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Audi A4 2004 and earlier

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  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    I'm not sure how to post pictures here. When you mentioned "A4 forum", I assume you meant here within Town Hall, correct? (As opposed to Audiworld?)

    However, I should have no problem emailing you some pictures instead. I just need some time to wash the car and take the pictures. Unfortunately, there is a cold front and some rain blowing through our state today and tomorrow. Give me at least a couple days or longer, and I'll email a couple pics to you.

    By the way, the ecru/clay interior goes very well with the melange exterior, but it doesn't provide the dramatic 2-tone interior look of the ecru/onyx interior. Nevertheless, I am still very pleased with the combination, and I would definitely choose these colors again if I was placing an order.
  • This is an open question to A4 owners:

    I am considering purchasing a used A4 (need AWD but undecided on 4-cyl. vs. 6-cyl.) in the next month and have even checked some online auction sites to compare prices.

    While the 1997-1999 A4 models look similar, I did notice that the newer (1998+) models have a more attractive steering wheel. Most of the 1997 models have a plain, black plastic "VW" grade steering wheel as opposed to the chrome rings logo on newer cars.

    Obviously, this is not a deciding factor for me but it made me wonder if the price difference of the 1997 A4 models was due to their having a lower standard level of interior finishes.

    Am I nuts or was 1998 a turning point with interiors? Do any '97 models have the fancy steering wheel?
  • That's a really good question to post at www.audiworld.com. I'm not really sure of the answer. They would definitely be able to answer it over there.

    Good luck!
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Back in 1996 the basic black 4-spoke steering wheel was the standard A4 steering wheel, but Audi also also offered a 3-spoke thickly-padded "Sport" steering wheel (with the chrome ring logo) as an option. I believe it was a $150-$180 option. I'm sure that was also the case for the 1997 models. I'm not sure if this changed for 1998 or not. For 2000 and 2001, there is a 3-spoke thickly-padded steering wheel provided as standard equipment, but it does not have the chrome rings on it.

    My understanding is that 1998 models were not very different from 1997 models, but I could be very wrong on that guess. I knew the 1996 models very well, and I know the 2000 and 2001 models very well. Everything inbetween is rather blurry. Model year 1998 is in sort of a "black hole" for me. I believe it was the year that the 2.8L engine went to 5 valves/cylinder and 190hp, but I don't know much else regarding the changes for that model year. You might check the Used Cars section of Edmunds.com. Sometimes Edmunds will mention some of the items which were new to the vehicle for that particular model year.

    I have 3 additional guesses on why you might see the 1997 models priced much cheaper than 1998 models. First of all, 1997 models are out of warranty. Many 1998 models may still be under warranty. 1998 models may be the oldest models that Audi is willing to certify on Audi dealers' used car lots. Secondly, if you are examining the 1.8T models, 1997 was the first year of the 1.8T engine (at least here in North America). I'm not aware of this, but maybe there were some first-year reliability issues with that model? Finally, I believe that 1998 was the year Audi changed the 2.8L engine (as I mentioned above), giving it 18 more horsepower than the 1996/1997 model.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    I was wrong at the end of the 1st paragraph in my previous post. The new steering wheel has chrome rings on it. Hence, it's basically the same wheel as the optional "sport" steering wheel of 5 years ago.
  • On the 2.8's there was a major increase in power on the '98's - from 170 HP to 190 HP - and as cotmc says that year it went to the 30 valve technology which allowed it to "breathe" much better for smoother performance especially at higher RPM's.

    If I'm not mistaken, the 98 models also saw the introduction of their upgraded interior's which Audi called "atmospheres" and I believe this added both variety and a richer ambiance at least with the 2.8's.

    There were also many other smaller improvements made, both inside and out, on the 98's. Then, there were further refinements with the mid-year '98's, also known as 98.5 models. I can't remember what all these were exactly, but I do remember them being posted once in the old A4.org site - now AudiWorld.com - and the list of improvements was surprisingly long. I'm sure that if you post your questions there under the A4 Forum people will be willing to help with the details.

    As far as the steering wheel goes, I have the "sport" wheel on my 98.5 model, and for my car this came with the optional "Sport Pkg" which also included a lowered and firmer suspension, different 16 inch wheels with Z-rated Dunlop 8000E tires (great in summer, bad on ice and snow - I use winter tires for 3-4 months a year here in Minnesota).

    One other thing about Audi that I've found is that they continually make changes from year to year, and even mid-year, both for reliability and functional reasons. Good luck in finding the right combination of features at the right price - there are literally hundreds of combinations to choose from if you span several years worth of A4's.
  • Regarding the Acura MDX, I've been following the acuramdx.org site, and as a first year model you do see people talking about the usual glitches. It's obvious that MDX owners really like their vehicles, but you can see where some think it falls short too.

