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Audi A4 2004 and earlier



  • I am shopping for a new car because my Integra with 138,000+ miles is wearing out. It is also time for a change. I have looked at an Audi A4, and I have been reading with considerable interest the messages filed in this topic.

    For me. the fundamental use for a car is to get from Point A to Point B reliably, safely, and comfortably. The Hartford, CT area where I live is not noted for its public transportation options. I am not willing to compromise this principle very much, but I also would like a car that also has some pizzazz (whatever that means in a given situation).

    To approach the same idea from a different angle, if I am to spend $25,000 on a car, I want to maximize the likelihood of driving my car instead of a dealer loaner.

    I have found the Audi (5 speed) interesting, but I get the feeling from the various messages that it is a car primarily for aficionados who really want to barrel down the highway or tweak the noses of BMW drivers at stop signs. Neither of these interests me. I want performance in order to do the things that I want and need to do, but performance is not an end in itself.

    For those of you who care to comment, what do you think of an A4 as a practical everyday car? One Infiniti G20 owner described his or her car as fun for solitary commuting and errand running. While not complete, this describes me well. I will also use the care for occasional long distance travel and to transport a bicycle and cross country skis as necessary.

    I have two other question. I have read several comments about Subarus indicating that all wheel drive really chews up tires. True? The Subaru comments also indicate that all tires have to be of almost equal circumference to avoid damaging the all wheel drive mechanisms. Assuming this to be true, does this apply to the A4?

    Finally, how much time have your cars spent in the shop other than for normal maintenance and wear and tear? The NHSTA site tells me that there have been 11 recalls for Audis in the last 5 years or so.

    Thanks to all for reading this.
  • Judging by your " screen name", it seems that, like me, you have probably had the usual reliable Japanese cars in the past. Although I have only had my A4 for 3 months, and was very concerned about the reliability as well, the fact that I was outgrowing the point A to B scenario was quite evident, and given the fact that the A4 has three years free maintenance, I was willing to take a gamble to get out of the "toaster" rut.

    To this date, I have had no problems whatsoever with the A4. The only thing I have been back to the dealer for was to adjust my windshield wipers different settings than from the factory. This car has so far proven more reliable than all of my previous Japanese cars. I have always had to bring in my other cars within the first six months for numerous things until the dealer "got it right".

    As far as my commuting situation goes, I drive my car from work and back and to do errands, but I find myself not wanting to just stop there. There are many times that I take the car around the area because I just don't want to stop driving.

    I understand that if I keep this car past the warranty period, it would more than likely make sense to get an extended warranty, not only for financial reasons, but for peace of mind. I would get one for any car past the warranty.

    I think your best bet is visiting and going to the A4 site. There is plenty of information there to keep you busy, and to inform you of the pros and cons of this car.

    It is a great car, and living in CT, the quattro will be a blessing.

    Good luck!
    By the way, there are pros and cons to every car, no car is perfect, and every carmaker makes lemons. If you are realistic about that, you are halfway there. Also, Consumer Reports rates the A4 "Recommended", and "better than average" as far as reliability is concerned.
  • I have the same question as "japancarlover"
    and thanks "equalizer" for giving your point of
    I am pretty much set on an A4 when I
    trade in my Accord in the near future.
    The Accord has been bullet-proof, but I
    think I would like something different this
    time, even if that means occasional unscheduled trips to the dealer. The overall package offered by A4 for the money simply can not be beat,
    in my opinion, of course.
    The only thing that still keeps me outside
    the fence is that in case something goes wrong, I may have to wait(as I've read and been told) as much as six weeks for the right parts to become available.
  • Good point about the parts situation. I haven't had to experience waiting for parts, but I know other people have. According to an "insider" on the A4 forum, Audi is addressing this issue as I write, and will add many parts distribution centers in the USA, so I would hope this would alleviate this niggling problem. BTW, according to this same "insider", Audi of America reads the A4 forum on Audiworld, so they are very interested in addressing problems that are here currently, and ones that might come up.
  • I love my A4 Avant. But I love it for it's performance, handling, and style, *despite* one major glitch and slow parts availablility. Audis are fairly reliable, (and Quattro and the Avant make it practical) but if reliablilty and easy access to parts are really your top concerns you're probably better off with an Accord/Camry type car.
  • I've been thinking about buying an A4, and was surprised to learn that Geico wants 25% more in insurance premium that what I currently pay for my 2-year-old 2-door 2-wd Explorer. I thought for sure that I'd pay less for a non-SUV with side air bags.

