Hi all, I wrote somewhat of a review a few days ago, concerning the Audi A4 that I just purchased. It was titled "Small interior.." Anyway, at that point, I had only test driven and paid for the car. Today I can give you more info, since I've driven it a couple hundred miles since yesterday.
I just got (custody of) my Silver Audi A4 1.8T, and boy am I happy with it! I immediately felt better after finding some maintenance logs left in the glove box, which the tiny dealership said they didn't have/weren't aware they had. The only thing is, I still don't have evidence that the timing belt was replaced, which is a big issue with Audis from the reviews that I've read - and costs $1,700 to replace. (Maybe) I wouldn't have gotten the car in the first place had I known it would cost that much to fix something like that (although, maybe timing belt work is expensive on all cars).. but it is riddled with safety features, and provides a pretty impressive driving experience.
My Audi A4 1.8T Quattro Automatic, has leather, non-"sport" steering wheel, sunroof, heated seats, 6 disc changer in the trunk, cruise control, ABS, traction control, the DTI or whatever it's called, which works in conjunction with the ABS, ensuring that the tires won't spin. There are many other safety features that I don't know by heart - keyless entry, alarm with interior movement sensor (which according to the manual, can be turned off temporarily if you have a pet in the car or something), front and side airbags, etc.
The A4 cost me $7,500 (not including tax). I had a 2003 Hyundai Accent, which was nearly flawless on the inside, but had a few minor/small dents on the passenger side due to it being hit/rubbed by another vehicle, and a cracked windshield from a rock on 95. Like a few of the other places that I had gone to, I was offered $2,000 for the Hyundai, which was at 96k miles, which I had just put new rotors on a couple of weeks prior ($300) and didn't have any problems other than the pop out cupholders being cracked/broken and the car shaking at 69mph+, which had recently started.
Anyway, my loan was $7,500 Audi + $4,000 Hyundai (owed $6k for the Hyundai before trade in) = $12k loan.
My buying experience wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that good, because of the following: As soon as I was about to do the test drive, the two very young men who worked at the tiny 6 or 8 car dealership, said "New brakes, new tires!" Sounded good, but during the test drive I saw the brake light was on, and the guy from the dealership told me that it was due to the brakes being so new, and that that's common for A4s of that year.
A few days after I purchased the car (couldn't take the car the same day that I gave them the loan check, because they were keeping it for minor repairs as I'll explain momentarily) I went to NTB to get the car inspected (I MAY go to Audi, but NTB was $20, Audi is $150, and I understand that they may perform a more computerized/thorough check, and they would know more about your Audi, but money is money sometimes) and NTB told me that the front brake pads were brand new, but the front rotors were bad, and the entire back brakes were bad.
I stopped by the Audi dealership, and they said the ONLY reason the brake light would come on would be due to a low brake fluid level, or worn brakes. I went back to the dealership (all these places were within 10 miles of each other) and only 1 of the 2 guys was there. He told me that places like NTB might just tell me that because they want to make money off of people buying their brakes.
Earlier that day, I was told that my Audi's CD changer would be there, so that was the main reason I went back to the tiny used car dealership. I got there and he said that the other guy wouldn't be back that day, to give me the CD changer magazine, and asked me to come back tomorrow (which is today). I said okay.
When I got back there this morning, the other guy was there, but the guy from yesterday wasn't (oh by the way, he - the first guy - told me he wouldn't be there, so I asked him to put it in writing that I was still owed the CD changer magazine - just to cover my "backside"- and since we also noticed that the driver side's front bumper was falling down some, he wrote that that would be fixed too. He chuckled irritatedly and asked "Why do I have to write it" I said "I trust you, it's just that, I'm going to be leaving with the car, and you won't be here tomorrow.. It's just for my reassurance" He went ahead and quickly wrote it out.)
