February 7, 2000

This is Not Your Father's 2.7T
Article and Photos contributed by AudiWorld reader Larry Zaback

With 5000 miles on my 2.7T 6-speed, I can now look back and say, "I not only decided on the right vehicle, I made the right decisions for my vehicle."

Back in May, I teamed up with Tom Bennewitz, a salesman at Jack Daniels Audi in Fair Lawn, NJ. His approach was extraordinarily different from my local Audi dealer, who only spends time with customers interested in clearing their current inventory. Tom worked with me to assure my car would be delivered as part of his initial inventory in September, and all he took was a $100 refundable down payment. The good news...my car was ordered precisely to my specifications and delivered on time. The bad news...I was so anxious to be among the first to own a 2.7T 6-speed, that I didn't realize the order sheet would change in June (adding the Sport Package, Acoustic Parking and Navigation Systems). No matter, I wouldn't have added those options.

Nothing is Perfect: I could not believe how cheap and detached Audi was from the prospective enthusiast who would show interest in a new 2.7T. Not offering a 17 inch tire/wheel option amazed me, considering this is standard fare in a 2000 Maxima SE (I previously owned a Maxima SE for 13 years). More shocking was that my car was being delivered with all-season radials, the likes of which one finds on a new Accord. (Hey, Auburn Hills, you've got to be kidding!). As soon as prices were announced on this web site I was at Jack Daniels completing my contract. Under no circumstances was I going to drive out of the showroom with the Continental rubber Audi had dictated.

First Decision - Performance Tires: Within a week I had researched everything I needed to know about performance tires. Some are "stickier" than others, these usually have lower tread wear. Some are better in rain, others excel on dry surfaces. Interestingly, I selected the same tire as that included in the aforementioned Sport Package, only in 17 inch guise (Dunlop SP Sport 9000 235/45 ZR17). How do they perform? No noise, the car takes corners like you wouldn't believe, and the 9000's work in the rain with perfection (I've also been told that the fat tires look cool).

Second Decision - The Wheels: This was a bummer. Just as had been indicated on this web site when the car was first tested, the front calipers are HUGE. The fact that the specifications were not well known when I shopped for wheels, it was a painful experience. Thanks to Aaron and Craig at the Tire Rack, this got sorted out, but it took 4 weeks after my first call for the right wheels to be delivered (the first set, Borbet T's, didn't fit). I finally went with 17 x 8 Fittipaldi Polaris alloys. I've been told they look great, and to me, they look like the bigger cousin of the 5-spoke 16's that came with the car.

Third Decision - The Phone: I paid a hefty sum for my phone, even more than Audi wanted for their analog unit, but I got the coolest product on the market. Bryan at Tri-County Audio in Newton, NJ installed a digital Qualcomm QCP-860 with full Voice Recognition. Although the radio doesn't automatically cut-off for incoming calls, its portability (unplugs for out-of-car use), ease of use (just talk to it) and safety features (totally hands-free) are what sold me. This is what all car phones should be like.

Fourth Decision - The "Spice": My vacation to Canada last October gave me the opportunity to judge the car on its own merits. Few of you need convincing about the car's performance. When I leave stop lights, all traffic is in my rear view mirror. When I need to pass while going 65 mph, the car gets to 80 in a flash...even in 6th gear! Nonetheless, I couldn't get past one issue. My car looked like so many other A6's. And, except for the 2.7T badging, you could hardly tell it apart from a 2.8 with Tiptronic (give me a break). LL TEK Motorsports in Montreal came up with the solution. Mark, Steven and Neil had my car looking, well, like my car in 30 hours. A new grill with "mini" rings, fascia "lips" and "eyebrows", a sleek yet subtle rear spoiler, a new air filter, and shift knob, with a spattering of LL TEK badging in just the right places. The professional attitude of Autobahn, who did all of the painting and installation, was more than I could ever ask for. LL TEK and Autobahn have proven that they really care about the finished look of the product in meeting customer expectations.

In the Spring I'm considering a re-work of the suspension and exhaust system (I've been told that these changes are ongoing at a feverish pace, but not quite ready yet). New outside mirrors, a shift boot with red stitching, and new LL TEK A6 interior mats are also on my wish list.

Fifth Decision - Snow Tires: For the Winter season, I have put new Blizzak MZ-01's on the OEM wheels. I also installed (Audi) front and rear mud flaps to protect the car's finish. I'll remove them in the Spring.

The folks at Jack Daniels love my new 2.7T, and I thought that some of you would enjoy seeing the car from a fresh perspective. Safe travels.

Editors Note: Larry Zaback has requested that his email address not be published. If you would like to ask him a question about his article please post it on the A6 Forum.