[ba] Newbie

Kenneth C Reed cuttinge at inreach.com
Thu Mar 6 23:02:16 EST 2003

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I’m new to the group and, naturally have a few questions.  I have joined the
group because I am shopping for a replacement for my Honda Accord wagon.  I
also own a ’95 BMW M3, lightly modded but aggressively driven, a Jag XK140
drophead, a ’64 ALFA 2600 Touring Spyder, a pickup and a John Deere tractor
(one of my favorite rides!)

I like cars.  I live in the mountains and “commute” down into the valley
most every weekday with the Honda, but love to carve the canyons up with the
M3 when I can.  The problem is two-fold: I used to think the Honda was an
acceptable everyday driver until I got the M3.  Now I can hardly stand to
drive the slow car.  Also, it snows up here and the pickup, while a 4x4, is
well, a truck.

So, what to get?  I’m a fan of good used cars and have had great luck with
them.  So, my budget hovers around $15-20K.  Drove a bunch of cars: WRX
Subie (too small, too tinny, too much of a “light switch” car with the turbo
boost), some smaller SUV’s like the CRX and the RAV4, but too slow, no
handling, etc.  Minivans?  Ah, no.  Bigger Subarus?  They’re OK, but slow
and, other than AWD, not any better than the Honda.  Volvo XC?  Nice rig;
WAY too expensive.  BMW 325IT?  See Volvo XC.  Mercedes-Benz 300TE with
4matic?  Heard bad things about that system: heavy and prone to failure, but
they meet a bunch of the things I’d like in a car.  The two wheel drive
300TE is a VERY nice car: fast, quiet, comfortable, dependable and about the
right size.  Did I miss any other cars that should be on my short list?

So, that brings me back to Audi, which I have always liked anyway.  A good
friend has a 2000 A4 Avant Quattro with Tip and I like it, a lot.  Little
small, though, and that 1.8T just isn’t quite enough.  Another friend has a
2002 S6 Avant and it is wonderful, but, again, my poor budget just can’t go
there, even though she’s going to sell it.  (She says it’s too slow, gotta
have the new RS!)  So for me that leaves the Audi 6 series Avant; the older
95-97 S6 or the ’99 and up A6 looks just about perfect.

If you’re still with me after all that: what do you recommend between these
two?  Both sell in the high teens, low 20’s so they fit my budget.  The S6
is quite rare on the left coast so I’m not sure that this is even a viable
choice.  Is it worth looking for?  How much slower is the newer A6 than the
UrS6?  What can be done to improve performance, both power and handling?
What problems should I look out for on each of these models?  Any other
Audis fit the bill?  All advice and suggestions are welcomed.

Thanks a lot, in advance.


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