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A6 first drive - what's with the throttle lag and the steering ?

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Old 07-15-2014, 12:01 PM   #1
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Default A6 first drive - what's with the throttle lag and the steering ?

Looking to add a new car to the stable, and I liked what I had seen so far from the A6. This week service was due on my Q7, so I asked for a A6 loaner to give it a good test drive.
Now, my Q7 (2010 4.2 Prestige) is easily my favorite care I have ever owned. Despite the size and weight, the handling, responsiveness, brake feel and transmission are bar none. Naturally, my expectations on the A6 were pretty high.

I got a 2014 A6 3.0 TDI Premium Plus with 4k miles on it as a loaner. Looks great, interior is great, didn't care for the MMI changes compared to my 2010 too much, but I guess it's just what I got used to. Super smooth for a diesel, nice power and torque.

However, I thought the steering feel was terrible. Numb, overcorrecting, no feedback. Comfort / Auto / Dynamic Mode made little difference. It's so much worse than my 2010 Q7, I was shocked.

The other gripe was the throttle response, especially from a stop. At half throttle takeoff, the car would move leisurely for a scoend or two, and suddenly surge forward. Very annoying, and again, much worse than on the Q7, or any car I have ever driven actually.

Now, I read up on a lot of threads regarding these problems, ranging from creative re-programming options to waiting and hoping that the transmission learns how to properly function, to just having to live with it. None of these options are very appealing to me when buying a new 60 grand car.

Have you guys seen these traits in your cars, and how have you dealt with it ? I was actually considering a 3.0T, could I expect the steering and transmission / throttle issues to be the same as on the TDI ?

Last edited by sap_pete; 07-15-2014 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:19 PM   #2
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I agree on the steering. Coming out of a 2012 A4 with Sport package, and also owning a BMW, I was dissapointed in the steering feel.

My 3.0T does not lag that I notice. I am coming from 2.0T, which had minor turbo lag. The A6, particularly in sport, feels like it just goes. Maybe its a TDI thing?

Still, in the grand scheme of things, I wouldnt own anything else...
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Old 07-15-2014, 12:31 PM   #3
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2.0T and 3.0TDI are turbo engines. All turbo engines have turbo lag.
3.0T is supercharged engine and there is no lag.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:10 PM   #4
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I have not noticed a turbo lag with my TDI but really don't push it...it's a diesel for goodness sake. I have much more delay from the DCT on my BMW 1 series so driving the Audi feels like a day in the park. Steering is not as good as my BMW but it is better if you set it to dynamic.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:30 PM   #5
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I am new to Audi since last August. Coming up on 9K miles and love my A6. Only gripes I have are the steering, damn awful. Followed by the seats, not a big fan of them. I find throttle response good, I actually find at times a tad jerky where it will lurch, probably all that damn torque so early on. Only other thing I would love is 4G for the online connection and a faster head unit so it can process that quickly.
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Old 07-15-2014, 03:44 PM   #6
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I'm a first time Audi owner and have a 2014 A6 TDI.

I actually love everything about mine, Like someone else said it is a diesel they run low rpms and make torque from all the way down to redline. Hp not so much.

Steering for me is wonderful, I have it on comfort and enjoy how it feels. My only complaint being that while lane assist is on it's unnerving having the car try and steer you back into your lane sometimes.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:24 PM   #7
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1) There's been an update to the the programming of the EPS. The steering issue affected the A4, S4, A5, S5, Q5, A6.... My 2013 Q5 was a victim of poor steering feel, but my A6 steering is excellent. I suspect the loaner didn't have the updated program.
2) The transmission of the A6 upshifts very early (too early) into 2nd gear when in D, which makes the engine seem unresponsive, but is actually the momentary pause in power delivery as the transmission shifts, and is also the effect of the drop in engine speed. Driving the car in S eliminates this issue.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:33 PM   #8
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3.0T - zero lag.
Electric steering? Just about all new Audis now have it or will soon. They still have a ways to go before it duplicates the feel and operation of hydraulic. The only thing about my A6 that disappoints me to a degree.

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Old 07-15-2014, 08:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by snagitseven View Post
3.0T - zero lag.
Electric steering? Just about all new Audis now have it or will soon. They still have a ways to go before it duplicates the feel and operation of hydraulic. The only thing about my A6 that disappoints me to a degree.
I have both C5 and C7, and C7 cannot match the the steering feel of old hydraulics.

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Old 07-15-2014, 08:45 PM   #10
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Thanks guys for all the input. I drove some more today and compared different settings. The steering I feel I can get used to, but even in sport mode there is too much of a lag. Even in sport mode accelerating out of a tight turn, it's a solid 3 seconds before the power really kicks in. It's great with paddle shifting, so I guess it's not the turbo, but lazy transmission. I tried the throttle reset, but couldn't tell a difference. It also doesn't nearly keep the revs up when slowing down as my 2010 Q7.
Might be some update missing; I'll ask the dealer.

