Last post on Sep 20, 2011 at 4:33 PM
You are in the Audi A4
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Audi A4, Sedan
#573 of 6042 gooddesign
Feb 08, 2001 (3:03 pm)
Back in 1996 the basic black 4-spoke steering wheel was the standard A4 steering wheel, but Audi also also offered a 3-spoke thickly-padded "Sport" steering wheel (with the chrome ring logo) as an option. I believe it was a $150-$180 option. I'm sure that was also the case for the 1997 models. I'm not sure if this changed for 1998 or not. For 2000 and 2001, there is a 3-spoke thickly-padded steering wheel provided as standard equipment, but it does not have the chrome rings on it.
My understanding is that 1998 models were not very different from 1997 models, but I could be very wrong on that guess. I knew the 1996 models very well, and I know the 2000 and 2001 models very well. Everything inbetween is rather blurry. Model year 1998 is in sort of a "black hole" for me. I believe it was the year that the 2.8L engine went to 5 valves/cylinder and 190hp, but I don't know much else regarding the changes for that model year. You might check the Used Cars section of Edmunds.com. Sometimes Edmunds will mention some of the items which were new to the vehicle for that particular model year.
I have 3 additional guesses on why you might see the 1997 models priced much cheaper than 1998 models. First of all, 1997 models are out of warranty. Many 1998 models may still be under warranty. 1998 models may be the oldest models that Audi is willing to certify on Audi dealers' used car lots. Secondly, if you are examining the 1.8T models, 1997 was the first year of the 1.8T engine (at least here in North America). I'm not aware of this, but maybe there were some first-year reliability issues with that model? Finally, I believe that 1998 was the year Audi changed the 2.8L engine (as I mentioned above), giving it 18 more horsepower than the 1996/1997 model.
Feb 08, 2001 (8:59 pm)
I was wrong at the end of the 1st paragraph in my previous post. The new steering wheel has chrome rings on it. Hence, it's basically the same wheel as the optional "sport" steering wheel of 5 years ago.
#575 of 6042 Model Year Changes
Feb 08, 2001 (10:48 pm)
On the 2.8's there was a major increase in power on the '98's - from 170 HP to 190 HP - and as cotmc says that year it went to the 30 valve technology which allowed it to "breathe" much better for smoother performance especially at higher RPM's.
If I'm not mistaken, the 98 models also saw the introduction of their upgraded interior's which Audi called "atmospheres" and I believe this added both variety and a richer ambiance at least with the 2.8's.
There were also many other smaller improvements made, both inside and out, on the 98's. Then, there were further refinements with the mid-year '98's, also known as 98.5 models. I can't remember what all these were exactly, but I do remember them being posted once in the old A4.org site - now AudiWorld.com - and the list of improvements was surprisingly long. I'm sure that if you post your questions there under the A4 Forum people will be willing to help with the details.
As far as the steering wheel goes, I have the "sport" wheel on my 98.5 model, and for my car this came with the optional "Sport Pkg" which also included a lowered and firmer suspension, different 16 inch wheels with Z-rated Dunlop 8000E tires (great in summer, bad on ice and snow - I use winter tires for 3-4 months a year here in Minnesota).
One other thing about Audi that I've found is that they continually make changes from year to year, and even mid-year, both for reliability and functional reasons. Good luck in finding the right combination of features at the right price - there are literally hundreds of combinations to choose from if you span several years worth of A4's.
#576 of 6042 Note to cotmc and Equalizer
Feb 08, 2001 (11:17 pm)
Regarding the Acura MDX, I've been following the acuramdx.org site, and as a first year model you do see people talking about the usual glitches. It's obvious that MDX owners really like their vehicles, but you can see where some think it falls short too.
On the allroad forum discussion, there is a tremendous enthusiasm that's very evident, as owners are literally gushing with praise. It is extremely high quality on the inside, and it clearly will outperform and outhandle the MDX as a driving machine. The heated rear seats and steering wheel are nice, and the ESP is a major plus. Plus, it has full-time quattro, whereas the MDX is front-drive biased. All in all, it's a lot more fun to drive fast.
