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View Full Version : Test drove an Audi A4 3.0 6-spd SP yesterday


TD
01-12-2003, 10:44 AM
Continuing on the wagon theme, I went out yesterday afternoon to gather some information...

First, I stopped by the local Volvo dealer to ask what they knew about the V70R. What an awful dealership. Needless to say, I knew more from reading the Volvo press release online that the salesman knew (the salesman I had to accost as I had been in the showroom, bored, for 10 minutes with 6 salesmen talking to each other, none of them acknowledging me). But I said that I'd like a call when they came in so I could drive one as I would never drop 40 large blind. "We won't be able to do that." (That one, while a definite problem, did not surprise me. But the next one did.) I asked if, since I was unfamiliar with Volvo driving dynamics and that since driving dynamics are important to me (I showed up there in my M3 to make the point), could I at least take a T5 for a test drive? "No, we don't allow T5s out on test drives either." Can I have a brochure? "We don't have one for the V70R." How about for a regular V70? "Actually, we're out of those." I then see a brochure on a table on my way out the door. I grab it. A different salesperson chases me down to tell me I cannot have the brochure. WTF?!

How can you treat a customer who is as serious as any other cstomer this way? Hell, I am exactly who they want to lure to their showrooms with the V70R, a BMW buyer who had never before considered Volvo. And this is how I get treated. F*ck that.

Okay, rant over. About the Audi...

The Audi dealership is about a 1/4 mile from the Volvo dealership, so I felt I had to stop in. What a contrast.

After I was greeted by a saleman, I explained to him that I was looking into high performance wagons for my wife and, of their offerings, am interested in both their current A4 3.0 Avant (but only with manual tranny and sport package) or a used S4 Avant should one come available. I mentioned that the new S4 would be exceeding my price threshold and that I'd have no use for that many horses anyway (I'm sure I could find a use, but that's another topic altogether). The conversation never again mentioned the S4, new or old.

I didn't expect them to have an Avant 3.0 6-spd SP to test drive (and they didn't) but I was hoping for at least a 3.0 6-spd sedan. They actually had a 3.0 6-spd sedan w/SP to drive, so I did. The salesman did't hesitate for a second when I asked to take it out.

Impressions:

Short vesion- I was surprised at how much it impressed me.

Longer version- The ONLY thing I found I could complain about (and, yes, it still annoys the piss out of me - but, hey, it wouldn't be MY car), is the infernal DBW throttle. Depress, wait, then the engine responds. Toss in a feather light clutch and I had flashbacks to my E46 (except the Audi's steering is heavier).

As this was a Quattro-equipped car, direct comparisons to RWD BMWs are not exactly fair. AWD brings with it an inherent set of compromises on the handling front. But I was genuinely surprised at how neutral and (gasp) light the car felt considering it's weight and AWD setup. It hides it's weight very well. The car feels extremely solid, but it never feels like you're tossing around as much weight as you are (I sort of flogged it in a parking lot very close to where CD-55 had his incident). Playing like this, I actually felt like I *could* autox this car and not feel like I was murdering it. That shocked me.

The ride was much firmer than I expected. But it displayed a very E46-ish sense of comfort as well. And driving on potholes, there wasn't a single errant noise. Just tires rumbling over the rough road surfaces. Body roll was surprisingly limited and I noticed virtually no front end dive when I stabbed the brakes, which, BTW, are pretty damn impressive as well.

The car feels MUCH more solidly assembled than any E46 I've been in. I'm not thrilled with the interior layout, but it's certainly not bad. The sport package does not include any type of sport seats (a dissappointing surprise) but the stock seats are very good.

I admit that I am still only growing to accept the look of the new A4 sedan but I actually really like the look of the new A4 Avant, especially in darker colors where the lower body strip (that is always black) doesn't contrast as much. The 3.0 Avant gets the aluminum roof rails as well, which, while no more functional than the 1.8T's black roof rails, look damn sharp. And the 3.0 SP Avant gets better looking rims than the 3.0 SP sedan.

After my drive, we poked around a 3.0 Avant that was equppied with the Tiptronic, just to see the rear dimensions, execution, etc. The wagon area is small, but no smaller than an E46 wagon.

When we went back inside, I asked him point blank how much over invoice these cars were going for. $800-1000 he replied without hesitation. (I really appreciate when a salesman understands that he's dealing with an informed consumer and doesn't play the "What would it take to get you into this car today?" bull****.)

So I'd be able to get into this A4 Avant 3.0 with 6-spd, sport pacakge and manual rear sunshades for around $34K before tax.

I'll admit it. It's now at the top of the list.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/members/TD/a4_avant.jpg

nate
01-12-2003, 11:14 AM
Didn't try the S4? or 325iT/528iT?

what a bunch of idiots at the Volvo dealer :tsk:

nate
01-12-2003, 11:15 AM
Oh, I'm with you, the old A4 was much better looking...

