By on January 2, 2008

eminence-front.jpgBuying an Audi sedan without Quattro all wheel-drive is like dating a Swedish brunette. That said, there’s nothing wrong with the right brunette, Bergman movies notwithstanding. And Audi makes and sells plenty of products where only the front wheels are driven, from economy cars to its aufwendig TT. In fact, Audi’s UK website proudly proclaims “a front-wheel-drive car is in principle more controllable and tracks better than conventional rear-wheel drive.” OK then, in advance of the all-new A4 headed our way in '09, let’s have a look at the Audi A4 2.0T and see if we can get past the FWD thing.

Under the guidance of northern Italian designer Walter de’Silva, Audi’s products preserve the straight, clean lines that BMW and Mercedes abandoned in pursuit of Picasso-esque titillations. The A4 maintains the simplicity of form and absence of affectation that has marked this marque’s models for decades. It’s proof positive that Audi understands understatement like Ferrari groks glamor.

Except for the A4’s chrome-lined Billy the Big Mouth Bass front grill. The grill takes up nearly the entire vertical span of the A4’s front fascia, interrupted by a slim piece of Euro-plate accommodating plastic (think local, screw America). The snout is Audi’s iDrive: a huge mistake its maker refuses to rectify. Like a tribal tattoo on a cheerleader’s bum, the grill is the one detail that almost ruins an otherwise clean image. Almost. 

euro-int.jpgThe A4’s interior has no such Achilles heel. The design is two steps forwards, one step back; the splendid red-on-red gauge read-outs are back, along with the square steering locus and the all-work-no-play center stack. The A4’s quality materials continue to defend and extend Audi’s rep for haptic happiness, with controls that snick with precisely measured sensual satisfaction. 

Of course, no one’s perfect. A garish, silver piece of trim bisected my test A4’s interior; presumably inspired by a bath tub ring. Worse, the A4’s rear accommodations are still cramped enough to make an A4 owner covet a relatively measly Malibu. If your passengers are neither large or numerous, the A4’s handsome cabin remains the standard to which all other automobile manufacturers can– and do– aspire.

Crank-up the A4’s two-liter turbo-four, and its sonic signature is to a BMW six what a garage band is to Led Zeppelin. Once underway, Audi’s 200-horse powerplant displays minimal turbo-lag and stumps-up enough twist to keep on keeping on on the highway. Enough is enough, but no more; the 3428 pound A4 is no pocket rocket. That's partly because the front wheel-drive A4 I tested came with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission)– no "proper" autobox is available. In any case, the sprint from rest to sixty takes about eight seconds. 

side.jpgSavvy pistonheads will know this relative sloth indicates a struggle between maximizing mpgs and providing enough get-and-go to keep up with the luxury car-equipped Joneses– where fuel economy prevails. As a result, unless you’re a hypermiler, the A4’s force-fed four-pot feels a bit hyperactive underfoot; slightly out-of-synch with entirely understandable upmarket expectations of seamless and serene forward progress.

Bereft of the weight of the Quattro gubbins, the A4 should bring something of that “improved traction” to the game. Should, but doesn’t. While the A4 offers an excellent balance between law enforcement-compatible handling and premium price-compliant ride comfort, and the brakes are as dependable as a federal tax collector, even a sport-package equipped A4 lacks anything like a Golf GTI’s fluidity at speed.

With a wishbone upfront and independent suspension at the rear, a well and truly caned A4 dismisses surface imperfections to maintain its course. But it’s still very much an Audi: a nose-heavy beast with only slightly more steering feel than a radio controlled model car. One giant road dip in a tight right-hander reminds us that the Audi A4 remains the long distance commuter’s sports sedan. 

rear.jpgIs this a problem? Truth be told, the majority of a non-Quattro A4’s 2.0T’s eventual owners will never push their upscale motor vehicle past three-tenths, never mind eight-tenths. They’ll never know– or care– how the A4’s handling can’t hold a corner to a BMW or a Cadillac CTS. They’re more interested in the inherent advantages of front wheel-drive during occasional bouts of inclement weather. As Audi’s excellent traction control program will take care of the daunting snow banks in the Costco parking lot, Quattro need not apply.

Well good for them. For such average Joes, the A4’s good looks and superior interior make it an entirely defensible choice. But that doesn’t change the fact that Quattro is Audi’s Unique Selling Point; the compensation for not buying a more dynamically engaging car. An A4 2.0T sans all wheel-drive is nothing more than a comfortable, boring sedan that gets reasonable mileage. Sure the A4 is a good car in and of its own accord, but I’d rather have an Accord. 