    On the allroad forum discussion, there is a tremendous enthusiasm that's very evident, as owners are literally gushing with praise. It is extremely high quality on the inside, and it clearly will outperform and outhandle the MDX as a driving machine. The heated rear seats and steering wheel are nice, and the ESP is a major plus. Plus, it has full-time quattro, whereas the MDX is front-drive biased. All in all, it's a lot more fun to drive fast.

    The major disadvantages of the allroad include the price - about $6,000-$10,000 higher depending on options - and the higher price buys you a smaller, less flexible space inside (although in our case we only have 3, including our 9 year old). Plus, the outside styling is very "different" - either a station wagon (Avant) or an SUV - a personal decision but I think most would favor the SUV look, which could affect resale. The MDX could hold its value better, but since they're both so new who knows for sure?

    We'd be very happy with either vehicle, but if the allroad towing pkg. becomes available before the MDX arrives, I'm going to switch to the allroad. Based on my great experience with the A4, I have a lot of confidence in Audi quality. Their 4-year warranty with all maintenance included and my local dealer (very competent and conveniently located) give me added confidence, even though it's a first-year model.

    Sorry for vearing slightly off topic here...
  • After owning a 2001 Jeep Wrangler Sport for two months, I decided this vehicle was just to squirrelly for safe winter driving in MN. Fortunately I sold it with little loss, and picked up a 2001 A4 quattro yesterday. Having owned 4x4 trucks since I started driving, I was a little skeptacle about buying a car. Boy was I surprised, I feel like I have just found the best car I have ever owned!
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    I did in fact mean the AudiWorld A4 Forum because I know pictures can't be posted here. I just thought others besides me on this forum may be interested in seeing your new car, which they'd be able to do on the AudiWorld Forum. Do what's easiest for you...e-mail would be fine and I'm looking forward to seeing the new ride! If you have a high-res digital camera (2 megapixels or above), please reduce the picture size to lessen download time. Thanks.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Thanks for filling me in with some info regarding the A4 changes for 1998. I should have been able to guess about the "atmospheres" introduction, but I didn't know there were several changes for 1998.5 models. It is interesting how Audi (and I guess VW) provide so many updates in mid-year. I believe the indash CD player was added for 1999.5. For 2001.5, Audi added the "Celebration Package", as well as 17" rims/tires for the Quattro Sport package.

    Regarding your next purchase, I have to admit I'm a little biased toward the MDX, but the new Audi Allroad seems to be an awesome vehicle. I can see why you would strongly consider it. I wouldn't worry too much about some negative feedback here and there within MDX discussion groups. I wouldn't compare the number of negative posts for the MDX versus the number of negative posts for the Allroad. The MDX has been on sale since the beginning of October, and they have been selling about 3000 per month. For example, JD Powers says Acura sold 3414 MDX's during January 2001. In comparison, I believe less than 500 Allroads were sold in January. Since people are more likely to write into discussion groups if they have a problem/complaint than if they have no problems, the MDX discussion groups would likely see more complaints than Allroad discussion groups. That's my theory, anyway, assuming all other things being equal. I also suspect there would be fewer negative posts if Acura dealerships were more consistent with their pricing and customer service. Unfortunately, it seems that a few Acura dealers in North America offer no better service than a typical Nissan or Honda dealer.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Are you or your husband going to want to trade or sell your TL for the new 2002 TL Type S that should be arriving in a few months? I hear it will have 260hp, and improved suspension and steering! :-)
  • getz1getz1 Posts: 63
    I just came back from the chicago auto show, and while there I stopped at the audi display. While talking with one of the reps, I asked if audi was planning on offering a subvented lease program for the remaining A4s once the new platform comes closer to being released. The rep seemed to think that there will be some special lease rates that should be instituted in the near future. So if you are planning on leasing, I would wait a little bit longer, it could save you a fair amount of cash. I also asked about the absence of power seats in the A4 1.8T, and he just laughed, then looked over his shoulder towards the current generation A4 2.8. Damn the marketing ploys, just give me my seat. How does the A4 handle on long commutes? Is it excessively noisy at cruising speeds around 80 mph, as I spend alot of time around that zone. I really like the 3.0 V6 in my 2000 accord, but the car lacks soul.
    Thanks,
    Getz
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Funny. I could have sworn there was a reply to your post in here just 1-2 days ago from somebody else.