TD
01-12-2003, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by nate328Ci
Didn't try the S4? or 325iT/528iT?

what a bunch of idiots at the Volvo dealer :tsk:

I've driven an S4 6-spd, 528iT 5-spd SP and 325XiT 5-spd in the past. I would probably re-drive the S4 and 528iT before making any decision. I recall the S4 plowed a lot more than the new-gen A4 did yesterday. And the 528iT feels great and is still very much in play. I think the biggest strike against the 528iT is the impression it would make. The president of my company only drives an '01 530iA SPP. At least the Audis do not have the same status stigma (I'm sure Audi wishes they did, though).

nate
01-12-2003, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by TD
I've driven an S4 6-spd, 528iT 5-spd SP and 325XiT 5-spd in the past. I would probably re-drive the S4 and 528iT before making any decision. I recall the S4 plowed a lot more than the new-gen A4 did yesterday. And the 528iT feels great and is still very much in play. I think the biggest strike against the 528iT is the impression it would make. The president of my company only drives an '01 530iA SPP. At least the Audis do not have the same status stigma (I'm sure Audi wishes they did, though).

Do you think the stigma applys to wagons too?

I wouldn't think so. I don't even feel any stigma with any BMW :dunno:

JST
01-12-2003, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by TD
I've driven an S4 6-spd, 528iT 5-spd SP and 325XiT 5-spd in the past. I would probably re-drive the S4 and 528iT before making any decision. I recall the S4 plowed a lot more than the new-gen A4 did yesterday. And the 528iT feels great and is still very much in play. I think the biggest strike against the 528iT is the impression it would make. The president of my company only drives an '01 530iA SPP. At least the Audis do not have the same status stigma (I'm sure Audi wishes they did, though).

Interesting. I did try and drive an A4 3.0 once with a friend who was in the market, and was treated very badly. The dealer couldn't find the keys to the 3.0, and when we asked to drive the 1.8T just so we could get a feel for the handling, we were told that the dealership was closing in 20 minutes, so there wasn't time. We could sit in the car, though. The saleswoman then proceeded to tell us how much the car had in common with other VWs (really!) My friend bought an Infiniti G35C instead.

The Volvo story is not surprising. The Volvo dealers around here are unbelieveably bad. During a bout of temporary insanity when I was considering an S70 T5, I had a series of odious experiences trying to get lease numbers and test drives. I can understand them not test-driving Rs (though I have to think that they are enough of an unknown that test drives may be necessary), but to not test drive T5s is just asinine. The car just isn't that special.

For the price, the A4 sounds very attractive. Even if the older S4 is marginally better to drive, I'd take the N/A new car over the used one with the b_i_t_c_h_y turbo engine any day.

TD
01-12-2003, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by nate328Ci
Do you think the stigma applys to wagons too?

I wouldn't think so. I don't even feel any stigma with any BMW :dunno:

I know you're younger than me as well but I still feel a sense of being too young to be in a current 5er. Maybe you're just part of a more affluent circle. I don't know. But having a 5er *would* make me very self-conscious, right or wrong.

In my position in life, I feel perfectly comfortable driving my current car or even my former 330i. But I think a perception barrier is crossed at $40K. And even though a used 528iT would be under $30K, the perception is still $40K+ (and probably closer to $50K). People that aren't familiar with BMWs seem to assume they cost more than they do.

nate
01-12-2003, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by TD
I know you're younger than me as well but I still feel a sense of being too young to be in a current 5er. Maybe you're just part of a more affluent circle. I don't know. But having a 5er *would* make me very self-conscious, right or wrong.

In my position in life, I feel perfectly comfortable driving my current car or even my former 330i. But I think a perception barrier is crossed at $40K. And even though a used 528iT would be under $30K, the perception is still $40K+ (and probably closer to $50K). People that aren't familiar with BMWs seem to assume they cost more than they do.

Even if people think that, what does it matter?

Does it make you feel bad that others think you are wealthier or spent more on your car? :dunno:

Matthew330Ci
01-12-2003, 12:03 PM
Originally posted by TD
I know you're younger than me as well but I still feel a sense of being too young to be in a current 5er. Maybe you're just part of a more affluent circle. I don't know. But having a 5er *would* make me very self-conscious, right or wrong.

In my position in life, I feel perfectly comfortable driving my current car or even my former 330i. But I think a perception barrier is crossed at $40K. And even though a used 528iT would be under $30K, the perception is still $40K+ (and probably closer to $50K). People that aren't familiar with BMWs seem to assume they cost more than they do.

i have similar thoughts,
i'm a very young engineer, graduated about a year ago, and my boss drives an old ford escort wagon and his boss (director of mfg) drives an old 89ish mazda mpv minivan... so far i've been driving a 2000 civic si which is already more expensive than both their cars but when my 330ci comes in, i figure if they ever find out my boss will tease me that they're paying me too much... and i figure it can't possibly be positive for all my coworkers when this new kid fresh out of college drives a new bmw..

i know i shouldn't really care about what other people think but when it's your bosses involved i'd prefer they don't find out that i drive a brand new bimmer...

TD
01-12-2003, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by nate328Ci
Even if people think that, what does it matter?