So as I was saying.. the other guy was there this morning, and when I told him about the supposed source of the brake light being on being bad brakes in the back, he said his mechanic said they were fine, so they just put on front pads, but that they would fix it for me and that it was no problem. I said "And it will be free of charge right?" and he said "Yeah.. or maybe we'll do it 50/50".
He drove my car about 2 blocks away and they put new pads on it, he drove it back and the other guy got the CD magazine for me, and they told me to "enjoy the car"/said goodbye, so I guess I didn't owe anything.
Earlier this morning I found out at the DMV that they wrote their business' name in the spot where I should have had my name/address, so I had to drive all the way back to the dealership to get that title (or whatever) written up again. But the important thing is that they were there to quickly fix the paper work, and I got everything done at the DMV - after being there for 2 hours... but that's another story.
I think the only other things were that they said they would fix the drooping/kinda loose cloth that runs along the inner windshield, and when they brought the car back, not only did that section NOT look any better, but there was bright pink/red on parts on it, and one of the dealership guys said their mechanic said it would "become" the same color as the cloth, but that he's never seen them use that color, so if it doesn't go away in a couple of days, I can just come back and he will have them just totally replace that cloth part.
The gear shifting (plastic) part was torn up/totally broken apart, and they said they would replace that. That came back flawlessly (that plastic section that surrounds the "shifter" at the base, was totally changed out).
*Sighs* I guess that's about it as far as the dealership delays/problems.
Back to the actual car... I initially said (in my previous review) that the interior/drivers seat area felt cramped, but I realized yesterday, once I was FINALLY able to get into/learn my car, that the limited-space-feeling was almost entirely caused by the fact that my seat was positioned so high up and forward during the test drive.
One thing I don't like about the car is that the seats are so hard to adjust - in my car it's manual. I was like "am I doing it wrong or something??" But it was just that I wasn't pulling/pushing hard enough on the seat to make it move. And I'm not a weak person. You'd think with all the other technology/amenities, that they would offer electronic seats. Maybe they did, but the previous owner just didn't choose them. It's not that big of a deal though, since it's not like I change my seat position every day.
The other slight problem is that the speakers make a rattling noise, even when the bass is at its lowest level.. the music wasn't low, but it was far from "blasting". That's minor.. only a slight annoyance. I'm so glad to finally have my (fully functional) 6 disc changer. I prefer to listen to my CDs instead of radio stations.
I LOVE that the car has so many safety features, and comes with an alarm and keyless entry. I also like the intensity and location of the visor mirror's light.
I'm not crazy about how the steering wheel stiffens and car slows down some, around curves/U turns (not that I would take the curves fast, I usually only speed when I'm actually running late for something, but I like to know what a car is going to do and have it be initiated by me.. well, that's what I'm "used to" at least)... but I know that it's a result of the technology in place to protect me/stabilize my car, so it's definitely something that I can simply get used to.
Just to make sure the car didn't have any weird noises at high speeds, and to see what the turbo felt like/see if it was working, I nearly floored it from 40mph, and reached 75 or so in about 4.5 seconds. I like the kick that the turbo delivers... it does make it a more fun car to drive.
When I first got the car from the dealership yesterday, I was thinking to myself "This is what those websites/people were talking about when they said it's a smooth, speedy, fun to drive car??" It was kind of dragging, not gaining speed easily.. I had to press the gas harder, and it took longer for it to inch up.
Shortly thereafter, the low fuel alert chimed (which I like, actually... because sometimes I wouldn't see that my gas light was already on in my Hyundai and I'd have to guess at when it came on to see how much time I had to get to a gas station), and when I put the 93-Level fuel in it, it made a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE. The car ran with about 200% more responsiveness.
I don't know what they had in the tank that made the car so lifeless before, but I was delighted to find that there was a much spunkier/sportier car under there. I recall thinking "I would get a part time job solely to pay for maintenance/repairs on this car, NO PROBLEM." LOL. So... I think it's safe to say that I do indeed like the A4.
