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Re:Drinking Audi Kool-Aid...
Just to chime in here,
My uncle bought a beautiful magenta 911 Cabriolet a few years back. His
previous drivers were Mercedes SLs and Turbodiesels, and a fetish Rolls Royce
that he bought on a whim (OK, his whims have a little greater scope than most
people's). He sold it within 9 months. Not because he didn't love and admire
the car, not because it wasn't a tremendous thrill and a visceral experience,
but because he was too often tempted to use it as a daily driver, which often
meant driving it in the rain. After he scared himself silly a couple of times
on the Beltway in DC, he decided that the (earlier) 911 was an exercise best
left to the young and unmarried.
And as for Quattro being better in the dry -- well, the first problem with a
lot of Audi Quattros (i.e., the 4KQs) is that their engines are underpowered
for their chassis, and the cars are often underdamped and undersprung for
their weight if you're driving fast.
The 4KQ is a very, very good handling car when the road is tight and twisty.
You can use 100% of the engine power in virtually every corner. Don't ask me
how I know, because I can't tell you unless I get to kill you afterward.
When I was riding motocross bikes in my youth, there was a catchphrase that
I've found still applies: "When in doubt, gas it!" I would add: "Don't
forget to steer!".
Find a big lot where there are no hard objects and you won't get in trouble
with the local police, and push the envelope. Then switch back to a RWD car
and note the differences.
And a 50/50 weight distribution doesn't guarantee good handling, either:
Regarding what Phil said about Corvettes, I can confirm at least some of it.
My '68 has a highly reworked suspension (Konis, aftermarket springs, uprated
bushings, tie rods and balljoints, Guldstrand Engineering anti-bump-steer kit,
special rear trailing arms and track-rods, adjustable swaybars, a fiberglass
rear leaf spring, and very close to 50/50 weight distribution) and handles
well as long as:
1) The chassis doesn't twist too much
2) You don't hit any bumps
It greatly favors long, smooth, sweeping corners. It also likes circumstances
when you can use the very powerful brakes and 400 horsepower to muscle the car
around, and is a lot of fun to drive through these corners, but eventually the
going gets tight. _Don't_ try to keep up with a truly nimble car on a winding,
bumpy road with a lot of switchbacks, even with a 200+ horsepower advantage.
It has no rollbars, a set of lap belts, and a spindly A-pillar, remember. My
'81 Scirocco was faster and safer under these circumstances.
The problem with the older Corvettes, i.e., pre-C4 generation cars is that
their suspension pieces are _heavy_ and their frames are supple, to put it
nicely, especially the convertibles. In mine, you can hit the gas and watch
the door gaps disappear. Every truly fast Corvette of this vintage has
serious chassis reinforcement. Put an '83 Corvette with its 50/50 and RWD up
against the same vintage UrQ and see which comes out on top. GM finally got
serious about this problem with the new one, once the buyer base had
gentrified enough to appreciate the refinement, in my view. Only now do they
dare sell them in Europe.