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Audi A4 2004 and earlier



  • I know what you mean. I have all kinds of cleaning fluids at the ready for bugs, bird S***, etc. I am fanatical at this point. Hopefully I will get back to normal soon. My husband can't deal with it.

    I'm glad you got the seat right. It took me a while, but now it's like a barcalounger!
  • mgreene1mgreene1 Posts: 116
    I wholeheartedly agree with woobin's comments.

    Dunlop M2s (H-rated at 130 mph) were put on my S4 last Friday and worked commendably in our first snow here in upstate NY. they give very good dry weather handling and road noise is no worse than the stock performance tires; definitely worth the incremental cost of mounting each year.

    beachbum, your "brute or fashion model" comments made me laugh because I'd just run across a big 4x4 V10 Ram Truck in a big hurry at a stoplight on a wet, slippery road.

    he revved that big motor impatiently waiting for the light to turn as I sat there beside him in the innocent little sedan. I figured this was the perfect time to test the Quattro AWD. he gave me a look of utter disbelief as the S4 rocketed past him and will definitely be giving every A4 that he sees a lot of respect from now on!

    BTW, my owners manual says activating the heated driver's seat will also heat the steering wheel, which came as a surprise to me. I've read that the A6 has a heated steering wheel, but wasn't aware this also came with the A4/S4.
  • My A4 manual said the same thing about the heated steering wheel, but if you look closely, there should be a * there, indicating this is an option. It used to be an option on the A6, but they discontinued it completely. I don't know if the A8 still has that option.
  • mgreene1mgreene1 Posts: 116
    the auto's torque converter eats up some of the power so less goes to the wheels; cars with more power, esp. torque, at lower RPMs usually have less dropoff in performance with an auto.

    the auto doesn't penalize the torquey S4 as much but adding .6 seconds is still significant since the manual gets to 60 in under 6 seconds.

    an auto also adds weight which is another reason it's a bit slower.

    even though you can shift the car yourself with the tiptronic, power is still channeled through the torque converter. millon dollar Formula-1 cars have pushbutton shifters but these buttons actually activate a computer controlled clutch, resulting in lightning quick shifts. it will probably be awhile before production cars use this technology, which is quite expensive.

    personally, I think 0-60 times are overrated and what's really important is how easily you can accelerate in everyday driving.

    equalizer1, my owners manual has the * so I guess the heated steering wheel isn't there after all.
    thanks for the clarification.
  • In manual transmission, torque from the engine is transmitted to the wheels via mechanical coupling, i.e., clutch plates. In automatic transmissions, torque is transmitted via fluid coupling in the torque converter. There is no direct mechanical coupling between the engine and the wheels, except on the higest gear. Obvisouly, there is a greater loss of torque in the automatic compared to manual transmission.
  • Most auto trannys have a lockup torque converter. This means the TC will shunt once the revs are high enough in a given gear. On older cars, it meant 3-speed autos seemed to shift 5 times (2 shifts, 3 lockups), but now it usually isn't apparent. This lockup is mostly so that you get better highway milage, as you remember auto trannys used to get significantly worse highway milage than MTs until the early 80s.

    Anyway, if you are in a gear for any given length of time, and it is the right gear (you haven't jammed your car up to 5th at 10mph using the Tiptronic), then the torque convertor is locked up and you aren't losing much power except to friction.

    Last I checked (a couple years ago), Mercedes-Benz had resisted lockup torque converters since they thought it made the tranny a little harsher.
  • My 97 A4 has at present 73,000 miles on it. At less than 60 the clutch goes. Then at under 70K the Catalytic convert begins to go. The dealer quoted $1600 plus work for this part. I found out that the convert is federally covered up to 80,000K which the dealer withheld this information or failed to learn his basic warranty coverage (it's in the handbook!). The car is coming apart! I'm calling Audi on the dealer and the preformance of the car. After all it is an Audi and they expect us to believe we are getting the Lexus red carpet service (kind of!). The dealer service dept just shrugged at my growing dilemma as the car fails and they happily suck down my money. Should this car last longer? Makes me wonder if I really want that A6 2.7T in 2000. A cheesed off expensive A4 owner. P.S Don't get me wrong I love the car, little compares but ...really!
  • jwolffjwolff Posts: 19
    re 38- Do you have the 1.8 or 2.8 ?
  • It makes you wonder why you didn't get an extended warranty. It's like holding a loaded hand gun without one on any car. One thing goes wrong, you've practically made your money back, putting aside the peace of mind factor.

