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This is my second Audi A4, and I bought it on the strength of my experiences with my previous A4. My car is a 2002 model 3.0 Quattro Sport with the 6 speed manual ‘box.
I bought this car used with 55,000 miles on the clock 6 months ago, replacing my previous car, which had covered 107,000 miles. The key strengths of this car are much the same as the previous car, namely: Reliability, Build quality, Comfort, Practicality, and Driving Involvement.
I bought this car, as I also wanted more performance, as well as a newer car with lower mileage. The 3.0 6-cylinder engine is wonderfully smooth and quiet in general driving, while under harder acceleration it provides a suitably sporting growl. The six-speed ‘box doesn’t rev any lower in top gear than my 2.0’s 5 speed, but the closer ratios make it extremely flexible for open road/A road driving.
The engine’s real flexibility is best shown when driving in motorway traffic. The generous torque from the engine offers smooth and rapid acceleration, without the lag one would expect from a turbo-charged engine of similar output. Joining fast-moving motorways is a breeze, as is the ability to take advantage of gaps in the traffic when making an over-take.
The Quattro system offers excellent traction in adverse weather. I have twice driven the car in snow/ice, and it has never lost traction under acceleration. In tight corners, the input of the rear wheels improves the car’s ability to toe-in better, and is noticeably different from the front-wheel drive A4.
As a daily commuting/family car, the A4 is an excellent small saloon. As with my previous car, the interior of the Audi is impressively built, and very comfortable to be in. My car has had leather and suede seats fitted, which makes the car feel more ‘special’ than the standard cloth. All seats are comfortable, and in my own experience the rear seats are perfectly acceptable for two six-foot adults. (These have been criticised by others in articles I’ve read, but surely if one is carrying tall adults over very long distances regularly then they should just buy a bigger car? The A6 is very good I hear…). The car also has a generous amount of luggage space for a small saloon. My previous A4 swallowed holiday luggage and 3 cases of wine on a trip to the south of France with ease, and I am planning the same this year. Overall the car is hugely practical all-rounder. Granted, it's not an MPV, and will not be as spacious as a people carrier, but as a stylish means of transporting 4 people and their luggage swiftly and comfortably, the A4 is a fine propsition.
The A4 3.0 Quattro is a car I can heartily recommend, though potential buyers should consider some of the following points: Firstly, as with my previous A4, to run at their best, Audis need to be well maintained and serviced, and Audi parts/servicing can be pricey. Secondly, having run a 2.0 engine that could return nearly 40mpg, I could understand some finding the fuel consumption rather high. My 3.0 will only just manage 30mpg on the motorway, and much less around town. Personally, the increased performance makes this worthwhile for me, though this may not be the case for others. Expect a range of around 300 – 320 miles on one tank.