By on March 29, 2018

If the 60 Minutes-driven fall of Audi in America was a perfect example of media activism gone wild, the brand’s Millennial resurrection was surely a perfect combination of cynical engineering and masterful marketing.

Yes, there was some genuine innovation present in the form of the aluminum-framed A8 — but it was the decidedly prosaic A4 that led the charge back to desirability. Essentially an early release of the G.O.A.T. with less room, more profit, and a variety of “Cool Shades” that looked stunning in the showroom but persisted only indifferently under the assault of the Southern sun, the A4 was a showroom success simply because it offered a credible alternative to the default-choice E36 BMW 325i. The fact that the BMW was a thoroughbred rocketship while the A4 was a slightly scaled-up Volkswagen Fox mattered not at all. By 1995, the Roundel had become more than a bit passe among the cool kids.

Fast forward 20-plus years and four generations. The A4 is neither cool nor hot nowadays. Rather, it’s the sensible-shoes sedan for people who are too proud to buy the Golf-derived A3 and too poor to buy the increasingly strident A6. It’s also a pretty good value. A front-wheel-drive, 190-horsepower “Ultra” model starts at just $36,500, while the 252-horse Quattro Premium is a tick north of forty grand. Hertz would love to sell you a used 2017 A4 2.0T Quattro Premium at a $15,000 discount. Should you bite on that? And what if you found out that the person who rented it before you bought it took it to a racetrack? Would that bother you?


Naturally, I value my relationship with Hertz far too much to drive one of their cars on a racetrack. But it just so happened that while I was attending MSF Level II Certification training, I ran into someone who had an absolutely identical A4 Quattro. So I drove that car around Thunderhill West while I left my rental ride safely in the paddock.

Before we get to that, however, let’s talk about what I learned in the course of the 350-mile roundtrip between SFO and Thunderhill. We might as well start with the two-liter turbo engine. Every time I drive one of these anonymous blown four-bangers, whether it comes from Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, or elsewhere, I can’t help but be reminded of the “eta” 2.7-liter straight-six that powered my father’s pair of 3 Series sedans 30 long years ago. Like the “eta,” the 2.0 turbo has plenty of shove at low revs but almost no “breath” once you get the engine spinning for real. BMW set the eta’s redline at 4,700 rpm to enforce “efficient” usage; today’s 2.0T engines will let you rev to six or seven grand but there’s little point in doing so.

[Get pricing on new and used Audi A4s here!]

Yet this new A4 has been on a diet and as a consequence it now boots along well enough with the two-liter. Which is good, because you can no longer have a six. At least not right now. Something you can still have: a manual transmission. But you can’t have it on a rental, obviously.

On the freeway, the A4 is eerily quiet and virtually immune to crosswinds. The interior is spacious and laid out remarkably well, with sensible analog instrumentation and a general lack of upsetting inventiveness. The operation of the MMI infotainment system is pretty much unchanged from the way it worked in my 2009 Audi S5. The plastics are reasonably soft and the seats are supportive. There’s nothing to surprise, delight, shock, or awe. It’s pretty much German business as usual. I drove both a 430i and a C300 in the days that followed my Audi rental, and in general I preferred how the Audi worked. Your mileage may vary.

Fuel economy was a vehicle-reported 33.2 mpg during mixed urban and freeway driving from San Francisco to Willows, CA. When I wanted to make a quick pass, the kickdown function of the automatic was sufficient to get me where I needed, offering up a slug of eta-style torque before quickly grabbing another gear. That automatic, by the way, is still a double-clutch “DSG.” If you want my advice, here it is: get the stick shift so you don’t have to swap the clutches in the DSG, which is expensive. Given how quickly the Germans are going back to planetary automatics that spend most of their lives with the torque converter locked, I’m surprised that Audi kept the DSG in the new generation. It’s not like it shifts particularly quickly unless you twist all the knobs and set it for Sport Everything.

Okay, enough of this messing around. Let’s get it on the track. Here’s where the genuine surprise arrives, because the A4 is just this side of brilliant as a track rat. The engine and transmission work remarkably well together in manual mode, although you won’t be tempted to run to the redline very often it at all. The brakes survived two sessions around Thunderhill West without ever letting the pedal sink to the ground. And the handling? It’s pretty, pretty good! In particular, the way in which the A4 can be coaxed into tail-out attitudes with a big mid-corner throttle lift is positively hilarious.