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58 Comments on “2008 Audi A4 2.0T Review...”


  • avatar
    gakoenig

    The Audi bits of this review were interesting, but using a Caddy (paired with a BMW) as the handling benchmark is quite fascinating.

  • avatar

    NOTE: The editor (me) was confused as to the exact model tested. Mr. Syed tested the ’08 A4 2.0T, NOT the new ’09 model.

    My bad.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Hooray for the CTS. If GM could only fire half the upper echelon (doesn’t matter who, fire ‘em all and let the market sort ‘em out) maybe they won’t go flying off the cliff.

  • avatar
    JJ

    I had my driving lessons in two different A4s, a 1.9TDI and a 2.5 V6 TDI Avant. Both were front wheel drive.

    The V6 had some more power and sport suspension, but well, given the circumstances, I couldn’t really use that to its full potential, obviously.

    Also, it had sports seats with some kind of alcantara upholstery that I didn’t like and it seemed like those seats were quite high of the ground and couldn’t go down enough. I also didn’t like the 6 speed gearbox.

    All in all, I liked the almost stock 1.9 TDI with its 5 speed gearbox and plastic steering wheel (no leather steering wheel) better. Although once, the lack of power became quite obvious when I had to accelerate from 0 directly onto the highway (very strange situation with an onramp right before a bridge in combination with a crowded 2 lane highway). That was fun though, as far as driving lessons are fun, when you have to pay about 2000 Euros…

    Anyway, although at the time I had no real comparison to any other cars, I quite liked the driving experience of the car(s).

  • avatar
    AKM

    In the US in particular, I don’t get the point of the A4 2.0T FWD. In that case, why not get an A3: It handles just as well if not better (cf. Samir’s GTI comment), is lighter while being almost as roomy, and you can get the wonderful DSG. The only drawback is a slightly inferior interior, and, for some, no sedan body (although I personally find a hatchback better in every respect).

    Audi should probably keep all its A4s quattro to make a good point, and use the engine from the S3 (250hp I4). Now that one would be more like a proper sports sedan, and could run with an Acura.

  • avatar
    andyinsdca

    I drove an A4 before buying my 325i. I wanted a stick-shift and the A4 has the absolutely horrid/evil drive-by-wire throttle/gas pedal which provides ZERO feedback to your right foot. I told the salesman as much and went off to a BMW dealer to get a drivable stick shift.

  • avatar

    For aural pleasure in an Audi, you need the eight. As in S4, or RS4.

    I agree on the nose-heaviness. In my hands, Audis have always pushed toward the curb when taking turns aggressively. The 2009′s revised powertrain layout is supposed to help.

    Reliability has been a weakness of older A4s. In TrueDelta’s research, the current generation has had a relatively low repair rate–so far. But they could take a turn for the worse at some point–which is the purpose for having prompt quarterly updates. Next one in February.

    Current set:

    http://www.truedelta.com/results0907.php

  • avatar

    AKM – forget the A3

    why not get a passat?

    FWD, identical engine, $10,000 less.

  • avatar

    Audi’s products preserve the straight, clean lines that BMW and Mercedes abandoned in pursuit of Picasso-esque titillations.

    How long will it take BMW and Mercedes to figure this out? Z4 Coupes are being offered by my local dealer at $13,000 off MSRP, while Caymans appear to be commanding full list. The Z4 is arguably a worthy competitor to the Porsche, but no one is buying. I recently saw a new S-class parked behind a new LS-460, and the S-class looked decidedly downmarket, almost Korean by comparison. Fish-mouth aside, Audi practices a wonderful blend of styling minimalism.

    By the way, I note that the band of aluminum in the Audi is at least positioned so that there remains a chance of some cushioning for the driver’s left leg in spirited driving; unfortunately, this is not the case in the 335i.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Samir, Interesting read and compelling conclusion. I too have wondered what the appeal is of a European FWD sport sedan. Seems almost sacrilege or (gulp) Japanese. Other than price and size, is this car really a competitor to a G35 or 328i? Seems like it’s a closer competitor to a TSX and Subaru Leg sedan.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Good review. Audi seems to be risking its brand reputation with this model. They should make quattro and DSG standard on the A4, mated with the more aggressive 2.0 that AKM mentioned.

    Otherwise, it’s a small, slow ES330, minus the Toyota quality. Why bother?

  • avatar
    timoted

    Nice review, I guess this may be the car to own if you live in Maine or somewhere where there is considerable snowfall otherwise I can see numerous reasons to look elsewhere for a ride for less money and more horses under the hood without the dreaded CVT.

