Great car - but EXPENSIVE to maintain.
By CRYSYS on Sunday, July 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 101,000
overall rating 8 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
Pros: "Unique, satisfying driver with lux and performance"
Cons: "Expensive to maintain. Really."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"As others have said, this car is unique, and maybe even irrelevant; but in a wonderful way. One car stood out in my quest to have a V8, AWD, 6sp, sedan. This was it. Literally.
Styling: Taut, fluid and low-key. No boy racer look here. I'm 40, I don't want to look like I'm struggling with that. My car has a performance exhaust on it, and most of the time, people are looking around for the hooligan with the growly noises. This car doesn't stick out. The low profile helps, because it's a pretty fast car and you don't necessarily want to attract too much attention.
Interior: Audi is known for great interiors. This one is no exception. It was a little before the super-lux interiors of the 2010s, but it is well constructed, has held up well and has a great number of creature comforts. The Recaro seats are very adjustable and comfortable. Grippy but not confining, I sometimes go for a drive when my back hurts, just because they're that good. The steering wheel is less than ideal and feels cheap in an otherwise well-heeled package. Replacements/upgrades are available for a price.
Handling: This is a highway barnstormer with reasonably quick in-town handling. The front end is heavy with that big lump up there, but the steering is progressive and you always know what the car is doing. I like the way it handles. Some find it plodding and slow, I find it reassuring and rock-solid. Ride is firm but not jarring, even on Michigan's notorious roads.
Performance: For its time, this car was very fast. Now, it's merely satisfyingly quick. Passing on the highway is effortless and addictive. Set the speed alarm or you will be in trouble with the law. Of course, mileage is rotten and premium is required. This is one of the costs of doing business with this car. Buyer beware. I have a big brake kit on my example. Stopping is effortless and fade-free. I cannot speak to the stock setup, however.
Engine: This is the best sounding engine this side of an AMG or perhaps even a flat-plane Ferrari. Born to rev with 5V per cylinder heads and a reasonably high compression ratio, this engine pulls well at all RPMs, though drivers of Detroit iron may yearn for lower end torque. The engine was pretty high tech for its time and there are some engineering compromises to make it fit in the small engine bay. Notably, the timing gear is at the back (firewall side) of the engine. There are some well noted problems with durability of the timing components and cars that have not been well-maintained are generally considered taboo. It is an "engine out" procedure to do the timing, with some owners paying up to $10K for the service. This is now a sub $20K car, so that's a bitter pill.
Also, high silicon aluminum block, (trade name Alusil), is prone to cylinder wall scoring. As a result, many of these cars are oil burners. Mine with just over 100K miles burns 5 quarts between changes. This is synthetic oil, and so isn't cheap. Another cost of ownership for this car.
All that worry goes away when you're driving it, though. If you buy a car because you want the most rational and reliable transportation, this is not your car.
If you believe that getting there is half, or more than half, the fun, this could be a great motor for you.
Tip: Buy the newest, best maintained, lowest mileage unit you can find. Shop, they're out there. Spend a couple hundred on a good inspection of the engine. You won't regret it later as not doing so may cost you thousands!"
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