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Audi A4 2004 and earlier



  • dgkgraphicsdgkgraphics Posts: 10
    I actually got an opportunity to drive an A4 without the sports package for a few days a couple weeks ago, and as loathe as I am to admit it, it does have a much gentler ride than my Audi, which does have SP, especially on the highway. However, I have to concur with my boys Gearhead and Speedracer that although the ride is noticeably more smooth on the straight-aways, it does teeter dangerously close towards the soft end of the spectrum in the deep turns, as well as being *substantially* more floaty over the bumps. Being the unscrupulous [non-permissible content removed] that I am, I was all excited to get out there in a loaner vehicle and abuse itlike a rented mule, but much to my dismay, I found that the loaner A4 without SP wasn't nearly as responsive as my own. The amount of understeer in the non-SP model was significantly more pronounced, and I felt like I was having to browbeat and cajole the car around the corners, as opposed to simply pointing and shooting. As they stated earlier, body-roll is quite a bit more severe in the non-SP. Trying to maintain exit speed out of a tigh turn became something almost scary, as opposed to fun and confidence-inspiring.

    Overall, after having driven them back to back, I would say the SP is worth every penny. Sure, you may bounce around a little more from the potholes, but I think the added grip and increased handling capabilities of SP in the turns-- or emergency situations --far exceeds any loss of ride comfort. I dunno... I suppose I'd rather feel "connected" to the road, rather than "cushioned" from it. I've always been somewhat turned off by overly luxurious cars with big, fat, pillowy suspensions... it makes me feel like I'm taking my living room couch out for a spin or something... which is sadly kind of what I felt like in that loaner A4.

    To me the point of getting an Audi or a BMW instead of something like a Lincoln Towncar is the performance edge they offer, and the non-SP A4's just don't seem to have that same bite, y'know?

    I'd just rather have my car encourage me to drive it faster, rather than lull me into some hypnotic state of relaxation like a Calgone commercial or something.

    So there's my $.02... snooty and ill-adivised as it may be for those wishing to avoid speeding tickets. =)

    And lastly... I gotta say, as superficial as it is, there's something to be said for having a big, mean set of wheels on a sleek little car.
    I have to agree with those guys again-- the 17" rims seem to fit the car better. They do give it a bit more aggressive esthetic, if that's your thing. The SP shoes are large enough to give the car a litle bit of menace, but they don't reduce your brilliantly minimalist German car into some pimped-out Civic, either. No one's going to wonder where your giant Neuspeed sticker and three foot whale-tale spoiler are. Thank Gawd. =)

    So anyway... I like the SP.
    Can ya tell? =)

    Either way, you'll get an AMAZING car....
    one's just a little more fiesty than the other.
    Just get something with rings on the grill, and you'll be a happy camper. =)
  • 85898589 Posts: 2
    Thank you for the input---you have me convinced!
  • gearhead10gearhead10 Posts: 84
    Dgkgraphics, great post, couldn't have said it better myself! The 5-spoke 17" wheels are easy to keep clean, I might add. And you get 30mm wider higher performance tires with much better grip wrapped around them!
  • I am considering an A4 3.0, but I heard rumors about general reliability issues as well as rattles and squeaks developing over time. This would be my first Audi purchase so I have no experience with the marque. Would apprciate some candid feedback on these points. Thanks.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    We have a '98 A4 with 58,000 miles. As far as body integrity goes the only repair has been the side body moldings. Both sides have had to be replaced as the fastener pins tend to deteriorate over time. Cost was about $80 each side. Otherwise, everything's been rock solid with no rattles or squeaks. The new ones may be different - I would hope they improved the side molding issue anyway.
  • Thanks for the feedback.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    I have a 98 A4 with sport suspension, the rattles and noises it makes are going to be the reason I end up selling it. Over my bumpy street it sounds like a piece of junk. I think that the newer chassis should be better because it is structurally more solid.
  • svpatelsvpatel Posts: 4

    I'd like some advice. I have a '99 A4 1.8T quattro, 51K miles. It's had a bad AC fan and I've had to have the rear brakes replaced twice and the front once. The dealer is telling me that german cars are making harder (metallic) brakes and softer roters so the brakes go bad faster but they brake better. This pretty much sounds like a crock to me, but I would like your opinion. I have also always had other small nagging problems, so I have just about had it with the car. There are certain things that i love about the car which is why I've kept it so long (awd, nice finish, fold down seats, etc.)...

    I'm considering trading it in for an Acura TSX

    Thanks for the adivce.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    I don't think that it is crock. The rotors on my last Mercedes were also sacrificial. I have gotten very good wear from my A4's brakes. I am easy on them however.
  • tiredofmanualtiredofmanual Posts: 338
    It's not just the German cars that have soft brakes. Read just about any forum here and you'll notice that nobodies brakes last as long as they used to.

