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Frank Bullitt

Audi A6 2.0TDI S-Line S-Tronic Ultra

Courtesy Car Bingo time again, although as it’s the A2 in for the annual service this won’t involve a Mitsushitty Minge.  

My steed for the day was an A6 2.0TDI S-Line S-Tronic saloon, there’s naff-all information on the loan form they have given me but doing a registration check I’ve deduced this is one of the new ‘Ultra’ models with the turbo turned up to ‘11’ offering up 190bhp.  I’d combined the service with a trip I take every 6 weeks to Bury St Edmunds so this gave me the chance to do what the A6 is good at (in theory), cruise on A-roads and dual carriageways along with trips through towns.

Looking at the brochure I think this model was fairly standard with no obvious upgrades to spec – sadly, they also decided to remove the SD Card for the Navigation system, I can only assume they get nicked from time-to-time.

It took me ages to get comfortable but once I found the right driving position it was fine – the skewed pedals aren’t an issue with S-Tronic although I missed having somewhere to put my right foot when on cruise (the A2, DS4 and our old Picasso had a strategically placed wheel arch), I found not having the seat as far back as it can go better, which is a rarity.  The seats eventually proving to be very comfortable on the 90 minute trip back (I arrived with back-ache having spent ages faffing).  The interior is lovely in many ways, but I found the climate control not terribly intuitive and Audi seem to change the configuration of the ‘DIS’ multi function trip computer with every car I get in; eventually I found a natty economy meter that showed your ‘current’ economy on a bar with a marker showing the ‘trip’ economy so left it on that.  Downsides for the interior also include the metal dash trim and face vent which reflected badly in the offside mirror to the extent that in the sun I couldn’t really see what was outside of me at times.  Unusually for a large saloon, it felt like I was perched on the seat rather than consumed within it.  The materials and quality was decent but I’d say that of the stuff you touch, it’s half a notch up from the DS4, no more.

This car had some personal drive configurations which seemed to be changing just the steering assistance and throttle mapping but not the suspension – I had a fiddle between ‘comfort’, ‘dynamic’ and ‘automatic’ but to be honest I couldn’t tell the difference.  Grip was excellent with the steering inspiring a decent level of confidence in each mode despite the communication to the wheels feeling a little blunted – it felt like there was a good set-up underneath but it was being masked by a degree of electronic mushiness. The ride was OK, the wheels being the standard 18” affairs it dealt with bigger undulations well and low speed imperfections but it really wasn’t good enough on disturbed blacktop, I got tired of driving down the A14 and feeling the car was picking a fight with every piece of poorly maintained surface.  Wind and engine noise were imperceptible at any speed I tried the car at - cruising at an indicated 75 it was quiet in both respects (the engine turning over at 1600rpm in 7th)  but as is often the case with Audi’s, the road noise was completely unacceptable, it never sodding shut-up and even though I had the stereo on it did my head in; this car should be serene at 75 on dual carriageways, anything else is unacceptable.  The acoustics of the suspension and tyres are all wrong.

The engine was decent enough – a few times I had to push the loud pedal further than you’d expect in a 190bhp saloon, usually when overtaking wagons pulled over; but in the mid range and maintaining speed it was incredibly capable.  It even sounded fairly decent when extended although it couldn’t hide the 4-pot design but the noise is certainly not unpleasant.

The S-Tronic gearbox was OK in comfort mode, the lack of a torque-convertor is most apparent at low speeds where it feels less clever than a slusher (or even a CVT ‘box), slowing down it didn’t seem keen to lose speed so I ended up using the brakes more than I ordinarily would, perhaps as it has intergalactic gearing and wasn’t keen to drop ratios until it had to.  Only once did it do a ‘shit, I thought you wanted 4th but you want 2nd...shit...shit...bang and away we go’ moment – the technology does seem to be improving though.  One gripe is with the electronic handbrake which seemed, as a safety feature, to require the brake pedal to be depressed the first time it was released after starting the car; after that applying the throttle alone was sufficient – it took me a while to work it out and it seemed rather needless.  Also, it had a ‘key’ that needed pressing to open the car but the start was simply a button; either completely keyless or a normal key is the order of the day, it just meant I had a key taking up the (granted otherwise unused) cupholders.

Crawling away from the garage in rush hour ruined the economy on the way out so after 70 miles it had achieved 45mpg – impressive for a 190bhp 1.7t saloon car if not entirely remarkable; the trip back was much less painful so I got 57mpg on the trip, even if that’s a little ambitious it is very impressive.