    The difference in rates was almost entirely in the comprehensive and collision.
  • I read in the Audi brochure that one should use premium gas for best results. Does everyone out there agree? Also, it was suggested to me that the 1.8Ts have the best reliability of the Audis. Does everyone out there agree?
  • 1.8T's have the "best" reliability of the Audis? Who told you this? In the past, the 1.8T has had frequent problems and was a major topic of conversation on the audiworld board. Even my dealer admitted that they have had problems. I was told it was a "minor" design flaw and the problem was corrected.

    I would say that the 2.8 is the more reliable engine.
  • My husband has a '99 1.8T which he (and I) absolutely love. It has 10,000 trouble-free miles, and I mean completely and totally trouble-free - not even a minor nuisance to complain about. The dealer said he could use the middle-grade of gas (89 octane), which is what he's been doing most of the time. Sometimes, he'll use premium for a few tanks and doesn't notice any difference. This car is fabulous. I'd recommend it highly. It does better in the snow and ice than our Jeep Grand Cherokee.
  • geo48geo48 Posts: 4
    can the A4 2.8 quattro take 89 octane?
  • Thank you, clappingmonkey and donnafitz. The dealer, of course, told me that the 1.8T was the most reliable, which is why I asked. The sales brochure (and the dealer) says that 91 octane is recommended for the 2000 Audi for best results.

    After reading, listening, and thinking, I conclude that if you get a good Audi, you will love it. There is at least a moderate risk, however, of not getting a good one. If that happens, you will have plenty of problems. Maybe not like the Volkswagens, which generate many angry comments on the Web, but enough to be concerned about.

    Additionally, the cost of repairing an Audi after the warranty expires will be very high. The powertrain warranty expires at 3 years/50K, which seems quite short.

    Thank you again for your responses.
  • i am not saying that the 1.8T is a bad car. i think it's great. initially there were some problems with the 1.8T engine but i have been told that the problems were short lived and have been corrected. so i dont think you should discount the possibility of getting a 1.8T because of first year engine problems.

    a couple of other things to note are the EXCELLENT crash test ratings for the 1.8T which, the last time i checked, were better than for the subaru legacy. also, the audi warranty is higher and all scheduled maintanence is included free of charge.

    i used to have a 96 legacy and the thing crumbled like aluminum foil when i was rear ended by a honda prelude.

    i wish you good luck in your search and hope you keep us up on what your eventual choice is.
  • Hey, i just got my Audi a4 2000 quattro with the sports package, cold weather package, convience package and tiptronic. So far i love the car. I don't even know how to use it well though, is there anyone out there that knows how to program the computer iputs on setting it so when my windows are open when i press the lock button on my all from the remote that it can make the windows roll up by them selves with out humm ya know holding it in the keylock, i want to do a click on go thing ya know, and if there is an other think cool about the car let me thanks alot,
    Oran. email me if u want to help me with my car thanx..
  • Hi everybody:

    Just wanted to share my feelings about test driving a new A4 1.8T Quatrro. Well overall I was impressed. First because the dealer took me to the "real" test drive, not the around dealership one. We went down to the small road with many turns... Then he showed me a small empty parking lot covered with snow. All what he told me was: "Just press the accel and do not touch the wheel". Boy! This car have soul! This is not like driving Acura or any other crap. It actually return all what you ask for. I did 180 turn without problems and I feel the car, I feel the every one from 4 wheels spinning under me. Great! The only part I did not like is engine at lower rpms. After about 4000 it is really nice, but before then it's kinda tweaky. Meantime the price I was able to negotiate is 28600$ which is about 5% more then invoice. Probably I need to shop around more before I buy it.

    Any ideas?

