Last post on Jun 05, 2006 at 12:36 PM
You are in the Audi A3
What is this discussion about?
Audi A3, Audi A4, Wagon
#1 of 15 Audi Streets of Tomorrow
May 03, 2006 (11:59 am)
For 2007, Audi has begun "Streets of Tomorrow", a tour of various American cities to promote their models, particularly the new Q7. Several events have already sold out, with more to follow.
The intent of this discussion is to let folks discuss their experiences from the show; what they saw, what they drove, and what they liked or disliked.
#2 of 15 Streets of Tomorrow - the LA experience
May 06, 2006 (5:50 pm)
Audi held their Event on 05/06/06 at the Pacific Design Center west of downtown Los Angeles, CA. Parking and all events were free.
The Day started with registration (pre-registering and a drivers license are required to drive the cars).
Once checked in, first experience was a relatively long drive in a V8 equipped Q7. A "host" rode shotgun giving me driving directions through the rather congested area, and commenting on various features of the Q7. In brief, the Q7 felt very solid, was nicely finished inside, but touchy wrt throttle and brakes.
Once Q7 drive was done, I was allowed two more test drives in other Audis, also with shotgun hosts. The exception was the RS4, only driven by professional drivers (you got to ride shotgun or in back seat). You get 3 drives total.
These second and third drives were very short (only a mile, and only with right hand turns) through crowded city streets. The drives did little to show the cars handling and performance. My drives were in an A3 3.2, which proved more civil with the rough streets than expected. Unfortunately Audi had no A3 2.O T with DSG to drive.
Waits for the second and third drives were long, about half an hour each, as the A3 was far and away the most popular car at the show (some of the Hosts were scratching their heads over that).
While waiting for drives, I found demonstrations by show partner Bang and Olufsen, demonstrations of cooking and restaurant design, Ducatti racing bikes, the current Audi Racecar, and an A8 and Q7 on display. Various staff offered small snacks and bottled water.
Highlight was a long chat with the A3 product manager. It became apparant that while most of the A3 is from Volkswagen (body and 3.2 Engine), Audi was doing extra inspections, specialized interior installations and adding their own Haldex Quattro system. The impression was Audi USA was trying hard to improve the breath, depth and quality of their product line, but was constrained by their European parent desire to build cars for Europe, not the USA. This, sadly, seems to VW's attitude in general.
Another interesting tidbit is some of the staff of the Audi event had been staff at last years GM's AutoShow in Motion (one had been director of the Corvette test track section.
After all the test drives were used up, I was given an exit survey (moving minature scanner over sheet with survey question barcodes), and then a book of Audi history (hardbound, with some nice photos and illustrations), a dealer list, and a pamphlet of Audi models for 2006/7.
Will be interesting to hear how others find this experience!
It was worthwhile for me, though driving opportunities were nowhere near as good as the GM show last year.
#3 of 15 thta's funny
May 07, 2006 (5:55 am)
because I swear in the advertisement on the Audi website they give the idea that the RS4 will be available to drive, not ride.
#4 of 15 Re: thta's funny [dhamilton]
May 07, 2006 (9:56 am)
The crowded urban setting Audi chose for their show in LA guaranteed that anyone driving the RS4 to its fullest would instantly have a first class traffic accident. IMHO, Audi chose to be safe, not sorry.
Audi may have picked the setting to show off the Q7, which everyone had to drive first before they were allowed to drive (or ride) in other Audi vehicles. Also, because Audi had more Q7's than any other vehicle (all of which came from Michigan, they said), it was the only one allowed to have a decent length drive. The rest got "around the block" trips.
Maybe elsewhere, Audi will have the room to give their cars a real chance to perform.
It'll be fun to hear what others think of their show!
#5 of 15 Streets of "Tomorrow"?
May 07, 2006 (10:01 am)
I knew going in, Audi was emphasizing the Q7, their new large SUV, and they were calling this event the "Streets of Tomorrow". I was looking for the connection.
The event did not waver from leaving me with the impression of Audi's aim towards luxury and sport. While popular, Audi was careful not to over book and was not over crowded like GM or some other events, and the staff was attentive, took care to take names for waiting lists (not too long, but enough break to sample the fine food in the cafe and other exhibits) and was always attentive. The riding hosts were usually able to explain most of the features and availability in the limited amount of time we had.
The hosts who ride along with you explained to me that they were from various Audi dealers around the country, North Carolina, Atlanta, etc. The Los Angeles "Streets of Tomorrow" event was held at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, an interesting location especially for the out-of-town staff. They thought all of L.A. was just like this area! I laughed.
The experience starts with the highlighted drive in the new Q7, a real gem - if what you need is a premium fuel sucking, parking place hogging, upscale soccer-Jones out-doing, high-speed Buetooth enabled - well it was really a great ride. The course plotted with the Q7 took me from the crowded urban potholed streets of West Hollywood up into the upscale part of residential Beverly Hills, but left out more enjoyable canyons to the north and didn't include any freeway speeds (or any speeds over about 40mph, but mostly fairly slow.
A really nice car for someone who really could use it, the Q7 is really worth considering if 14 MPG is all you need, need room for 7, and are looking for a huge luxury vehicle. Take a look, and a longer test drive on freeways and your normal route. I couldn't justify this car for my own needs, even if I hit the lottery. It just wasn't focused on "Streets of Tomorrow" for me". Maybe someday I will rent one when I need a really big, nice car for a trek. I'd rather have a Q7 than an A8, but that's because I like wagons.