    I drove the A4 for a 100-mile commute from the out-of-town Audi dealer shortly after I had purchased it, and it drove just fine. It might take a little while to get accustomed to the firmer seats, but they are quite comfortable for the long trips. It is also reasonably quiet when cruising at 75mph. I did not go 80mph on the new engine. I would suspect the 2000 Accord V6 *might* be a little quieter cruiser, but I can't say for sure because it's been awhile since I test drove it.

    I agree with you on the Accord. It's a fine car, but it doesn't have the steering or road feel of the A4, and it doesn't brake as well as the A4. The Accord also doesn't feel as nimble, either on the corners or when accelerating. The Accord is good in many respects, but it doesn't bring about many emotions. It's rather "sterile".

    Back in 1998 we almost purchased a new '98 Accord EX-V6 coupe for my wife, but after a couple test drives, we both realized we enjoyed driving a '98 BMW 323is much more than the Accord. It was $6K more, but we felt it was worth it mostly due to the better driving experience. In my opinion, the A4 1.8T is very similar to the BMW 323. With the A4, you lose a little bit of steering feel, but you get a little nicer interior and more value for the dollar. (By the way, that 323is also had manual seats!)
  • Thanks to all for the data! I will also check into the AudiWorld Forum site. This site is making my decision much easier. It sounds like I just have to find the "right" model with the "right" package.
  • getz1getz1 Posts: 63
    I agree totally with you about the rather anesthetic nature of the accord sedan. I actually have a 00' V6 EX Coupe as well, and also think that its handling doesn't quite live up to its agressive exterior. I think it looks nice though, the V6 is a very well designed engine, and dollar for dollar it is a pretty decent buy. I fell in love with the feel of the audi though, it felt much more refined and the interior is amazing. Also the 1.8T availability of low end torque makes it extremely pleasant to drive in the city. The only dilemna is to wait for the 02 model with the changes, or try and get a better deal on the current platform. Motor trend ran a preview on the A4 3.0 and seemed to like it. It has a little more room, especially in the backseat, which is good. The 220 hp v6 along with a stiffer body, should make it handle a little better as well. I have mixed feelings about the A6ish backend, and would like to see it in person. Again, thanks for the info.
    -Getz
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    I recently took my 2000 1.8T on its first long trip, a 2K mi round trip from Huntsville, AL to Miami and the overall driving experience was excellent...much better than the '95 Accord EX it replaced. Even though the Accord had custom leather seats with adjustable lumbar support, it was never as comfortable on long trips as the A4 (2000 A4s have no adjustable lumbar support). The Accord was a very smooth, comfortable ride but the A4 has a surprisingly good ride and has quite a bit more front leg room. I'm 5'10", 155lbs and I always felt a little cramped up in the Accord. I'd have to move the seat back to stretch my legs but in the A4, without having to move the seat, I can stretch them out completely and not touch anything. Although my A4 is tiptronic, I had no problem keeping up with the big boys on the highway. The A4 is basically quiet except for wind noise around the sunroof, which is very noticeable and annoying at highway speeds. This is my biggest complaint about the car. My Accord was overall noisier (road & tire noise, etc) but it had very little wind noise from the sunroof. Hopefully Audi will address this problem on its new vehicles.

    One observation about Accords. I've driven new Accords and believe me, the '95/'96 Accords were completely different animals than the new ones. My '95 5-speed EX was actually fun to drive, handled excellent, had a great ride, and was reasonably unique in styling although it didn't exactly have a "Camry-quiet" interior. The new ones I drove had excessive cabin noise, squeaks, and had a very rough ride, much like the new Infiniti I-30s. The A4 is a noticeably smoother riding, quieter car (even with the noisy sunroof) and is an obvious leap in quality and refinement, as you've already mentioned.

    I'm with you on the new A4 styling. Overall it looks good but like most who have voiced opinons, the A6-ish rear end looks dubious, as does the squared-off front grill. In the pictures I've seen, it also appeared there are chrome accent strips just below the trunk and on the front spoiler that looks just as tacky as it does on the A6. But I'm keeping an open mind and will wait until I actually see one to make any judgements.
  • "The new ones I drove had excessive cabin noise, squeaks, and had a very rough ride, much like the new Infiniti I-30s."

    What do you mean by this? I have a 2000 I30 and it rides very smooth, has very little cabin noise, and no squeaks. It has 12,000 miles.