The major disadvantages of the allroad include the price - about $6,000-$10,000 higher depending on options - and the higher price buys you a smaller, less flexible space inside (although in our case we only have 3, including our 9 year old). Plus, the outside styling is very "different" - either a station wagon (Avant) or an SUV - a personal decision but I think most would favor the SUV look, which could affect resale. The MDX could hold its value better, but since they're both so new who knows for sure?
We'd be very happy with either vehicle, but if the allroad towing pkg. becomes available before the MDX arrives, I'm going to switch to the allroad. Based on my great experience with the A4, I have a lot of confidence in Audi quality. Their 4-year warranty with all maintenance included and my local dealer (very competent and conveniently located) give me added confidence, even though it's a first-year model.
Sorry for vearing slightly off topic here...
Feb 09, 2001 (7:54 am)
After owning a 2001 Jeep Wrangler Sport for two months, I decided this vehicle was just to squirrelly for safe winter driving in MN. Fortunately I sold it with little loss, and picked up a 2001 A4 quattro yesterday. Having owned 4x4 trucks since I started driving, I was a little skeptacle about buying a car. Boy was I surprised, I feel like I have just found the best car I have ever owned!
#578 of 6042 COTMC
Feb 09, 2001 (9:44 am)
I did in fact mean the AudiWorld A4 Forum because I know pictures can't be posted here. I just thought others besides me on this forum may be interested in seeing your new car, which they'd be able to do on the AudiWorld Forum. Do what's easiest for you...e-mail would be fine and I'm looking forward to seeing the new ride! If you have a high-res digital camera (2 megapixels or above), please reduce the picture size to lessen download time. Thanks.
#579 of 6042 JBaumgart
Feb 09, 2001 (9:56 am)
Thanks for filling me in with some info regarding the A4 changes for 1998. I should have been able to guess about the "atmospheres" introduction, but I didn't know there were several changes for 1998.5 models. It is interesting how Audi (and I guess VW) provide so many updates in mid-year. I believe the indash CD player was added for 1999.5. For 2001.5, Audi added the "Celebration Package", as well as 17" rims/tires for the Quattro Sport package.
Regarding your next purchase, I have to admit I'm a little biased toward the MDX, but the new Audi Allroad seems to be an awesome vehicle. I can see why you would strongly consider it. I wouldn't worry too much about some negative feedback here and there within MDX discussion groups. I wouldn't compare the number of negative posts for the MDX versus the number of negative posts for the Allroad. The MDX has been on sale since the beginning of October, and they have been selling about 3000 per month. For example, JD Powers says Acura sold 3414 MDX's during January 2001. In comparison, I believe less than 500 Allroads were sold in January. Since people are more likely to write into discussion groups if they have a problem/complaint than if they have no problems, the MDX discussion groups would likely see more complaints than Allroad discussion groups. That's my theory, anyway, assuming all other things being equal. I also suspect there would be fewer negative posts if Acura dealerships were more consistent with their pricing and customer service. Unfortunately, it seems that a few Acura dealers in North America offer no better service than a typical Nissan or Honda dealer.
#580 of 6042 equalizer1
Feb 09, 2001 (9:58 am)
Are you or your husband going to want to trade or sell your TL for the new 2002 TL Type S that should be arriving in a few months? I hear it will have 260hp, and improved suspension and steering!
#581 of 6042 chicago auto show
Feb 09, 2001 (8:52 pm)
I just came back from the chicago auto show, and while there I stopped at the audi display. While talking with one of the reps, I asked if audi was planning on offering a subvented lease program for the remaining A4s once the new platform comes closer to being released. The rep seemed to think that there will be some special lease rates that should be instituted in the near future. So if you are planning on leasing, I would wait a little bit longer, it could save you a fair amount of cash. I also asked about the absence of power seats in the A4 1.8T, and he just laughed, then looked over his shoulder towards the current generation A4 2.8. Damn the marketing ploys, just give me my seat. How does the A4 handle on long commutes? Is it excessively noisy at cruising speeds around 80 mph, as I spend alot of time around that zone. I really like the 3.0 V6 in my 2000 accord, but the car lacks soul.