A session with a brand-new 3 Series BMW the next day confirmed my first impressions: this FWD Audi is more fun to drive around a road course than a RWD BMW from the same segment. It feels light on its feet, sporty, and alive. The steering is informative and granular, letting you know the moment that you’ve asked too much from the front tires. The quattro system doesn’t really feel like it’s doing a 50/50 power split but it does keep the back end working and the inside front wheel never spins under any circumstances. I had no trouble keeping up with an instructor-driven Chevy SS, although on Thunderhill’s more spacious East course that certainly would not have been the case.

In fact, this A4 reminds me quite a bit of my 2001 BMW 330i Sport. That, too, was a quiet and composed freeway hustler that was ready and willing to run around a racetrack for twenty minutes or so without losing its cool or killing its tires. On the move, it feels more BMW-like than the current four-cylinder 3 Series offerings. With a manual transmission and some high-temperature brake fluid I think it would make a stellar choice for a young professional who is going to run just the occasional novice-level trackday.

I couldn’t help but be impressed by the A4, despite the charmless two-liter and despite the fact that the A4 has always been a pretty cynical effort at separating over-compensated twenty-somethings from a lease payment. At the mechanical level, this is a solid and heartfelt effort. You could do a lot worse for the money. If you’re shopping for an entry-level German sedan, I recommend that you skip right over the transverse-engined offerings and head for the $40,500 base A4 with a manual transmission. It’s the best small Audi since… well, since ever. You could go a lot faster for the same money in a Mustang, and you could have more room, more features, and the same straight-line performance in a stick-shift Accord Touring for six grand less. But those comparisons ignore the fact that most A4 buyers are only shopping the German competition. In that company, it truly shines.

[Images: Jack Baruth/TTAC]

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99 Comments on “2017 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro Rental Review – From Hertz to the Track...”


  • avatar
    cicero1

    So would you recommend buying a 2016/17 car with less than 17K miles from Hertz?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    If you want my advice, here it is: get the stick shift so you don’t have to swap the clutches in the DSG, which is expensive.

    Lease is your friend. Dual clutch nonsense makes me weep.

    Audi without quattro makes me weep as well, they should pull a Subaru and only sell them that way.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Any long-term ownership experience amongst the B&B with dual clutches?

      I’m inclined to agree with Jack and Principle Dan here. I’ve had uniformly good experiences with post-1975 Simpson gear set/torque converter automatics. Dual cluth transmissions and CVTs are interesting to me in that they are a different way to skin the proverbial cat, but they don’t strike me as *better* for my purposes, which is mostly surface street stop and go in a city proper.

      The only non-slushbox/non-stick owners in my circle are:
      – a friend who drove a Nissan 3.5/CVT for about 8 years and 110,000 miles. No problems with it, though he started to worry as the transmission neared the end of its extended warranty.
      – a friend who had a PowerShift-equipped Focus. It never left him stranded, but it was subject to all of the recalls associated with that unit. Clearly not as good as the wet-clutch examples of the breed, but I’m curious as to the experience of someone with a *good* dual clutch unit.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I just don’t want to pay to service it.

        • 0 avatar
          incautious

          Right, Audi would probably double their sales if the dealers didn’t think that they were servicing a Ferrari instead of a 4 banger fancy VW. Having said that, wife drives an A5 vert and with over 75K miles my service bill every year is $84.99 which is for an oil change and a car wash. Considering Castrol Professional goes for $10 a quart this is a deal. Of course the real savings is I do all the other maintenance work myself. But heck even Chevy wanted $750 to do front brakes on my kids 2000 camaro when he was away at school. He passed. Total cost a little over $100 and an hours work on my part.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            >4 banger fancy VW

            For the record: All 1.8Ts (since the mid-1990’s 20-valve engines) and 2.0Ts are designed by Audi, not VW. The departed 2.5L 5-cylinder, VR6 and W-based engines are designed by VW.

            “https://mydriftfun.com/top-5-great-audi-engines/”

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            “The Audi A4 was the first model in the Volkswagen Group to feature the new 1.8-litre 20v engine with five valves per cylinder, based on the unit Audi Sport had developed for their Supertouring race car.”

