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So I've got a 1995 Infiniti Q45a luxoboat, and it's been fun, but it's just
too darn big and heavy to drive. I start looking around to find something
more my style. Still quiet, still luxury, but tighter steering and better
cornering. I thought I found it - Acura 3.5RL. (Yes, I know. Acura is not
known for its spirited handling. We're talking relative, here.) But then a
friend says "you CAN'T buy a sedan until you check out the Audi A4." This is
a guy who couldn't get enough "feel of the road" if he was running barefoot
on gravel, and I usually prefer the air-mattress-on-wheels myself, but I
figured I'd check it out.
Stopped by HBL here in Northern Virginia, took a look at the booklet and the
cars in the lot, and I am pretty damn impressed, even *without* a road test;
it was the end of the night and they had nobody available to take me on a
drive. It's not at all what I thought I was looking for - certainly not a
quiet, boring Japanese luxury car - but it looks pretty damn cool. Steering
is my biggest focus, and it sounds like the A4 has it down. I don't mind a
hard ride as long as it doesn't tire me out; everyone's rated the A4 an A+
for long-distance comfort.
I've heard only one complaint from the car mags, which is acceleration. I
don't have to go fast, I just have to *get going* fast; how's the 0-30 feel
on the A4Q? The only timed tests I can find were on the automatic.
But reading through the specs brought up one other concern. One of the big
problems I have with the Q45 is that it takes about 20 minutes to park the
damn thing in downtown D.C., because it's a) huge and b) got a turning radius
of 38 feet. One of the big appeals of the RL was its tiny 18-foot circle.
Looking at the A4, I figured that at that size, parking would be a breeze;
however, the turning radius is still 36 feet. Obviously I'm not going to buy
a car based on its parking ability, but it does give me pause. What gives?
Is it really a bitch to park? Why does such a car not turn on a dime?
I'm eager to get behind the wheel Friday or Monday; if all goes well I'll
soon join the ranks of happy A4Q owners.