  • A418Tlease1:

    Congratulations on your new purchase. I still love my 2.8.

    As far as the windows going up and down automatically with the remote, you need to have the dealer program that. Most dealers will charge you a nominal fee to have that feature on your remote. If you do not want to pay that fee, you can open all windows at once by putting the key in the driver's door, and holding it for an extra second after you have opened all doors. The same would apply to closing all windows at once. Hold the key an extra second in the driver's door lock.


    5% is about the going rate over invoice at most Audi dealers. In fact, that is a GOOD rate. There are people paying lots more than that. It really depends on what part of the country you are from, and the supply and demand. I would definitely look at a few other dealers, but if they are all offering 5%, that is certainly not unreasonable in Audi territory. Go to, and you will see that most people have paid anywhere from 4-1/2% to 7% over invoice. Some paid MSRP. It's all supply and demand, but it is still a desireable car even after five years in it's current form.

    Good luck!
  • Now that Audi is sharing many of it's parts with VW cars, the parts should be easier to find (if your Audi dealership doesn't have it, try calling a VW dealership.) The 1.8T engine is now in the Passat, the Beetle and the Jetta (coming soon) and maybe the Golf before year end. The 2.8 engine is in the Passat. The Jetta GLX trip computer looks identical to the A4 trip computer, I would iagine that many inner parts are also shared across platforms (transmissions, brakes, suspension pieces, etc.)

    Enjoy your A4s. I was/am very close to buying one (although I am more interested in the Avant for practicality and insurance reasons). I need to drive the Jetta 1.8T first (due in another month) and figure out the best payment plan I can get for a BMW 323. Surprisingly out of a group of similar cars, the A4 1.8T sedan was quoted as the highest for me to insure while the Avant was the cheapest ($250 for 6 months difference) and the BMW 323 was within $50 of the Avant's rates. Have no idea why, but the lowest horsepower sedan of the group had the highest insurance rates through Farmers. Even the Saab 9-3 SE with the HOT turbo pulling 205 HP was over $100 less to insure for 6 months.

    I am an exhaustive researcher when I am picking out a new car...the next car I choose is a present I am giving to myself for graduating college and getting a good job, and living with my amazing if underwhelming Honda Civic coupe for 3.5 years. I want a 5speed, I want some power, I want a car with a personality...

    Right now the BMW is #1 for me, with the Saab 9-3 a close #2, and the Audi/VW a possible tie with the Saab. If I can crack my local dealer and actually get him to deal on the BMW, I might have the perfect car for me. If not, I wouldn't cry a tear to step into a 9-3 or an A4 for a 3-year tour. In fact, the Saab might slip a little due to the "free-scheduled maintenance." BMW and Audi are 3 years (50,000mi for Audi, 36,000mi for BMW) and even VW will do the first two years/24,000mi maintenance and then back the powertrain for 10/100K (In some ways, even a better warranty than the Audi if you plan to keep it for the long run.) Saab has the right warranty but no free maintenance. They just keep coming up with rediculously cheap lease rates that blow my payment calculations into chaos...$339/month for a 9-3 with little down? Hard to beat from Audi or BMW.
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    I've come across a lease deal on a 2000 melange/ambition A4 1.8T sedan w/tip, quattro, sport pkg, convenience pkg & nav system that's hard to pass up...$389/mo incl tax, 12K/yr, $700 down at start, 39 mo thru VW/Audi financing. There's nothing wrong with it...the car was a special order for a foreign customer who specifically wanted the nav system, but then changed her mind! Nice. Nobody seems to want to pay the extra $$ for the nav system, so the car has been on their lot for about 3 weeks and they want to move it. They let me take the car overnight and I fell in love with it.

    If anyone has a 1.8T quattro w/tip, what mileage are you getting? Just by looking at the gas gauge, it seemed to be sucking more gas than I expected and I wasn't driving it particularly hard. I test drove a couple Acura TLs and they seemed to do much better with larger, more powerful engines.

    I'm about ready to jump on this deal!
  • Go for it!!! It sounds like a great deal. I love the Melange color. It was between the silver and melange for me, but my husband really wanted the silver so I compromised.

