Quattro vs. Volvo AWD

Mike Veglia msvphoto at pacbell.net
Thu Aug 22 13:09:20 EDT 2002

Steve, from my personal experience (with 9 Audis since 1988 and 4 ovloVs
since before that) is DON'T!!!!! (More on why I am so emphatic later.) I do
know that exactly ZERO of the ovloVs (1972 142, 1983 245t, 1985 245, and
1995 855t) were even close to as good as any of my 9 different Audis for
reliability, comfort, performance, and Audi is no slouch in the safety
department either.

A good resource is brickboard.com. In the years my wife owned ovloVs (I just
weened her two weeks ago with a 1995 A6q Avant and she loves it so much
she'll never go back--thank goodness) I spent a fair bit of time there. For
the past year we owned what I hoped would be the last family wagon we would
need for a while. It was a one-owner, fastidiously maintained, 1994 850
turbo wagon. It also was THE WORST car I have ever owned. Now, admittedly,
it had lemon spelled all over it, but in reading threads on Brickboard, most
of the problems we experienced are common. Compared to an Audi of the same
vintage, build quality sucks. Every single time we took this car on a road
trip (a primary reason we bought it...my 1987 5ktq is nearing 200k miles and
is semi-retired from family road trip use, despite always being 100%
reliable for said use) the 850t would have some glitch or another. The last
straw was our camping trip we just went one. It overheated on the same grade
(~7000 feet in just a few miles in the heat) that the old 5ktq with boost
mods simply flew up, twice, to the point boost was eliminated and AC shut
down. By the top of the hill the slushbox had overheated too and shifts were
really jerky. The a door trim falls off, and lastly the rear brakes (which
were pretty fresh) started groaning loudly when hot. We found a good deal on
a clean used '95 A6q Avant and took a huge loss on the ovloV, but happily
walked away.

Known issues:

AC Evaporator. Entire dash needs to come out. Common AC failure. Huge $$$$
to fix.

Valve failures. Our car experienced 5 from ~50k miles through 138k miles.
ovloV picked up cost of parts--known, but not ultra-common, problem.

Brakes. Fronts are very prone to warping.

The AWD system is supposedly delicate. Urban legend on the brickboard is
that even the slightest differences in tire sizes can destroy center diffs.
I don't know if it is true, but it scares me. Also, the AWD system is not
true AWD like a quattro. It is a FWD car with automatic "on demand" torque
shift to the rear.

Old time ovloV fans despise the "white engine" ovloVs. You want a good
ovloV, get the newest 940t you can find, preferably the elusive 5spd. Do not
go for the FWD/AWD versions, or a 960.

My long and wordy warning ;-)

Mike Veglia
Motor Sport Visions Photography

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