December 22, 2000

Long Term Update: 2000 A4 1.8T Avant
Text and photos by Matt Daniels

It's hard for me to believe that I've had this car for over six months now. I guess waiting for over 3 years has made the ownership experience go by in the blink of an eye. For the first 7 months this car was mainly used by my wife while I still drove our '86 4000 CS quattro for everyday use. But since the purchase of a '93 VW Eurovan on Halloween, the A4 has become my daily driver and I'm finally starting to truly enjoy the car that I waited so long to buy.

During its days as the primary family car the A4 held up extremely well. Our two kids, with car seats, fit fine. But there is no denying that more rear seat space would be very welcome. Another inch of space in the back would make the car seats fit just a little better. But I've grown to enjoy the extra cargo space that the Avant offers. I've been able to fit things in this car that I would never be able to fit into the sedan, twelve eight foot posts being the most extreme example.

Performance wise I've always been satisfied with the stock 150 horsepower. A chip has always been in the plan for my car, but it wasn't done until recently. I originally planned on getting a MTM chip, then a APR chip, and finally ended up with a Garret chip from Vortrag Motorsports. While I was satisfied with the stock power, I'm completely in love with the new improved power that the GIAC chip provided. No other performance upgrades are planned at this time, but I have contemplated an exhaust system sometime in the future.

One upgrade that I didn't wait 7 months for were my wheels and tires, which were purchased before the car arrived and were detailed in my initial article about my car. The Audi Tocatta wheels have been a very popular conversation piece with other Audi owners. They are definitely unique and almost everybody I meet seems to love them. For the winter months, the Toccata's gave way to the stock 16' sport wheels with new Yokohama Guardex 600 snow tires purchased from the Discount Tire website. Utah has been blessed with a number of early winter storms and the Yokohama's have performed flawlessly in the snow. Dry weather traction could be better, but that's the trade off with dedicated snow tires.

I've also added a number of minor modifications to the car. First was to have the windows tinted to the legal limit in Utah. Then I added a UUC short shifter kit, which gave my shifter a nice solid feel, although the distance of travel didn't noticeably change. Finally, I added an RS4 grill that also came from Vortrag. I really like this grill, but I wish that the 'quattro' badge from the stock grill would fit on it.

Occasionally, I have regrets about not getting the Convenience Package with my car. While I don't miss having a sunroof, the auto dimming mirrors and Homelink transmitter are something I've really learned to appreciate while testing other Audi's.

One option that I have no regrets about is my choice of India Red for my color. I'm still in love with it and most people I've met like the color also. In fact, I don't think anyone has ever told me that they didn't like it. My choice of the Ecru leatherette interior has left me with mixed feelings. I love the leatherette, but the light color of the Ecru has proven to be a problem. My leather coat rubs off on it and as a result my drivers seat has some nice dark patches on it. I guess the easiest solution is to stop wearing that particular coat in this car.

For the most part my car has been trouble free, although there has been a couple of minor problems. Shortly after delivery I noticed that my radio had the common problem of changing its settings periodically. The other problem that my car experienced was the cruise control stopped working properly. Both problems were fixed with a trip to the dealer; the radio was replaced as was the cruise control switch.

After seven months, my ownership experience has been everything I had hoped it would be and I'm looking forward to a couple more years of enjoyment out of my car. Hopefully the new A4 will be just as exciting, if so, I'll probably be upgrading to one in a couple of years.

On another note, I would like to take this opportunity to tell the readers that this will be the last article I write for AudiWorld. I'm leaving the AudiWorld team at the end of the year to pursue other interests. I'll still be involved in the Audi community in some fashion, attending events, etc., so I'm sure that my name will be popping up from time to time.

I would like to thank everybody that has helped make AudiWorld a success over the last few years -- it has been an awesome experience for me and I have been able to do things that I would not have been able to do otherwise. I wish Jason and the rest of the AudiWorld team the best of luck in the future.

I can be reached in the future at my new email address: [email protected]. Thanks again for the wonderful experience and I hope to see you all at future events.