Audi A4 2.7TDi 2008 Review

Audi A4 fq

I had yet another conversation yesterday with a friend who is a German car fan. She said she tried an older Audi and was disappointed. “That’s because any Audi that’s more than about five years old is in a totally different league than new Audis,” I said. And it’s a lesser league. If you last drove an Audi a while ago (like when the A3 first came out, for example) and think that the marque represents stiff and unexciting driving, the later Audis will persuade you otherwise. Some more than others, though.

I have driven all four variants of the Audi A4, starting with the 1.8T through to the 3.2 quattro, but I’m going to focus on the 2.7 TDi because that is the best of the bunch, representing the best price vs. performance. The 3.2 quattro, while entertaining and a proper quattro experience, is a bit on the expensive side at $102,900. The two-wheel drive 2.7TDi is a mere $78,900 in comparison, and besides, I’d negotiate hard at the dealer and go for the excellent A5 if I was spending that kind of money.

Does all this two-wheel drive abundance give a potential branding issue for Audi: it is traditionally associated with quattro, there is only one model in the New Zealand lineup that is quattro, and it’s the best part of $25k more than the next one down. Is this going to bite Audi on its precision-engineered buttocks, or does the purchasing public not care in the slightest whether their traction control-enabled A4 has all four wheels transmitting power to the road?

Glynn Tulloch, Audi’s Managing Director was a bit hamstrung when ordering the cars from Germany (only the one quattro model was available), so was understandably upbeat about his two-wheel drive models. A heated debate raged between six of us scribes at the A4’s launch, and I would have to side with Glynn (unlike most of the others).

People will buy the A4 because they like the look, the colour choice, it’s the right price for them, and it has a four-ringed kudos they can wave in front of the neighbours, most of whom will be automotive philistines. Audi might lose a few sales, but I’d wager a tenner that it will be hardly any, and if they do, it’ll probably be to parent company Volkswagen.

Audi flew over one of their high-ranking engineers from Germany who explained how the whole car had been totally reworked since the previous version (which is good, because I didn’t like the previous one much).

The supplied A4 2.7 TDi came with a couple of the options that you may want to tick (and some absent that I would definitely want). The first one is the navigation. The lady who directs you is so much more alluring than the one offered by Mercedes — its one sounds like a newsreader. The other is the Bluetooth-enabled phone kit, which I don’t find as useful, but road warriors may as they wend their way down the highways and potholed byways of this fair country.

I wended my way all the way to Algies Bay — somewhere I hadn’t been before. Very nice it was to, as a fairly generic beach. The road back to Auckland contained a number of sweeping high speed curves which gave the Audi no trouble at all. In fact, everything was dispatched with a diesel-driven torquiness that quietly and relentlessly assures the driver of significant competence. Fitting, then, that it was the suspension engineer that came over from Germany. He drives a Lotus Elise when not on company time (he told me not to tell anyone, but I think that’s a selling point for the A4!)

What I did wish I had as an option was the brilliant dynamic steering option that I also tried on the launch — it allows you to choose how the steering responds while you’re driving, reducing the number of turns lock to lock for the twisty bits, and increasing them when you’re doing high speeds on comfortable motorways when you need stability.

The A4 had Audi’s drive select which lets you choose between comfort — great for cruising, and gives the best economy; normal, for everyday driving; and dynamic for spirited driving.

Other than that, you might want to visit the options list to get the A4 you really want. Heated seats aren’t standard, and the parking sensors are only at the back unless you spend more money. You’ll probably also want to upgrade the sound system if you’re a music fan.

But back to the range so that you can make a decision. You don’t want the 1.8 turbo — the eight-speed automatic gearbox mated to that engine just doesn’t work like it does with the diesels, and the 16-inch wheels look too small compared to the 17s on the 2.7. The 2-litre diesel is OK, the 3.2 quattro is very good and has lots more kit, but that puts it into A5 territory. Mmmmm. A5. That leaves us with the business-like 2.7TDi — my pick, and only eleven grand more than the 1.8. 7.7 seconds to 100kph is perfectly acceptable from the 140kW and 400Nm on offer, and with a combined fuel consumption of just 6.6l/100km, it’s easy on the wallet at the pump.