    I would get the A6, but not without an extended warranty, at least until 100,000 miles. Worth every penny, especially for a high end European car. Don't blame Audi, lot's of cars start breaking down with 73,000 miles. Even my Prelude died it's final breath around that mark. You just need to think ahead next time.
  • I'm sorry, but I'm kinda laughing at your post. What other vehicles have you owned and what was your experience with them? 73000 miles on a '97, so you're doing 20000+ miles a year, right? What kind of driving conditions? That's pretty high mileage. Yet you still "love" the car? I had a Subaru that was so bad I still break out in hives when I think of it. No way did I "love" that car. It just sounds like what you're really upset over is the high cost of repairing a Euro car, not to mention possibly being ripped off on the cat converter. I better read up on my warranty info again.
  • RE: the loss of torque in the auto tranny, I found it very interesting that the Saab 9-3 brochure quantifies the loss of torque in its automatic version (a 4-speed auto). It comes down to 169 lb/ft which may explain why I thought that the Saab was slower than the A4 1.8 with Tiptronic. (Also, the turbo lag was much more noticeable in the Saab.) The Audi brochure does not quantify this loss of torque, only giving a difference in 0-60 performance figures. Anyway, I agree completely that 0-60 is meaningless in real life driving habits. I much prefer a good midrange punch which I think the A4 1.8 has in spades. Between say 3500-5000 rpm this engine just sings and the Tiptronic will do whatever you want it to. I can pass anything I really need to be passing if ya know what I mean. And it cruises beautifully. I am constantly trying to keep her under 80. Don't need no tickies here.
  • Okay, I found something I don't like on my A4! I don't think the cruise control switch is as smooth as it should be. It's a hard click to get it turned on. Once it's on, the set and resume are easy enough. But that on/off switch for the cruise control is just not as fluid as the other switches in the vehicle. I must write to Mr. Audi about this. Oh, also, if I lived up north and was trying to operate that intermittent wiper control with gloves on -- well, forget it!
  • Hey, Equal, did you read the new review of the Volvo S40 here at the Edmunds home page? The reviewer says it's a swell car -- until you compare it to the A4!! He also praises the handling, about the 3rd review I've seen that says the same thing. I can't imagine what they're talking about. I thought the car was almost dangerous on a highway on dry pavement. I am tossing my A4 all over the place, at least whenever I can find a decent curve around here.
  • Hi! I'm sure you're still in seventh heaven. So am I, and yes I saw that review about the S40. They mentioned a few times that the S40 is not a contender to the A4 or Bimmer. I thought that Volvo was marketing that car to go squarely against the Audi. I guess we've all discovered that is not the case. Cannot compete with the Audi in real world situations. The S40 is definitely more of a match for the Camry, Accord, etc., like he points out. As far as them talking about the handling, they are probably comparing it to appliances like the Accord, Camry, etc., where the handling is numb. The S40 definitely beats them all out in the handling category. That is why they usually single out the A4 and Bimmer, because the S40 does not compete with their handling.

    As far as the cruise control is concerned, it is a little bit unergonomic. My husband thinks its great, but I think touch and feel on something like that can be a little dangerous, but it actually works very well once you get the hang of it.

    I haven't had the chance to use the intermittent wipers with gloves on yet, but I am sure it will be a little clumsy. I guess everything with gloves on everything is a little clumsy.

