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Re: A8 4.2 Quattro Disappoints?

> From: Mogens Glad <mogens@glad.demon.co.uk>
> In the January 1995 issue of "What Car?" magazine (UK), the A8 4.2 is
> reviewed in the "new cars" section. In sharp contrast to earlier reviews
> and articles in "Car" magazine (UK) and test on BBC2 "Top Gear", the
> verdict is quite negative. Quoting from the short review, "the 4wd
> transmission adds unwelcome bulk ... You have to push the accelerator to
> the floor to build up speed ... With only four gears available from the
> Tiptronic box, you need to use them fully to get the most out of the
> engine."
> The article goes on criticising Audi's efforts in the NVH department:
> "Despite double-glazing as standard, wind noise and tyre rumble are higher
> than they should be. But the major flaw is the suspension's inability to
> cope with bumps at higher speeds". This final verdict is that "The reality
> of the A8 doesn't live up to its considerable promise. Audi needs to rework
> the suspension to make the quattro's high price worth paying."
> I hope to have a test drive soon, but I'm surprised to see a review this
> negative, and would like to hear the opinion from present owners or
> individuals who have otherwise tried the car. If there indeed are
> suspension and noise problems, does Audi plan to cure them?

The A8's ride was also criticised somewhat in its second review in
Auto, Motor, und Sport.  However, it was also noted that the A8's
handling was far superior to that of the S420 and 740i participating in
the test.  The BMW was the overall winner in this test, the Audi
second, and the Mercedes third.

Interestingly, this is the first I have heard about A8 noise or
vibration problems, in fact, these very attributes were lauded in
several tests.  The new 7-series did raise the bar a bit in the
quietness competition.

Last week, I had the occasion to put a new 740i through its paces, and
while the ride, power, and handling were exemplary, the interior felt
somewhat cramped and seemed ridiculously cluttered.  Low-speed
acceleration was only average, but things really picked up with
successive gears.  Overtaking other vehicles will not be a problem with
this car.

The 740's best feature by far is its intelligent transmission, which
worked exactly as I expected, holding gears when necessary, and always
shifting at the right point depending on acceleration.  The worst
feature by far was the very poor stereo system; it didn't sound good in
the showroom or on the road!  And since everything is totally
integrated, improving it would be difficult.  Whatever the technology,
it surely didn't exhibit any "digital" harshness, in fact, its sound
was redolent of a high-quality grammophone playing shellac records.

So imagine my surprise upon seeing the very critical review of the 740i
in this week's Autoweek magazine.  In it, they deemed the automatic
virtually unusable and pronouced the car devoid of character.  Funny
thing though, there was not one word about that wretched stereo.

John Greenstreet, Senior Engineer           (jgreenst@motown.ge.com)
Martin Marietta Government Electronic Systems    Moorestown NJ 08057
WPI Class of '75, Temple Class of '94

My new car history:
  1975    1978    1982       1986        1989      1992      1995
   VW ->  Audi -> Audi  -> Mercedes -> Mercedes -> Audi -> Mercedes
Scirocco Fox GTI  4000S    190E 2.3    190E 2.6    100CS     S320

POSSLQ's* new car history:
         1978       1981       1985      1988        1990     1993
       Triumph ->  Toyota ->  Toyota  ->  VW    ->   Audi  -> Audi
       Spitfire    Tercel     Corolla   Jetta GL      80      90S

*POSSLQ = Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters
Note: All Audis and Mercedes above were sold to friends or family.