            Source: “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi_A4”

      • 0 avatar
        mittencuh

        I have a DSG GLI right now and love it. I also have a friend with a 120k mile R32 and another with a 250k mile Jetta TDI, neither have had any transmission related issues. There are shops in my area that do the DSG service for around $230 or so. That’s not really significant in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        ThirdOwner

        >I’m inclined to agree with … Principle Dan here.

        I’m tired of people demoting Dan.

        Principal > Teacher > Principle
        ^
        |
        Dan is here

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          Yikes, thanks, ThirdOwner! I’m a nit-picker on things like that normally. I plead fatigue; I haven’t had a day off since March 10 and shouldn’t be posting. I think I had a there/their/they’re or your/you’re mistake in another post.

    • 0 avatar
      loopy55

      Post 2009 DSG’s are totally reliable as long as you get them serviced at the regular intervals. Problem is, some foolish owners treat them like slush boxes and never service them. And the next person feels the pain.

      Audi and VW use a mix of DSG’s and slush boxes. Mostly everywhere except the US they us DSG’s in all 2.0 and under. And reserve the slush boxes for those engines (4.0 V8 , 2.9 V6 turbos) that generate too much torque for the current DSG generation.

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        We purchased an 07 DSG Eos new in ’06. No issues with either the hard top or the DSG. The DSG service approx. 250.00 at 45k miles. We haven’t had any issues with this 1st gen. “Mechatronic “-coolest name for any automotive part btw
        It’s pretty good… for an automatic

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I thought everybody loved the 2.0T…

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Haven’t driven an A4, but I have driven an A3 with this engine; the best I can say is that it gets the job done. That’s faint praise at this price point, but less so with something like a GTI.

      • 0 avatar
        blppt

        “Haven’t driven an A4, but I have driven an A3 with this engine; the best I can say is that it gets the job done. ”

        Its worth noting that the A3 I currently lease (2.0T Quattro), and the current GTI does not have this new generation of EA888—its basically the hand-me-down from the last generation A4. Probably not the same power curve.

        I got one of these new generation A4s as a loaner when I was having the 15K service on my A3, and man, although its only one step above the A3, the interior quality and overall feel is like light years ahead of my A3. Going back to the A3, it really did feel what it is—a gussied up Golf.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Most modern small turbo engines are downsped and exude more diesel-like qualities than the high revving naturally aspirated four cylinders we got used to in the last couple decades. Still plenty of power get things going, but the drama from the engine doesn’t feel like it’s in the right places.

      The engine in my Giulia Ti Sport is like this. When combined with the 8 speed transmission with plenty of overdrive, it contributes to high speeds feeling deceptively slow.

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      anything that weighs more than 3600 pounds probably need something bigger than 2.0t

      • 0 avatar
        blppt

        I mean, most mags have it doing 0-60 in the low 5s, I’m not sure what more you would expect from a one step above entry-level luxury sedan?

        It also, like most turbo German engines, is not making anywheres near the amount of advertised power. Its probably making 252 at the wheels, lol.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I’m confused. The article stated that the Audi tested was a quattro then later mentioned FWD. Isn’t quattro a form of all wheel drive?

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Not once ever have I wished for an automatic to shift faster. Mostly I wish for them to either shift NOW or not shift at all. DSGs and their ilk seem utterly pointless to me. And expensive.

    I’ve had a few of these from SilverCar, and they are perfectly nice. To my taste, better than the C-class (too much of an old man’s car, and no stick) but I still prefer the BMW. Mostly because I get along with BMW’s ergonomics better than Audi’s or MB’s – BMW manages to put the volume control for the stereo where it belongs. I have no need or desire for more than 4 cylinders and a turbo, since I am not a RACE CAR DRIVER like Baruth. But none of them are bad in any way.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I think the current 328i is a set of solid subframe bushings away from returning to greatness. As is, when pushed, the body moves on top of the subframe like a Long Island Railroad passenger car. It’s akin to playing a video game on a screen with a half second lag.

    Take those solid bushings and put them on a 335/340i and there’s no reason to get the Audi, as good as it may be. It’s a mystery as to why BMW put them in in the first place. An Accord feels more buttoned down

    • 0 avatar
      tinbad

      The issue is that a nicely optioned 340i gets into S4 territory and that’s where the comparison falls apart.