    As far as mileage is concerned, it will get better when you start putting on the miles ( I now have 3,000 miles and the mileage is getting better), but you will not come close to a Civic's numbers. Remember with the automatic and quattro, it does suck more gas than expected with a car this size. It is worth it, though.

    People on other forums are not getting any better gas mileage with the Acura, Maxima, etc.

    The car is great, I wish I had the NAV system, go for it!

    If you want more information about gas mileage, etc. go to

    Good luck!
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    Thanks for your response. Yea, looking at MSRP for everything, which is $30,570 it seems like a very good deal selling at $27,800. And it just happens to be a color I like. I have a '95 Accord EX 5 speed in the same color...hides dirt well and looks classy. At first I didn't particularly like the Ambition interior, which is Ecru/Onyx but after a while, I got used to it and actually started to like it. Looks kind of retro with a sporty tone. But if I had my choice, I'd probably go with the Ambiance interior with brown carpeting instead of black. Oh well. What interior did you get with the silver? I'm assuming you have a 1.8T/tip/quattro as well.

    I'm going to bring the car home again tonight...just to make sure, but with a deal like that, I'll most likely be bringing it home for good and selling the Accord. The Accord has been an exceptional car but I messed up my left knee while windsurfing a couple years ago and the 5 speed can be a killer in stop-and-go traffic...thus my search for an automatic, and I think the A4 can fit that need very well. Will let you know what transpires.
  • I actually have a 2.8 tip because we wanted the leather, wood and power seats, but the interior I got was onyx.

    The interior combination you have on the Melange is exactly what I would have gotten had I got that color.

    Best of luck. It is a great car. I look forward to driving it every day. Keep us informed if you keep it.
  • Tha Avant is a great car, practical and sporty. I'm a happy owner. However, since you seem to be leaning towards the 323, note that sometime this year the 323 wagon ("touring") should become available in the States.
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    I brought the same car home tonight and noticed a couple very strange things. The dealership put gas in it and registerd 3/4 tank exactly. I reset the trip meter, drove home, took my roommate for a spin, totaling 24.6 mi, and now the gauge is exactly on 1/2!! Give me a break! 24 mi on a quarter tank? And knowing about the break-in period, I was careful not to punch it or drive over 80mph. I also noticed a distinct smell of exhaust entering the car (sunroof open) on spirited (not heavy) acceleration that smelled like I was following a 20-yr old pickup truck that was never taken care know, like the smell of a car with non-existent piston rings/bad valves! I smelled this every time I'd accelerate at about 3/4 throttle. First time I noticed it was entering the freeway on the way home. I passed it off as an old, uncared-for car ahead of me but smelled the same thing on open roads with no other cars around. I'm wondering if someone who test drove the car before me drove the crap out of it, possibly damaging something. You have to drive conservatively for a while to let the rings seat, etc. The car only has about 100 mi on it. Maybe that's the real reason it's been sitting. Any thoughts?

    I'm definitely going to bring it to my salesman's attention tomorrow.

    Having enjoyed custom CST leather seats (power) in my '95 Accord EX, I really envy your 2.8 w/power leather seats! I just don't want to spring for a 2.8 with leather option, although the wood/leather is really beautiful. I bet the seats are very comfortable. The leatherette in this car isn't particularly comfortable and has become one of my few complaints...but a big one, since comfort is of prime importance. I can't believe leather isn't an option on the 1.8T. Oh well.
  • The first few times my car was filled up with gas, including the complimentary tank from the dealer, it also didn't register full. For some reason, this seems to be an "Audi" thing. Then after about three or four fill ups, it started to register full and has never had a problem since. This seems to be the "theme" of most new A4 owners, so I would not consider that unusual.

    When looking at mileage on the trip computer, your best bet is to look at what the Average MPG are. That will give you a better idea of how much mileage you are getting. I am now getting (with the 2.8), around 20 mpg city, and I really don't know highway, as we haven't taken it out for a good highway drive since we got the car, (believe it or not). I don't think that's unreasonable for a 6 cyl. quattro machine. I know the people on the A4 forum with the 1.8 engines are getting better city mileage than that, but again, that is basically after the first 3000 miles.

