"I've owned Audi's for the last 32 years. My first was a new 1984 4000 Quattro 4-speed which had 250,000 miles when I sold it. In 2002, I was really impressed with the new design and purchased a new A4 3.0L, 6-speed with the sport package. I may still have the 4000, but for the time it started to take for repairs - they stopped stocking parts. Like the 4000, my new Audi is pricey to maintain, but the pleasure of the drive makes up for it. Some people will disagree with me about that, but if you enjoy the experience of driving a realtively fast, well-handling (especially the sport suspension) beautiful car, you'll appreciate what I mean. It really is a pleasureble experience after a stressful day. Though not a sports car, the stiffer ride and lower hight of the sport suspension makes for exceptional handling in turns. I also own a 1994 RX-7, so my standard of comparison for handling and performance is pretty high. As for shifting, the shifter is silky smooth and provides an uncanny mix of feelings: luxury, power, speed and control. For the money and sheer joy of driving, I think this car is the best value among the European autos.
I have not had any out of the ordinary mechanical problems with either car. If I did, I'd probably be complaining about the cost to maintain. However, I do find a few negatives: first, the plastic dip stick is pretty flimsy for such an expensive car. I've had one replaced already that was damaged (bent) by the dealership during an oil change. It was out of stock and took two weeks to replace at no cost to me. Another criticism is the oddly designed and placed cup holders, though not too big a deal, they are really awakward to use. Lastly, and this is really dumb, the "rubber textured paint on the interior door handles and electrical switches is too easily damaged by normal use. My wedding ring has marked its own place on the handle/arm rest of the driver's door. NOTE: Not wearing a wedding ring when I drive is not an option. Normal use has also worn away the paint from the headlamp switch, window switches, etc. This really can hurt resale value. Seeing these growing little scratches day after day also reduces the luxury feel of the interior, is psychologically abusive and very disappointing. All owners should be offered free touch ups.
I recommend Audi to my friends and a few have purchased them instead of other Euro-types. Despite a few complaints, I think I'll be happy with my A4 for many more years, as I was with my 1984 4000."
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