LONG TIMER: Audi A4
WEDNESDAY JUNE 1, 2016
The B8 A4 was released in 2008, it was to my eyes the prettiest saloon ever, especially in S line guise. I spent most of my days choosing between the E90 BMW 325i and the B8 Audi A4 1.8T S-line instead of the 2-litre because the Quattro model was only brought in much later in that year. Mercedes Benz’s W204 C200K too was in the bag since it has always been a contender in the segment and readily available.
Much thinking has gone into deciding but frankly it wasn’t all that difficult because if you’re into comfort, the Merc was the obvious winner however if you’re into driving it’d be the BMW. As for the Audi, it was right in the middle. I’ll leave it to you to decide on whether the A4 is best of both worlds or master of none. Rarity on one hand but it was expected to lose half its value in the first three years so, your call.
Insulation from outside world
Stiff suspension accompanied
with hard seats
Little feedback from steering
0-100 km/h: 8.6s
Top speed: 222 km/h
Mumbo jumbo out of the way, the Audi was not only exclusive but value for money. It was the only one with active dampers on top of electric handbrake on top of flared body kit, colour screen, sunroof, large alloys yet nearly fifty thousand cheaper than the 325i. Despite that, it was slower than and not as engaging to drive as the BMW but it defies physics by being the largest in class as well as the most efficient. All in all, the A4 was once a rare gem where people would simply stop to stare.
" Made a handful of friends over the years "
The best part of having this A4 for me wasn’t for its price or anything within those lines but for the fact that it was special to me. It exudes a message where people need not always conform to the norm or go for the default choice but to be adventurous by taking the road less traveled. Audis were uncommon back then where kids would make their way over to have a look at it before they go into their mom’s Estima. These are the things that make a good day great.
Like every car, it isn’t perfect. For one, 480 litres of boot space is all good and well but not once will it be put to its full potential. For practicality, space from the rear bench has been pinched to make seating at the back agonisingly vertical for longer trips. That apart, it neither is all that fast nor comfortable but all those I already know when I first drove one. Its steering rack is also slightly off centered which doesn’t grant a perfect driving position. The CVT transmission in the 1.8T is weak on slopes so remember to select dynamic mode and give it the gas before reversing. In recent months, some of the doors refused to open so I had to crawl in through the passenger’s side.
Other than those niggles, it had been reliable throughout its 7 years of life and only had one battery change. The costliest repair was its engine mount where I’ve been told to do less overly enthusiastic cornering. As a side note, tires are quite expensive but that is the price to pay for good traction. Even so, it has been thrifty on fuel, more importantly no breakdown. Let’s be honest, everyone wanted an Audi since the A5 kicked off the LED trend and if you disagree, you are living in denial. All in all it was a pleasant seven years plus given the opportunity to turn back time, I wouldn’t have gone for anything else.