It’s the perfect car for those who want a steady, assured, solid-feeling vehicle that gets four rings on your driveway for a sensible price.

Price: from $78,900 (2.7 TDi).

What we like

  • Comfortable and business-like A to B experience
  • Styling
  • Good economy/power ratio

What we don’t like

  • Doesn’t feel special like an A5 does — we could be driving any comfortable car, including some that are significantly cheaper.
  • Heated front seats aren’t standard
  • Therefore you’ll want to spend some money on the options list (and not just for heated seats)

Words and photos Darren Cottingham

Model

Audi A4 2.7 TDI with diesel particulate filter

Engine / electrics
Engine type V6 diesel engine with VTG turbocharger, DOHC;
TDI® direct injection
Valve gear / number of valves per cylinder Roller cam followers with hydraulic valve-play compensation / 4
Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression 2698 / 83.0 x 83.1 / 16.8:1
Max. power output in kW (bhp) / at rpm 140 (190) / 3500 – 4400
Max. torque in Nm / at rpm 400 / 1400 — 3250
Engine management / mixture preparation Common rail injection system, 1650 bar with piezo injectors,
direct injection with eight-hole nozzles, VTG turbocharger with intercooler; swirl and tangential intake ports, regulated swirl port; Bosch EDC; volume, injection start, charge pressure, EGR control
Exhaust emission control Oxidising catalytic converter, water-cooled exhaust gas recirculation, coated maintenance-free diesel particulate filter
Emission class EU 4
Alternator in A / battery in A/Ah 150 / 520 / 110
Drive / transmission
Drivetrain type Front-wheel drive with electronic stabilisation program ESP
Clutch Electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, oil-cooled
Gearbox type Continuously variable multitronic transmission with DRP, sport program
Gear ratio in 1st gear / 2nd gear 2.478 / 1.351
Gear ratio in 3rd gear / 4th gear 0.996 / 0.782
Gear ratio in 5th gear / 6th gear 0.635 / 0.528
Gear ratio in 7th gear / 8th gear 0.443 / 0.369
Reverse gear / final drive ratio 2.998 / 5.625
Suspension / steering / brakes
Front suspension Five-link front suspension, upper and lower wishbones, tubular anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Independent-wheel, trapezoidal-link rear suspension with resiliently mounted subframe, anti-roll bar
Steering / steering ratio / turning circle in m (D102) Maintenance-free rack-and-pinion steering with power assistance / 16.3 / 11.4
Brake system, front/rear Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split, ABS/EBD and ESP with brake assist; tandem brake booster; front: ventilated discs / rear: discs
Wheels / tyres 7.5J x 16 cast aluminium wheels / 225/55 R 16
Performance / consumption / acoustics
Top speed, km/h 226
Acceleration 0-100 km/h, s 7.7
Fuel Diesel, to EN 590
Fuel consumption: urban / extra-urban / combined (l/100 km) 8.1 / 5.7 / 6.6
CO2 emissions: urban / extra-urban / combined (g/km) 216 / 152 / 176
Standing / drive-past exterior noise level in dB (A) 79 / 71
Servicing / guarantee
Oil change 15,000kms or 12 months
Audi Cover/Vehicle/paint/rust perforation warranty 3 years / 3 years with unlimited mileage / 3 years / 12 years
Weights / loads
Unladen weight in kg 1685
Axle load limit at front / rear in kg 1180 / 1080
Trailer load limit, unbraked in kg 750
Trailer load limit on 8% / 12% gradient, braked in kg 1900 / 1700
Roof load limit in kg / permissible nose weight in kg 75 / 80
Capacities
Cooling system capacity (incl. heating) in l 9.0
Engine oil capacity (incl. filter) in l 7.4
Fuel tank capacity in l 65
Body / dimensions (2)
Body type Galvanised, unitary steel body, crumple zones at front and rear
Number of doors / seats 4 doors with additional side protection / 5
Drag coefficient Cd / frontal area A in m2 0.28 / 219
Length (L103) / width excl. mirrors (W103) / height (H100-M) 4703 / 1826 / 1427 (mm)
Wheelbase L101 / track at front/rear W101-1/W102-2 2808 / 1564 / 1551 (mm)
Height of loading lip in mm (H196) 673
Luggage capacity in l, acc. to VDA block method V210/V212 480 (with rear seat folded down: 962)

