My fascination with Audis came in mid-2003 when I started to consider replacing my cranky 1999 Ford Taurus SHO (black with silver interior). I was looking for a slightly smaller car, better fuel economy and wouldn’t decide to blitz the battery on a whim. Not to mention, there was a proverbial weight hanging over me as there is a known issue with cam sprocket failures that can nerf the engine.
I had considered a wide range of cars, including a Subaru Outback, an Acura TSX and TL, Mazda 3 hatchback, Audi A4 and a Volvo S40. The Acura TL was the first one to get nixed as it was larger than I wanted, though had a fair amount of pep. The Mazda 3 hatchback was a fun car to drive, but I wanted something a bit more posh and with more off-the-line speed. The Outback, while longer than the SHO, was on my list for its utility and AWD… but it just didn’t end up being what I wanted in general.
That left the TSX and the A4, both were about the same size and price bracket. I really liked the more conservative, yet elegant styling of both cars and found ones that were well equipped. I did a quick test drive of a TSX and the ride to be a comfortable and handled quite well. I was not fond of the lack of low-end oomph and just I didn’t find the seats too comfortable or supportive for my large body.
Next up on the test drive circuit was the Audi A4. The first Audi A4 that I test drove (and ended up purchasing) was a Moro Blue saloon with a 3.0-litre V6, quattro AWD and 5-speed Tiptronic. The interior is beige leather with wood inserts and came equipped with the basic Sports Package (not the Ultra-Sport with the paddles) and Bose sound system. No navigation or OnStar-like system. When I was given time behind the wheel, the first thing I noticed when I took off was the lack of torque steer and the traction. Both can be an issue in the SHO, particularly gaining traction on wet roads and non-grippy tires. Due to the smaller size, the A4 felt a bit more cramped at first, but that feeling went away towards the end of the test drive.
I also had a chance to test drive a 1.8T version of the A4, but the lack of power compared to the SHO and the 3.0 was enough to not consider it. Sure, it had a fair amount of torque down low, but kind of felt a touch wheezy in a relatively heavy car.
After pondering over my choices and comparing notes between the TSX and the A4, I put my money on the A4. Went back to the dealership, worked through the credit union car loan process and came back a couple of days later to seal the deal. I drove to the dealership in my SHO, as it was the trade-in, and drove away in the A4.
Between the time that I picked up the A4 and when I came back to work, it had snowed a little bit and decided to drive in with my A4… see how it would handle it (easy peasy). No one at work knew, outside of my manager, that I had even thinking about getting a new car. One comment that I overheard was, “who bought a new car and why would he/she drive it in this weather?” Um… because I could? :)
After about a week of having the A4, I knew that I wanted to get a trunk lip spoiler and needed something more than just a six-disc CD changer. So, I ordered the spoiler and a PhatNoise DMS jukebox that was installed in the trunk. It came with a 20GB hard drive module (that I should have upgraded to a 60GB later on) and I loaded up a bunch of music on.
Outside of that, the car has not been modded and it’s only had a couple new pair of shoes, including two sets of Pirellis and it is now wearing a set of Toyos. The next set will most likely be Continental ExtremeContact DWS. The A4 belongs to a direct family member and it isn’t driven as aggressively as it was when I used it as my daily driver.