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Performance parts for the A4...

At 10:51 AM 9/20/96 GMT, James Morgenstein wrote:
>Hello group....
>I've been following the group for the last several weeks to prepare
>for the possibility of selling my current ride (95 5-speed Taurus SHO)
>to be replaced with an Audi A4 Quattro 5-speed).
>I've got some questions about performance, especially given the
>impending arrival of the A4Q 4-cyl turbo.

James, rather than trying to juice up an A4, you might want to consider a 
used S4 or S6, for not a lot more money.  Although not *NEW* cars, used 
Audis are generally a great buy.  The "Audi Advantage" program means most 
recent cars are well-maintained.  And all recent Audis can be kept for 
extremely high miles, 150k to 200k not unusual.

Like you, I used to own a Taurus SHO (fun car!  Have you driven the new 
ones?  V-8?  Boy do they suck!!!)  Earlier this year I sold my second SHO 
(130k mi!) to purchase a '92 S4.  I looked at A4's and found them just too 
small, especially after the Taurus.  The S4 is also *MUCH* faster than the 
SHO.  I think Sports Car International abused a '92 S4 from 0-60 in 5.97 
seconds!  Brakes are vastly better, shifter is better, clutch is better, 
body structure is more solid and rattle-free.  Furthermore, the S4 is very 
amenable to upgrades.  The suspension is pretty good as is, but Eric 
Fletcher and Ned Ritchie or Joe Hoppen offer significant performance 
upgrades (the first two also improve ride!).  For very little money 
($500-700) you can upgrade the chips which control the turbo boost and 
ignition/fuel mapping to get big horsepower gains, from stock 227 hp to 286 
hp.  Ask JEFDO or Nick Pinto about their experiences upgrading their S6/S4's 
via the Intended Accelerations stage III chip.  All this power occurs 
without losing tractability!

The basic drivetrain for the S4 has been around since the Ur Quattro of the 
early 80's (maybe earlier?).  It's a well-sorted setup that just plain 
works!  Nice as the A4's V6 is, it simply doesn't have the beans.  I did 
find the A4 to have nicer, more responsive steering than the S4, which is 
pretty dead, but accurate.  I also found the A4 to handle well, and to be 
pretty spunky over 30mph.  But the sheer rush of the S4 up a twisted 
mountain road is hard to beat.  And the quattro is spectacular in winter 
compared to plowing all over the highway in the SHO.  Don't get me wrong, I 
really did like my SHO's, but the S4 is just worlds better.

BTW, going prices for S4's are in the mid to upper 20's, S6's are in the 
30's.  Pretty good deal compared to the A4 when you consider that the S cars 
are top-of-the-line Audis and are fully optioned (heated front & rear seats, 
cellular phone, full leather, sunroof, etc.).  Hope this is useful to you.

Doug Haley
"There is no fundamental difference between a sufficiently advanced 
technology and magic" (A.C.Clarke)
'92 S4 (mine)
'95 Saab Turbo Conv (hers)
'91 Sentra SE-R (theirs)
'61 Alfa Giulietta Spider Veloce (ours)