Overall there were some bits to like about the car, some to be impressed by and a few to be disappointed in; I simply couldn’t feel satisfied driving one every day as the bits it did poorly were the areas I focus on; people may not believe me but given what I like in a car, the DS4 is a substantially superior package and more appealing (to me) in every way; curiously, lots of the interior finishes has been taken from Audi S-Line products but apart from the centre graphics on the non-navigation DS4’s, I think they’ve made a better fist of it than Audi.

Overall, 5/10.
Martin

I thought I was alone when it comes to the A6, as all the mags like it.  I think the interior is pretty average and my experience of the A7 was very similar in terms of the way it drove and the lack of refinement due to the road noise.  Well, it was worse than you described, but it had 20" wheels, so not a huge surprise!  

My choice on the new list would have been between this exact car and a 518d M Sport.
Frank Bullitt

518d ever time I'd imagine.  I'll probably never get the chance to drive a 5-series but Id' hope it is much more refined.
PG

Tyre noise seems to have been an issue on Audis for some time. When we had the 2002 A3, I had a new 2.0Tdi S-line A3 as a loaner and the tyre noise was appalling compared to our "old tech" A3.

And it annoys me as much as it does you.

Recently I read that [one of the Autocar testers - can't remember which one] often wears motorcycle earplugs in cars he tests to avoid the road noise. Funny, that never seems to get mentioned in the mag tests!
Parm

PG wrote:


Recently I read that [one of the Autocar testers - can't remember which one] often wears motorcycle earplugs in cars he tests to avoid the road noise. Funny, that never seems to get mentioned in the mag tests!


I think there was a reader letter recently in Autocar who complained about the unacceptable road noise in his 640d. Can't remember if he resorted t ear plugs too.

I had a gander inside an A6 a while ago, and wasn't overly impressed with the quality of the plastics. The interiors seem to photograph better.
simonp

There was a chap in the chippie the other day who rolled up in an R8 V10 Spyder. Turned out he'd bought a Q5 and noticed a paint defect on it, so they gave him the R8 for a week while they were sorting it!
Twelfth Monkey

The tyre noise is sometimes an issue with OEM tyres.  Audi seems (or at least seemed, I haven't bought a new car for a while) to like Continental, and they are so fuck-off noisy in my experience.  As well as having iffy ride quality.
PG

Twelfth Monkey wrote:
The tyre noise is sometimes an issue with OEM tyres.  .


Interesting. The Pilot Sports I've put on the Jag are quieter than the OEM Dunlops. And better too in other ways.
Twelfth Monkey

I suspect financial reasons prevail over merit/suitability.
Stuntman

Do we think that tyre noise is just more noticeable these days because mechanical refinement has improved so much in recent years?

I suspect that the absolute tyre noise decibels may be lower than on the previous equivalent model, but we just hear it more clearly.
Most modern cars are too quiet, IMO.  I like some mechanical noise.
Martin

Frank Bullitt wrote:
518d ever time I'd imagine.  I'll probably never get the chance to drive a 5-series but Id' hope it is much more refined.


I would too and yes, it is a lot more refined. I don't get any tyre noise in mine, it's amazingly quiet at steady motorway speeds.

You're welcome to have a ride in mine when I get it, but you'd have to be nice about it!  
PhilD

Martin wrote:
Frank Bullitt wrote:
518d ever time I'd imagine.  I'll probably never get the chance to drive a 5-series but Id' hope it is much more refined.


I would too and yes, it is a lot more refined. I don't get any tyre noise in mine, it's amazingly quiet at steady motorway speeds.

You're welcome to have a ride in mine when I get it, but you'd have to take your shoes off and promise not to eat anything


FYP
Martin

I thought that was so obvious it didn't need to be said!
PR

Stuntman wrote:
Do we think that tyre noise is just more noticeable these days because mechanical refinement has improved so much in recent years?


I suspect you're right, alongside the fact that today's cars tend to wear wider and therefore generally noisier tyres than their predecessors. Different tyres can have a huge influence though. On my mum's old silver MINI, swapping from the original Contis to Pirellis (also BMW starred) resulted in a barely believable increase in road noise.

One of the most hushed cars I've driven was a Mk6 Golf on 16s, which on smooth French autoroutes was eerily quiet.
TreVoR

Before the Merc went, I put Contis on rather than the Michelins and they were a lot quieter. They felt noticeably more "squishy" though for want of a better word.