Does it make you feel bad that others think you are wealthier or spent more on your car? :dunno:

It's not all about MY feelings. In a corporate environment, there is a sense of adhering to a standard of living appropriate for your level in the organization. While I am not a peon, I am also not a VP.

My immediate boss (who is the CFO - and drives an Acura RL) gives me **** constantly for my two BMWs and my house (he knows where I live) with the line, "We must be paying you too much."

I am quite sure many/most of the guys here who work in corporate environments (and NOT as techies) can relate. When egos come into play, you don't want to go around upstaging those up the org chart from you. It CAN adversely impact your career.

TD
01-12-2003, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by Matthew330CiM
i have similar thoughts,
i'm a very young engineer, graduated about a year ago, and my boss drives an old ford escort wagon and his boss (director of mfg) drives an old 89ish mazda mpv minivan... so far i've been driving a 2000 civic si which is already more expensive than both their cars but when my 330ci comes in, i figure if they ever find out my boss will tease me that they're paying me too much... and i figure it can't possibly be positive for all my coworkers when this new kid fresh out of college drives a new bmw..

i know i shouldn't really care about what other people think but when it's your bosses involved i'd prefer they don't find out that i drive a brand new bimmer...

We were typing our replies simultaneously.

IIRC, Nate doesn't work for anyone so I could see how he might not appreciate this component of "perceptions".

nate
01-12-2003, 12:18 PM
Originally posted by TD
It's not all about MY feelings. In a corporate environment, there is a sense of adhering to a standard of living appropriate for your level in the organization. While I am not a peon, I am also not a VP.

My immediate boss (who is the CFO - and drives an Acura RL) gives me **** constantly for my two BMWs and my house (he knows where I live) with the line, "We must be paying you too much."

I am quite sure many/most of the guys here who work in corporate environments (and NOT as techies) can relate. When egos come into play, you don't want to go around upstaging those up the org chart from you. It CAN adversely impact your career.

Ah, I see what you mean. That's pretty low of your boss.

When he says "We must be paying you too much.", you should reply "Debt finance is a wonderful thing" :p

TD
01-12-2003, 12:23 PM
Originally posted by nate328Ci
Ah, I see what you mean. That's pretty low of your boss.

When he says "We must be paying you too much.", you should reply "Debt finance is a wonderful thing" :p

No, understand that it's said jokingly but still bespeaks a certain sense of "Make sure you know your place." As one who has always had a nice car (usually nicer than my boss'), I can say that this is a recurring theme.

He's not being a prick. But I am sort of violating an unwritten rule and he's calling me on it.

nate
01-12-2003, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by TD
No, understand that it's said jokingly but still bespeaks a certain sense of "Make sure you know your place." As one who has always had a nice car (usually nicer than my boss'), I can say that this is a recurring theme.

He's not being a prick. But I am sort of violating an unwritten rule and he's calling me on it.

Obviously he was joking, but as you said, the implication is not so good.

Anyway, don't let that bother you. Buy the car that you like the most. You have to be comfortable with what you drive...

TD
01-12-2003, 12:44 PM
Originally posted by nate328Ci
Obviously he was joking, but as you said, the implication is not so good.

Anyway, don't let that bother you. Buy the car that you like the most. You have to be comfortable with what you drive...


Yeah. Let's bring this thread back to the subject of the CAR itself.

I was genuinely impressed.

HW
01-12-2003, 01:07 PM
imho, the new a4 looks better than the old, all except for the "side burn'ish" sheet metal forward of the front wheel well taken from the a6. that part just looks awkward and does not line up with the black partion. notice that the slightly newer coupe/cab version does not have this. also if there is a minor front bumper thump, it could easily damage the fender sheet metal "side burn" part. :rolleyes:

PhilH
01-12-2003, 01:23 PM
I think the new A4 is a nice piece of work. However, if you praise it so highly, you're going to have to totally lay off the E46 bashing.

I have yet to see any back to back comparison tests where the new A4 was not criticized for being too soft and slow in comparison with the 330. :p

IMO, you're just denying you and your wife extra driving pleasure if you ignore the 325iT with sport package. However, you've already had an E46 and found it wanting (for whatever reasoning at the time), so if you want something different just for a change of pace, I can understand that.

Nick325xiT 5spd
01-12-2003, 01:30 PM
If you'd like to drive my car again, you can... It's a good deal more enjoyable with S-03s.

Of course, you might just need to drive one with the new steering rack.

JST
01-12-2003, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by TD
No, understand that it's said jokingly but still bespeaks a certain sense of "Make sure you know your place." As one who has always had a nice car (usually nicer than my boss'), I can say that this is a recurring theme.

He's not being a prick. But I am sort of violating an unwritten rule and he's calling me on it.

I agree with you; this kind of pressure is pervasive. I think we've discussed before that it is even more evident in DC (as opposed to Detroit or CA), because people here generally don't spend as much on their cars.

At the same time, I've decided that this is one battle that I will fight. I want to spend an absurd (for DC) percentage of my income on my car. If others don't, fine. Screw them. Let them drive around in their 15 year old beaters. But I will no more bend my automotive preferences based on the preferences of others than I would decide to go to church just because my boss did.

beauport
01-12-2003, 01:39 PM
Originally posted by PhilH
I think the new A4 is a nice piece of work. However, if you praise it so highly, you're going to have to totally lay off the E46 bashing.