      As much as I want to adore BMW’s, they have really gone a direction of just objectively less fun while Audi somehow manages to create more engaging ‘driver’ cars, even without RWD and good weight balance that is… go figure.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    I’ve had 2 VW’s with DSG transmissions and never had an issue in about 200K miles of total driving between them. My only complaint was the servicing every 40K miles, and finding someone to perform it without gouging the heck out of me. Your experiences may vary, but I’ve always defended the DSG as a pretty darn good transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      My experience as well. I was stunned to find out how much the 40K service was at yee olde VW dealership on a Jetta tdi Wagon. Daughter needed a car about 20K miles later, so we gave it to her and bought a Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      EX35

      How hard is it to DIY the DSG service if you have the right tools? I DIY brakes, fluid changes, belts, minor repairs, but nothing major like clutch jobs or tranny swaps.

      • 0 avatar
        ernest

        Not hard- but there’s warranty implications for a DIY service. Once it’s past the 6 yr/60K, no issues. DSG needs to be serviced every 40K miles… at about a grand a pop. If I was an Audi owner, I’d expect this. As a VW owner, we ran… not walked… to Toyota the next time around.

        • 0 avatar
          EX35

          I thought manufacturers could not deny warranty coverage just because owners elected to have their vehicle serviced elsewhere from the dealer? Has it been a custom of Audi to deny warranty coverage based on non-dealer service? If so, this has me concerned enough to not buy an Audi.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I think the issue comes from doing it yourself and the lack of documentation that entails.

          • 0 avatar
            ernest

            I’m not sure on that point, but this mirrors the experience I had on my VW Eurovan Camper when it needed brakes. Both local dealers quoted $1200…(!) I bought the OEM pads, borrowed the special tool, and paid a mechanic in our shop $50 and a case of beer to put them on. Total with pads about $200.

            Before that, I had a VW Cabrio. Battery went dead. $60 for the battery (ironically, a Delco)… and $165 to reprogram the radio (only a VW dealer had access to the codes).

            Compare that to two and half years and almost 30K miles on my wife’s Camry SE. Total out of pocket thus far- exactly $0. Total times it needed to be in the shop, other than the routine 5,000 mile service? Exactly zero… which is what I would expect.

            I am sooo over German Engineering. Actually, it isn’t the engineering per se, it’s the crappy dealer service that follows. Audi may be better, but my closest Audi dealership is across town, so there’s a 2 hour round trip on a car that’ll likely need a few visits to the shop.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            A VW Cabrio needed a reprogram of the radio when the battery was changed? Did the radio simply not work after the new battery was installed?

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Just keep the receipts and a record of everything you do and you’re good.

        • 0 avatar
          gasser

          “About a grand” to service the DSG????? I remember when the DSG came out and people were outraged that the dealers were asking $400 to service the unit. This and the numbers quoted about by s_a_p are truly frightening to me, as a newly retired. Sigh…..I guess I’ll be sticking with Hyundai and Honda.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Right. VW was going to charge me about that much to service my DSG at 40K miles on a 2015 Golf SportWagen TDI. I got my local indy to do it for $300.

        • 0 avatar
          seth1065

          ernest,
          Were you getting a room and dinner at that price? My TDI wagon cost $200 bucks a pop to do, I did three while I owned the car so $600 bucks TOTAL for 3 services at a indie, guy charged the same for Audi since it was the same tranny. No problems with my DSG.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        @EX35, Try a $500 fine from your HOA. Each time they bust you. Topping off fluids, putting on your new license plate decal; ok. Anything involving a wrench is verboten. Changed a flat on my Escape one morning, was threatened with the 500 scoot fine. I politely explained what was going on. Was told I should’ve called AAA; that’s permitted.

        • 0 avatar
          EX35

          wtf?? why would one ever live in a community with rules like this. what’s the point of even owning a home.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I don’t understand it at all as well. Why does a neighborhood have to appoint a junta to rule it? How did things get done for the last hundred years without them?

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            For you and 28cars, welcome to Northern VA. Lots of us live here because that’s where the jobs are. Commutes from Hades and HOAs are just a fact of life. Regular and retirement checks hit on the 1st. -grins- I have seen real estate ads prominently stating “No HOA”.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “…But those comparisons ignore the fact that most A4 buyers are only shopping the German competition. In that company, it truly shines.”