    As I've said over on the Focus forum, if you are disappointed with brake wear, don't keep buying the OEM brake pads and rotors from the dealer. Higher quality aftermarket brake equipment that is made specifically for your vehicle can be had for the same price or maybe just a little more.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    The stock brakes on an A4 are a trade off. This is not to say that they are bad. But long life is not the trade off they chose. As noted the stopping ability is good to very good, the lifespan is fair and the repeat stopping ability is fair. If you are enjoying the Audi advantage, they will pay and pay and pay for new rotors and new pads. Seems to me that a simple solution to the warranty issues (for Audi) would be to upgrade the brakes. We know they can do it cause the S8, S6 (presumably the new S4) and the RS6 all have much better brakes and they presumably last longer too. Yet even the mighty S8 brakes have some trade off -- but they are better in stopping, repeat stopping and rotor life span than standard.

    Since I have no clue as to the costs of these kind of things when purchased in quantities, I can only assume that it is less money to replace and replace and replace rotors under warranty than it is to upgrade the rotors and pads and call it "standard equipment."

    My internal reasoning -- no proof -- suspects that it IS more expensive to replace and replace and replace than it is to put a higher quality and more durable rotor and pad on in the first place.

    But evened out over thousands of users perhaps I am wrong -- certainly Audi has the data from which to come to this conclusion. I mean why would you pay to replace over and over, under warranty, when you could improve the brake and the lifespan for, Oh Say a couple of bucks per wheel?

    Maybe the replacements are truly in the minority -- not so according to my dealer service folks, though.

    Brembo forever, stock rotors never!
  • pjreporterpjreporter Posts: 32
    I'm a reporter with a major national daily and I write a weekly auto piece. In the feature, I discuss how the car is doing on the market and why the drivers love their car. If you are an audi a4 driver and would like to be mentioned in the paper as such, can you please email me at LANETEF@YAHOO.COM by Monday June 2 at noon?
  • svpatelsvpatel Posts: 4
    My a4 is no longer under warranty. I tried to get another shop (other than the dealer) but they couldn't clear the "yellow brake light" code....
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,579
    it's probably an ABS malfunction. Try to find a good independent VW/Audi or Bosch specialist if you's rather not go to a dealer.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Why not go to the dealer -- unless they are incompetent, it seems to be a good insurance policy -- at least in my experience.
  • affyaffy Posts: 19
    Someone had asked this questions before in other forum, and I got the same problem right now. The problem occurs while turning left or right in low speed, the steering will squeak like two plastics parts going against each others.

    I brought the car in the dealer for a check up, and they didn't correct the problem at all. I am planning to bring it to the dealer again, is esp. annoying during quiet morning commute!!! Need Help correcting the problem...

    I am driving a 03 A4 will 6300 kms on it, the steering is the 4 spoke version with multifunction controls.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    My 2001 A6 had this problem and it took a new steering rack and a new power assisted column, but not a new wheel.

    The dealer told me that in some of the cars it was an "airbag" problem. What?

    Anyway, it was really really really expensive (around $2K -- I saw the internal invoice) and the Audi advantage, of course picked up the entire charge, car was out of serive one day for diagnosis and one day for replacement. Never came back (happend pretty early on).
  • lauk0dglauk0dg Posts: 563
    Hey guys, just a little off topic here, but we're still talking Audi's here. I went to the Quattro Challenge hosted by Audi this past Saturday. Same format as 2 yrs ago and you can read a lot more about it at Tons of fun. I urge you to call up AoA at 1-800-FOR-AUDI and see if they have one close to where you live. Apparently they didn't advertise this year's event on their website and just go by invitations. I got in about 2 wks before the event because of cancellations.

    This year though, they had the brand new 2004 A8L with the revised 4.2L V8 available for us to test drive. FOr the lucky ones with great patience, they actually got to drive it in the high speed lapping exercise. (I was the majority "unlucky" ones so gotta test the Allroad and the A4 1.8T on the 1-mi loop at Chicago Motor Speedway.) For the rest of us, they set up a little road course with an A8L for us to test drive.

    My first impression was, wow, this thing is great looking. It looks MUCH better than the MB S class and MUCH MUCH MUCH better looking than the BMW 7 series. THey had 3 cars there which had the 18", 19" and 20" rims on. Gotta go with the 20" rims. Interior is classy and loaded with features. I tried the MMI and it's much easier to use than the BMW i-drive. The suspension can also be rasied and lowered for different driving situations and the suspension hardness can also be stiffened for dynamic driving and softened for comfort. Other creature features like the ventilated seats also worked great.

    Although it's big on the outside and spacious inside, the driving dynamics will make you think you are driving something in between an A4 and and A6, that is until you look outside the mirrors and realize how close you get to the cones because of the actual size of the A8L. It also feels nimble and the brakes stop the car this size in a very short distance. The one for this exercise has the 18" rims on, and although I would LOVE to test the one with the 20" rims on, this one handled great right off the box.

    This car is definitely poised to take away market share from MB and BMW. No doubt.

    They also brought along the 04 S4 and S4 Avant, and of course the RS6. Just take my breath away after seeing the RS6. Too bad we don't get to drive these three cars. Oh, and they confirmed that the America bound 04 S4's will have the lower side skirt color keyed, instead of just black plastic. Yay!