I'm not sure he was bashing the E46, but I do find it interesting that he uses this as a reference of comparison to other cars. The comparisons could have been to the current driving car but instead the E46 was used.

HW
01-12-2003, 01:46 PM
Originally posted by JST
I agree with you; this kind of pressure is pervasive. I think we've discussed before that it is even more evident in DC (as opposed to Detroit or CA), because people here generally don't spend as much on their cars.

At the same time, I've decided that this is one battle that I will fight. I want to spend an absurd (for DC) percentage of my income on my car. If others don't, fine. Screw them. Let them drive around in their 15 year old beaters. But I will no more bend my automotive preferences based on the preferences of others than I would decide to go to church just because my boss did.

i'm just a regular engineer (not sr not jr) at my place but i also drive one of the more expensive cars around. when others ask or hint at the above, i usually add that i'm a car enthusiast. i combine my hobby budget into my transportation whereas others would diversify into expensive home audio systems or large salt water reef tanks etc.

Mr. The Edge
01-12-2003, 01:50 PM
I think DC just has a really weird/heightened "power play" deal going on. I have a good friend that works there and he constantly laments about how everyone is out to better position themselves. This means not stepping on anyone's toes and always trying to toe the company line, even if it means compromising some of your own principles.

JST
01-12-2003, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by HW
i'm just a regular engineer (not sr not jr) at my place but i also drive one of the more expensive cars around. when others ask or hint at the above, i usually add that i'm a car enthusiast. i combine my hobby budget into my transportation whereas others would diversify into expensive home audio systems or large salt water reef tanks etc.

Yes, becoming known as the crazy car enthusiast who races on the weekends and knows everything about cars has helped.

dlloyd1975
01-12-2003, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by TD
[B]Continuing on the wagon theme, I went out yesterday afternoon to gather some information...

First, I stopped by the local Volvo dealer to ask what they knew about the V70R. What an awful dealership. Needless to say, I knew more from reading the Volvo press release online that the salesman knew (the salesman I had to accost as I had been in the showroom, bored, for 10 minutes with 6 salesmen talking to each other, none of them acknowledging me). But I said that I'd like a call when they came in so I could drive one as I would never drop 40 large blind. "We won't be able to do that." (That one, while a definite problem, did not surprise me. But the next one did.) I asked if, since I was unfamiliar with Volvo driving dynamics and that since driving dynamics are important to me (I showed up there in my M3 to make the point), could I at least take a T5 for a test drive? "No, we don't allow T5s out on test drives either." Can I have a brochure? "We don't have one for the V70R." How about for a regular V70? "Actually, we're out of those." I then see a brochure on a table on my way out the door. I grab it. A different salesperson chases me down to tell me I cannot have the brochure. WTF?!

How can you treat a customer who is as serious as any other cstomer this way? Hell, I am exactly who they want to lure to their showrooms with the V70R, a BMW buyer who had never before considered Volvo. And this is how I get treated. F*ck that.



My wife and I had a similar experience at *both* Volvo dealers in St. Louis. One wouldn't even give us the time of day in the new car department (he openly scoffed when I asked about their ED program), however the used department did let us drive a used T5.

The other dealership was OK, but man, I felt like I needed a shower when I got out of there. They did try to play the "what would it take to get you in this car today" game. I even openly told them that we weren't considering buying quite yet. Then, for months afterwards, they kept calling us. Man, desperation is not appealing.

I can tell you that the T5 drives like *crap* compared to any of the 3ers I've taken for a test drive, even the 325 touring with premium and step. It's pretty fast, but in that straight line sort of way. It reminds me a bit of my grandma's 71 Ford Galaxie 500, or maybe my brother's 73 El Camino SS (though that LS6 454 could generate enough torgue to denotate transmissions). In short, it's wicked fast, but feels much larger and slower than it actually is. After driving a 325 step/sport (the dealership that I've been going to around here has a dearth of manuals), I can say that the Volvo doesn't feel any faster than a low end BMW. You made the right choice by ignoring it.

On the other hand, if I could live with driving with two condoms and had two kids over the age of 12 (scads of back seat room in the V70), then maybe I could justify the Volvo, but I'd still look at a Passat wagon first just based on how I was treated at the Volvo dealership.

I'd look at the A4 3.0, but my wife and I are really keen on doing the whole ED thing, espically since we've been plannng on doing our three or four week vacation to Europe for quite some time (SGI gives its employees six week sabbaticals every four years, and I'm elligible now).

Mr. The Edge
01-12-2003, 01:52 PM
Originally posted by dlloyd1975


I can tell you that the T5 drives like *crap* compared to any of the 3ers I've taken for a test drive, even the 325 touring with premium and step. It's pretty fast, but in that straight line sort of way. It reminds me a bit of my grandma's 71 Ford Galaxie 500, or maybe my brother's 73 El Camino SS (though that LS6 454 could generate enough torgue to denotate transmissions).

:lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

Mr. The Edge
01-12-2003, 01:53 PM
Originally posted by dlloyd1975


On the other hand, if I could live with driving with two condoms and had two kids over the age of 12 (scads of back seat room in the V70), then maybe I could justify the Volvo

:eek: :eek:

:dunno:

nate
01-12-2003, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by TD
I was genuinely impressed.

Maybe because your expectatoins were so low?

ObD
01-12-2003, 02:51 PM
Originally posted by atyclb
I think DC just has a really weird/heightened "power play" deal going on. I have a good friend that works there and he constantly laments about how everyone is out to better position themselves. This means not stepping on anyone's toes and always trying to toe the company line, even if it means compromising some of your own principles.

Political Correctness. After 9/11 you'd think people would focus on more important things but old Stalinists are a fickle lot.

pdz
01-12-2003, 03:04 PM
TD:

told ya, did i not? the 6speed 3.0 a4 avant is a nice automobile.

pretty smooth engine, still lacking in some low down grunt, but like the 2.5 or 3.0 inline sixes don't? has quattro.

just heavy. that is an excellent price if you could swing 34k since that is about what a 325xiT new is lightly optioned.

dlloyd1975
01-12-2003, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by atyclb
:eek: :eek:

:dunno:

What I ment by that was if it came down to we needed something with SUV sized space or the Volvo V70 (which are about the same in usable interior room), I'd take the V70.

JST
01-12-2003, 03:09 PM
Originally posted by atyclb
I think DC just has a really weird/heightened "power play" deal going on. I have a good friend that works there and he constantly laments about how everyone is out to better position themselves. This means not stepping on anyone's toes and always trying to toe the company line, even if it means compromising some of your own principles.

I don't think that this is true (generally) here any more than it is anywhere else. Your friend's company/work environment may be an exceptional case.

What is true here is that power/influence is measured differently than in, say, NY. Whereas in NY what matters is how much you make, here it is who you know, and who will return your phone calls. That's the currency of power.

WILLIA///M
01-12-2003, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by TD
When egos come into play, you don't want to go around upstaging those up the org chart from you. It CAN adversely impact your career.

I'm content with letting the bosses have more expensive cars as long as mine is the fastest one in the lot.:D

And, more on original topic it's interesting to hear an enlightened an unbiased opinion on an Audi. That new 3.2 TT might have to go for a test drive when the current lease is up.

pdz
01-12-2003, 05:30 PM
TD:

am glad you got an overall positive impression from your test drive of the new a4 3.0. i, too, like that car a lot and the interiors are wonderful. they had better be, given the strange quirks of the VAG group cars. miscellaneous little electrical glitches...good grief.

as for appearances? once "we" step up into that certain echelon of people who choose to drive cars with more negative than positive stereotypes, "we" can either (a) not care, (b) care, but eat it up, or (c) care and have decoy cars.

:angel:

AF
01-12-2003, 05:36 PM
I suggested the A4 to Tom as well in the other thread because I know he enjoyed his 97 (or was it 98) A4 and this newer generation has definitely come up a level and now can easily play with the E46.

I came extremely close to getting the New A4 and the only negative I saw with the car was that the center console made leg room a little narrow. Perhaps if I owned it, I would have gotten used to it

*** One interesting note . . . for 2003 they now have the 17" wheels with all season tires as a stand alone option with the regular suspension or you could opt for the sport suspension which come with the same wheels with summer rubber.

When I test drove the A4's, I had driven a model with the all-season option and was shocked at how incredible the handling was and beleive me, the local dealer here has the perfect test drive route to find out just how good the car can be :thumbup:

FYI The regular suspension is just as tight as the previous genreation sport suspension.

Since your getting the car for your wife and you want the added benefit of all weather capability, I would seriously consider going with the 17" all seasons. I don't think you will feel like your giving up anything (at least test drive it). . .

Meanwhile my brother traded in his 98 A4 2.8Q with sport for a 03 3.0Q with the all-seasons 17" and he says it not only outhandles his old car by a far margin but in the snow it is considerably better as well.

pdz
01-12-2003, 05:42 PM
i know i catch a lot of flak for this and the closet-elitist in me raises its ugly head......

....however, i do not appreciate the kind of treatment that you got at the dealership because i know the anecdote well and personally.

the issue is: we here are all enthusiasts, and you can damn well bet we would all be great at selling cars if that is what we chose to do; but it is not for one reason or another. an underlying part of this is: how many would agree that there is a completely odious stigma to the profession?

and on the few times when i have been blatantly blown off or treated rudely, when i am mature, i leave knowing that i actually own the car i drive home as opposed to getting one comp'd.....but when i'm immature, i usually ask the guilty party, "you know, it took kinda a long time to get some help today and i could not, for the life of me understand why since no other customers are in here......selling cars is fun, huh? probably what you dreamt of doing when you were little for a living?"

i promise, this has never been mentioned to someone who treats me with respect, but fair game is fair game. when "we" are trying honestly to buy something.......

