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more on v8 vs. 200

i think it's fair to say that prior to the v8 audi just made sports
sedans, a euphemism in a way for not having class leading levels
of comfort and NVH.  i.e. you bought the cars for the sporty edge
and you forgave it for other shortcomings.

the v8 was the very first serious attempt at doing a luxury car
while still attempting to preserve traditional audi sporting
qualities.  it is at best a moderate success in this goal even
though sales wise it was a failure.

i have some factory technical manuals on the improvements made to
the v8 compared to the 200.  there are many structural reinforcements,
from an aluminum beam running across the dash, to the strut tower
bar, to a bottom brace in the middle of the body, to many additional
spot welds.  all this to improve rigidity, reduce noise and improve

a huge amount of effort was put into the design to reduce noise.  even the
oil cooler was mounted on rubber pads.  additional soundproofing added in
several areas.. (can't remember exactly where now)

there's a japanese like attention to the tiniest details in this car that
is absent in the 200.  e.g. lighting was much improved, even with crappy
US DOT headlights. materials used for the interior trim is a noticeably
higher grade than those used in the 200.  there's a rear sunshade, there
are nice inserts (what do you call these? skid plates?) on the door sill,
cool looking all red rear lights (with the turn signals showing up as
orange), headlight wipers and washers....  just so many extra things put
into it with a money-no-object mentality. the engine, though lacking
somewhat in the low end, is hugely expensive with the silicon etched
linerless block, forged aluminum pistons, crank and con rods, special
waffle style oil sump (to prevent oil bubbling), secondary oil reservoir
to eliminate start up valve clatter, sequential fuel injection, generous
cooling capacity etc etc etc.. the 200 simply is no match in terms of
effort or expense.

unfortunately all these efforts at building a luxury car added weight and
blunted performance considerably.  the v8 engine while extremely light for
a v8 is quite heavy for something to be sitting *ahead* of the front
wheels.  thus the thing will behave like a stubborn pig on very tight
turns.. however at high speeds this anchor at the front leads to superior
stability, which is why you hear many praising it for being an autobahn
blaster.  they probably do not realize how much quieter it is than a
regular audi, though. 

i think that making the choice between a 200Q20V and a v8 is relatively
straight forward.  do you want an all out performance sports sedan (with
potential for a zillion aftermarket bhps) and are willing to put up with
more noise or do you want a terrific long distance high speed cruiser? 
mind you, once the v8 has some speed it can overtake cars very well as 2nd
gear is good for 85 mph and once you get the engine above 4K it starts
flying.  that's the key... staying above 4K. 

i don't know what a 200Q20V costs these days, but if you can find a well
maintained v8 you are getting a car that audi threw a lot of money into. a
lot more than they did on the 200.  they lost a lot of money selling the
v8.  it is the owners' gain and their loss. my opinion is that the 200
outperforms the v8 in one or two key areas (which may very well be all
that one cares about), but the v8 is a far more complete car than the 200.