Comfortable and quiet luxo-cruiser
New ball joints.
New driver's side outer CV joint and wheel bearing.
New rear subframe bushings.
New timing belt (service interval)
New engine mounts.
Check engine faults (undiagnosed)
New HVAC cabin fan.
Side trim pieces need replacing.
I bought this car in keeping with my annual ritual of purchasing a new daily-driver car (modified 944 Turbo toy). I picked this one up for $1000 needing the repairs listed above, although the car was and is in great cosmetic shape in and out. It's my first Audi after having owned many Saabs, a BMW and Subaru.
A general consensus regarding this model is something I'll maintain, that acceleration from a standstill is not overly impressive. It's not to say as though it's slow, because with enough drama the car can be launched briskly, but ease is one of the qualifiers, and this car requires quite a beating (working the clutch and drivetrain in some less-than-prudent ways) if you want it to get out of the hole fast.
I bought the car from another car-obsessed guy who actually warned me that it's a boat around town, and he is right. The car, despite being only slightly larger than my previous 1994 Saab 9000, feels quite a bit more substantial and more "floaty," particularly in the city. To its credit, however, it feels rock-solid at speed, especially on the freeway. The first journey I took with the car was roughly 500 miles, and it was much quieter, smooth and comfortable than any of my previous vehicles.
The car does tend to roll and plow a lot, even with new OEM-spec shocks, control arms, bushings, and the like having been replaced by the previous owner and myself. It doesn't surprise me a whole lot; it's a big luxury car and an Audi, which even an '02 S4 I drove felt soft for a car with such sporting intentions. My friend's all-OEM 1994 BMW 325i makes this car seem like a whale. I am expecting H&R springs with Bilstein shocks to arrive any time now, and I hope that these tie the car's cornering together a bit more.
I intended on buying a Volkswagen because I was (and presently still am) tired of high parts prices. I service all my vehicles myself barring alignments, and this car is definitely in the primo club. In replacing the engine mounts, subframe bushings, outer driver's CV and wheel bearing I spent a little under $500 - which in the Saab/Porsche world is to be expected, but in the VW/Honda world is outrageous. Kind of disappointed with this, though I can't say I see a ton of 100s, S4s, and 95-97 A6s running around. So expect high parts, and along with it labor, prices. The initial cost of these cars is low, so even with a repair budget the same as the purchase price the cost is more than reasonable for what you get.
The previous owner replaced the clutch and transmission, and I've found that kind of work often alters the original shift feel. The transmission is fairly quick and not too vague, though it's less precise than my Saab and BMW shifters (not high points in those cars, either), and about on par with Porsches I've driven. The engine is the first V6 I've owned, and it's adequate. As I stated prior, it's not impressive from a standstill, but it doesn't have the satisfying explosion of power that a turbocharged car provides once on the move either. Because of the flat torque curve, however, it doesn't need to be downshifted often.
Expect this car to have annoying electrical issues as it ages. Remember, if you're a U.S. customer this car is quite like the 5000 model it replaces, and that car was an electrical nightmare. I currently have three warnings on the status display, and they are all false. I also get a check engine light that when in diagnostic mode is reporting a repeated misfire, though there is none detectable.
All in all I'll say this car would be great for anyone who wants a larger european car for a nominal initial investment. I buy cheap cars to avoid payments, and this car even gets comments from people asking if I'm wealthy--which being a self-paying college student I am not. This car was also available in Quattro and in performance versions under the S4 and S6 badges. A drive in a Quattro 2.8L automatic 100 makes my car seem significantly quicker, though Quattro would be convenient during Wisconsin's winter.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd October, 2006