    As far as the smell you are smelling, I would certainly bring it up with the dealer. I didn't have anything like that, and have not had anything like that in my four months of owning the car. Again, if you go to, and go to the A4 forum and post this question, I bet you get a number of answers, and/or rationalizations as to what is producing that smell. Remember, I have a naturally aspirated engine, the engine you are driving is a turbo, and that might mean different things as far as smells are concerned.

    As far as the 2.8 amenities vs. the 1.8 amenities, many A4 orgers have put the OEM wood in their cars, so you are halfway there to a 2.8. Again if you go to Audiworld, there is alot of information about that in the archives. The majority of the people on that forum prefer the 1.8 engine because it is more sporty and tunable. They will give you thousands of reasons to get the 1.8 engine. As far as power seats are concerned, they are nice, but there is a big disadvantage to the power seats vs. the non power ones. If you are really tall, the non power seats are much better. The height adjustment allows you to adjust them almost to the floor. The power seats sit up about 3" higher than the non power to begin with. My husband is 6'3" and had a little bit of a problem at first with the power seats and sunroof. He preferred the 1.8 seats. It took him awhile to adjust it so that his head wasn't constantly touching the ceiling. Also, if you are basically the only driver, you will end up adjusting the seats to your liking and keeping them that way 95% of the time. The problem occurs if there are multiple drivers in your family. Then non power seats can be a [non-permissible content removed].

    Believe it or not, as far as comfort is concerned, I thought the leatherette seats had more cushioning than the leather seats. I felt more comfortable in them, and again, lots of people at Audiworld will agree. It's not that the leather isn't comfortable, it's just that the leatherette is a little more padded, and less slippery. Most people think it's leather anyway, but I agree that Audi should give you a choice of getting leather on a car in that price range. I guess they don't want to take away the exclusivity of the 2.8.

    Anyway, I would post some of these questions on the above forum before I made my final decision. The guys on that forum are very knowledgable and are major enthusiasts about their cars. They know every little nuance that occurs. You really get alot of technical support from them. That is one of the reasons I decided to go for the Audi. The support is tremendous, and they have many clubs and meetings throughout the country for Audi and VW owners.

    Good luck with your decision!
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    I've submitted a few questions on the Audi forum and am waiting for responses. Reminds me a lot of the VWVortex forum...very informative.

    I noticed today that the steering wheel on this car is not level when driving on a straight and level highway. It's turned to the left about 5 degrees, so just something else to inform the dealership about. Hate to keep bringing up all the negatives but it's certainly a big part of the buying process.

    Also, do your car's rear wheels increase in noise level when a bearing sound? I can really hear a difference when cornering in this car. Or is it just the quattro system? The noise level decreases when the car straightens back out. My car doesn't make any of these noises when cornering at any speed. Sorry about all the questions but I've owned 3 Audis in the past and they were the most nightmarish cars I've ever owned. The first 2 had endless problems and the last one caught on fire while driving. I liked the way they looked and drove so kept buying them...until the fire. It was a long time ago and I've heard Audi's reliability has increased dramatically but past experiences stick with you. Going back into an Audi is a BIG step for me and I'm tuned into any little thing that doesn't seem right. And after owning a trouble-free Accord for 5 years, I'm spoiled in terms of reliability.

    It'll be interesting to see what the dealership has to say about my complaints...and how they handle them. Will let you know.

    By the way, I know what you mean about the leather seats. I drove a new Accord EX V-6 and it was like sitting on a hardwood bench. The most comfortable car I've test driven is a '97 Infiniti I-30 but not overly exciting in any other respect. The Volvo S-40 leather seats were also very comfortable.
  • I can certainly understand your trepidations about jumping into the "Audi pool" again, and I had my concerns about reliability, but I have to say, after owning a Honda CRV that had to be purchased back because of so many problems and two Camrys that had initial problems, this has to be my least worrisome car purchase since my Pathfinder. I vowed that no matter what, if I kept this car or any car I purchased past the warranty period, I would get an extended warranty for peace of mind. I don't think I would be able to sleep at night knowing I don't have "insurance" on my investment, especially when it could be so costly for repairs.