    Took my car to Audi yesterday to have the windshield wipers adjusted so that the driver's side one wipes a little closer to the A pillar, and it is a million times better. Took them 2 seconds to adjust. Also, this past weekend my husband (eagle eyes), noticed that the leather on the driver's seat by the power switches in one spot, was coming out of the plastic bucket it is supposed to be in. Everything else was fine. I showed it to the service manager at Audi, and without hesitation, he is ordering me a new seat cover and I'm going to have it installed. The only thing that bothers me is that they have to take the seat out to recover it. He promised me that nothing else will be touched and everything will work perfectly. I am so anal about anyone touching my car, even an experienced mechanic. My husband is anal about little things, like the leather coming up. He thinks that in a car of this caliber, it should not look that way. I could live with it, rather than them tearing the seat out, but he is very insistent upon everything being perfect. I guess it's easier to be single!
  • BTW, if I recall, the S40 had the same exact cruise control setup. I remember remarking to my husband about that.
  • I don't particularly like front wheel drive cars, but this car offers Quattro-(All Wheel Drive).
    I havent been for a test drive yet because closest dealership is an hour away. Is there a big difference in the ride and handling of the car if you get the Quattro instead of just haveing the front wheel drive? Also the Audi TT is now available as a convertiable.
  • I don't think the TT will be available with the convertible until the Fall. I might be wrong.

    Yes, there is a big difference between Quattro and front wheel drive. So far I haven't experienced it in the snow, but in the rain, you are glued to the road. I never had so much confidence driving in the rain before, and I have owned all front wheel drive cars. Also, taking corners and off ramps at a good clip will be a breeze with the Quattro. You basically never lose your grip. Also, resale value is much greater with the quattro option.

    If you go to, the majority of Audi owners in general will tell you to get the Quattro no matter where you live. The biggest advantage of not having the Quattro, is not having the extra weight of the Quattro, which would make acceleration faster.

    I also have the 2.8, and it is the best car I have owned so far (I have it only six weeks), and I have owned many. I think it is worth an hour's drive to test drive one.