JPinTO
01-12-2003, 06:28 PM
The poor sales treatment is not brand specific. I get the exact same treatment at all local Toronto BMW dealerships... regardless of what I drive up in.

A few weeks ago, my parents were set to buy a Ford F150 supercab a few months ago and got so sick of dealing with the crap at the Ford dealer (bait& switch nonsense) they said "screw it" and drove to the MB dealer and are now in a ML350 instead. :rolleyes:


Anyway, the black A4 wagons are gorgeous. It's the only car that actually tempts me other than a E46M3. An S4 wagon would be irresistable.

JST
01-12-2003, 07:45 PM
So, TD, I was thinking about your dilemma this morning. You want a fast 5 series wagon. You have an E36 M3 that could also use some more poke.

Hm. As the light beer guys say, "Let's watch both!"

1. Buy 528iT. Remove engine. Sell.

2. Buy S50 B 32 crate motor. Install in M3.

3. Take S52 B 32 engine from M3. Install in 528iT.

4. Problem(s) solved.


Here is a review of a TC Kline constructed 532i; sounds very appealing.


http://www.caranddriver.com/xp/Caranddriver/roadtests/1999/February/199902_roadtest_bmw_528i32.xml?keywords=528

·clyde·
01-13-2003, 05:20 AM
Originally posted by pdz
i know i catch a lot of flak for this and the closet-elitist in me raises its ugly head......

....however, i do not appreciate the kind of treatment that you got at the dealership because i know the anecdote well and personally.

the issue is: we here are all enthusiasts, and you can damn well bet we would all be great at selling cars if that is what we chose to do; but it is not for one reason or another. an underlying part of this is: how many would agree that there is a completely odious stigma to the profession?

I suspect that many on the board, if they were car salesman, would be like Jack Black's character selling records in High Fidelity. Same snobbiness, different criteria.

pdz
01-13-2003, 05:25 AM
Originally posted by Clyde@work
I suspect that many on the board, if they were car salesman, would be like Jack Black's character selling records in High Fidelity. Same snobbiness, different criteria.

that is so funny i am laughing out loud at work. how true.

"WHAT?!?!?!??!?! do you even know your wife!?!?!? no, no, no, no. f*ck off you nouveau riche suburbanite jackoff! go find some lexus dealership and die happy........"

Zaphod
01-13-2003, 06:31 AM
I drove the 1.8T variant when I was shopping for a car and found that the interior space was cramped.

TD - IIRC from the picture thread that you a not a small person. How did you find the driver's spot, the transmission tunnel specifically? I'm 6'4" and thought it was quite intrusive.

TD
01-13-2003, 06:46 AM
Originally posted by Zaphod
I drove the 1.8T variant when I was shopping for a car and found that the interior space was cramped.

TD - IIRC from the picture thread that you a not a small person. How did you find the driver's spot, the transmission tunnel specifically? I'm 6'4" and thought it was quite intrusive.

Funny you mention this.

I DID notice the tranny tunnel but chalked it up to not taking the time to properly adjust my seat. Then I went to Audiworld.com's forums last night and saw a post from someone who ditched their new A4 for a prior generation one BECAUSE of the tranny tunnel. Now I'm concerned and will have to go back and sit in one for a while and see if I can find a comfortable position. It would be a real shame if Audi f*cked up and otherwise great vehicle with this type of stupid design error.

BTW, I'm only 6'1", ~ 195 lbs (not that that's small).

nate
01-13-2003, 06:49 AM
Originally posted by pdz
that is so funny i am laughing out loud at work. how true.

"WHAT?!?!?!??!?! do you even know your wife!?!?!? no, no, no, no. f*ck off you nouveau riche suburbanite jackoff! go find some lexus dealership and die happy........" :lmao: :lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

AF
01-13-2003, 08:03 AM
Originally posted by TD
Funny you mention this.

I DID notice the tranny tunnel but chalked it up to not taking the time to properly adjust my seat. Then I went to Audiworld.com's forums last night and saw a post from someone who ditched their new A4 for a prior generation one BECAUSE of the tranny tunnel. Now I'm concerned and will have to go back and sit in one for a while and see if I can find a comfortable position. It would be a real shame if Audi f*cked up and otherwise great vehicle with this type of stupid design error.

BTW, I'm only 6'1", ~ 195 lbs (not that that's small).

Well unfortunately (see my post above) this was the main reason I didn't get that car . . . my brother is only 5'6" so this didn't affect him, I'm 5'10" so it bothered me and I noticed the more test drives I took, the more I noticed it especially with shorts on . . .

Also quite a few auto mags picked up on this as well and I have a funny feeling Audi is going to change the design of it in the future . . .


There's a chance that over time you might get used to it, people on Audiworld have said that they re-adjusted the way they sit and it didn't bother them . . . others have said that after a couple of weeks, they were used to it and VERY few have said it was terrible and they can't stand it.