    I think looking through the archives at Audiworld would give you good insight into some of your questions, and I am sure your other questions will be answered soon. Remember, the dealer will tell you everything is fine. It's the enthusiasts that will let you know the honest truth.

    BTW, we looked at the Volvo S-40 as well and thought the seats were incredibly comfortable, but liked everything about the Audi, so there wasn't really much of a decision to make.

    My boss will also be going into his 4th Audi this spring. He has leased all of them and has had no problems with any of them. In fact he has a 1997 A4 now, and will be getting the 2000 A6 when his lease is up in April. Like you, he loves the Audi and keeps on coming back to it no matter what he test drives.

    I certainly think the fire would make me a little gunshy, but I had a Honda Prelude for 11 years that gave me some problems, but the ultimate problem that caused me to finally get rid of it was that it also went on fire. They couldn't find the cause for it, and I was terrified to drive it, but it didn't turn me off to Hondas. All companies make lemons, and because I had two somewhat negative Honda experiences, I still considered a Honda when I was looking.

    Just some advice from a person who loves her Audi.
    Good luck!
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    Good attitude. Sounds like you've had you're bad experiences as well. And you're right...nobody's perfect. I'd lease the Audi for 3 years, and with the free maintenance, how can you go wrong? Plus I spoke with the owner of the dealership today and was assured whenever I'd take it in for any reason, they have several loaner cars, including an A6. And should all the loaners be unavailable, they'd get me where I needed to go. Sounds if they really do it (IF I get the car)...

    Just returned the A4 along with my concerns and they took it back to have it checked out immediately while I was there. I'll know something tomorrow. This dealership seems to be highly customer-oriented and have awards all over the place for customer satisfaction and have done everything possible to satisfy me. They also have no complaints registered with the BBB. Makes one feel a little better about purchasing a car!

    I agree on the S-40. Not a bad looking car with good comfort and good power but just didn't do it for me. Kinda like the TL. I'm sure the TL would be extremely reliable, it's fast and quiet (Much more quiet than the A4), but the seats were very uncomfortable with a seam from hell directly under your butt with no lower back support and the styling is...well...ok. It's just another car. There isn't anything I don't like about the A4 styling, or any current Audi for that matter. What other cars did you guys check out before deciding on the A4?

    Take care
  • It sounds like the dealership you are dealing with is very customer oriented. That would really clinch it for me. There are so many sleazy dealerships out there in every car brand, it is scary.

    As far as cars we looked at, I really looked at most of them by myself, and then brought the husband back for the finalists. My thoughts on the various cars I looked at went this way:

    Acura TL: Felt very uncomfortable for the same reasons you stated above even on the test drive. Felt the fit and finish were below par, and they were cutting corners to make it the bargain of the century. The passenger's side air bag was about 1/2" sticking up on the console. That did it for me. I was totally unimpressed. I liked the Navigation system, though. Oh well.

    Mercedes 230: Really had high expectations, considering this was a "Mercedes". Got into the car and felt the front seats were as hard as a pew. Everything looked plasticky, and the thing I didn't like the most (which BTW was also on the BMW), is that the side airbags were in the door, so if you change front seating positions, the airbags couldn't go with you like when they are in the seats. My husband is very tall and would have had the seat moved all the way back, which would have been nowhere near the airbag.

    Nissan Maxima: Almost didn't want to go on the test drive. Didn't like the looks of the car, inside or out. I liked the previous version much better. Went on the obligatory test drive, and ruled it out immediately.

    Infinity I30: My husband and I went to the Infiniti showroom for the unveiling of the new I30. Again, we liked the previous version much better. My husband walked out the door when they unveiled it, so voila, no test drive!

    Saab 9-3 & 9-5: Test drove the 9-3 and liked it but didn't love it. Came back from the test drive and the dealer had a 9-5 waiting for me to drive. I loved it! I thought this was going to be "the car". Very comfortable, nice exterior and interior and lots of safety equipment. Nothing not to like. My husband talked me out of it for a few reasons. One being there is only one Saab dealer within a large distance from us, and he felt the Saab dealership representation wasn't enough around the country, should we need to move. He also had friends with Saabs that had numerous problems with them.