It's going to be interesting putting the winter wheels on the Nissan. I've gone for A/T M&S tyres rather than a road oriented winter tyre so I expect quite a bit more noise. They will be useful if I need to take it over the fields in the winter.

Tyres can make a huge difference.
Roadrunner

My Merc is reasonably quiet in terms of road noise, by modern car standards.
Tim

I've noticed all my cars to be noisier on Goodyears - moving to Contis on the M5 has made a huge difference.

When the 320 was on winter tyres last year I noticed, when taking the summer tyres out of the car, that the Contis had extremely stiff sidewalls but the Dunlops (Bluresponse I think) that had been on the rear had very soft sidewalls - when they're not mounted you can easily push them down with your little finger.
I haven't noticed any consequent change in ride comfort or response.
Bob Sacamano

As people have alluded to; I think that for all the progress that manufacturers have made in mechanical refinement and reducing wind noise, there are still 4 heavy pieces of rubber, housed in big echo chambers, impacting with  broken tarmac thousands of times a minute. As the previous two have reduced so the latter becomes more prominent.
Add in the fact that we're all wheel tarts and want everything to come with 19" wheels with 1" high sidewalls when a nice 16" wheel with sensible tyres would deliver a far better ride and reduced noise.
Eff One

Bob Sacamano wrote:
Add in the fact that we're all wheel tarts and want everything to come with 19" wheels with 1" high sidewalls when a nice 16" wheel with sensible tyres would deliver a far better ride and reduced noise.


+1
Frank Bullitt

Bob Sacamano wrote:
As people have alluded to; I think that for all the progress that manufacturers have made in mechanical refinement and reducing wind noise, there are still 4 heavy pieces of rubber, housed in big echo chambers, impacting with  broken tarmac thousands of times a minute. As the previous two have reduced so the latter becomes more prominent.
Add in the fact that we're all wheel tarts and want everything to come with 19" wheels with 1" high sidewalls when a nice 16" wheel with sensible tyres would deliver a far better ride and reduced noise.


The DS4 runs 18's - irrespective of this it is much quieter than the A6 was (also on 18's) - probably a bit more wind noise but the engine is silent at cruise and the road noise doesn't intrude; considering the wheel arch impedes into the cabin a little I'd suggest Audi could do better.
PhilD

Bob Sacamano wrote:
As people have alluded to; I think that for all the progress that manufacturers have made in mechanical refinement and reducing wind noise, there are still 4 heavy pieces of rubber, housed in big echo chambers, impacting with  broken tarmac thousands of times a minute. As the previous two have reduced so the latter becomes more prominent.
Add in the fact that we're all wheel tarts and want everything to come with 19" wheels with 1" high sidewalls when a nice 16" wheel with sensible tyres would deliver a far better ride and reduced noise.
\

Backward step. Reminds me of the new Routemaster bus, which looks thoroughly modern inside and out but then rides on big old ugly lorry type wheels.
Big Blue

W2.0's E46 runs like a limo on 15" alloys compared to die Schreibmaschine on 19's
Martin

Isn't it the increase in tyre width over the years that has had the biggest impact on noise, not the wheel diameter?  Even if it that's not right, bigger wheels don't necessarily mean lower profile tyres.  The 520d has 245/40x18's and the 535d will be on 245/40x19s, so bigger wheels, but same tyres width and sidewall.  The 520d is one of the quietest cars I've been in at motorway speeds, but the new car is even better and is also a fair bit more comfortable thanks to the air suspension.
gooner

Eff One wrote:
Bob Sacamano wrote:
Add in the fact that we're all wheel tarts and want everything to come with 19" wheels with 1" high sidewalls when a nice 16" wheel with sensible tyres would deliver a far better ride and reduced noise.


+1


The 16s on my Insignia do look rather shit but they're certainly a key contributor to the smooth motorway ride it has.
Chip Butty

Martin - that means your 535d will have meatier sidewalls than your outgoing 520d then ?

Assume profile a percentage of total sidewall to wheel size (i.e - 40% of 19 inches vs 40% of 18 inches) - meaning the 19 inch wheel would have meatier sidewalls and a higher overall rolling radius
Martin

Chip Butty wrote:
Martin - that means your 535d will have meatier sidewalls than your outgoing 520d then ?

