So after many great times and a few not so great times messing with Hondas, and expensive times messing with my long term Nissan project, I decided to get something that was (hopefully) reliable, aesthetically pleasing (to my tastes anyway), relatively powerful, comfortable, and modern(ish). I went shopping for a BMW E90 330i M-Sport, but strangely, came home with an Audi A4 Avant.
I still have a soft spot for the 3 liter BMW, but after testing several, they all felt as though they had chequered histories, and I wasn’t happy with the condition of the vehicles. As a wildcard I had decided to test an Audi, and although I had no intentions to buy it at the beginning of the day, as soon as I’d driven it I knew it was the one. I also tested an E60 530D M-Sport, but this felt like piloting a cruiseliner, and wasn’t really for me.
I have always had a penchant for estates. I even liked the look of my old Civic Aerodeck (affectionately named ‘The Grandad Car’). I love the look of this Audi (even more so than the newer B8, which looks somewhat, dare I say it, bland). This is the Special Edition, so has a few visual tweaks, including some motorsportesque multispoke 18s. Although red isn’t a colour I’d usually go for, this particular car had serious visual impact on the forecourt, which really impressed me. After a good wash it really stands out; VAG have nailed this colour. The S-Line also has more aggressive bodywork and lower suspension than the normal SE, and similarly to BMW’s M-Sport, I feel it is an essential requirement to minimise the ageing of the car.
The 2.0TFSI engine is a good comprimise between power, economy, and torque. Coming from the Accord Type-R as a daily, which relied on a decent amount of revs before it moved anywhere at pace, I decided that I wanted something much more effortless. Piloting the Accord from cold around Buckinghamshire was becoming tiring work (unless I was specifically taking it out to attack some country roads).
The Audi’s 2 liter turbo pumps out 220hp on the Special Edition, which is fine for getting around and having enough power to drive quickly and/or overtake.
It’s not fast enough that I’d lose the need for or get bored of the Nissan. It is a fair bit heavier than my other cars, and you do have to make use of momentum if you want to achieve decent MPG figures. On my daily commute to and from work, I achieve 36-38 UK MPG, which I’m very happy with. This involves about 30 minutes of cruising, a few start stop sections, and one dual carriageway blast.
The engine can be comfortably remapped to 260hp, which I’m considering as an option. This will make the car much faster, although I feel the power will be difficult to get down effectively through the front wheels.
The Audi was never going to live up to the ATR or the Nissan. It does feel soft around the edges, and sometimes even wallowy if I try to drive it like the much more nimble ATR. Saying that, as I learn its behavior and the way it shifts its weight, my cornering speeds are increasing. The FWD does hold it back slightly, but I’m willing to make that trade-off for improved MPG over the Quattro (it is a daily afterall).
This is a very comfortable car, with a few performance tweaks that make it more focused for the performance enthusiast. Despite this, it defintiely isn’t a performance car; excellent for motorway cruising and lesuirely A-road drives, but definitely not for taking to the race track. Saying that, a few further modifications (remap, suspension, ARBs) would make this a very fun car to own. However, it meets my brief perfectly. Being an Audi with a very commonly used engine means it should hopefully avoid mechanical problems, and it is an undoubtedly comfortable place to be. Being an Avant means it is practical, whilst still looking pleasing to the eye. 2 months in, I feel I’ve made the right decision with this car, altough time will tell!