1996 Audi A4 1.8 1.8 litre 20V petrol
A subtle, comfortable and reliable long-term long distance tourer
The intake manifold got dirty and had to be cleaned at 205.000 km. The oil-check stick broke and had to be replaced. It is a cheap part, but it's failure is common. The exhaust is in OK shape, but the 'damping' part sprung a blow and was replaced at 200.000 km, the part is not expensive if you look around specialized shops. Also, there was a greater service on the front suspension due to play in the joints. This is a common problem as well, although mainly present in areas with very bad roads. The interior is starting to show it's age, especially the steering wheel. The leather around the gear knob has already been replaced. Otherwise, the interior is OK regarding it accommodated 4 for most of it's 12+ year lifetime.
One of it's best qualities is the exterior. It is in excellent condition. Mind the odd little scrape, but there is absolutely no rust or signs of the shell weakening. The ride is good, the steering is very light and easy to operate. Because of the five-way front suspension, the front wheels point excellently in to the right way in corners, and tyre wear is also minimal for a relatively heavy car (1230 or so kg).
The engine is not the best in the A4 range, it would certainly be better with the 1.8T, but in general, and perhaps in comparison to some rival products, it is all-in-all good. The 125 HP are enough for some dynamic driving, although the "N/A 5-valve 4-cyl" layout requires higher rpms if you want to use the power. To about 2-3 thousand rpm, the engine is best used with little throttle. If you give it full throttle from a low speed, it won't pull like a good turbo or smooth V6 engine, it will just use more fuel. In average, fuel consumption is 9,3 litres per 100 km. Very short shopping trips included.
The gearbox and clutch show no wear and are perfect, as well as everything on the track, apart from the front suspension joints I mentioned, that had to be replaced. The air conditioning is good.
The original stereo quality is very impressive for a stock system. Absolutely no need for mods unless you're really in to that kind of thing.
All in all, the car is just fine, and considering it is an Audi - not quite the cheapest new buy, with all the high quality unoriginal parts on sale, it is relatively cheap to run. The engine's 9,3 litre consumption also makes sense if nothing on the engine brakes. Although - oil changes should be made every 10.000 km.
The local official dealer service is of pretty poor quality. But if you have a good 'private' mechanic, servicing is no problem at all.
Till now it has been fine, at the moment it is fine, and it feels ready for another 300.000... in comfort, speed, safety and elegant style.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th September, 2008