Assume profile a percentage of total sidewall to wheel size (i.e - 40% of 19 inches vs 40% of 18 inches) - meaning the 19 inch wheel would have meatier sidewalls and a higher overall rolling radius


I thought it was 40% of the width, not the wheel diameter, meaning the sidewall depth would be the same?  
Frank Bullitt

The maths don't compute - 225/40 can't be used on 18 and 19" wheels as the 19" wheels would need a shallower sidewall to allow the inch taller wheel to fit, unless they were wider than 225's you can't get a ratio of 40% and get a taller wheel.  Maybe you are going to be one of those gimps with stretched tyres!
Boxer6

Martin wrote:
Chip Butty wrote:
Martin - that means your 535d will have meatier sidewalls than your outgoing 520d then ?

Assume profile a percentage of total sidewall to wheel size (i.e - 40% of 19 inches vs 40% of 18 inches) - meaning the 19 inch wheel would have meatier sidewalls and a higher overall rolling radius


I thought it was 40% of the width, not the wheel diameter, meaning the sidewall depth would be the same?  


I'm pretty sure you're correct Martin - that's what I've always understood it to be.

Re diameter - of my recent cars, all have/had 18" wheels. By far and away the noisiest and most uncomfortable was the Alfa; brick-hard ride, with the tiniest bump or imperfection sent crashing through the chassis - and my back! By contrast, the Legacy, which I used to think of as quite hard srpung and loud (in comparison to the CR-V) is the quietest, with the Golf somewhere between Legacy and Alfa re noise, but best road-holding of them all ~ up to legal limits anyway - after that, I'd say the legacy starts to shade it more and more as speeds increase. (On IoM roads, of course!!)
Chocy Rocky

Boxer6 wrote:
Martin wrote:
Chip Butty wrote:
Martin - that means your 535d will have meatier sidewalls than your outgoing 520d then ?

Assume profile a percentage of total sidewall to wheel size (i.e - 40% of 19 inches vs 40% of 18 inches) - meaning the 19 inch wheel would have meatier sidewalls and a higher overall rolling radius


I thought it was 40% of the width, not the wheel diameter, meaning the sidewall depth would be the same?  


I'm pretty sure you're correct Martin - that's what I've always understood it to be.



That is correct, the whel size relates only to the inside diameter of the tyre, not the height or width.
Frank Bullitt

Chocy Rocky wrote:
Boxer6 wrote:
Martin wrote:
Chip Butty wrote:
Martin - that means your 535d will have meatier sidewalls than your outgoing 520d then ?

Assume profile a percentage of total sidewall to wheel size (i.e - 40% of 19 inches vs 40% of 18 inches) - meaning the 19 inch wheel would have meatier sidewalls and a higher overall rolling radius


I thought it was 40% of the width, not the wheel diameter, meaning the sidewall depth would be the same?  


I'm pretty sure you're correct Martin - that's what I've always understood it to be.



That is correct, the whel size relates only to the inside diameter of the tyre, not the height or width.


It may be the way Pete has described it in refering to the wheel but he is correct to a degree as it doesn't make sense

225 relates to the width of the tyre and 40 relates to how big the tyre wall is as a percentage of that (225 x 0.4) so gives a tyre wall height of 90mm; if this fits 18" wheels in on Martin's current car then you can't fit 19" wheels on the same tyre size; it either needs a wider tyre to give an aspect ratio of 40% or a lower aspect ratio on a 225 tyre, my maths suggest a '35' would be close enough (78.75mm side wall height) giving an extra 22.5mm of space to fit an inch larger wheel (give or take a mm or two...)
Boxer6

Frank Bullitt wrote:
Chocy Rocky wrote:
Boxer6 wrote:
Martin wrote:
Chip Butty wrote:
Martin - that means your 535d will have meatier sidewalls than your outgoing 520d then ?

Assume profile a percentage of total sidewall to wheel size (i.e - 40% of 19 inches vs 40% of 18 inches) - meaning the 19 inch wheel would have meatier sidewalls and a higher overall rolling radius


I thought it was 40% of the width, not the wheel diameter, meaning the sidewall depth would be the same?  


I'm pretty sure you're correct Martin - that's what I've always understood it to be.



That is correct, the whel size relates only to the inside diameter of the tyre, not the height or width.


It may be the way Pete has described it in refering to the wheel but he is correct to a degree as it doesn't make sense

225 relates to the width of the tyre and 40 relates to how big the tyre wall is as a percentage of that (225 x 0.4) so gives a tyre wall height of 90mm; if this fits 18" wheels in on Martin's current car then you can't fit 19" wheels on the same tyre size; it either needs a wider tyre to give an aspect ratio of 40% or a lower aspect ratio on a 225 tyre, my maths suggest a '35' would be close enough (78.75mm side wall height) giving an extra 22.5mm of space to fit an inch larger wheel (give or take a mm or two...)