Model

Audi A4 1.8 TFSI

Engine type Inline 4-cylinder spark-ignition engine with exhaust-gas turbocharger and intercooler, DOHC
Valve gear / number of valves per cylinder Intake camshaft adjustment, roller cam followers / 4
Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression 1798 / 82.5 x 84.1 / 9.6
Max. power output in kW (bhp) / at rpm 118 / 4500 — 6200
Max. torque in Nm / at rpm 250 / 1500 – 4500
Engine management / mixture preparation Fully electronic engine management with drive-by-wire throttle control, sequential high-pressure injection with adaptive idle-charge control, overrun fuel cut-off, adaptive lambda control; mapped ignition with solid-state high-voltage distribution via single-spark coils, cylinder-selective adaptive knock control;
air-mass measurement, integrated boost-pressure control
Exhaust emission control Close-coupled ceramic catalytic converter, oxygen sensor before and after catalytic converter
Emission class EU 4
Alternator in A / battery in A/Ah 120 / 220 / 44
Drivetrain type Front-wheel drive with electronic stabilisation program ESP
Clutch Electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, oil-cooled
Gearbox type Continuously variable multitronic transmission with DRP, sport program
Gear ratio in 1st gear / 2nd gear 2.492 / 1.574
Gear ratio in 3rd gear / 4th gear 1.147 / 0.892
Gear ratio in 5th gear / 6th gear 0.715 / 0.579
Reverse gear / final drive ratio 3.015 / 5.970
Front suspension Five-link front suspension, upper and lower wishbones, tubular anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Independent-wheel, trapezoidal-link rear suspension with resiliently mounted subframe, anti-roll bar
Steering / steering ratio / turning circle in m (D102) Maintenance-free rack-and-pinion steering with power assistance / 16.3 / 11.4
Brake system, front/rear Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split, ABS/EBD and ESP with brake assist; tandem brake booster; front: ventilated discs / rear: discs
Wheels / tyres 7,5 J x 16 lightweight forged aluminium wheels with 225/55 R16 tyres
Top speed, km/h 225
Acceleration 0-100 km/h, s 8.6
Fuel Super unleaded, 95 RON
Fuel consumption: urban / extra-urban / combined (l/100 km) 9.9 / 5.5 / 7.1
CO2 emissions: urban / extra-urban / combined (g/km) 236 / 131 / 169
Oil change 15,000kms or 12 months
Audi Cover/Vehicle/paint/rust perforation warranty 3 years / 3 years with unlimited mileage / 3 years / 12 years
Unladen weight in kg 1539
Axle load limit at front / rear in kg 1035 / 1050
Trailer load limit on 8% / 12% gradient, braked/unbraked in kg 1500 / 1300 / 740
Roof load limit in kg / permissible nose weight in kg 75 / 80
Cooling system capacity (incl. heating) in l 7.0
Engine oil capacity (incl. filter) in l 4.6
Fuel tank capacity in l 65
Body type Galvanised, unitary steel body, crumple zones at front and rear
Number of doors / seats 4 doors with additional side protection / 5
Drag coefficient Cd / frontal area A in m2 0.27 / 2.19
Length/ width excl. mirrors / height 4703 / 1826 / 1427
Wheelbase/ track at front/rear 2808 / 1564 / 1551 (mm)
Height of loading lip in mm 673
Luggage capacity in l, acc. to VDA block method 480 (with rear seat folded down: 962)

