Texas (San Antonio/Austin corridor). Will be moving back to Colorado Springs next year but a full set of snows/rims will be purchased (Blizzaks or Artic Alpine's) for the winter months.

    Can't speak for BMWs as I've never driven one in snow, but have had a bit of experience with rear wheel drive Volvos, Pontiac station wagons, Expeditions, and Suburbans in snow/ice conditions. I'll take a vehicle equipped with the right tires for the job over one wearing the wrong rubber (i.e., summer tires in the white stuff). That said, obviously Quattro with snows would be the ultimate. BTW when I used to live up in northern climates the majority of vehicles I saw in the ditch were 4-wheel drive SUVs. The problem they had was not in going but rather trying to stop given how much traction was available.

    Maybe VAG headlights have improved in the past couple of years, but they used to be pretty weak at lighting up the road. My thought on xenon is they are safety features and that by equipping all vehicles the price should come down (economies of scale). My guess is that with-in two or three years they will be standard on the majority of vehicles sold, much like anti-lock brakes are today.

    I agree that BMW and Mercedes are expensive to option in the U.S., but the A4 I test drove hit $38,400 and still had a couple of things that could have been added. If I could have found a 3.0Q with leatherette, heated seats, xenon, and sports suspension I might have tried to convince the wife it was a better deal. As it is we're reaching the limit of what we want to spend on a vehicle.

    Maybe in two or three years I'll find a 2002 A4 Avant lease return and buy one as part of the certified pre-owned program. Note to MarkinCincinati: if you get one please post when your lease is up as I'm sure it will have been immaculately kept and cared for. If only everyone that leased vehicles took as much care with them as you do I'd be more inclined to buy used.

    I guess this post is long enough to fit in with the rest the A4 manifestos so I'll be signing off now.

    KAM
  • It was in the October 8th edition and discussed the editorial staff experiences with, among other things, Winter driving with snow tires. They had some problems that they themselves caused, but it didn't sound like the best car in the world for Wintertime use.

    Their third quarter update had them averaging 19.73 miles per gallon. They spent $290.33 for the 15,000 mile service and then another $26.57 for windshield wiper blades. I mention this because that money along with the money spent on previous and future service visits would not have been spent had it been an Audi and thus could otherwise have been spent earlier on for additional options.
  • for some reason....and i've telling myself, it's just me, it's just me, but ....it's starting to really bug me now.
    During the day, when it's all light outside, it feels like i can't see clearly through the front windshield. Almost as if the windshield is distorted or something. Does anyone know what i'm talking about?
  • Someone on the Edmunds '02 Audi A4 chatline recently reported purchasing two new A4s (one each for he and his wife I guess). He reported that one of the cars has serious distortion in the windshield.

    If it were me, I'd go to the dealer and show the service writer both my distorted windshield and the non-distorted windshield of one of a new A4 on their lot and then ask that it be replaced.
  • lauk0dglauk0dg Posts: 563
    Yeah I heard people complained about pre-2002's having distorted windshields. I tried hard to look at mine but I don't see any distortion. I'd say go back to the dealership and tell your service manager to sit in your car and look at it with you.
  • if i look lower portion of the windshield, it's not as noticeable...or not distorted at all.
    but in the upper portion of the windshield...it just feels like i can't completely focus..
    it's not my eyes...cause it's fine in my other car. ....
  • OK all, permit me a brief rant. When I was placing my order for my 02 A4 Avant (can't wait til Spring), I was ticking off the list of options I wanted to the salesman. When I mentioned that I wanted the rear air bags, he commented "Oh, not a lot of people get those!" The thought of this shocked me. For me it wasn't even a question, as my daughter rides back there, and I would have taken bullet-proof Kevlar armor plating as an option it it was available.

    Why do people who are already spending $30K and up on a car skimp on safety features? Bose stereos, sport suspensions, leather interiors, etc. are nice but none of them will save your life or that of a loved one. The first options I want are those that will make a crash more survivable, or better yet, help me avoid one.

    The single best reason to buy an Audi is quattro, and I view it as primarily a safety feature. It was also a plus for me that the Audi surrounds you with more airbags than you find on the floor of the US Senate. After trying Xenon vs regular halogen I was sold on the brighter bulbs as well. End of rant.

    Merry Christmas, Hannukah, Solstice, and Festivus to all!

    Rick
  • When doing tests of cars,Consumer Reports used to regularly report as flaws that some had distored windshields. I haven't seen them mention it lately, however. I had a distorted windshield on a particular new car once but hesitated having it replaced under warranty because someone once told me that factory installed windshields have the best seals and replacement windshields can't come close to the seals of the original factory installed windshield. I have no idea if this is a myth or not but I've heard this from more than one source ...not replacing an original windshield unless absolutely necessary. So anyway, I never did have the windshield replaced and lo-and-behold, I actually must've gotten used to it because after awhile it didn't bother me at all. That original windshield stayed on the car for 10 years when I finally sold the car. Yes, if I looked closely, I could still see the distortion but it never really did bother me after about the first month or two that I owned it.

    I don't know ...just a thought.

    --'rocco
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