I concur with your arithmetic, so I guess it will depend on available tyre/arch space; a very quick search shows Blackcircles have at least 4 options for 225/40 R19 BMW tyres.
PG

Frank Bullitt wrote:
It may be the way Pete has described it in refering to the wheel but he is correct to a degree as it doesn't make sense

225 relates to the width of the tyre and 40 relates to how big the tyre wall is as a percentage of that (225 x 0.4) so gives a tyre wall height of 90mm; if this fits 18" wheels in on Martin's current car then you can't fit 19" wheels on the same tyre size; it either needs a wider tyre to give an aspect ratio of 40% or a lower aspect ratio on a 225 tyre, my maths suggest a '35' would be close enough (78.75mm side wall height) giving an extra 22.5mm of space to fit an inch larger wheel (give or take a mm or two...)


A 245/40 tyre is available in both 18 and 19 inch sizes. So although the tyre wall is the same depth on each (40% of 245mm), the total diameter of the wheel and tyre and hence the rolling circumference is bigger on the 19 inch tyre.

If that is across different models that does not matter. BMW have probably changed the total required rolling radius to drive the spoeedo on the new 5 series v the old one.

Where this does matter is if you want to go up and down wheel sizes on the same model. So if Martin wanted to fit 19's on his current car (to match his new car's 19's), then he'd have to go for a lower profile - like a 245/35. So less comfy.

For example, my XF can run on either 19's or 20's. But the tyre are different profile to give the sane rolling radius so the speedo works (and they don;t foul the wheel arches).

So 19's use 245/45 R19 and 20's need 255/35 R20's.
Martin

I thought I was right!  My point was that despite going up a size in wheels on the new car, the profile/sidewall depth will be the same, the rolling radius doesn't matter because they're two different cars.

An 18" wheel is standard on the new M Sport, but it's a 245/45 (245/40 on the old model), which will match the rolling radius of the optional 19s.  

On the E60, you get either 245/40x18 all round or 245/35x19 on the front and 275/30x19 on the back.  Despite the lower profile tyre on the optional 19" wheel, the ride didn't feel any different to the standard 18"s (I drove both back to back).  That's because the 19" M Sport wheel was never fitted with run flat tyres.
Twelfth Monkey

I have this car today whilst ours are in for MOTs, hoping there's enough meat on the tyres to get through, fearing not.

This one rides on 20" Pirellis, and it's quiet enough and rides well.  I wonder what tyres Chris's was on.  In my experience Continentals, which are often the OEM choice with Audis, ride like sacks of spuds.  The Pirellis don't.

Don't like the auto box (but I never do, so that's no surprise), find stop/start less than intuitive initially.  It's a handsome enough thing outside, but a wee bit busy inside and despite some nice touches, some of the plastics are definitely a step or two down from 5-10 years ago.  As a shlepp-mobile it's perfectly adequate, and I find myself driving it as it's intended.  Steering is pretty rubbish.  There are the tiniest traces of feel when heavily-loaded on a constant radius corner, but otherwise it's largely disconnected.

We might be experiencing different strengths and weaknesses, but I find it hard to argue with 5/10.
Martin

Twelfth Monkey wrote:
Don't like the auto box (but I never do, so that's no surprise)....


It's an S Tronic in the A6, not a proper automatic. I wasn't a fan when I drove the A7, but the latest 8 speed auto boxes are much better and have converted me.  

What surprised me was how the same gearbox can feel so different, if I didn't know better (I think I'm right....!), I wouldn't have guessed than the 5/A8/XF have the same gearbox.  I assume that's a combination of programming and being connected to a different engine.
Twelfth Monkey

I don't like automatics full stop.  I'm sure that you acclimatise and soon the notion of swapping cogs yourself comes to seem quaint!  It's not for me, though, at least with my combination of car and driving habits.
Martin

I used to be exactly the same, but I've been spending too much time stuck in traffic, so my views have changed!  Only in this sort of car though i.e. sportscars should be manual.
Frank Bullitt

I never thought I'd see the appeal of an auto but I'd quite happily drive one - I'm already mentally moving us into a DS4 2.0HDi DSport 6-speed auto in a few years time!
PhilD

Martin wrote:
I used to be exactly the same, but I've been spending too much time stuck in traffic, so my views have changed!  Only in this sort of car though i.e. sportscars should be manual.