    That said, I drove an A4 1.8T Quattro on Saturday and liked it very much, but I don't think it is any quieter than our I30. I will probably get the A4 in a month or so, as soon as I sell my 4Runner. I30 was for my wife - all she wanted was a quiet, powerful car with a nice interior. I want a fun-to-drive car (one area that the I30 is lacking - fun).
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    I certainly don't mean to diss yours or anyone else's choice in vehicles. I just gave my personal opinion after driving two Y2K I-30s and to me it was a rough ride. From my statement I can see how you would naturally assume I was accusing the I-30 of being squeaky and noisy as well, but I was referring only to the ride quality (I'd edit that statement but it's too late!). I-30s are extremely quiet and I've always loved their V6. The two I drove were tight and dead-quiet, and certainly quieter than the A4. I just didn't like the ride. Even the salesman admitted it rode "a bit on the stiff side" so I know I'm not alone here. Ironically, while looking at cars, my decision came down to a used '97 I-30 and a new A4. The '97 rode fantastic but you hit the nail on the head: although the I-30 is a quiet, powerful luxury car, it isn't much fun. You'll love the A4. What color(s) are you considering? Since you mentioned "fun" I imagine you'll be going with a 5 speed.
  • I'll probably get the following (if I can find it):

    2001 A4 1.8T
    Celebration package (Includes Quattro, moonroof, Homelink)
    Xenons
    5 speed
    Cold Weather Package
    Bose
    ESP
    Casablanca White with Ecru leatherette

    What kind of deals are people getting on the 1.8T's right now? I'd like to get the car for around $1,000 over invoice (MSRP $29,600, Invoice $26,400 - I'd like to get it for $27,500 or so). Is that do-able, or do I need to re-adjust my sights?

    I'm curious (not mad - don't worry), did you drive an I30t? I think the ride of the I30L is very smooth.

    Up here in Denver, I think the 1.8T is as fast as the 2.8 (turbos do very well at high altitudes as you probably know). For a few hundred more, I can have a little pocket rocket.
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    Nice combo! $1k over invoice seems to be in the ball park but you might want to check the AudiWorld A4 Forum since they're always talking about current deals. I got mine for $150 over invoice but it was a rare situation. It was a special order for a foreign customer who wanted the nav system then changed his mind. They wanted to move it and I was in the right place at the right time for a change. It just happened to be the exact color combo I would have chosen. I'm not usually that lucky.

    The 1.8Ts are quicker than one would think, especially chipped. Mine's not chipped and it's not a pocket rocket by any means but still holds its own pretty well for a 4-cyl with tip. Audi produces one of the best turbos in the business. If you want something closer to a pocket rocket, chip it.

    I drove both I-30s and admittedly, the "t" was obviously the rougher ride but the "L" just didn't feel very smooth at all. It was fine on the highway but there's a particular section of road near my house that's always a good test and the I-30L reacted very stiffly, while the A4 smoothes it out very well. I can feel a big difference. My roommate went on many of the test drives with me and even she's impressed with the A4's ride quality. It's just a personal thing.
  • Fair enough. I guess I know where you're coming from. I'm getting excited about the A4, though. I'm tired of driving a truck.
  • It's funny you asked that question because I just got the new issue of Car and Driver and they had an article about the TL Type S, and liked it very much. My husband thinks the regular TL is plenty fast, and worries about getting tickets. He doesn't see the need to upgrade to anything faster.

    Good luck with your A4!
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Regarding posts #583 and #584: I also wonder how much I will like the redesigned exterior of the 2002 A4. I imagine it will be something that should grow on all of us, but at the same time, I definitely admire the sporty exterior (especially at the rear) of the existing model.

    DRC4: I really don't notice much of any noise from the sunroof of my 2001 model. I'm assuming this is a noise issue with the sunroof closed, correct? Maybe Audi addressed this issue for the 2001 models? Did you ask your dealer about this noise issue when you took your 2000 model in for service? Just curious... I notice no additional noise from the sunroof of my A4 than I had with my '99 BMW 328i. It seems quiet to me, even at highway speeds.

    By the way, I didn't know that the power lumbar adjustment was added for the 2001 models. Interesting! I always thought it was unusual how my A4 had a 6-way manual seat adjustment, but that it also had a 2-way power lumbar adjustment. That's not a common practice!

    getz1: Regarding that Motor Trend article, I get annoyed when these auto critics don't do their homework. They state the 2002 1.8T will have the same 150hp engine as the existing model. Can't these guys do a little homework and see that it's 170hp?