  • avatar
    Lantern42

    I’ve always liked the A4′s styling and driving feel…but without Quattro there’s no way I’d consider it over an Acura TL. Now, the S4 on the other hand…

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    The A4 isn’t much of a car without Quattro. FWD only exists to get entry lux buyers into the brand. With the successful A3 available as Audi’s entry level car, I don’t think there’s any point for Audi to even offer the A4 with FWD. The B6/B7 platform has been around since late 01. With the new platform on its way very soon, I’m not sure the point of reviewing a lame-duck seven year old base car… except to reinforce the reality that FWD has no place on a luxury sedan.

  • avatar

    TTAC will review any car for sale as new at the time of publication. If it’s a lame duck, we usually mention the fact.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Can’t say I’d recommend an A4 FWD but the AWD one makes a reasonable daily driver. It’s also a turbo four that can gain an extra 30-50hp fairly easy. It will depreciate faster than a 328i at least as far as I’ve seen so not good for buying used but a 1-2 year old A4 AWD would be a nice choice.

    Also design/style is subjective. Some love the Audi grill some won’t. Some love bangle BMW’s and some don’t. I for one like both, but then I’m a designer so that’s probably why.

  • avatar

    jkross22: The TSX is a great comparison.

  • avatar
    cynder

    For the kind of scratch Audi wants for the 2.0T FWD, you could get into a Subaru Legacy 2.5GT Limited. It comes with Quattro Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and probably much more reliable for the long haul.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I drove a 98 a4 quattro which was an amazing handler, especially in the snow, but the biggest drawback I found was that it was very cramped. My elbows didn’t seem to fit anywhere. I’m 6′ and 185 lbs. not small, but not a really big guy either. Did anyone else find this to be the case? Put another way, I’ve also been in civics, corollas and integras which all felt a great deal more comfortable and larger on the inside.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I think a 2.0T FWD Avant would have merit compared to other wagon offerings in the near luxury segment, yet they don’t offer the Avant without Quattro. Who decides such things? The sedan buyer is a different animal. I agree that without Quattro the A4 isn’t competitive against the Japanese FWD offerings.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Samir and Cynder have hit the nail on the head -the A4 maybe a nice car but it is overpriced compared to its competition. It may have a Euro-badge but ultimately the A4 competes with all other mid-size FWD sedans. This becomes even more obvious once you see the the Euro-badge doesn’t save you from stiff depreciation and a patchy reliability record. For those looking for a sporty commuter car, the Accord, TSX and even Altima are much more sensible choices.

  • avatar
    beken

    Well, I don’t know what to say. We (my wife and I) are in the market for a sport sedan or wagon. We’re not in a major hurry so we have the luxury to time to consider all our options. So far we’ve driven a Camry, (new) Accord, Altima, Passat, Legacy, 3-series, Taurus, CTS*, A4. The CTS gets an asterisk because we were only benchmarking. We currently own a Buick and it has caused us to sware off of the domestics. And we did try both the A4 FWD and the A4 Quattro both with the 2.0T.

    My wife likes the A4 2.0T Quattro Avant the best of all of them….regardless of what car enthusiasts say on TTAC or any other blog. I would think the FWD version with CVT are being brought in to meet a specific market demand.

  • avatar

    beken: make sure you test drive the Infiniti G35. Available in RWD or AWD.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Like the author—I think the A4′s interior is best-in-class.

    But the 2.0T’s reliability is another issue. lest I be accused of only pointing out the sludge issue on Toyota models—–the 2.0T on VW and Audi models has had pretty bad sludge issues. I don’t have the statistics—but I bet on a # sold ratio—-that the problem is bigger for VW than Toyota.

    To wit—my friend in Maryland had an ’03 A4 2.0T that experienced the engine sludge problem. Because he hadn’t had the oil changed within 7500 miles—they stuck him with the $2500 bill even though the car was under warranty. While I do not defend his lack of proper maintenance—it calls into question the resileince of the 2.0T engine as well as Audi’s willingness to work with him on an amicable solution. Oh BTW—-my friend was so disgusted with the way Audi (VW) treated him that he now owns a 2008 Acura TL.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “TTAC will review any car for sale as new at the time of publication. If it’s a lame duck, we usually mention the fact.”

    Not a criticism, just an observation. There are endless reviews of the 6cyl and S4, so it’s refreshing to read a review of the base version of this car…even if it’s reached the end of its shelf-life. Looking forward to a comprehensive review of the upcoming A4.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    I had friend who ‘forgot’ change oil on his Maxima for over 17,000 miles. That car ran with out any problems till he sold it at 60k mile. Shows how horrible Audi engineering is when compared to Japanese.