    BMW 323: Like the Mercedes, I had high expectations from this car. By this time I had driven the Audi 1.8 before this test drive, so I had something to really compare it with. As soon as I got into the BMW, I didn't like the interior. I thought the Audi was head and shoulders above BMW in fit and finish. We went for a lengthy test drive, and I wasn't impressed at all. I couldn't understand what all the hype was about. This was also a 5 spd. BMW, so I thought I would enjoy it even more. I just kept on saying to myself, "am I missing something"?

    Volvo S40: Thought it was very comfortable, but again, the fit and finish were not the sign of a $29,000 car, and my husband thought it drove very choppy and leaned alot in corners. I did like this car, though. I would certainly consider an S80 if I were to need more room in the future. I thought out of the all the car manufacturers, Volvo would probably end up being my next car, or at least a viable contender.

    Audi A4: Loved it immediately. Test drove the 1.8 first in 5 spd. Didn't want to take it back. Loved everything about it. Luckily my boss had a '97 2.8 5 spd., which he loaned us for the weekend to see how we like living with it before we make the ultimate decision. I couldn't get my husband out of the car all weekend. I told him he had to sleep and eat, and it didn't matter. We both looked over the car with a fine tooth comb, and couldn't find anything we didn't like in 48 hrs. We were impressed with everything, plus the ride and quattro of course, and felt the changes on the Y2K model would make it even better.

    At this point, any other car I pointed out or mentioned didn't mean anything anymore. We both knew the Audi was the perfect car for us, plus the fact that we live in NJ, so the quattro would be an extra plus (which it has). We both love the car, in fact I had to hide the extra remote so my husband wouldn't take the car every chance he got. He seemed to forget he had his own car!

    Glad we made this decision. If you are leasing, I would think you have nothing to lose. With the free maintenance for the entire lease period, you can't go wrong. Good luck to you!
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    Are we related? Amazing that we essentially looked at the same cars and had precisely the same impressions of each.

    TL: The last TL I drove had the same problem with the driver side airbag cover. I could pull up about an inch of the lower left corner. None of the sheetmetal seams fit properly...hood, doors, trunk, etc. Door seams were all wider in places than others, as were the trunk seams. I checked 8 TLs on the lot and every one had the same problem. No fold down rear seatbacks, telescoping steering wheel, trunklid struts (hinges really suck) and you'd think they'd at least include a nice chrome threshold with "Acura." And a FOOTBRAKE????

    Mercedes 230: I too had high hopes but took one look and walked away. Didn't even sit in it or drive it. Did nothing to arouse any interest.

    Maxima: Give me a break. Why didn't Nissan just copy a Neon rear end exactly? Man what an ugly, cheap-looking car on the outside. Inside wasn't bad but nothing special. Old Maximas are much more appealing to me but don't like the way they handle, although the 5 speeds are fast.

    Infiniti I-30: Again, high expectations and it looked geat in ads but when I actually saw one, it was physically disappointing, although it has an excellent interior IMO. Seats are VERY comfortable because of soft leather and vertical seams instead of seams running across your butt as in the TL. But the ride is choppy and not what you'd expect from a luxury car. Good warranty and customer service but prefer previous I-30s.

    '97 I-30: Nice car! One of my final choices. Off lease w/1 owner, excellent condition. Great ride, excellent comfort, excellent power, lots of interior room, still in factory warranty, nicer, more classic styling than 2000 I-30, but the rims suck and in general doesn't get the blood flowing like the A4. But it's an attractive car with incredible comfort and I'm still thinking about it. Plus it's about half the price of the A4 and probably will be more reliable even though it's a '97.