+1!
PG

Martin wrote:
I used to be exactly the same, but I've been spending too much time stuck in traffic, so my views have changed!  Only in this sort of car though i.e. sportscars should be manual.


Quite. Nice to see a few people being converted  
Frank Bullitt

PG wrote:
Martin wrote:
I used to be exactly the same, but I've been spending too much time stuck in traffic, so my views have changed!  Only in this sort of car though i.e. sportscars should be manual.


Quite. Nice to see a few people being torque converted  


FYP  
Tim

It really needs to be the right auto gearbox though.

I wrote about the courtesy Corsa my folks had and their new Citroen C3 Picasso has a similar pause-head lurch-change gearbox.

In contrast the auto box on their Meriva was excellent, even in manual mode.
Bob Sacamano

Much as I like changing gear for fun, 95% of the time I'm just driving, and the ability to just flex your right foot and off you go, coupled with the torque of the diesel means I'd not go back to a manual for everyday driving. As soon as there's any sort of traffic a manual just becomes a pain in the arse.
Twelfth Monkey

I can genuinely see why the industry tries to give some sort of half way house (as well as emissions-wise).  I spend almost no time in traffic now, and genuine congestion plus a manual box can be pretty grim, especially of there's gradient.  I think the reason why there's still some resistance to DSG etc in manual mode is that whilst you have control (to a greater or lesser degree) of the timing of your changes, it's a binary, on-off thing, rather than the degrees-of-engagement analogue of clutch control.

Aaanyway, car passed its bits, tyres didn't, full set of four being fitted today.  Not sure how long they've lasted, but I reckon I've had well over two years, so I'm thinking 13-15k miles.  Could be worse.
Roadsterstu

Twelfth Monkey wrote:
I have this car today whilst ours are in for MOTs, hoping there's enough meat on the tyres to get through, fearing not.

This one rides on 20" Pirellis, and it's quiet enough and rides well.  I wonder what tyres Chris's was on.  In my experience Continentals, which are often the OEM choice with Audis, ride like sacks of spuds.  The Pirellis don't.

Don't like the auto box (but I never do, so that's no surprise), find stop/start less than intuitive initially.  It's a handsome enough thing outside, but a wee bit busy inside and despite some nice touches, some of the plastics are definitely a step or two down from 5-10 years ago.  As a shlepp-mobile it's perfectly adequate, and I find myself driving it as it's intended.  Steering is pretty rubbish.  There are the tiniest traces of feel when heavily-loaded on a constant radius corner, but otherwise it's largely disconnected.

We might be experiencing different strengths and weaknesses, but I find it hard to argue with 5/10.


This thing about interior quality really niggles me. So the perception from a seasoned Audi owner is that some of the plastics are a step or two down from 5 years ago, yet all we seem to read in the mags is about the stunning interior quality. I've mentioned before about our X1 at work being less than impressive in terms of materials quality. And that's from someone used to older Volvos...

It doesn't quite add up in my mind.
Roadsterstu

PhilD wrote:
Martin wrote:
I used to be exactly the same, but I've been spending too much time stuck in traffic, so my views have changed!  Only in this sort of car though i.e. sportscars should be manual.


+1!


And another. Sitting in traffic I long for an auto. But a sportscar, hot hatch etc really should be a manual. I've never driven anything with a DSG type box though.
Bob Sacamano

Roadsterstu wrote:
Twelfth Monkey wrote:
I have this car today whilst ours are in for MOTs, hoping there's enough meat on the tyres to get through, fearing not.

This one rides on 20" Pirellis, and it's quiet enough and rides well.  I wonder what tyres Chris's was on.  In my experience Continentals, which are often the OEM choice with Audis, ride like sacks of spuds.  The Pirellis don't.

Don't like the auto box (but I never do, so that's no surprise), find stop/start less than intuitive initially.  It's a handsome enough thing outside, but a wee bit busy inside and despite some nice touches, some of the plastics are definitely a step or two down from 5-10 years ago.  As a shlepp-mobile it's perfectly adequate, and I find myself driving it as it's intended.  Steering is pretty rubbish.  There are the tiniest traces of feel when heavily-loaded on a constant radius corner, but otherwise it's largely disconnected.

We might be experiencing different strengths and weaknesses, but I find it hard to argue with 5/10.


This thing about interior quality really niggles me. So the perception from a seasoned Audi owner is that some of the plastics are a step or two down from 5 years ago, yet all we seem to read in the mags is about the stunning interior quality. I've mentioned before about our X1 at work being less than impressive in terms of materials quality. And that's from someone used to older Volvos...