    Good luck!
  • I won't dispute what Equalizer has said, but I do suggest that you drive both the front wheel drive WITH sports package and the quattro. Audi has a very unique front suspension that provides very neutral handling for a front driver. There is no torque steer at all that I have felt yet. There was quite a bit of torque steer in the Saab and Volvo I test drove. (Torque steer is the tendency of front wheel drive to pull the car off to the side during acceleration.) The sports package on the Audi gives you the performance tires and the grip is terrific. Now I confess that I have not driven yet in rain! We are in dry season and rain is hard to come by. So I'll have to take a pass on that one. I did find the quattro made the car feel heavy with the 1.8. Perhaps not a problem with the 2.8. You'll have to let us know after you do a test drive.
  • There is a country road near me that is very curvy and I've been trying to take it more now that I have the Audi even though it adds a couple more miles to my route. Today I am behind an A6 on this road that is being driven by a ninnie! Each time we came to one of the turns he/she (I couldn't tell) actually slowed down for the curve! And this in an Audi. I was so frustrated. No way does that person belong in an Audi. More money than sense.
  • I don't think the A6 is anywhere as nimble as the A4, so I can understand the person's hesitation. I think you need the sports package with A6 to get a little daring. Isn't is annoying when anyone is in front of you when you want to take those curves at a decent speed? I just want to scream! I am definitely getting more daring in the car, as I am learning it more and gaining more confidence in what it could do. Hope everything is still great with you.
  • BTW, I agree with you about the quattro weighing down the 1.8 automatic to the point of being extremely sluggish. With the 1.8, I would definitely have gone with no quattro or a 5 spd. with quattro The 2.8 with quattro automatic would be faster without it, but there is a much marked improvement over the 1.8 with quattro. If you are going to get quattro and automatic, your best bet is the 2.8.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    I heard that A4 1.8T can be chipped to get up to 300hp!!! Is this true? I hope I don't sound too stupid! I am quite skeptical at this as with such and increase of hp won't the drivetrain be experience extreme loads of stress? Can this be acheived by a chip alone? Please explain.
  • Be sure to check out the forums on and you will find out a lot about chipping a 1.8. According to one chipper, Audi engineers have stated that 300 hp is safe and feasible with this engine. Probably they meant with a k04 turbo and different manifold, etc. But I spoke to Hoppen Sport here in Sarasota and he was with Audi for many years. He said the 1.8 is a marvelous thing and can easily be tuned for 250 hp with no unusual loss of longevity or engine quality. After all, the TT will have 225 hp with same engine and it's just a production car.
  • yes, you can chip...but keep this in mind. the KKK03 turbocharger shared by the A4 and passat is rated for max. boost at 11-12 psi. you can boost performance by remapping the ECU to increase boost, but beyond 12psi, you run the risk of killing the turbo.
    of course, you can upgrade to the KKK04, but people who have done so haven't always been pleased. there have been unusual and all-to-frequent cases of premature KKK04 failures which have yet to be explained. you can gain a few HP with a low-restriction exhaust too...but one basic problem remains.
    a FWD car can only handle so much torque before you chirp the tires. beyond a certain point, it gets academic. if you spin the tires every time you launch, what good are your mods? quattro would certainly help with this.
    most chippers choose either a conservative .8bar chip or a 1bar chip. 1.5 bar chips exist and they generate around 15psi of boost...3psi over the KKK03's operational limit. choose your level of commitment wisely because VW/AUDI can deny warranty work if the parts in question could possibly have been effected by your chip.
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    So keeping everything stock one can get the 1.8T to 250hp? a whopping 100hp increase? No need to change the clutch, differential (Quattro) etc? ow mcuh is the chip? Is it as simple as just dropping the chip in? So this can be done to the new turbo beetle too huh?
  • I am currently looking at an A4 1.8T, this is my first experience with German engineering. I've heard all the wonderful things about it... my question is...Is a 97 A4 a reliable car for a cost of 19.5k or should I opt for a 99.5(in stock) or a 00. I can't decide if the 97 is a good deal.....
  • ramon,
    using a .8 bar chip gets you about 40-50hp. a 1.0 bar chip can boost HP to around 200 and torque to the 195-205 lb/ft. range.
    there are basically only a few ways to solder it into an existing ECU box, you reprogram the existing chip, you make a socket to swap between stock and boosted chips, or you replace the entire ECU module.
    chips usually run in the $185-$500 range. an entire ECU runs around $800. software updates generally run around $20. most tuning companies will need your ECU to perform the modification, so you won't be able to drive for a day or two. also keep in mind that if your chip is detected while at the dealer for service, it can and will void parts of your warranty.
    most 1.8T modifications are sold in "stages" depending upon how much performance you're looking for. most stage 1 packages include a chip and a high-flow air filter (K&N or RAMAair). Stage 2&3 kits get into bigger turbos, larger intercoolers, low-restriction exhausts, sturdies clutches and the like. these kits run thousands of dollars. partial answer to your question, yes 250HP is possible but NO, not from a stage 1 kit. you need more bucks and more hardware to get there. if you're interested in chipping, my best advice is to visit a few tuner sites and keep a close eye on the forums at each tuner has a different philosophy which becomes apparent in their design. some value moderation while others are willing to sacrifice reliability for performance. here are some sites to get you started:
  • ramonramon Posts: 825
    So a stage one will get you 40-50hp yes? no clutch, drivetrain changes yes? And it costs about 200 bux.... amazing!
  • Actually, Ramon, what's amazing is that Audi doesn't just sell the A4 this way in stock form. This is supposedly coming in the next makeover, the word is that the A4 will have 185 hp in base form.
  • If at all possible, go with the 99.5! There are many improvements to the 99.5 that are not on the '97. I would think that with the '00 models arriving daily that you should be able to shop around for a good deal on the 99.5. I have had my A4 for several weeks now and have 600 miles on it. I absolutely love it. It is by far the best automobile I've ever owned and it is such a pleasure to drive. Obviously, I can't speak for long term reliability just yet!
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