    The 2.0T is an engineering marvel. German cars are taxed based on engine size, so there is an incentive for VW/Audi to use small displacement turbocharged engines to improve performance. The downside of getting more from less is more stringent maintenance requirements and a very specific oil spec. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy an Audi because of the engine since I understand what must be done to take care of it and it’s not that hard. But as a former Passat owner, it is the car’s electronics that would really worry me over time.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “Shows how horrible Audi engineering is when compared to Japanese.”

    At least on my Audi with the 4.2, the recommended service was 5k for the first service and 10k after that. I don’t know what the schedule is for the 2.0 four cylinder. Regardless, I’d be surprised if the engine sludged after one missed oil change. On any small turbocharged engine, it’s more important to stick to the recommended maintenance schedule. Once every 5,000 or 10,000 miles is reasonable for even the most forgetful person. Neither the Maxima or the Acura have turbo engines. Toyota engines, on the other hand, won’t hesitate to sludge even without a turbo.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Drifter my friend never changed his oil on his Toyota Corolla (he is from Africa and naive about oil change)but when I told him he as to change oil every 3,000 miles he panic. He went for an oil change. the oil was like a black honey. thicker than you can imagine. Toyota just did an engine flush and oil changed and the car is still running as I write this comment. Japanese engineering indeed.

  • avatar
    davant

    There was no 2.0T in the 2003 model year that umterp85 refers to. The 2.0T appeared in the 2005.5 udpate of the A4. The 1.8T available in the 2003 model did indeed have “sludge” issues but the 2.0T seems to be holding up well. It has been on Ward’s 10 Best Engines list more than once and the 2.0T A4 has “average” reliablitiy according to Consumer Reports and remains a recommended model.

  • avatar
    umterp85

    Strippo: “The downside of getting more from less is more stringent maintenance requirements and a very specific oil spec. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy an Audi because of the engine since I understand what must be done to take care of it and it’s not that hard.”

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you as I change my oil frequently and did so on my ’99 Passat 2.0t….the engine had no problems.

    That said—Audi could incent proper oil maintenance through the same methods used by BMW. First, they could have an internal trigger to “tell” Joe/Jane driver that an oil change is due—my 3 series had this and I found it helpful….I don’t think the Audi has this. Second—they could cover oil changes through the warranty period….BMW does this as well. If these measures are good enough for luxury auto maker BMW—why are they not a good idea for luxury automaker Audi ?

    But—-I believe Audi have a VW mentality when it comes to the consumer—-and it ain’t very good. Net, why wouldn’t you incent the consumer to change their oil on a car that you know will have problems if the oil isn’t regularly changed ? Answer—they don’t have the consumer at the heart. Probably the same reason they told my friend to screw himself and pay-up on the $2500+ repair bill even though the car is under warranty.

  • avatar
    Martin Woodman

    Well, the A4 with FWD may seem a bit odd for a luxury automaker like Audi but what about the A6 with FWD and a 140hp diesel engine they sell in Europe; I don’t think you can even spec it with AWD and problably it couldn’t get out of it’s own way with it. The thing is that they are everywhere, you can get a mid size sedan with an equivalent engine from any brand thousands cheaper and still they sell a lot of them. Maybe this speaks of the brand recognition Audi has procured itself lately but I can’t really get myself around it.

  • avatar
    antiriad

    Engine sludge pictures from a 2001 Camry V6 with 8700 miles.

  • avatar
    Nopanegain

    An A4 2.0T sans all wheel-drive is nothing more than a comfortable, boring sedan that gets reasonable mileage. Sure the A4 is a good car in and of its own accord, but I’d rather have an Accord.

    Samir, my wife was in the same boat. She has a long commute and fuel economy is important. After comparing this model with the Accord and Altima, unlike you, she had to splurge for the Audi and its nice smelling leather. She is very happy with her 08 2.0T, especuially since it comes in Bitch (brilliant) Red. I enjoy driving it too- the CVT ain’t that bad!

  • avatar
    slodog

    As an A4 owner, (2.0T, FWD, 6-spd manual, I must say that AWD is very over-rated.

    I test drove both FWD and AWD Audi’s. I own an AWD Subaru. I cannot tell a big difference when driving.

    What you get for AWD is more cost, more weight, worse fuel economy. And a Quattro badge.

    As fuel economy gets more important with increasing gas prices, I predict you will see less preference for AWD cars.

  • avatar
    BlisterInTheSun

    I hate the Auto Union front end as well.

    Nice review. I like the allusion to the bathtub ring.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    I’ve had two of the A4′s as well as a 1st generation Audi A8…. a few observations.