    A very positive review of an apparently very good car tempered nicely at the end with some very qualified praise. $40K is indeed a lot when a $30K Accord offers the same powertrain performance and format, with some semblance of retained value. You are getting something for your money by stepping up to the Audi, but the step is big enough to warrant some critical analysis.

    But what I really want to know is: for my $40K does Mr. Baruth recommend this or the aging IS350?

  • avatar
    willhaven

    What makes the Ultra a good value? Seems like it’s missing a ton of features you get as standard from Honda or Kia.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “a stellar choice for a young professional who is going to run just the occasional novice-level trackday.”

    I’m no race car driver, but this seems like one scenario where the ATS makes sense.

  • avatar
    threeer

    What hurts this blau-mit-weiss fan is that the 3-Series has fallen so far from grace. I like the Audi (would prefer an A3 with manual, but that’s a non-starter in the US), but have genuine love in my heart for BMW, at least, what BMW was at one time. Maybe I should be on the lookout for a used A4 with manual…

  • avatar
    brawnychicken333

    I picked up an S4 last week (on a lease-no long term headaches here). It’s everything the A4 is in Jack’s rental review-plus a whole lot more. More power than anyone can really use, outrageous grip, phenomenal interior. The quilted “fine Napa leather” in the S cars is so so soft and the massaging seats are addictive.

    The competition I tried-340X and Jag XE (the V-6 version) really were no comparison. Of course, the S4 cost a fair bit more than either of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      brawnychicken, does yours have the cold weather package? That gets heated rear seats AND a steering wheel that’s not flat at the bottom. I’ve driven audi bottom-flat steering wheels and I don’t like them.

      • 0 avatar
        brawnychicken333

        Mine does not have the cold weather pack. But I dig the flat bottom wheel. So I’m good with it. Front seats still have heat. My other car has heated wheel and rear seats-and that’s the family vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      tinbad

      Although maybe price-wise the S4 compares to a loaded 340, in terms of performance and handling its really closer to the M3. I currently drive an S6 and it’s often compared to the 550x in automotive journalism but it’s place is really one notch up from the 550 (I think BMW realized that, hence the new gen has been replaced with the M550 with better handling dynamics and more performance). I think the appearance of E43’s and M550’s have proven that Audi had it right all along with their S cars slotted between the regular A’s and ultra performance RS’. Congrats on the S4, although not having driven that iteration of the B9 yet, they are, as has been the case with recent Audis, a really good value overall.

      • 0 avatar
        brawnychicken333

        It’s actually 5-10K more than a 340. And it is, to me anyway, 5-10K more vehicle. The S Audi’s seem more punchy and more “special” than the upper end equivalent Beemer’s.

        • 0 avatar
          tinbad

          You’re probably right if you take into account the real transaction price. At MSRP speccing out a fully loaded 340 is $62k and change vs. fully loaded S4 at 64k and change. Obviously the beemer would lease a lot better too.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    The exterior of this car is unbearably bland.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      For some of us, that is a feature, not a bug.
      Many current cars will age about as well as the late 70’s early 80’s box-it-came-in domestic styling and the throw some weird carbuncles on it styling of similar vintage Japanese cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        What chuckrs said. We’re in an age of overwrought styling; VW and Audi have managed to avoid that trend better than any other brands have.

        I’ll offer up that I much prefer mid-’50s and early-to-mid-’60s American car styling to late-’50s American car styling. The typical person seems to prefer a ’57 Chevy or ’59 Cadillac, however, to something from half a decade before or after.

        Style-wise, I’d also take a ’65-’69 Corvair over any generation of Mustang, though I do really like the ‘64.5-’66 Mustang as well.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      If anything, it is a bit more overdone than I would prefer.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Yep, I can’t remember which year Audi introduced what I call “the pharaoh beard grille,” but I prefer the more understated styling that preceded it. But I still prefer their current models to most of what’s on the market in 2018.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      A very tasteful, conservative style in an era of hyperactive design mayhem is very refreshing. I really like the throwback Audi 5000 touches in the dashboard design as well.

      Getting it in a real color with a tan interior would help liven it up.

      • 0 avatar
        tnk479

        I like the A4 styling overall but I would tone it down even further with less chrome bling and it needs better wheel options.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        30-mile, gotland green with grey leather interior would do it for me. id expect this combo to be unpopular here, my mechanic hated audi light grey interiors. tan is too… something.