    BMW 323i: I have a good friend who is the master mechanic at a BMW dealership in Charleston, SC (or rather he used to be...just took another job a couple weeks ago). Anyway, he's always told me the 3 series Bimmers are not too reliable and a real [non-permissible content removed] to work on. Certain elements involved in the 3 series are prone to failure. They're also more costly to insure than the 5 least according to GEICO! His favorite BMW is an '88 528e 5 speed. According to him, they were the most reliable car they ever produced, easy to work on and will easily go 300K with proper care. He has one with 196K and considers it "broken in." I've loacted a gold '88 528e locally and am trying my best to get ahold of it to restore. Back to the 323. The styling does get the blood going...very cool looking car, but the interior left me cold as well. Fit and finish didn't look as good as A4 and it has much less storage capacity. Since I windsurf and am a musician, I have to be able carry some equipment...know what I mean?!

    Volvo S-40: I gave you my impressions in a previous post. It's ok but doesn't come across as a near $30K vehicle equipped they way I'd want. The black rubber side guards make the car look cheap to me. Even the salesperson said they hear that statement often.

    Saab: Didn't try the Saab after hearing too many reports of problems.

    Diamante LS: Nothing. Not a thing exciting about this car. Noisy on the highway. Fit/finish/reliability issues.

    Audi A4: As you know, I like just about everything with this car. Just wish it was a LITTLE bit larger. I'm waiting to hear if they discovered anything relating to the exhaust smell and rear end noise. If all is ok, it may be in my garage soon. But I'm into creature comfort and reliability, so am still considering the '97 I-30 at $17,900. New rims would make that car look great. Let you know. It's been nice "talking" to you and I'll let you know what happens. Enjoy your A4!
  • Small world, isn't it? We obviously have similar opinions on cars.

    I happen to think the Infiniti I30 (last generation) was very nice. I was going to buy one before I bought my Pathfinder 2 years ago. I fell in love with it. I have owned Hondas, Toyotas and Nissans, and I personally think the Nissans were by far the most reliable. If I didn't get the A4, I think my husband and I would have compromised on the new I30. I agree that it is very comfortable. My Pathfinder was extremely comfortable.

    This time around, though, instead of looking for steadfast reliability, we wanted something fun to drive, along with AWD, and were willing to give up a little bit of reliability to get that. So far, I have owned the A4 for 4 months, almost 4,000 miles, and nothing except for a defective remote.

    In your case, because you are leasing, it wouldn't matter what car you got. You would be covered for the warranty period regardless. If you live north of the Mason Dixon line and are experiencing snow today like we are in NJ, quattro would be screaming through my brain!

    Good luck, and again, please post the outcome.

    BTW, Melange was my first in exterior colors. Silver was my second. Because my husband desperately wanted a silver car in whatever we were getting, I compromised, but if I were single, I would have gotten the Melange. I think both colors look great on the A4 (self cleaning too!).
  • drc4drc4 Posts: 56
    I just drove the '97 I-30 again and it's out of the running. On the previous test drive I didn't get it out on the freeway but did this time...speeds of 80-120. At speeds above 80, the car vibrated throughout, and the steering wheel vibrated vertically...not wheel balance...just continuous bouncing and I suspect something wrong with front end. It also tended to wander and drift, which of course, the A4Q definitely DOES NOT do! Love the way the quattro tracks!

    I'm in Huntsville, AL and haven't had any snow. Today is around 72 degrees. I've been watching the Weather Channel and all the problems in Chicago and the NY area. What a mess! I'll take this any day! We do get a lot of rain and have lots of hills so the quattro will be beneficial. I also have a house in Ft. Lauderdale and spend a good deal of time there, so with even more rain down there, the quattro will come in handy. Strange thing is I lived in Anchorage, AK and had the 2WD Subaru wagon at the time and never needed 4WD.

    My Subaru was silver, which would be my only other choice for the A4. If the car I'm considering happened to be silver, I'd like it just as much. Even though you didin't get your melange, you still got a good color. Another good thing about silver is if you have a little fender bender, etc, you can just spray some grey primer on it temporarily and it won't be terribly noticeable. That's what I did with the Subaru.

    So anyway, it looks like the A4 is it, if they check it out and all is ok...and if I decide to go for it. Talked to them today and they're backed up so haven't had a chance to look at it. The Audi manager & service department were very cool though and said they want the car to be perfect the next time I drive it, so they want to go through it thoroughly. That's what I like to hear! Take care.
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