    An A4 Quattro is an absolutely joy to driving along the winding mountainous roads of North Georgia. The car literally sticks in a way that no other vehicle in this class will; especially when there is inclement weather.

    The maintenance cost??? Oy! One of the two I had went through over $8000 worth of maintenance at the dealership including the obligatory blown engine. After I sold it the turbocharger bit the bullet less than 5000 miles later. But then again, it was sold to a teenager whose only real understanding of cars stemmed from the phony tuner scene you see in the movies. I still remember being able to hear the damn stereo while I was inside my house with his parents going over the bill of sale.

    Funny thing was that the doors to the Audi were actually closed at the time. That’s how loud he blasted the radio.

    On the flip side, if I were going to pursue the higher end of the market Audi would be right at the top of the list. There simply isn’t a high performance Audi that has been an ‘also ran’ when it comes to daily driving. You can go as fast as you want, for as long as you want, and the Audi will keep up with you (and even forgive you at times) so long as you’re willing to keep up with it’s needs.

    Audis and Porsches to me are the absolute cream of the crop. There’s just something about the way they drive that makes me willing to pay the money. … just not on the low end (which doesn’t really exist for a Porsche these days).

  • avatar
    tsgtsfitz

    The A4 was on the list to be test driven until my buddies that own them told me some of the issues the where having after the warranty had expired. For instance: 2005 A4 needing a new fuel tank and A6 clutch replaced twice in 1 year(though) this may be due to the driver. In any case what really got me was the prices to fix these things were outrageous even from the non dealer specialist. The guy that owned the A4 has only owned Audis and he still swears by them. He just accepts the fact that they may break more often and cost more to repair. My other buddy (former BMW owner) with the A6 says this is his last German car ever.
    I drove everything under the sun before I settled for my 06 Legacy. They are giving away 08 Legacy’s for 2 grand under invoice (25k). With the exception of the label snobs who else would buy this. They only thing the Audi has over the Subie is a higher quality interior (the 06 Legacy interior is very cheap feeling though most editors say otherwise).

  • avatar
    vento97

    the 2.0T on VW and Audi models has had pretty bad sludge issues. I don’t have the statistics—but I bet on a # sold ratio—-that the problem is bigger for VW than Toyota.

    If you did your research, you would realize that the sludge issues were related to the old 1.8T engine, not the current 2.0T.

    To wit—my friend in Maryland had an ‘03 A4 2.0T that experienced the engine sludge problem. Because he hadn’t had the oil changed within 7500 miles—they stuck him with the $2500 bill even though the car was under warranty.

    You mean an ’03 1.8T. The 2.0T debuted in the 2nd half of 2005.

    Your friend got what he deserved – what part of “changing oil within 7500 miles” didn’t he get???

    Many car owners pay more attention to these stupid mind control gadgets (navigation systems, iPods, Sync, Bluetooth, Blackberries, etc.) than they do in correctly driving the vehicle, much less pay attention to maintaining it. And when something goes wrong – they revert to what is now the “Great American Pasttime” – find someone to blame (sue) for their lack of common sense and personal responsibility.

    I prefer to keep my full attention to the road and avoid said devices – that way I’m prepared to take evasive action in the event that I encounter any IDIOT who uses these devices WHILE DRIVING…

    Car warranties are well and good – but the owner has to fulfill HIS/HER end of the bargain by having the car serviced within the intervals set by the manufacturer. That’s why they supply an owner’s manual with the vehicle.

  • avatar
    vento97

    AKM – forget the A3

    why not get a passat?

    FWD, identical engine, $10,000 less.

    Sorry – but your assumptions are not entirely correct.

    The only similarity between the two cars is the 2.0T engine. That’s where the similarities end:

    Audi – Longitudinal mounted engine.

    Passat – Transverse mounted engine. Chassis now based on the Rabbit/Jetta platform, not the Audi platform the previous generation Passat was based on.

  • avatar
    vento97

    Net, why wouldn’t you incent the consumer to change their oil on a car that you know will have problems if the oil isn’t regularly changed ?

    I guess Audi assumes some intelligence on the part of the car owner. They guessed wrong…

  • avatar
    ra_pro

    The problem is not when the oil is not regularly changed but when it is, when the customer follows the maintenance schedule, and yet the engine develops sludge. That’s the reason the sludge has become such an issue. I know specifically this is the case with Saab, VW, Audi, not sure about Toyota. Many new cars have recommended oil changes not every 3K miles but 5,7,10K miles and often the recommended oil is basic or semi-synthetic not full synthetic.