Also, there is a small solution, there is a guy selling a knee pad to match the interior that I have read really helps and the knee pad is very cheap !!!
Do a search under 'kneepad' on Audiworld (new A4 forum) and you'll see pictures of it.

mbr129
01-13-2003, 08:07 AM
Originally posted by Matthew330CiM
i have similar thoughts,
i'm a very young engineer, graduated about a year ago, and my boss drives an old ford escort wagon and his boss (director of mfg) drives an old 89ish mazda mpv minivan... so far i've been driving a 2000 civic si which is already more expensive than both their cars but when my 330ci comes in, i figure if they ever find out my boss will tease me that they're paying me too much... and i figure it can't possibly be positive for all my coworkers when this new kid fresh out of college drives a new bmw..

i know i shouldn't really care about what other people think but when it's your bosses involved i'd prefer they don't find out that i drive a brand new bimmer...

I feel exactly the same way. I am a class of '01 mechanical design engineer, and sometimes people make comments about my CURRENT car. I have to tell them that it is 13 years old and with 160K miles for them to shut up. Just because it looks new doesn't mean it is. Once I get my 330 later this year I am DEFINITELY gonna hear it. :tsk:

Although I am paying for it, and I can afford it, I have to keep saying that it is because of my fiancee that I can buy the car (she DID land a job with the top law firm in Boston, and they know this). Some guys in my group are worth too much money to give a damn (stock money), so they cheer for me to get it. But other newer guys recently hired will definitelly think otherwise considering one drives a POS '91 Integra, and another a '95 Civic.

mbr129
01-13-2003, 08:13 AM
Sorry, way late on the subject :dunno:

Anyway, I do like the A4 Avant 3.0. I will likely get that for my wife when my 190E 2.6 dies, or we have kids, whichever happens first.

car_for_mom
01-13-2003, 08:23 AM
Wow!

I thought my experience with Volvo dealers was unusual; the first dealer I visited in Ontario, California, couldn't be bothered to give me the time of day when I had the effrontery to ask about a manual S60 T5. I was very, very turned off.

But, I wanted to be fair; I figured it was maybe that particular dealership, so I went to one in Orange County. It's been my experience (I live in the Inland Empire, which is San Bernardino and Riverside Counties) that the dealers in Orange County tend to treat customers very well (rich people don't take well to poor service!). I had a better experience; they had to search to find a manual, but they did, and I appreciated the effort. I ended up buying my Bimmer from an Orange County dealer.

My experience at two Audi dealers was okay; the one in Pasadena was kind of amusing; because I wanted a manual (oh, I am such a pain in the gluetus maximus! :lmao: ), they had to search for a long time; they located one in a distant lot.
We drove over in one car to find the one with the 5-speed; it was covered in dust, dirt and leaves, but I felt it would be gauche to complain. So I took it on a test drive around the Rose Bowl. The other Orange County dealer had a manual readily available.

joema
01-13-2003, 09:43 AM
Originally posted by TD
My immediate boss (who is the CFO - and drives an Acura RL) gives me **** constantly for my two BMWs

The Acura RL base MSRP is way more than a 330i. The funny thing is an E46 isn't that expensive relative to other cars people often drive.

The edmunds.com Total Cost of Ownership tool shows a Lincoln Navigator 4WD costs $0.79 per mile, which is more expensive than an M3, a 540iA, Porsche Boxter S, or a Mercedes E320.

A Ford F-150 Supercrew HD pickup truck costs $0.64 per mile, which is more than a 330i or Mercedes C240.

-- Joe

PhilH
01-13-2003, 09:50 AM
Maybe Volvo dealers are like this because they know that their manual transmissions suck, or that their cars don't really appeal to enthusiasts? :dunno: :eeps:

brave1heart
01-13-2003, 11:09 AM
Originally posted by TD
Continuing on the wagon theme, I went out yesterday afternoon to gather some information...

First, I stopped by the local Volvo dealer to ask what they knew about the V70R. What an awful dealership. Needless to say, I knew more from reading the Volvo press release online that the salesman knew (the salesman I had to accost as I had been in the showroom, bored, for 10 minutes with 6 salesmen talking to each other, none of them acknowledging me). But I said that I'd like a call when they came in so I could drive one as I would never drop 40 large blind. "We won't be able to do that." (That one, while a definite problem, did not surprise me. But the next one did.) I asked if, since I was unfamiliar with Volvo driving dynamics and that since driving dynamics are important to me (I showed up there in my M3 to make the point), could I at least take a T5 for a test drive? "No, we don't allow T5s out on test drives either." Can I have a brochure? "We don't have one for the V70R." How about for a regular V70? "Actually, we're out of those." I then see a brochure on a table on my way out the door. I grab it. A different salesperson chases me down to tell me I cannot have the brochure. WTF?!

How can you treat a customer who is as serious as any other cstomer this way? Hell, I am exactly who they want to lure to their showrooms with the V70R, a BMW buyer who had never before considered Volvo. And this is how I get treated. F*ck that.

Okay, rant over. About the Audi...

The Audi dealership is about a 1/4 mile from the Volvo dealership, so I felt I had to stop in. What a contrast.