Model

Audi A4 3.2 FSI quattro

Engine type Aluminium V6 spark-ignition with petrol direct injection engine, DOHC, camshaft adjustment, 2-stage variable intake manifold, demand-controlled high-pressure and low-pressure fuel system
Valve gear / number of valves per cylinder Audi valvelift system / 4
Displacement in cc / bore x stroke in mm / compression 3197 / 85.5 x 92.8 / 12.5
Max. power output in kW (bhp) / at rpm 195 / 6500
Max. torque in Nm / at rpm 330 / 3000 – 5000
Engine management / mixture preparation Fully electronic engine management with drive-by-wire throttle control, petrol direct injection, cylinder-selective lambda control; mapped ignition with solid-state high-voltage distribution, cylinder-selective adaptive knock control with two sensors
Exhaust emission control Two close-coupled primary catalytic converters, two main catalytic converters, four heated oxygen sensors
Emission class EU 4
Alternator in A / battery in A/Ah 150 / 380 / 80
Drivetrain type quattro permanent four-wheel drive with self-locking centre differential, ESP
Clutch Hydraulically operated single-plate dry clutch; dual-mass flywheel
Gearbox type 6-speed tiptronic with DSP and sport program
Gear ratio in 1st gear / 2nd gear 4.171 / 2.340
Gear ratio in 3rd gear / 4th gear 1.521 / 1.143
Gear ratio in 5th gear / 6th gear 0.867 / 0.691
Reverse gear / final drive ratio 3.403 / 3.517
Front suspension Five-link front suspension, upper and lower wishbones, tubular anti-roll bar
Rear suspension Independent-wheel, trapezoidal-link rear suspension with resiliently mounted subframe, anti-roll bar
Steering / steering ratio / turning circle in m (D102) Maintenance-free rack-and-pinion steering with power assistance / 16.3 / 11.4
Brake system, front/rear Dual-circuit brake system with diagonal split, ABS/EBD and ESP with brake assist; tandem brake booster; front: ventilated discs / rear: discs
Wheels / tyres 7.5J x 16 cast aluminium wheels / 225/55 R 16
Top speed, km/h 250
Acceleration 0-100 km/h, s 6.2
Fuel Super unleaded, 95 RON
Fuel consumption: urban / extra-urban / combined (l/100 km) 13.5 / 6.7 / 9.2
CO2 emissions: urban / extra-urban / combined (g/km) 321 / 159 / 219
Oil change 15,000kms or 12 months
Audi Cover/Vehicle/paint/rust perforation warranty 3 years / 3 years with unlimited mileage / 3 years / 12 years
Unladen weight (excl. driver) / gross weight limit in kg 1696
Axle load limit at front / rear in kg 1105/1145
Trailer load limit on 8% / 12% gradient, braked in kg 2100 / 1900
Roof load limit in kg / permissible nose weight in kg 75 / 80
Cooling system capacity (incl. heating) in l 9.0
Engine oil capacity (incl. filter) in l 6.2
Fuel tank capacity in l 64
Body type Galvanised, unitary steel body, crumple zones at front and rear
Number of doors / seats 4 doors with additional side protection / 5
Drag coefficient cD / frontal area A in m2 28/219
Length (L103) / width excl. mirrors (W103) / height (H100-M) 4703 / 1826 / 1427 (mm)
Wheelbase L101 / track at front/rear W101-1/W102-2 2808 / 1564 / 1551 (mm)
Height of loading lip in mm (H196) 673
Luggage capacity in l, acc. to VDA block method V210/V212 480 (with rear seat folded down: 962)

(1) depends on driving style and operating conditions
(2) details of dimensions with unladen vehicle weight
(3) provisional figure

DIMENSIONS

Length; 4703mm

Height; 1427mm

Wheelbase; 2808mm

Fr Track; 1564mm

R Track; 1551mm

Car shown is 1.8T as Audi gave us an unusual beige model for the 2.7 and we didn’t get any good photos.


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