    I have seen a picture of BMW 740 engine with a lot less than 100K miles on it completely covered on the inside with sludge and the owner swore that he followed the exact oil change intervals as suggested by BMW.

    BTW the review of the new A4 can be seen here

  • avatar
    BEAT

    AWD doesn’t make any difference on snow. It doesn’t really help except if you are stuck a feet of snow. It is just a regular car with AWD on it. Do you think you won’t spin on icy road or heavy snow. try stopping an AWD drive when your spinning. Oh boy your throat will be on your fore head. Just like those arrogant people who drives GMC or 4 Runner trucks try stopping your truck on heavy snow and while your spinning.

    Mother Nature is always the winner.

    by the way people who drives 5 feet behind me are morons especially in New England.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    As the driver of a newer GTI, i can tell you that the maintenance reminder is one of the most gawdawful annoying features on the whole vehicle. Starting at about 1000 miles before the service is due, every time you start up the car it flashes you a message. As you get closer, it pings at you along with the message. Very, very irritating. But after the 5k and 10k services, services are only every 10k after that. I’ll have to look at the ‘tex and see what they have to say about the oil change interval. I would guess that Audi would have similar reminders for the A4, given that my lowly VW has them.

    Yes, Japanese cars can run forever, and go years without oil changes. But as soon as you’re talking about a turbocharged engine, the game changes. The engines run much hotter and the oil breaks down much faster, hence you actually *need* to change the oil more frequently. You’re comparing apples to supermodels as soon as you compare a typical japanese 4-banger engine to a turbo anything. Not that apples aren’t great, but the supermodel is always going to be higher maintenance.

    Edit: Checked the vortex (http://forums.vwvortex.com), yes, sludge is a big problem in 1.8T longitudinally mounted engines. You have to use synthetic to stave off the problem, but it allegedly also related to the sump and/or oil filter being too small for the capacity (transversely mounted 1.8T engines did not show the same problem except in cases of extreme neglect). So depending on what you were doing — synthetic + 10k oil changes = okay, regular + <5k oil changes = maybe okay, but regular + 10k oil changes = sludge — you could be in the clear. And they were supposed to fix it unless there was obvious neglect involved. But generally speaking, you should use synthetic oil in turbo engines regardless of who makes them unless you change your oil very frequently, are leasing the car and have a great warranty, or enjoy tempting fate. Like I mentioned, turbos run *much* hotter and break down the oil much faster, and it’s not as much of a problem with synthetics as it is with regular oil.

  • avatar
    mlbrown

    AWD does make a difference in the snow. If you’re driving in slippery conditions and jam on the brakes, or hit some nasty ice, you will slide…no matter what you drive.

    But spend a few minutes learning what AWD can do for you in that situation and you’ll find it can help you maintain control and avoid a spin altogether.

    AWD’s main benefit in the snow, however, is the fact that you will never get stuck. On dry roads, I think it has better grip and just has a better feel than FWD,which in many cars tends to feel wobbly. In hard cornering, you can feel the rear wheels helping you out, too.

    -Matt

  • avatar
    mlbrown

    I’m going to pick up my Impreza from the auto glass place now…I had to have my windshield replaced…It was broken by a rock thrown by a snowplow I passed.

    -Matt
    Conn./Mass.

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    AWD’s main benefit in the snow, however, is the fact that you will never get stuck.

    A ha ha hahaaahahahahaaa… tell that to all the morons I saw in the ditches every winter in Nebraska. They seemed pretty darn stuck to me. My parents’s 4WD Explorer managed to get stuck in mud and in snow, at least once with the former and twice with the latter. If the snow is deep enough and you can’t get traction, you’re not going anywhere. Which is why I’m a big advocate of snow tires over AWD.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    Of course you can get stuck in snow with AWD. And having all four wheels driving the car doesn’t help it stop any better. But all things equal, AWD is better than just 2 wheel drive. And in the rain, there’s no question that AWD stays planted to the road better. The reality is, if a system like this keeps you out of just one accident or one snow bank, it’s paid for itself. There’s a reason Subarus and Audis are popular rally cars.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Like I wrote before Audi’s introduced the AWD to the Rally world but Mitsubishi Evolution and Subaru WRX Sti perfected the AWD with Yaw control (that is invented by Mitsu) but Audi hasn’t been winning the Paris to Dakar Rally event for a long time and the same with the Subaru’s. If you watch Top Gear they compared the three manufacturers on their own close circuit speedway in England. The Evo 8 or 9 was the best of the best when it comes to 65 mph curve turns and drag racing. The Audi and Subaru lack those ability to perform well especially with lots of under steer and over steer. I am not the driver who did the test ask “Stig” (the english guy with white racing suit). Top Gear usually put those cars to the extreme performance in how they really perform. Funny part of that show that they really don’t like Mazda’s and oh my god just see how Mazda performed on that circuit. You don’t wanna see it except for Mazda RX-7. Mitsubishi perfected this under steer and over steer for years and now they are perfecting the design of their cars to more sharky and Aerodynamic capability. Have you seen a Evo X lately in person? Your Jaw will drop just like seeing a Swedish Brunette that grew up in Japan.
    I drive a 2008 Lancer. I know the review was not so great on TTAC but driving the Lancer is not being “Finesse” (per AKILEZ) you have to treat it very rough in order for it to perform well.

