[A4] An A4 quattro road trip! (long)
s_malt at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 13 23:46:05 EDT 2004
We just returned from a 2900 mile 5-day road trip in my wife's '03 3.0 tip A4
... man what a nice ride! We drove two days out one day layover and two days
I enjoyed the cruise control while she liked the variety of the manually
controlled throttle. We had straight and long stretches of road to work with.
The V1 was *extremely* helpful, however using ones eyes is also *extremely*
important! We got lucky one time when an oncoming semi-plain car (no light bar
and low-key graphics) trooper fired his instant-on over his shoulder at us
while we were quite obviously driving *very* briskly. A truck had just merged
over to the fast lane between us and the radar (maybe saving our skins) ... he
still whipped a u-turn and opened up his throttle to catch up with us. He
pulled up along side and peered in at us pointedly. I eventually waved to him
out of anxiety and he sped off (only to later return down the oncoming lanes
again). My wife asked if I had really waved at him ... what else could I do?
Most of the rest of the threats were detected *well* in advance.
The power of the 3.0 NA V6 was a pure pleasure. As we descended in elevation
the power curve increase was noticeable. My wife began using the tip
spiritedly at that point. She loved the growl of the exhaust note as she
downshifted and punched the throttle to the floor. Her words: "Ooooo ...
o-ho-ho!" In Denver, the power is exhilarating, but the lowlanders really have
it made in this department. This car is nothing like my biturbo, but at speed
its acceleration is fun and dominates the majority of other vehicles we
encountered. My wife's term for the power is "decision made" as she floors it
and puts distance between her and the car that has been annoyingly pacing us as
we passed ... or ... even more irritating, the fast-lane blockers ... they
require a jink to the right followed by a well-timed jink to the left coupled
smoothly with a downshift (or two, as the situation dictates) and wide open
throttle. Nicely done.
The tracking of the steering was effortless and allowed us to have extended
shifts at the wheel with little fatigue (bladders allowing). We swapped
driving every tankful or so ... about every four hours. We were getting an
average of 22.1 MPG at an impressive average speed.
We were running our Dunlop Winter Sport M3's as winter is still upon us in the
mountains. We unfortunately lost one! We picked up a nail and lost air
pressure while sitting in stop-and-go traffic in Missouri (sooooo glad it did
not happen at cruising speed! Can you retrofit a tire pressure monitoring
system in an A4?). We didn't notice it until the traffic started picking up
again ... "Hmmmmmmm, that's an odd vibration. Is it the road surface? Ahhhhh
crap ... we've got a flat!" It was night and the highway had little shoulder
at that point. We sacrificed the tire and fortunately did not lose the wheel
as we drove it a mile or so to an exit. Thank goodness for full-sized spares!
Though the tread did not match (stock Pirelli P6), we drove the spare the rest
of the way to our destination and back to Denver! Finding a replacement Winter
Sport in the south was fruitless. My brother-in-law was actually laughed at as
he called around for a replacement (even Tire Rack is out of stock). A call to
our dealer's service department relieved us of the worry of buying four new
tires and trying to haul our three remaining snows back inside the car. We
bought another tire of the same size (couldn't match the P6 on short notice
either) as a spare for the return trip. There was some extra vibration and a
different road noise, but all in all it handled well (until we got back to our
steep driveway covered in 8 inches of new snow!).
The emergency jack is certainly an iffy thing! For such a heavy car, I guess I
would have expected more. I use a small floorjack at home, but never thought
to bring it along. The jack did it's job and stows neatly away, so I guess I
shouldn't complain ... but I still jostled the car slightly to see if the jack
would hold before I finished removing the lugs and the wheel. My wife was
totally impressed that I handled the whole "flat tire" thing so well ... no
cussing and throwing things! And after sitting for so long in stop-and-go
traffic to boot! Never thought I had it in me. Guess I was too tired ...
I scanned for codes with my VAG-COM halfway through the trip ... no faults
found. There was no reason to scan, but I had lugged my laptop along, so what
I did have one inconvenience ... when using my knee to hold the steering wheel
for any reason during the trip, the cruise stalked was easily nudged. It
nudged upwards, causing the car to accelerate. Hmmmm ... note to self, be
careful about that.
Garaged at 9200ft
just outside Denver, CO
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