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Life with a 200 Quattro

I'd like to report my experiences with a 1991 200 Quattro that I
purchased about 5 weeks ago.  I drove a 1987 4000CS Quattro for 5
years and I still have it just for fun.

The 200 Quattro interior is very impressive as far as luxury, looks,
and functionality: comfortable leather seats,  lots of wood trimmings,
superb stereo system (sounds better than my home stereo) with a CD
changer in the trunk, integrated cellular phone with voice
recognition, vents for the back seat, heated seats, and power
everything.  It really feels good to be in this car, all my friends
that have been in this car share the same opinion.  The only
complaint I have is that you have to raise the armrest between the two
front seats for city driving.  Otherwise, it's on the way of shifting.
I think the problem is that they had to raise the armrest to fit the
cellular phone in it, and that screwed things up.

Another very impressive feature of the 200Q is the engine.  It's
smooth as silk, and unlike other turbo engines I've driven before,
this engine puts out power evenly from 2000 to 7100 rpm (redline at
7100 rpm).  There's no noticeable turbo kick.  In first gear you have
to watch the rpm because it will reach the red line very very
quickly.  The first two times I step hard on the gas, I hit the engine
speed limiter (the engine management system cuts off the engine at
~7300 rpm - my guess - to prevent engine damage) because I didn't
shift to second gear on time.   The gear ratios are designed for high
speed driving, and I found that I can't really use 5th gear (and
sometimes 4th gear) in "normal" city driving because the engine speed
falls below 2000 rpm and the car feels a little heavy.  What's
impressive is all the acceleration that can be obtained with this
engine and the good mileage (20mph mixed driving).  It's fun and I
don't have to go to the gas pump every 100 miles.

The engine makes the car feels very quick on its feet.  The steering
is another story :-( .  It doesn't feel as precise as the 4000CSQ.
There is  noticeable understeering and in addition you have to make
small corrections here and there.  All this happens at low speeds
(below 70mph).  Once you pass 70mph, the car drives like my 4000CSQ at
50mph.  I've tried 110mph already and the steering feels much better.
In summary, I was expecting better steering, especially in an Audi.
There's a few things that might make the steering better:

a) Audi has to replace the front end because the brakes shake a lot.
   I heard from Eliot that the internal caliper brakes are really
   heavy (220 pounds) and that affect the steering feel.

b) The car has all season tires (Goodyear GAs).

Therefore, I will report on steering after (a) and/or (b) are taken
car of.

The brakes, although they shake, stop the car fast and safely.  I am
impressed about how easy this car can be stopped.  I also tried the
antilock brakes during a wet day and they worked very well.  I could
even steer the car while stepping on the brakes as hard as I could.

Overall, the 200Q is a performance luxury sedan.  I enjoy blowing
sports cars away by this "big boat" with the spirit of a "racing
boat."  Although I have not met a suitable competitor yet, one that
can blow me away (300 ZX Turbo, RX7 Turbo, Mitsu 3000GTVR4 or perhaps
the Eclipse, etc.), so my ego is not hurt yet.  I liked the guy on the
Integra GS-R after the fact asking me "what the hell car is that ?  An
Audi what ?" (the 200Q does not have any badges other than the 4 rings
and the letters quattro on the front grill).  Overall, this car is an
unforgettable driving experience.

I'd like to try the S4 to see how it compares.  I read the posting of
a lucky person on this mailing list.  Lucky it is because I could not
even see an S4 around here let alone drive one.  I wonder if it's
possible to upgrade the 200Q engine to the S4 specs.  That would be
great !

Ramiro Reinoso, 444 Hoes Lane, Office RRC-1E-226. Piscataway, NJ 08854
(PHONE) (908) 699-5021  
(INTERNET) ramiro@ctt.bellcore.com
(UUCP)  ...!bellcore!ctt!ramiro