  • avatar
    tomm

    We have a BMW 428i with 2.0T engine in the family. I rarely drive it, but when I do, I am always shocked at how cheap and course the engine sounds. Nothing like the 6-cyl. models that preceded it even if the car does have the same performance. Is the Audi is any better in this regard? I will switch to electric before I own a car with such a crappy sounding engine.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Any generation of the VW/Audi 2.0T and the new BMW B48 are all significantly smoother than the N20 that’s in that 428i, but they’re still fours and they still sound like fours.

      If I were in the market for a car of this type, the four would clearly give me all the performance I’d need, but I’d probably still spend the big extra bucks for the six just for the sound.

    • 0 avatar
      tnk479

      Yeah, I leased the 328i and was disappointed in that too. I recently test drove the A4 2.0T and yes, it is much better in this regard.

  • avatar
    jonsey

    Great review Jack.

    It’s good to see a reviewer get right to the important stuff, as well as being frank about potential maintenance downsides. The part at the end comparing its value to its German and non German rivals was a nice touch too.

    I would normally not buy an Audi for reliability and maintenance costs concerns, but if you can get a year old ex-rental for $15k off new,that’s mighty tempting.

  • avatar
    EX35

    How does this compare with the current gen A6 (C7)? It’s surprising how inexpensive one can buy a CPO A6 3.0sc for. I’ve read the A6 is super solid and great for high speed runs on the highway.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    As I commented above did 3 on my TDI wagon at $200 bucks a pop from an indie in metro NY , DSG was great except it took a bit to get use to off the line movement, would have no issues buying another one. My wife is in the market for an AUDI so gotta drive this and a A6 to see which fits her better, the A6 may be to big.

  • avatar
    tinbad

    As a millennial who his entire life longed for a BMW and currently is on it’s 2nd Audi, I can confirm that recent Audi product is objectively more fun and a more engaging experience. In 2014, I walked into a BMW dealership ready to buy a CPO 535 or 550i – after the test drive the driving dynamics made me seriously question my desire. Proceeded to test drive a used E550 and an A6 with the 3.0T for comparison on the same day and the A6 by far had the better driving dynamics. Where the 5-series felt like a heavy luxury car with sporty features, the Audi felt like a proper sporty car first and luxury car second.

    • 0 avatar
      EX35

      Did the A6 feel as solid as the 5 series?

      • 0 avatar
        tinbad

        Yes it did, the build quality especially (I was looking at ex-leases with 30k miles) all 3 or so F10’s I drove aged very poorly with lots of creaks and rattles while the Audi’s practically felt brand new and barely broken into.

        If you’re referring to the driving dynamics, the BMW felt much heavier with much heavier steering feel so you can say it felt a bit more “solid” in road presence. That would be my only criticism of the A6 it’s somewhat vague and light steering feel, specially on the earlier C7 models, I think they fixed some of it with future MMI updates and the post-facelift. On the other hand, the light feel of the car was really good in disguising it’s size and made it handle like a much smaller car than it actually was, especially compared to the F10. I had high hopes for the 5-series with the dynamic handling and m-sport packages but those seemed to make it worse and out of place on such a heavy car. It almost felt like the worst of both world: less comfort and more harshness while the car still felt heavy and not as responsive/nimble. Also performance-wise, the 3.0 supercharged Audi felt way more responsive than even the 550 twin turbo V8, which suffered from pretty bad turbo lag.

        • 0 avatar
          EX35

          More harshness such as noise, vibration?

          • 0 avatar
            EX35

            Also, did you test drive the Genesis and CTS before choosing the Audi? I’m considering those as well but looks like I need a v-sport to match the power of the 3.0sc. Luckily, CTSs depreciate like crazy.

          • 0 avatar
            tinbad

            Yes, driving the F10 (especially with the sport packages) you can feel, hear and experience every imperfection in the road, which may have been exacerbated by the run flat tires that BMW puts on most of their vehicles, at least, at the time.

            Another thing that surprised me during my ownership is the lack of defects on the Audi C7 platform. I’ve put 60k miles on mine without any unscheduled maintenance. The scheduled maintenance is certainly not cheap, but neither is any German at that price point. If you check the forums like Audiworld there’s many users with way over 100k miles with very little issues, some even with over 200k. It may still be early to tell since the platform has been only out since 2011 but overall it just felt solid and durable in my experience.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Neither the 5,A6 or e class are light cars. They’re all nearly 2 tons. Go drive a 07-12 3 series (e90). That feels pretty light.