Oh one last thing, it really eats up gas - compared to my 35 MPG highway Hyundai Accent GL - It really doesn't even feel like it's been getting the 27 or so MPG highway that's in the specs, but I have been using the heat and/or heated seats, and in the day time, the sun roof.. which would both take at least a small toll on gas I think.
I like the fog lights. It has all the stuff that I've admired in other cars, as I drove in my (dependable, but simple) Hyundai. I will really think that taking out a $12k loan to get it will be worth it, if it treats me half as good as I plan to treat it.
** One other thing... I don't like how it lags when going from 0 to 40 or 45... but I like how it's a breeze to speed up to 80 from 40 or so. Maybe that's just my Audi, I don't know. It's probably good for a 1.8 turbo engine. I don't really have anything to compare it to, since I've never driven a turbo or a V6 (well, I probably drove a V6 when driving someone else's car, but I wasn't speeding or taking notes as to how quickly their car sped up). Also, this car is apparently expensive to get a used car warranty on. But my insurance went down by about $8 per month, thanks to its safety/security features **
Thanks for reading, and I'll be back to give you further updates.
UPDATE: I have experienced the car in the rain, and it didn't slip once. I pushed it to 40 to 60, and didn't slow down around the curves, and it remained stable. It was quite impressive.
The braking felt/feels so controlled. Like each wheel was being slowed to a lesser speed electronically.. versus for example, on a bike, where the slowing totally depends on the tightness of the rubber brake against the wheel. Although, today I found out that apparently the ABS (and possibly the traction control) has not been on due to the control module being blown, so I guess I was lucky; I won't try that again.
I had noticed some loose paint/rushing look when I was about to leave the tiny dealership with the Audi - days after I had paid for it. I told the guy there that I hadn't noticed that before, and he said I could just do some touch up paint there and that it's no big deal. It's at about 5 different spots, like under the driver's side mirror.
Days later, today, I went to an Audi dealer and asked them about the ABS light, which is on in conjunction with a flashing BRAKE light, and I also asked about the paint, thinking that maybe it was rusting, and in which case, would be covered by the warranty. The guy was pretty nice (versus the guy at a different Audi dealership, who kept pressing that I would need to do the initial $150 inspection before they could tell me anything). He told me immediately that the ABS/Brake light was due to a messed up control module, and that it would cost about $2000 to fix, at the lowest $1,300 he said.
I asked him about the paint, and he took a look and said "no, that's not rust. This car was re-painted" I said "What? Really? So do you think it was in an accident then?" He said either that, or someone keyed the car or something. I told him that the CARFAX was clean (it said something like the previous owner was an auction though.. which I didn't worry about because I know that some auction cars are perfectly fine, but were just repossessed). He said that the car should not have even passed the Virginia inspection if the ABS/Brake lights were on, and that I could sue the dealership I got the car from, to in essence to get the money to pay for the ABS module.
Another Audi A4 had pulled up and he said "You see, you can see the difference in the paint quality from your car to her car". I was like "Yeah, it is a different color" - they were both silver, but different tints. You can see the silver paint underneath the small areas of peeling paint, but I didn't know that it automatically meant that it was repainted... I thought that maybe that was just the first-coat, or just how it looks under the paint... it's not like I had encountered that situation before.
But anyway, I don't feel like suing anybody. I told the Audi guy that the main thing I'm worried about is the car's function, and it's been driving very well.
I found out about 2 days ago, that my back passenger side window doesn't work properly. It will roll down fine, but on the way up - 60% up, it will stop, then quickly roll back down. I have to just keep pulling the lever in the up direction, and counteract the down motion, and eventually it comes up. The other windows work, although, sometimes the driver's side window goes up and down automatically - 90% of the time, and other times, it goes down bit by bit/non-auto. I don't know if that's normal or not.