I'll test drive a 3.0T as well, but the TDI mileage is certainly tempting.
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:11 AM   #11
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Can't tell you about the TDI you're driving, but it certainly has a turbo which is more susceptible to lag than the 3.0T which is supercharged. I suspect that most of the people who got the TDI got it for better mileage and aren't pushing theirs as hard as you are.

Regardless, there is a serious difference in the power delivery between a 3.0 diesel and your 4.2 V8 -- so you would expect it to behave differently.

I haven't seen anyone before talking about lag, only a difference in the feel of power delivery. If I'm not mistaken, the latest review by Car & Driver/Motor Trend (?) places the 0-60 time of the 2015 diesel a tenth or so faster than the gas (but loses at higher speeds). That doesn't mean it might not hesitate slightly as the turbo spins up.

Personally, I'd be tempted to drive another TDI before a final conclusion (who knows whether there's just a tuning issue with this one that no one notices because of its duty as a loaner).

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Old 07-16-2014, 07:55 AM   #12
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I'll second that motion. There's something wrong if the A6 TDI lags for more than a tenth of a second. Sometimes you feel it, sometimes it's unnoticeable depending on how hard you hit it. The TDI isn't going to feel the same as your V8 but it shouldn't be as different as you are experiencing. Drive another one. Try the 3.0T too. I liked the power delivery and feel of the 3.0T slightly more than the TDI but opted for the TDI because the difference wasn't big enough to matter to me. That's a a personal decision.
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Old 07-16-2014, 08:34 AM   #13
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I normally drive a 3.0T but recently got a TDI as a loaner. The thing I noticed about it was the prominent turbo lag. After the lag the acceleration felt similar to my 3.0T and felt equivalent in every other way. However compared to the 3.0T the lad was noticeable.
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Old 07-16-2014, 08:50 AM   #14
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I believe there was an update a few months back for the TDI that addressed some of the lag issues. I drove one when it first came out and noticed some lag off the line.

I just picked up my 14 TDI as a trade from my earlier build 14 2.0 and I asked them to make sure all software updates were applied before I picked it up, which they obliged to do (always better to force that stuff when a sale is on the line - much better bargaining power). 2 things I noticed:

Steering is noticeable better in dynamic mode than my earlier build 14 - much tighter and far less wander. Easier to stay in the lane at high speed. Multiple threads on this topic (software update as well) so won't say any more. Keep in mind what type of tires as well, 20" summer tires will have far better steering response than those 18" Continental marshmallows that are the base tire.

Lag is evident (as any non twin turbo would have) but nowhere near as noticeable as my last test drive and acceptable for me. In no way does it impede my ability to drive - I think this engine is has a fair bit of power not under the added turbo pressure, so for that first split second when the turbo is spooling up, the engine has enough naturally aspirated power to carry it acceptably. I remember an earlier 1999/2000 Mercedes E class diesel my parents had, that engine was a dog until the turbo kicked in - crossing traffic required a hail mary or two before attempting for good measure.

That being the case, you have to try them both and make sure you take note of how they react on the roads and manner in which you will drive it every day. Diesels have a different power delivery, and more TQ than HP. Take a few onramps, few stoplights and few interstate drives to see which one you like better. If you want a car that is basically an S6 lite, that you can throw around corners blasting out at high revs mid corner and drive it like you stole it - 3.0T is probably for you. If you drive to work on an interstate route and just want to have some thrust when you need it on onramps, the occasional stoplight and to overtake - I think you would be fine with the TDI.

Last edited by josh Prieur; 07-16-2014 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:33 PM   #15
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Thanks again for all your valuable insights. I have the loaner until Friday and will talk to my dealer about this. I'll see if they have a 3.0T to drive now.
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:38 PM   #16
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sap pete - yes, definitely drive the 3.0T and compare the two. People like different things. For me, you may have saw my thread - I just had an A6 TDI loaner yesterday and hated it, slow off the line, sluggish - felt like I was towing a tractor trailer full of elephants behind me. So i was quite happy to return it when my 3.0T was done with service.

As to the steering - yea - it is light on the 2014 models. That is Audi's fix for the wandering issue some had. Luckily for me I have the original steering - much tighter and more fun IMO. I just have to remember to tell the service guys I refuse the steering update each time I am in for service as Audi. I asked them to mark it permanently but they said they can't - Audi doesn't allow it for this update. But they are happy to not do it if I simply tell them each time it is in
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:56 PM   #17
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Diesels work differently than gas engines. If you want all the power, give it all the pedal. They will build up power much faster if you give it everything it has.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:33 PM   #18
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There are numerous countries in the EU that sell more diesels per year than gas powered cars, of course, their motivation in financial but many cars have been touted as excellent diesels, including Audi, Citroen, Peugeot and now Ford.
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