    No new A4 news there though. (Just to make this posting A4 related, LOL.)

  • davkingdavking Posts: 51
    Just got off the phone with an Audi customer advocate regarding recall to replace coil packs. She said there is no policy calling for such a recall!
  • I didn't make it out to the Quattro challenge, but I did see that RS6 driving around the burbs over the past week.

    I talked to one of the guys that was lucky enough to drive the A8. He said they had the speed governors removed and that he hit 172 mph on the Speedway. I don't know if he was exaggerating or not.
  • dwgutwirdwgutwir Posts: 102
    Is there a way to determine if a dealership has an ABS (other than calling)?

  • lauk0dglauk0dg Posts: 563
    He's bluffing. First of all, the way they set up the track, there is no way you can hit 172mph. You can go fast from turn 3 into 4 and down the straight from 4 to 1, but that's it. There were slaloms, tight turns, and cones set up along the speedway. Even the instructors (professional race car drivers) when they drove the 6 cars racing each other didn't go anywhere over 100. I didn't see the exact speed (cuz of the excitement), but I'm pretty sure we didn't go 3-digit speeds. I'd say both for safety (3 guests with the race car driver) and insurance. But even going at 90mph with 6 cars going within feet from each other taking turns and everything and power drifting slightly through the turns were exhilarating enough.

    That is unless, he got a private showing of the car before or after all the festivities cuz he has owned numerous Audi's before and AoA wants him to buy one. But I highly doubt it.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Sounds like you have a hell of a time, thanks for the report. How did you even find out about the event? The format of the Audi event sounds just like the Mercedes-Benz Powerdrive of 2001 that I attended. I have invitations from everyone this summer for something, Land Rover, BMW, Cadillac and others...but no Audi. I want one from Audi!

  • lauk0dglauk0dg Posts: 563
    Well in the Audi Quattro Challenge in 2001, when I logged on to the "MyAudi" on AudiUSA's website, I got an invitation there. The prerequisite is you have to own an Audi that's 98 or newer. Unlike the M-B event when they put out new cars and invite anyone pretty much with a driver's license to attend.

    This time around, they were trying to invite the ones that were on the waiting list in 2001 to go, plus people who just bought an Audi. So I didn't hear about it until 2 weeks before the event at an Audi Chicagoland Club event. People there told us that they were able to get in because of cancellations. So I called up 1-800-FOR-AUDI and got in too.

    My suggestion (for myself too) would be to call up Audi like around mid-late winter and see what they got in store. Ask them if they have a Quattro Challenge event set up somewhere. Just make sure you mean that and not the Audi Driving School organized by Panoz. I heard it's a very fun event there too, but that one costs money and you need to go there, versus Quattro Challenge when they actually travel around the country and "come to you".

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ok, thanks.

  • wantnaudiwantnaudi Posts: 2
    So I've been doing some car shopping and have pretty much narrowed it down to either a Volvo LSE which is full of options or an Audi A4 1.8 with pretty much no options except maybe some metallic paint. Because of the ride and feeling of the car I've pretty much decided on the audi but i have some questions about the pricing. i have the invoice at about $24466 including destination charge, but the dealer said invoice was somewhere in the upper 25s because of ad charges and such. Are they being honest or just trying to get money out of me? If the invoice is what i have it as, would $25k be a good deal?
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,579
    40, 60 or 70 series. Why not check the invoice price on Edmunds? In some areas dealers muyst pay an ad charge per car sold, so it does legitimately represent a cost to him of $200-$500
    per car, anything more is ludicrous.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • wantnaudiwantnaudi Posts: 2
    Volvo LSE is the new volvo Limited Sports Edition. It comes in a lot of different models, but basically I'm looking at the S40 limited edition. I've checked invoice prices at a lot of different sites and for an automatic it's 23804, plus 660 destination charge. Basically, the problem is that I'm a 19 year old student in college and my parents will pay anything up to $25000 and I'm going to have to put up the rest, which is going to be a bit difficult. Anyway, this Audi Ad Association charge thing is really bothering me
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,579
    You'd be better off with a used A4 rather than a new S40. You may be able to get a CPO A4 1.8T for a little more than $20k (CPO=Certified* Pre-Owned). The little Volvo is regarded as a lackluster car, check out some comparative road tests.

    As for the ad charges etc, they seem excessive. I'd try another dealer. They're hungry to move cars ion this poor economy.

    *CPO cars are generally off-lease units with strong service histories, low miles and factory warranties-I have one.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • What is your location? I don't recall any ad fees when I purchased mine last year in the Chicago area. Perhaps you should go over to the Smart Shopper forums and post in the Any Questions for a Car Dealer thread. Some of the salesmen that post in there may be able to tell you if you are being had or if the charge is legitimate.

    One thing is for sure - at least around here, Audi doesn't advertise very much at all. I probably see 10 BMW and Mercedes ads for every Audi ad.
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