    • 0 avatar
      sfrunner

      I’ll second that. I’ve got a ’14 CPO A6 that I’ve had for 4 years. It is my 3rd Audi. I love the car. I was nervous about the 20″ wheels and sport suspension when I bought the car worrying that it would be too stiff but it isn’t bad at all and I am amazed with the lack of any squeaks or rattles. The basic structure of the car feels rock solid. I’ve got the 3 liter supercharged V6 and it is a quick car. I’m tempted to go with a CPO S6 in a few years because I have been so impressed with this car but my insurance rates almost double with a newish S6.

  • avatar
    tinbad

    No I haven’t – I’ve had some really bad experiences with a Ford and Chevy I owned prior (I know, not the same as Caddy) but I wanted to stay away from domestics, where it not to just avoid the crappy dealer experience. Although I like the looks and presence of the CTS, I doubt it would handle anywhere near the Germans – although Caddy stepped up their game with things like the ATS, I would still expect something like the CTS to be too much on the floaty side still, maybe with exception of the V or Vsport indeed. Genesis or any of the Japanese just don’t do it for me in terms of styling and presence so I didn’t consider those.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    It’s amazing to me that the educated members commenting on TTAC can be so uneducated about why it costs so much to service modern vehicles, regardless of whether or not the maintenance is performed at a dealership or an independent garage. There needs to be more information and more understanding for the service side of the automotive industry. Not everyone can afford a home with a garage and the spare time to tinker with being a tech.

  • avatar
    BC

    Want the best track car in the segment? Get the alfa
    Want a trackable BMW? Get the 2 series
    Want a VW with a nice interior? get the audi

  • avatar
    Dutcowski

    What I wanna know is is it oar-dee or ow-dee?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    This is a big part of what has hurt the perception of these cars. I understand the reality of corporate mileage requirements, but what BMW, Audi and Mercedes are asking for in exchange for this just isn’t as good as their prior generation’s 6 cylinder engines.

    No way are these Turbo 4’s worth what feels like Accords. The Accord is honest and a good value. Can’t say that about any of the other wannabes.

    • 0 avatar
      EX35

      Maybe at new prices but at 1-2 year old CPOs, I’ll take one in a heartbeat over an Accord. Honda still can’t make a sedan that’s as quiet and solid feeling at high speed as the Germans. I don’t know about the current gen of the accord, but my families experience with the prior gens accord has been awful. Quality clearly has dropped.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      The Audi A5 (a car I own) feels and drives nothing like an Accord, nor should it. And the 2.0T engine is simply fantastic for the car. Most people would have no idea it’s a four cylinder engine.

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    I purchased an A4 Quattro a little over a year ago. It’s had no problems at all, fortunately, and I love the car. The only complaints are the steering isn’t as communicative as I’d like and the turbo 4 does run out of breath on the high end; otherwise I think the car is stellar. It does accelerate faster than the stated 252hp suggests it should, and the brakes are simply excellent. Fit/finish are very, very good and the car just feels solid.

    Be aware there are a *lot* of different versions of the 2.0T and they’re definitely not all created equal. While getting my 12 month servicing done the dealership gave me an Audi Q3 with 2.0T and in that vehicle the engine felt downright agricultural whereas in my A4 the engine is so smooth that most of the time you wouldn’t realize it’s a 4-cylinder.

    Is TTAC still accepting reader reviews? I’d be happy to write up a long-term ownership article.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      The current Q3 is Audi’s most cynical vehicle: it’s built on the last generation A3/Golf architecture that debuted in 2005. Granted, updated, but still essentially the same. The 2.0TFSI is the previous generation motor as well.

    • 0 avatar
      sfrunner

      I got lucky recently and got an A4 as an Enterprise rental car. It was white with a black interior but had the 2.0T and quattro. I was quite impressed. It felt like a little rocket after some momentary lag. I never felt the transmission shift, up or down. It was luxury grade quiet and the stop/start system was very smooth. The ride and handling balance seemed pretty much ideal on the non-sport suspension with 18″ wheels. It got about 38 MPG on a highway trip one day of about 100 miles. I loved the impossibly tiny little airbag hub on the steering wheel. If an A5 Sportback feels anything like this it may be a replacement for my A6 in a few years.

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