    It's an interesting decision you'll have to make about buying an A4 now or waiting for the new model. The V6 version looks very interesting for 2002. I haven't seen much of any info as to how the 2002 1.8T model will be equipped compared to the 3.0 model. However, there's little doubt that the 2001 model is available at good savings. Audi is already providing a $700 discount off the top by introducing the "Celebration Package" (moonroof, homeline, and auto-dimming mirrors) for only $500 MSRP. Even after that savings, I bet many Audi dealers will now sell A4 models off their lots for $1000 over invoice, or less. If you factory order, expect the price to be closer to $1200 or $1300 over invoice.
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    With regard to exterior design, I agree with you about the existing A4. There isn't anything about it I don't like. I'm kind of hoping the pictures we've been seeing of the A6-looking rear of the new A4 is actually a pre-production ploy to throw us off, with the "real" 2002 A4 being a completely different, incredibly cool, sleek powerful design that'll blow us all away when it hits the showrooms. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

    I'm glad to hear Audi must have done something about the sunroof wind noise on the '01 models. And yes, it's with the sunroof closed. They must have been monitoring the AudiWorld A4 Forum because this was an ongoing complaint, along with wind noise from the driver side mirror...which I've corrected on mine. I did in fact mention the sunroof problem to my dealer when I took it in a couple weeks ago for the 10K mi service and was informed that it's a common complaint with the 2000 models and the result of a design problem. I was there when they looked at it and we all pretty much decided it's a poor seal design. So there's nothing I can do. You're fortunate to have either an improved design or a fluke that just seals better than mine. I'm tempted to believe the latter since I doubt Audi would go to the expense of improving anything in its last year of production...although they did add the lumbar support. Audi is so weird sometimes. I've never heard of manually-adjusting seats with power lumbar support. Very strange. My Accord had a power driver seat with manual lumbar support, which makes more sense.
  • "My Accord had a power driver seat with manual lumbar support, which makes more sense."

    My '98 A4 (2.8 model) has the same - power driver seat with manual lumbar support. The one "luxury omission" on the '98's is the lack of a power passenger seat. I understand this is also now standard (?) on the newer 2.8 A4's.
  • Cotmc & drc4 are you guys gonna to chip your A4?
    Or it has enough powers that you don't need to chip? Any thoughts?
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    I don't have any immediate plans to chip. Much of my reasoning is because it has a 170hp engine. I had previously considered buying a 2000 model back in the autumn of 1999, and at that time I was performing some investigations on chipping the 2000 1.8T if I followed through with the purchase. But now that Audi is providing an extra 20hp from the factory, I think I will wait at least a couple years before I consider adding a performance chip. I'm definitely in no hurry, and I don't want to do anything that might jeopardize my warranty. I'm quite pleased with the real-world acceleration of my 2001 A4 FWD manual. The extra hp along with the low-end torque helps make a difference. This car truly provide excellent passing ability!
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    JBaumgart: According to the specs, the '00 & '01 2.8s have 10-way power adjustment/lumbar support on both front seats.

    driver36: I thought very seriously about chipping mine and almost made the 4 hour drive to APR in Auburn to get it done but after much research, deliberation and talking to my dealer, I decided against it. Several factors contributed to my decision and would take up too much space here to cover but if you're interested I'd be happy to e-mail you.

    Regarding your question about power, it depends on your personal driving style/habits as to whether or not the stock A4 will suffice. I knew my 1.8T wasn't a pocket rocket when I got it (those days are over!) but it has plenty of power for my driving style. I've owned pocket rockets and still like to drive fast, but I'm more concerned now with handling, refinement and style than breaking the sound barrier. My stock 1.8T does very well and is excellent on the highway with good passing power and handles our hilly terrain with ease...even with 4 people in the car. Chipping sounded like an intriguing idea when I first got the car but I don't regret deciding against it and haven't thought any more about it. Don't forget that the '01 1.8Ts have a bit more horsepower than mine and may be slightly livelier but I don't know since I haven't driven one to compare. If you haven't done so, you need to drive one to see how the stock version feels before considering chipping. It all comes down to what YOU want.
  • Thanks for the inputs guys! The current A4's power I've found more than enough for my driving style. Coz I have so much fun on this 170hp motor, and always wonder what if chipped A4 would like???? I might chip my A4 after 30,000 miles and forget about the warranty....
  • Just thought I'd say how much I love the A4. I test drove a 2001 1.8T Q w/ Sport Package recently and I absolutely loved it! It had plenty of power for me and I thought the suspension was tuned just right for a balance of sportiness and comfort. I have to say that Audi has the most fantastic interior of any car that I've been in. It seems like it was designed specifically around my tastes. Personally, I found it to be much more invigorating and enjoyable than my father-in-law's 328i (no disrespect intended, for it seems to be a great car too). Anyway, I wish that there was an Audi dealer closer than 60-70 miles away. As it stands now, it's not yet practical for me to consider getting one. Maybe I'll just have to start my own Audi franchise here in town...

    rip
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