    Believe it or not!!!

    You may see those video I think in You Tube.(JUST SEARCH FOR Subaru,Audi versus Evo)
    But the hosts of Top Gear prefer the Subaru WRX Sti because of the Manly smell when you drive it and they way it looks just like a testosterone level that morphed into a Car but not for me I am still for performance not looks a sleeper kind of thing and I hate Subies by the way.

  • avatar
    Skooter

    0 to 60 in 8 seconds? No thanks.

  • avatar
    muffinman

    umterp85 – do you have some kind of vendetta against Audi? Please stop spreading mis-information.

    To clear up a couple points, an automatic A4 QUATTRO comes with a TIPTRONIC transmission *NOT* CVT (CVT is only for FWD models in the Audi line)

    Also, the engine sludge isssue is NO LONGER A FACTOR in the newer 2.0T engines. They *were* an issue in the older 1.8T A4′s… your friend does *NOT* have a 2.0T

    carguy – I truly wonder how much research you have done before proclaiming the A4 as “overpriced” compared to its competition. Buyers considering the Accord and the Altima typically do not consider A4′s, 3-series, C-Class, etc. The A4′s competition is other “compact” near-luxury cars like the aforementioned 3-series and C-class… compare those cars and tell me the A4 is not a great value.

    I did a TON of cross-shopping between the 325/328i and A4 this past summer (frequenting Bimmer and Audi enthusiast boards) and hands-down, the A4 is the better value. You can easily get a new A4 quattro AWD with leather, powered, heated seats for the price of a stripper 328i (vinyl, manual, non-heated seats, no AWD, etc.)

    I’m not arguing that the Accord, Altima is the more “sensible” value but sometimes, the heart wants a little more ;) Why buy a Rolex and you can get the more sensible Timex for a fraction of the price?

  • avatar
    mlbrown

    Megan, plenty of morons up here in New England, too. And I think I’d be hard pressed to find a non-quattro Audi up here. The newspaper pictures of all the winter wrecks are usually of 4WD trucks and Jeeps that find themselves way off the highway. I guess it just goes to show that what’s behind the wheel is just as important as how many wheels are being driven.

    Seven New England winters in my AWD, and I’ve never been stuck…and I have to be at work no matter what…I don’t even have to shovel my driveway anymore. As a matter of fact, I’ve never been stuck in the snow to the point where I’ve needed to be pulled out in 15 years of driving…FWD, RWD or AWD.

    But of all the cars I’ve driven, the AWD gives me the most control over the car in all conditions.

    I don’t think I’d spend for a new Audi, but if I bought an Audi of any kind, it’d be quattro. Why bother with a FWD Audi? I’d rather put snow tires on any number of other FWD or RWD cars.

    -Matt

    -Matt

  • avatar
    threeer

    Just came back from Germany for two weeks, and my driving companion was an A4 Kombi with the 2.0 TDi. Man, now I’m jonesing for that car. Very solid at 180 kp/h (actually pushed it to 200, just because). Fuel economy was impressive for the type of driving I did, and the Navi worked well once I figured it out (even got me directly to Terminal 2 at Frankfurt Airport!). Too bad that as fuel prices soar, diesel soars right with it. This would be a perfect time to introduce more diesel-powered cars, but not when diesel runs upwards of 30 cents more per gallon than regular gasoline. Here in South Carolina, I’m approaching $3/gallon (well..okay…in Germany I was paying closer to $8!). I’ll have to sit down and figure out if the increase in mileage offsets the extra penalty in paying for diesel. Anyway…slightly off-topic but I agree with the fact that Audi’s styling is crisper than anything BMW and M-B have put out in years. I’ve long since moved away from BMW and had considered buying my mother a new C-class when she retired, but after logging so much time in an Audi, I’m reconsidering…

  • avatar

    Too bad this car is 400lbs+ heavier than it should be, and that the current jetta is uglier than a wildebeest making sexy times with Hilary Clinton.