After I was greeted by a saleman, I explained to him that I was looking into high performance wagons for my wife and, of their offerings, am interested in both their current A4 3.0 Avant (but only with manual tranny and sport package) or a used S4 Avant should one come available. I mentioned that the new S4 would be exceeding my price threshold and that I'd have no use for that many horses anyway (I'm sure I could find a use, but that's another topic altogether). The conversation never again mentioned the S4, new or old.

I didn't expect them to have an Avant 3.0 6-spd SP to test drive (and they didn't) but I was hoping for at least a 3.0 6-spd sedan. They actually had a 3.0 6-spd sedan w/SP to drive, so I did. The salesman did't hesitate for a second when I asked to take it out.

Impressions:

Short vesion- I was surprised at how much it impressed me.

Longer version- The ONLY thing I found I could complain about (and, yes, it still annoys the piss out of me - but, hey, it wouldn't be MY car), is the infernal DBW throttle. Depress, wait, then the engine responds. Toss in a feather light clutch and I had flashbacks to my E46 (except the Audi's steering is heavier).

As this was a Quattro-equipped car, direct comparisons to RWD BMWs are not exactly fair. AWD brings with it an inherent set of compromises on the handling front. But I was genuinely surprised at how neutral and (gasp) light the car felt considering it's weight and AWD setup. It hides it's weight very well. The car feels extremely solid, but it never feels like you're tossing around as much weight as you are (I sort of flogged it in a parking lot very close to where CD-55 had his incident). Playing like this, I actually felt like I *could* autox this car and not feel like I was murdering it. That shocked me.

The ride was much firmer than I expected. But it displayed a very E46-ish sense of comfort as well. And driving on potholes, there wasn't a single errant noise. Just tires rumbling over the rough road surfaces. Body roll was surprisingly limited and I noticed virtually no front end dive when I stabbed the brakes, which, BTW, are pretty damn impressive as well.

The car feels MUCH more solidly assembled than any E46 I've been in. I'm not thrilled with the interior layout, but it's certainly not bad. The sport package does not include any type of sport seats (a dissappointing surprise) but the stock seats are very good.

I admit that I am still only growing to accept the look of the new A4 sedan but I actually really like the look of the new A4 Avant, especially in darker colors where the lower body strip (that is always black) doesn't contrast as much. The 3.0 Avant gets the aluminum roof rails as well, which, while no more functional than the 1.8T's black roof rails, look damn sharp. And the 3.0 SP Avant gets better looking rims than the 3.0 SP sedan.

After my drive, we poked around a 3.0 Avant that was equppied with the Tiptronic, just to see the rear dimensions, execution, etc. The wagon area is small, but no smaller than an E46 wagon.

When we went back inside, I asked him point blank how much over invoice these cars were going for. $800-1000 he replied without hesitation. (I really appreciate when a salesman understands that he's dealing with an informed consumer and doesn't play the "What would it take to get you into this car today?" bull****.)

So I'd be able to get into this A4 Avant 3.0 with 6-spd, sport pacakge and manual rear sunshades for around $34K before tax.

I'll admit it. It's now at the top of the list.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/members/TD/a4_avant.jpg

The A4 3.0 Avant would be on top of my list too. I think it's very likely we'll end up looking at it more seriously in a couple of years when our son is older and our family has hopefully expanded. I am surprised to hear this story about the Volvo dealership. I've only been in a Volvo dealership once when I was trying to help a friend with buying a car and we had no problem at all taking a T5 out for a spin. We also drove two other Volvos (forgot which ones - they were too unimpressive). I can virtually guarantee you that you will hate the T5. It is quick in a straight line but the driving dynamics are probably no better than a Camry's. Oh, and I totally understand your thoughts on career/car/house/standing etc... esp. in finance/accounting, which tends to be a lot more conservative than other departments. Driving a car and living in a house above your means will not be a big help in your career. It only helps if you are in sales.

JPinTO
01-13-2003, 11:16 AM
Ditto that: Volvo's suck to drive.

Zaphod
01-13-2003, 11:34 AM
Originally posted by TD
Funny you mention this.

I DID notice the tranny tunnel but chalked it up to not taking the time to properly adjust my seat. Then I went to Audiworld.com's forums last night and saw a post from someone who ditched their new A4 for a prior generation one BECAUSE of the tranny tunnel. Now I'm concerned and will have to go back and sit in one for a while and see if I can find a comfortable position. It would be a real shame if Audi f*cked up and otherwise great vehicle with this type of stupid design error.

BTW, I'm only 6'1", ~ 195 lbs (not that that's small).

The only semi comfortable position I found was with the seat pushed all the way back. That's just an awful driving position (arms and legs straight out) and it eliminates what little back seat room there was behind me. I also did the Audiworld search. I chose to search on the word 'problem' then did the same thing on this board. Both came back with problems but Audi had more as well as a more severe problem. Also I found that problem resolution was reported in a more favorable light here.

If it were me, I'd be doing the hunt for an E39 Touring. They can be found with the sport package and sport seats for 30-35k. My sister recently found a '99 528 with 17k miles on it with sport and premium packages and even xenons for ~32,000 up here in CT.

Just my $.02, good luck.