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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2006 Audi A4 2.0T FSI Road Test (B7 2006-2007)

It has been almost a year since I leased my 2006 Audi A4 2.0T FSI car. Now having driven it just about 12,000 miles – I wanted to provide my first road test and impressions of the car.

I choose the Audi A4 on a little more than a whim. You see, almost a year ago, my Nissan dealership informed me that some major issues that were starting to happen on my 1997 Maxima. The damage was going to be around $3,000 in repairs and require cracking the transmission, clutch and some other expensive areas. And, based on my previous experience with cars – once you open them up, they are never as good as new. The Nissan Maxima had been extremely good to me, giving 175,000 miles of driving in Los Angeles without any significant repairs other than your standard brakes, tires, & constant velocity (CV) joints at about 130,000 miles. That’s right, 175,000 miles on the original clutch and it was still in great condition. The car served 9 bullet proof years. However, given the news and the expense, it was time to look for a new vehicle.

I considered a number of vehicles, the Infinity G-Series, the BMW E90 3-Series, the Lexus IS350 among a few others. I have always enjoyed German vehicles; however the recent styling on the 4-door BMW E90 3-series leaves a lot to be desired. It is perhaps, the worst model that BMW had put out in some time. At the same time, the Audi series of vehicles have come a long way, especially with the new B7 line of the A4 series that refreshed the prior body style and look. Not to mention, the desirable upgrade of the engine to a 2.0 liter turbo.

It did not take me long to decide. Within a day of seeing the A4 2.0T, I knew that was the model of car that I want. Plus, the dealership I visited – Rusnak Audi/BMW of Westlake Village had the car I wanted – a black 2006 A4 2.0T with manual 6-speed transmission. I am still a fanatic when it comes to having a manual transmission and clutch, and they are near impossible to find in the Los Angeles area due to traffic. So, I quickly made a deal with my sales person – James Hall – who made the deal easy. It was made easier by the fact that Audi had a special lease offer promotion on the A4.

At 12,000 miles, I could not be happier with my Audi A4 2.0T FSI. In my daily driving, I average around 30 miles per gallon – split between city and highway. The car has been a problem free and extremely reliable car.

Some of the reviews I have read on the A4’s include some folks having some pretty significant problems off the lot. That was not my case, I have only taken the car back twice – once to have my windows tinted, and then again for the 5,000 mile service. The next service is not due to 15,000 miles, and is included without additional expense to me. Rusnak’s Audi service has been outstanding – anytime I call, if they are with a client

The 2.0T engine has some decent pep to it and handles well; I have not been in a situation where the performance has let me down. The car and styling is extremely comfortable inside, and is suitable for long trips.

My only regret at this point in time is that I did not get the Quattro. There have been a couple of times on canyon roads where the extra handling and distribution of wheel power would have been a help. Then again, I may have gotten myself into more trouble.

There are also a lot of tuning (upgrade) options from both APR and Neuspeed for the B7 version of the Audi A4 2.0T. These include ECU upgrades (chips), turbo enhancements, air boxes, and exhaust upgrades. With just the ECU upgrade, air box, & exhaust upgrade the horsepower on the car can be boosted from 200hp to above 260hp. That’s higher than the 3.2L version of the car, with 200lbs less weight. Based on the current performance options available and the fact that the 2.0T engine is the best that Audi makes – there is practically no reason to consider the 3.2L engine. While I currently have not made any tuning changes, I am considering both the chip and air box after the 15,000 mile service.

My overall impressions of the car:

The Good:

  • Overall the Audi A4 is impressive – the car is also more responsive, has better power, and handles quite well. In fact, that is the area where I am most impressed with the extra sports suspension on the car.
  • Reliable – no issues 12k miles in.
  • Audi Service – excellent service and responsiveness.
  • Great Fuel Economy – ~30mpg city is a great start!
  • Tuning – lots of opportunity to upgrade and tune that A4

The Bad:

  • Brake Dust – the amount of brake dust that is generated from basic driving it much higher than what the Maxima had. Keeping the wheels looking good and clean is a difficult proposition.
  • Armrest – The armrest in the car is positioned in a pretty annoying away. If you have two passengers and plan to use both cup holders, you must have the armrest up to access the 2nd drink. In fact, the armrest has to be at an angle with even a normal size beverage.
  • Audi Upgrades – to add basic Satellite radio to the car (even though it is prepared for it) costs $600-650 at the dealership which is about $400-450 more than it should cost. Especially since I am sure Audi get a commission on each.
  • Cruise Control – the location of the cruise control lever is in an awkward place that cannot be easily seen and often has to be felt.
  • Gas Pedal Response - occassionally there will be a slight delay in the response from pressing the gas pedal to when the engine increases power. I will be mentioning this during the 15,000 mile service. This may just be because of the throttle being electronically controlled.

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BrianB said...

I actually noticed the same thing with the gas pedal "delay" when I was driving a friends A4, I couldn't figure out why so I'm curious to find out if the dealer explains this as I'd imagine it's a common complaint for us "enthusiasts"..

Ken Hanscom said...

It probably has to do with software for the direct-line electronic gas. The manufactures of the chipping software (A post looking at them) claim to resolve the issue.

Anonymous said...

The gas pedal delay is turbo lag as the rpms go up to generate enough exhaust to spin the turbo and create power. This is normal and there isn't much the dealer can do about it.

Anonymous said...

I have the 3.2 A4 (no turbo of course) and I expereince the same delayed throttle response.

Ken Hanscom said...

To the last poster, thanks for confirming that. I had not had the opportunity to respond to the post on 1/21 yet, but the delay is NOT due turbo lag. Rather it is present in the entire Audi A4 line with the direct drive (electronically controlled) gas pedal.