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A4QM Avant 20k report (long)

Some observations and comments on my 98.5 A4QM Avant, which just turned
20,000 miles:

-- Bought the car new in mid-April, so I'm racking up miles at the rate
of about 1,000 a week, roughly three-quarters highway, one-quarter city,
a fair amount of twisty rural and mountain roads.  Gas mileage averages
17-18 city, 28-30 highway.

-- Only mods are (1.) Mobil 1 oil and filter (you can't find insurance
this cheap), (2.) mud flaps (because of the dirt and gravel roads I
drive), (3.) short Momo zebrano shifter knob (because the stock knob
didn't feel right), and (4.) small 99-cent K-Mart plastic trash basket
(in a blue eerily similar to the santorin blue automobile in which it
resides).  Low beam upgrade is planned (any suggestions?).

-- Complaints: (1.) Driver's side window control position too far back,
(2.) right-hand mirror too small, (3.) low beams suck, (4.) tailgate
sometimes doesn't latch on first try.

-- Praise: (1.) Sweet, sweet engine-shifter-quattro-brake combo and
seemingly limitless ability to handle any kind of driving situation with
aplomb, (2.) drop-dead great looks (our peacock loves staring at his
reflection in the paintwork), (3.) surprisingly large cargo area (the
"sports car with a fanny pack" line is a little misleading).

-- Problems: None. Zip. Zero.

-- Other cars considered before/since: None. Zip. Zero.

-- Sum-up: The 100CSQW wagon and A4Q Avant are rather different cars,
but the lineage and shared values are obvious.  I loved my 100CSQW and
reluctantly parted with it after a relatively hassle-free 206,000
miles.  But I am struck, time and again, with what a vastly superior car
the A4 Avant is to this predecessor in almost every respect.  It will be
interesting to see if Audi is able to make the same quantum leap with
the next generation.  (I suspect it will.)

Shaun Mullen
West Grove, PA