It doesn't quite add up in my mind.


When Mrs Sacamano brought home the first of the new A4s I remarked that there was a noticeable step down in interior quality from the previous model - same went for the A6.
Frank Bullitt

Indeed, there's much in the A6 I drove that was a retro-grade step from the A2 never mind the B6/7 A4.

DSG is clever and has much to recommend it but being honest as a 'manual' replacement in terms of tactility it is nowhere - the smart was better!
PhilD

Roadsterstu wrote:
PhilD wrote:
Martin wrote:
I used to be exactly the same, but I've been spending too much time stuck in traffic, so my views have changed!  Only in this sort of car though i.e. sportscars should be manual.


+1!


And another. Sitting in traffic I long for an auto. But a sportscar, hot hatch etc really should be a manual. I've never driven anything with a DSG type box though.


Me neither, so I'm thinking it's a great compromise (though no one on here seems to like them)
Frank Bullitt

It's useless as a manual and less smooth than a slusher - it wins on the CO2 tax issue but other than that they aren't clever - oh, and at some point before 100k it will detonate requiring replacement/ rebuild.

I try the manual mode each time I get one but it simply isn't worth the effort either with paddles or flipping the lever, especially on 7-speed models where the gears are tripping over themselves.

Nein danken.
Martin

PhilD wrote:
Me neither, so I'm thinking it's a great compromise (though no one on here seems to like them)


Compromise is the right word!  They don't work better in manual mode than a decent auto and it's nowhere near as good in full auto mode.  The latest auto boxes use GPS to either hold a gear (so won't change up mid corner) or choose the right gear (e.g. approaching a junction), so it will be interesting to see how often I end up using manual mode.

Slightly on topic, I don't understand why 'premium' manufacturers offer paddles for manual gear selection, but then use small cheap bits of plastic.  They were the worst bits of trim on the A8 and the XF paddles are terrible.
Dr. Hfuhruhurr

Having recently driven a couple of BMWs with the eight-speed full auto, its superiority over any CVT or DSG is quite painfully apparent.
PhilD

Dr. Hfuhruhurr wrote:
Having recently driven a couple of BMWs with the eight-speed full auto, its superiority over any CVT or DSG is quite painfully apparent.


Mags raving about 8 speed autos, XF in particular I think.
Martin

It's not as sharp in the XF (felt a bit lazy and the shifts are slower) and Dynamic mode didn't seem to make much difference.  Jaguar may want it to be that way, as it does work with the rest of the car, but it didn't feel as good to me.

The ZF 8 speed has been around for at least 5 years and there have been a number of different versions, it's only in the last few months that Audi and BMW have started to use the GPS connected version.
Dr. Hfuhruhurr

That must have been what I had - it not only held lower gears if a corner was coming up, but also going downhill. The 318d didn't have paddles, but there wasn't a single time I wished they were there.
Tim

Frank Bullitt wrote:
....oh, and at some point before 100k it will detonate requiring replacement/ rebuild....


We had a DSG equipped Passat trade-in that was on 175k miles (although I don't know if it had received a new gearbox at any point).
That's clearly the exception though.
PG

Frank Bullitt wrote:
It's useless as a manual and less smooth than a slusher - it wins on the CO2 tax issue but other than that they aren't clever - oh, and at some point before 100k it will detonate requiring replacement/ rebuild.

I try the manual mode each time I get one but it simply isn't worth the effort either with paddles or flipping the lever, especially on 7-speed models where the gears are tripping over themselves.

Nein danken.


I've never driven a DSG box, but from what I read and comments like these, a ZF auto box, with optional paddles, sounds way better in every respect. Except the dreaded CO2 maybe, but that gap seems to be narrowing fast with the new 8 (or even 9) speed ZFs.
Bob Sacamano

As it happens I started my new job last Monday and what should be waiting in the car park for me but one of these, in black, but with this rather quaint arrangement of a third pedal and a lever protruding from the transmission tunnel with which to change gear.

First impressions are that it's quite a good looking car, the greater size suits the styling - the A4s can often look quite dumpy - maybe not quite as good looking as a 5 series, but looks are subjective so no complaints there.

