|April 16, 2000
AudiWorld's Matt Daniels gets his A4. Finally.
Text and photos by Matt Daniels
In October 1996, my wife bought a new 1997 VW Golf. As fate would have it, we discovered a minor error in the paperwork that required me to go back to the dealership and have it corrected. While waiting for the dealer to what ever it is they do, I checked out the new Audis on the lot. I had always had a soft spot for Audi's since my family owned one back in the mid-70's, so I was somewhat familiar with the new A4. When I got up close and really looked at it, I decided that if I had the money, I would buy one. Since I didn't have the money at the time, I turned my back on the A4 without another serious thought.
That night I happened to catch a commercial for the 1997 A4 1.8T "starting at $22,995" and my heart and mind started to race. I could almost afford that. This is when my obsession with the A4 started and I surfed the web for anything I could find about the A4. Pickings were slim but I happened upon a website called JET's A4 Pages. To be honest, the site was pretty weak from a graphic design standpoint, but the bulletin boards were addictive. After a week or two of visiting the site daily, I decided that if I was going to be spending my days there, I couldn't look at the amateur graphics any longer. I downloaded them all, made them look professional, and sent them back to the owner of the site - Jason Teller. This eventually led to our partnership and over the next 3 1/2 years the site evolved into what you are reading today: AudiWorld. Of course, during that entire time I still lusted after the A4, but was never able to buy one for one reason or another.
In the summer of 1999 I accepted a new job and was determined that it was going to be the year I bought an A4. After paying off a number of large debts related to a new house it was time to make the big order in October. By then A4.Org (the site changed to AudiWorld in December 1999) was a fairly popular website and I had gotten to know a number of Audi dealers. After talking with both local Utah dealers and out of state dealers, I finally decided to order my car from Ken Kanazu at McDonald Audi in the Denver area. I ordered a 2000 1.8T Avant equipped with the sports package, cold weather package, xenon headlights, Sideguard airbags and the cool shades color India Red. Why India Red? I first saw the color in Germany last year and immediately fell in love with it; when I found out it was available for 2000, there was no other color I even considered. It's definitely unique and not for everyone, but I personally love it and would order it again.
For three years I have listened to reader's stories about the ordering process so I thought I knew what to expect. I was wrong; it was much more painful than expected. The worst part was when the weekly updates the dealer received said that the car had arrived at the port when in fact it had barely gotten on the boat. In the end, the car arrived about one month later than what was originally predicted. This wouldn't have been so bad if I wasn't trying to close the loan at my bank and had to make travel arrangements to Denver.
Now that I've bored you with the background story, how about some actual info about the car? I got the call that my car was at the dealership on March 20th. The following Friday evening I flew to Denver and picked up the car on Saturday morning. Everything would have gone smoothly that morning, but I had forgotten to bring proof of auto insurance. Luckily I have a fax machine at home and my wife was able to fax me the information a short time later. The rest of my weekend was spent catching up with old friends. On Sunday morning it was time to head back home to Salt Lake City after breakfast and a quick trip to Red Rocks with Ken and other Colorado Audi owners.
The only complaint about the car at pick up was the ugly dealer sticker that was put on underneath the A4 badge -it was removed along with the A4 and 1.8T badges once I got home. So far the car has been wonderful and everything I hoped it would be. Surprisingly, I'm even satisfied with the stock 150 hp. However, I will be adding a chip soon (although I haven't decided on which one yet).
One of my major concerns before delivery was if my two children and their car seats would fit in the back seat. One child is in a booster seat and the other is in a rear facing infant seat. I'm happy to report that both seats fit fine. Sure, there could be more room, but it works. The only real complaint with the car itself is the radio that occasionally changes frequency when the car is turned off. I'll bring this up with my local dealer when I take it in for its first service.
A week after delivery I put on the 7.5x17" Audi/VW Tocatta wheels that I've had for five months. I bought the wheels from 1552 Design, but they can also be purchased from any Audi dealer. I chose these particular wheels for their resemblance to the 5-spoke wheels found on the RS4 and because they are fairly unique. Tires are 225/45 17 Pirelli P7000 Supersports, also from 1552 Design. Together this wheel and tire combo give the car a more aggressive look, but do so without making it look too flashy. Other than tinted windows and a chip, I don't have any other modification plans - but ask me again in a few months and I'm sure I'll be itching to do something.
So is the car worth the 40-month wait? That's a hard question to answer, especially since with two children the larger A6 would be more practical for me (if I could afford it). But I can tell you that I would purchase an A4 Avant all over again. I love this car and expect it to provide me with many years of enjoyment. Look for more updates about my car in the near future.