I drove a few others including A4 Quattro 2.0 DSG (sedan), A3 VR6 Quattro DSG (S), and my pick for the money A3 2.0t Manual (S). I also got to ride shotgun in the RS4 (the driver was one of the instructors)but on the same urban course down Melrose and Santa Monica Blvds.
It was surprising to me, after reading how "harsh" these cars are known for riding with the sport suspensions, how civil they actually felt. I thought I could live with the ride, even the RS4 was compliant enough for me, however probably not my first pick when spending the cash - and gasoline, too. I might go with the standard suspension or sport, but I'd likely be really happy with either.
The A4 was too smallish in the back seat, despite being larger outside than the A3. The A3's seemed to all be V6's, and when I mentioned that during the ride, the host kindly mentioned he would check for a 2.0t, which they were putting away, for some reason.
It had taken me a little longer to find a comfortable seating position in the A3 VR6 with the power seat, I'm sure I could have done it with more time, but the adjustments are not intuitive like the Aisian cars I'm accustom to, however it was much quicker in the 2.0t with the manual seat. I really enjoyed the 6 speed manual. Perhaps it's because I don't get to drive a manual much anymore, and I really don't care for automatics. The DSG was great, but the manual felt right, and I thoroughly enjoyed driving that car. It had the Skyroof, it was a pleasant ride, zipping in the tight traffic holes on Santa Monica and Melrose. I really wanted to take this car over the canyon. I couldn't help but think 30 mpg, hatchback utility, real room for 4, and Audi luxury including 4 full auto up/down windows and Skyroof, well this is more like it! To each his own.
So, to sum it up, I couldn't help but thinking how irresponsible it is to think Audi's contribution to the "Streets of Tomorrow" in West Hollywood, Suburbia, or anywhere else in the USA or the world, is to envision a 14 MPG vehicle (nice as it is). Is that what this company really thinks it's American target market is? What kind of legacy is that for future generations of "tomorrow"? Let's be honest folks.
#6 of 15 some people got more rides, I guess.
May 08, 2006 (7:18 am)
Audi had a print out saying only 3 drives, including the Q7, were allowed.
la4mead, looks like you got a few more than I did. And I really regret not getting to drive the 2.0 T with DSG, as some posters are commenting on the same worrysome DSG issues noted in the 3.2 I drove.
#7 of 15 Re: some people got more rides, I guess. [kurtamaxxxguy]
May 08, 2006 (8:15 am)
Hey, they offered, but it was not a car from the demos.
Really, I think I was mislead, I don't think the A4 Quattro (2.0t) had the DSG, but that's what the "host" told me. I bet Audi properly calls it "Tiptronic". It was automatic with paddle-shifters. It wasn't an A3, though.
As for the number of rides, hey, they were nice and offered; the host pulled the car right up for me out of a parking place away from the other cars. I don't think they wanted to showcase the "oddball" model with a 4 cylinder/manual transmission, but when they pulled it out, I couldn't refuse. And I liked that car the best.
I don't care for the styling much; the A3 front is not attractive or durable looking, the back end and dash are bland, and the interior avoids innovative features, but I usually don't buy a car for how it looks. I'm more concerned about how it feels/handles, costs to own (including environmental costs) and reliability issues. I like to keep my everyday commuter car 10 or more years ("Tomorrow"), so I had those factors in mind on my drive. I sure liked the A3. I'm with you, I'd like to test drive an A3 2.0t with or without the sport suspension, for a long drive - leaving the urban traffic behind. Maybe even test drive a used one just to see how it's holding up, and what electrical and/or transmission gremlins might lurk!
#8 of 15 Re: some people got more rides, I guess. [la4mead]
May 08, 2006 (12:03 pm)
Yeah, they had a 2.0 T with manual. It was very popular!
I too like keeping agreeable cars a long time; 9 years for my '83 Camry, 6 years for a Prius.
But, Shouldn't a $40K cars' problems deserve better response than manufacturer form letters? The 3.2 Quattro's probably one of the most complex cars out there; that stuff is gonna break sooner or later.
It would be reassuring to hear Audi was more responsive to consumer problems with DSG than just sending form letters.
That would help set Audi apart from their competitors, as GM and Toyota are almost as good with form letters as Audi is!
#9 of 15 Re: some people got more rides, I guess. [kurtamaxxxguy]
May 08, 2006 (12:57 pm)
Yes, expensive cars with "genetic" concerns across even part of the product line deserve more response than form letters. My RX300 (one of the first) received a whole brand new transmission (with loaner car) from Lexus under warrantee when it had some hard shifting when cold, but was running OK, at almost 70,000 miles (there were some previous dealer problems involved).
That experience along with an otherwise reliable, fairly fuel efficient and spacious small car has kept me loyal, even while the handling is boring.
It seems Audi has their focus on handling and luxury, things they do well. However, luxury should include how they treat their customers, which includes retaining them as customers with reliable products that they stand behind.
#10 of 15 Re: some people got more rides, I guess. [la4mead]
May 08, 2006 (3:01 pm)
I have to agree with you. Audi does not seem to have adopted, yet, the Lexus or Buick ways of dealing with customers.
The Audi folks at the Audi event suggested Audi USA is trying to get better, but is being held back by its Euro parent.
Perhaps Europeans feel the same way about Ford and GM as some of us do about Audi and VW?