    I’m not going to defend VW or its reliability which is now on par with early 70′s British auto wiring, but the dealers are puhtzes who put standard oils into turbo motors b/c vw didn’t explicitly spec it for a while -> sludging.

  • avatar
    moto

    Okay, let’s separate the “if it ain’t rwd or quattro, don’t sell it” comments from the pack. You people have made your point, so enjoy your uber-expensive cars.

    For those who want a solid, comfortable car and really could care less about which wheels are doing the driving, and doesn’t even know what understeer is, then the fwd A4 remains a fantastic machine. Fact is, ALL fwd vehicles and even many hot AWD sedans like the WRX and Evo — are nose heavy and offer severe understeer at the limit. That’s probably not a bad thing if you don’t intend to spend all your time on the track.

    What does the A4 offer that no other compact sedan does?

    1) the interior doesn’t suck. You don’t need to get the aluminum trim, other options are available. No other car manufacturer comes even close for less than $60k.

    2) Audi reliability is well above average. VW and Audi naysayers, stop living in 1991 and look at the statistics for yourselves. Audi’s investments in their German assembly plants are really paying off.

    3) Audi now offers every bit the cachet of a Merc or BMW without having to deal with the arrogant Merc & BMW dealerships.

    4) Audi delivers design detail that no Japanese or US luxury car can offer. Sorry, Lexus IS fans, there is no comparison.

    5) one final word: Avant. That’s the wagon version that carries everything that a bloated ute can, but will give you a 30 mpg commute everyday (much more than a Subaru), and it costs less than the relatively more boring and overpriced BMW 3-series wagon. Avant = ultimate in versatility.

  • avatar
    thenicholsterr

    Did he try the “S” mode?

  • avatar
    grauaudi

    LOL!.. That’s funny!

    “Did he try the S mode?”

    To each his own.

    I have been driving either a MB, BMW or Audi since I was 16 years old. I feel blessed to drive one now.

    Praise the Lord God forever and ever, amen!..

    My 2008 Audi A4/B7 2.0T rocks and tears up the road enough for me in “S” mode.

    I mean, gee whiz, the A4 is a compact sedan!.. If someone wants more room or power, get something bigger or more powerful, duh?!.

    Best response to me was by “muffinman” about how the Audi A4 should be compared to its competition, not the Accord or Altima. So true because with all due respect, the A4 is in a total different league!

    For what the A4 offers for its price against it’s true competitors, Audi wins hands down!

    This gentleman’s (Mr. Syed) review appeared way too comical, aloof and dare I say personal.

    Again, totally happy with my 2008 A4. The only thing I regret (just a little) is not waiting for the redesigned 2009 A4 prior to purchasing.

    Just my opinion.

    Chow!

    P.S. – And to all the Audi haters who question the 2.0T engine, redo your research starting with “Ward’s 10 Best Engine List.” There is a reason it made the list in 2006, 2007 & 2008 guys…

    Vorsprung durch Technik!..

  • avatar

    Interesting I just came to check my e-mail after cleaning the snow off from a winter storm on my 2008 A4 2.0T and a new reply was posted.
    But on mine, yet another “Check Engine” light and an erratic idle. I am happy with the car but the returns to the dealership- notsomuch. I think I have to report the info to Karesh… My 2.0 liter mill is very cranky when the weather drops below freezing.

  • avatar
    grauaudi

    Shoot, Brett, I reside in south Texas (originally from Chicago) and mine got cranky when it was 40 to 50 degrees outside!.. Audi recommended that I warm up the engine longer and it worked like a charm. Go figure.

    Out of all the I4 engines out there, from 2006 to 2008 the Audi I4 2.0 TFSI engine made the Ward’s List. In 2006, only 3 of the 10 engines on the list were I4′s. In 2007 & 2008, only 2 of 10 were I4′s.

    But,

    Just because an engine is built well, you’re still going to have some duds. No engine is immune to that. Sometimes it is just bad luck. My brother and sister love Nissan and Infiniti. My brother’s ride is a 2008 Altima SL and he has had absolutely zero issues. My sister’s ride is a 2008 G35 Journey w/premium pkg and she has already had to visit the dealership 5 times since purchase – and it’s one of the highest rated cars out there!..

    On your engine, I say you make an appointment and speak with the service manager and give him a written list of all the issues you are having. Demand that he put his best person on it. If he can’t do this, complain to Audi and find another dealership. All the problems you are having should have already been fixed…

    Good luck!..

    *,..,*


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