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Be grateful for your Audi
Just back from a two-week honeymoon in Southern Spain. Descriptions of the
Alhambra at night, or the high passes of the Sierra Nevada probably belong
There is a tenuous connection, though, between the car we hired and Audis.
We got an Ibiza 1.2 litre hatch-back, made by SEAT. SEAT is the main (only?)
Spanish car manufacturer, and is now owned by VAG. The door handles
were from the VW parts bin, and when you lift the bonnet, the engine
says "System Porsche" on the top of the valve cover.
All relation to Audis ends there, though. (And I never did discover anything
even remotely Porsche-like while I was driving the thing.)
The car was a SLUG. You might have thought that an engine 2/3rds the size
of my Audi, in a car that's a lot smaller, would still give you a bit of
performance, would still do *something* when you press the accelerator.
Nope. You floor the pedal, and the thing does nothing. For a moment you
wonder if you pressed the brake or the clutch instead. Then the speedo
gives a slight quiver, and if you stare at it intently, the way you might
stare at the minute hand of a watch, you can see that, yes, it is just
moving. Merging into a dual-carriage way is done in third gear, with one
eye watching the revs to make sure that nothing blows up, and the other
eye scanning the horizon for distant traffic, which may be a few miles away
when you start the merge, but which you feel sure will catch up with you
before you reach cruising speeds.
Inside space, needless to say, was lacking. Two of us, and our luggage,
fit fine, but I wouldn't like to add much more than that. The one saving
grace that you might expect from that sort of car - fuel economy - wasn't
particularly impressive, either. In the Audi I usually get 33 mpg (using
Her Majesty's Imperial Gallons) while the SEAT got about 36. (Maybe because
I was revving the thing so hard - see above comments on how to merge into
Why does anyone buy one of these things? If you're buying second-hand, then
for the price of, say, a four year-old Ibiza you could pick up a six-year
old Audi, and I'd expect the Audi to outlast the Seat.
So the next time your Audi demands some new parts, or gets into a sulk and
demands to see a dealer, just remember that things could be a lot worse.
Alasdair Mackintosh Shape Data, EDS Unigraphics
email@example.com Parker's House, Regent St
+44 223 371608 Cambridge, CB2 1DP, U.K.