It has this ridiculous arrangement where you have a fob to unlock the doors but then nowhere to put the key so you end up having to stuff it in your pocket or leave it in a cupholder where it rattles and annoys. My Lexus was better in this respect. Inside, I have to say it’s very nice. The S-line leather sports seats look lovely and the fit and finish is excellent, with a good selection of equipment, including navigation (on a rather neat screen that motors out of the dash), heated seats, decent audio etc. It also has a screen where you can adjust modes between dynamic, comfort, efficiency etc. As people have mentioned before it’s difficult to detect the difference.

I thought I’d drive it for a week before commenting on it as I find with hire cars and such I generally start off looking for the negatives but then start to pick out the good points as time goes on. The first thing you notice is the pedals offset to the right. The first few days it annoyed me but as time has gone on it became less of an issue as I adapted. It’ll never be perfect but I can live with it. That said, a car like this needs a proper auto box and that would, in my opinion, lift it right up as a car to waft around in. When I first drove off it felt like I was sitting a bit high and it felt a bit unwieldy but as I adjusted the seat to get the best position and explored the handling I found it could be moved around quite tidily and started to feel a bit more “sporty”, for want of a better word.

The S-line rides on 18” Bridgestones and on good motorway surfaces is very quiet, with only slight rustle of wind around the mirrors. On more broken surfaces, in common with a lot of cars these days, you start to hear too much tyre/road noise though. It also doesn’t track quite as true as my BMW with more steering inputs needed to keep it going straight. It’s not major but the BMW would just sit there for mile after mile and I suppose I’ve been spoilt by that. In terms of ride, it's similar to the M-sport BMW, my SE generally absorbed bumps a little better.

Engine-wise it pulls well, is pretty smooth and subdued but at the moment is only averaging around 42mpg, against 47mpg for my 3 series. That said, I have had a week of shorter trips but I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get it closer to 50mpg on longer runs.
Overall, a decent effort, but needs a proper auto box.
Roadsterstu

Of course, this post is useless without photos ↑  
PG

Has your left knee exploded in anger yet?
Alf McQueef

There is just something about current Audis below S and RS models (and often them as well) that fails to appeal to me - they look very "shouty" and I almost never hear/read any reference to them  that does not involve dead-feeling controls and a harsh ride. Which was exactly how my A4 was. You don't often hear of great rides where the car was as one with the road and driver...
PhilD

Alf McQueef wrote:
There is just something about current Audis below S and RS models (and often them as well) that fails to appeal to me - they look very "shouty" and I almost never hear/read any reference to them  that does not involve dead-feeling controls and a harsh ride. Which was exactly how my A4 was. You don't often hear of great rides where the car was as one with the road and driver...


You do occasionally but it's hit and miss (and more miss than hit). S1, RS Q3, and R8 are the current hits I think. Evo love the RSQ3!

"More often than not, an RS Audi can be characterised by dead, artificial-feeling steering and all-or-nothing damping, but the RS Q3 immediately confounds that stereotype with clean, linear, intuitively responsive (if a fraction too light) steering and a pliant, controlled ride in Comfort mode"
Roadrunner

PG wrote:
Has your left knee exploded in anger yet?


Mine would have done. In fact my chiropractor has recommended that I avoid manuals for daily driving.
PG

Roadrunner wrote:
PG wrote:
Has your left knee exploded in anger yet?


Mine would have done. In fact my chiropractor has recommended that I avoid manuals for daily driving.


Agreed. If faced with a manual as a daily driver I'd simply refuse.
Andy C

My car (rs clutch) is very heavy . It can be quite tiresome in stop start traffic .

Having recently passenger rode in a BMW with the 8 speed, I can see why it gets rave reviews
Bob Sacamano

Roadsterstu wrote:
Of course, this post is useless without photos ↑  


Couple of quickies:







Knee is still holding up so far.
PhilD

Shame you now have to slum it in that heap Bob  
Roadsterstu

Rather like the look of that.
gooner

First world problems!
Roadrunner

Does look good, although I do agree that the manual gear stick looks ridiculous in a car of this sort.
PG

Roadrunner wrote:
Does look good, although I do agree that the manual gear stick looks ridiculous in a car of this sort.


The black with the black pack disguises the grille to good effect. And that A6 interior looks a huge step up from the A4.

But agree that the manual gear stick looks totally out of place.
Bob Sacamano

gooner wrote:
First world problems!


Exactly, I'm not going to complain.

If I was doing my last commute - through the tunnel and down the A19 to Middlesbrough each day, then the manual would piss me off. As it is I only have a 15 min commute to Scotswood Road and there are no hold ups generally. Longer trips up to Aberdeen require few gear changes anyway.

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