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SF Auto Show Reflections

I just attended the SF Intl. Auto Show. Audi had a decent presence there with
several A4 1.8Tqís and the 4.2L A8q...It was interesting to see how Audi has
held pricing down while the competition has nudged up...now the A6q wagon and
the ovlov 960 wagone are the same price?!!! (around 38k) Makes the A6q wagon
a bargain even if it isnít the performance car the old I5 turbo wagons were
(a reason I never really cared for the A6qw after owning a 5kcstqw). The big
A8 was beautiful and the most comfortable car I sat in besides from the 600
mbz...fit and finish of all the Audiís on display was as good or better than
everything in the show (IMHO). The only detraction was on the A8 where
someone managed to rip the driverís side grab handle off itís mount and left
an ugly gap (and I was there the first day!). The A4 1.8T was really really
nice...it (and the A4 2.8q) appears to be the only quattro enthusiast
offering in the U.S., sad...but thank you AOA marketing for at least giving
us the 1.8T! No meantion in the 1997 full product line brochure of the 3.0L 5
valve A4 at all, no S models either :(...

Like an 80q I owned a few years back, the A4 1.8Tq does have some of the
luxury appointments of the 2.8 stripped off...perhaps for the better from an
enthusiastís standpoint-dunno. There were only automatics even though the
ďsports packageĒ was there...these cars stickered around 30k with the
auto-not cheap! The aluminum/carbon (or whatever you call it) trim looked a
little tacky and cheap I thought but I could live with it. The steering wheel
was a good shape and size and even had the Audi-Sport logo on it...too bad it
was rubber and not leather covered-a wheelskin fixed that on my old 80q and
could here too perhaps.

The marketing people definatly had control of the specs for the
A4...published numbers in the sales lit. for the 1.8T are just too
contrived-exactly 150hp and 155 ft/lb torque. The factory specs for timed
acceleration are almost identical (within 2-3 tenths for 0-60 times)...makes
me wonder if the specs for the 1.8T are understated and it will be
interesting to find out what it really does on a dyno. No doubt to what other
listers have stated that marketing held this wonderful machine back so as not
to step on itís big brotherís toes-I canít wait to drive one...bring on the 5
speed manual!!! I might even have to buy one in a couple years-used-after
someone else looses the first 15k of depreceation!

Looks like AOA sales should continue to improve. I suppose that is good for
all of us q enthusiasts though I have enjoyed the ability to purchase used
qís for far less than real worth because of AOAís blunders of the
past...Seems now that most of the interesting enthusiast versions of quattros
will be on the used market rather than new here in the U.S. At the same time
though, Audi keeps raising the technology ante and keeps pricing around the
same...a very aggressive startegy that will eep the qís coming for many years
to come-thatís the best news of all I suppose.

Mike Veglia
85 4ksq (and still fun and exciting to drive even after drooling on all that
cool new stuff!)