I also found out that the "Rattling" coming from the back speaker (which was slightly present during the test drive) was due to it being blown, not due to some small adjustment that could be done (I was thinking maybe it just needed to be stabilized or something). A guy at a store called Tweeter told me that. He was very helpful. I had initially asked NTB about it, and the guy there said they don't do audio stuff, but that I could go to Best Buy or Tweeter. I described the problem to Best Buy, and the guy told me that it's $30/hour for them to "diagnose" it, but that I'd have to come back the next day. He probably knew exactly what the problem was as soon as I described it, but wanted to make money. I told him I'd be back in the morning (and I did intend to).
I wanted to at least try Tweeter, so I eventually found one, and that's when I found out that it was a blown speaker. The guy said "Okay, turn on the radio and let me hear it. Your speaker's blown. Oh and these are Bose speakers too... that's gonna cost a lot more. We only sell aftermarket speakers here. Your best bet would be go online.. to eBay or something, and try to find some for cheap. Then you can bring them here and I can do the installation for you. But you have to make sure that you get a Bose speaker that's specifically for the rear, left side of a 1999 Audi A4. I can disconnect that speaker for you if you want, so you won't hear that noise anymore". As of the other day, the other speaker back there started rattling. So I guess I need 2 speakers now.
I wish that the music/climate control instrument panel was not so wide, and that it was positioned more toward the driver's side, so I wouldn't have to lean forward/across as much... especially the fast forward button, which lets you skip a track on a CD (it's the button that's furthest away as I recall). I have yet to find/read about the replay button, if it's even offered.
I do like the length of the trunk, and how the car feels the same at 90 mph as it does at 40 mph - a stable, smooth ride. No wind noise. But the engine does make an "Unnn" sound/hum... which is present at any speed... but it gets progressively louder as the speed increases (it's not exactly loud, but you can easily hear it). Even when I level out at 70 and I'm not trying to go any faster, I still hear it. It's been like that since I bought it. Is that sound normal?
I also wish that the volume button was further out. The volume button is the circular on/off button, which can be used when the button is in the out position (you push it in and it becomes flush with the instrument panel, push it in again and it pops out about 1/4 of an inch). I would prefer for the volume to be adjusted by "pushing" rather than by turning a short, slick, plastic knob.
I mentioned earlier in this review, that the Audi didn't get good gas mileage. After I typed that, I checked the tire pressure.. it was only at about 26 all around. The recommended amount is 32 all around. I bought a small digital tire pressure gauge from Wal-Mart, found a functioning gas station air pump, and got the tires to 31-32. The gas mileage may have improved some, but not "noticeably". I was/am getting 15-16 MPG in the city.. I didn't calculate the MPG for the interstate, but it was much better.. probably 25 MPG or so.
Probably the main thing that I really don't like about the car (not taking into account the few malfunctioning parts, etc) is that Audi decided to make the A4 with an ANALOG clock, which is in a pretty inconspicuous place - toward the RPM gauge - and is a rather small scale. It irked me, so I had to go buy a digital clock. I know how to read analog and all, but when I'm driving, I don't want to have to look at the "hands", I just want the time, right there, in my face, at a glance. So anyway, I picked up a small digital clock from Wal-Mart, but the sticky pads on the back won't stay stuck to the car's surfaces.
I can't get enough of the sunroof, although I'm afraid a bird will poop on me while it's open.
I have read the Audi A4's manual pretty thoroughly, and I think I have a good understanding of how to operate the temperature controls. I keep it on the Economy setting to save gas. I usually put it at like 80-85 degrees, but at a low intensity blowing of air - 1 or 2 bars. According to the manual, the Economy setting makes it so that the car no longer self-adjusts the temperature, but that's exactly what my car does. When I have it at 1 or 2 bars, it will suddenly increase to 6 or 8 bars - which is a higher intensity blowing of air. I'm thinking that that's a flaw, like the passenger side back window. But those things aren't a big deal. I will get those things fixed when I am in a financial position to do so. What I'm worried about is getting the ABS control module fixed/replaced.
If I remember or encounter anything else, I'll type another update.