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The Mercury Cars Guide : July 10th 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au ---13 ECONOMY Audi A4 TDIe Neil Dowling DRIVEN The e'' on the bootlid is German for tightwad. Miserly choice not automatic FRUGAL: The Audi A4 TDIe watches the pennies. WATCH your pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves, my grandmother proffered. It is the recipe for a tight-fisted life that will eventually result in big money in the bank. At which point you would be reluctant to use the windfall because of your staunch upbringing. And then you'd die and the money would be inherited by a serial shopaholic relative who would have thetimeofher---orhis---life disposing of the cash rather rapidly. Buying a new car is a bit like burning all your hard-earned money in one hit. So it deserves careful thought. Buying this car, Audi's new high- efficiency A4 sedan, doesn't fit the carefully-thought-out category. For one, it's a very frugal car that meets the mandate of the pennies and the pounds. But it costs $51,100 which means you've just blown all the pounds and might just as well handed the loot over to the relative with the cash furnace. As an exercise, however, the A4 TDIe is a gem. It is beautifully built, with doors that shut with a solid clunk, seats that invite with soft leather, an audio system to delight the ears and a boot with enormous capacity to belie the compact snubness of its lid. The rear seats split and fold down for extra luggage space. Standard equipment includes cruise control, climate-control airconditioning, a 10-speaker iPod- friendly audio system, trip computer, parking sensors and automatic headlights and wipers. The body panels and the dashboard components are simply perfectly aligned and that's an accolade usually reserved for only the world's virtually unobtainable bespoke machines. The TDIe is a front-wheel drive with a few electro-mechanical tricks to beat the bowser. Aerodynamics are scrutinised with an underfloor panel and partially- enclosed grille to reduce air resistance. The final drive ratio is five per cent higher than the normal TDI so 100km/h comes up at around a mere 1500rpm. It has stop-start that switches off the engine if the gearbox is in neutral and the foot is off the clutch pedal. The engine restarts automatically when the clutch pedal is depressed. Audi claims that up to 1.5 litres/ 100km can be saved in city driving via this stop-start technology. When braking or coasting, the alternator becomes a generator to charge the battery. This helps power the constant start-ups of the stop-start system. The car is 20mm lower than its sister models and gets a dashboard indicator to advise you when to change gears. Brilliant. Except that the cleverness has a grip around the neck of Audi's performance. Under acceleration it feels choked and needs more right foot input than expected to keep up with traffic. It can be driven with some enthusiasm but clearly this is a car for the number cruncher who enjoys seeing how low the trip computer's average fuel consumption will go. And on that subject, I saw 4.8 l/100km and easily attained a 5.7 l/100km average. Audi claims 4 l/100km in the country which, theoretically, gives an intrastate range of 1625km. That's intra-nation if you're in Europe. But it isn't perfect. The TDIe comes only as a manual. Australians love autos and, worse, they're prepared to pay for them. This is a car for Europe. A place of dense cities, fast freeways and expensive fuel. And there, this car is a natural. It simply makes so much sense. In Australia, it will be adopted by a few people who love quality and prefer to manipulate the transmission by themselves. They will get a delightful sedan that will easily get 5.5 litres/100km around town and down to 4 l/100km in the country. That's miserly! But here's where it gets complicated. Normally a manufacturer charges more for the eco-car. It's to do with all the R&D that went into its creation. Audi's A4 2.0 TDIe is $3000 cheaper than the automatic A4 2.0 TDI --- no ''e'' --- and, according to my calculator, will save you $187.50 a year in diesel fuel ($1.25 a litre; 15,000km annual average; 4.8 l/100km for the TDIe and 5.8 l/100km for the TDI CVT). It will, in fact, count the pennies for you. However, I repeat that you probably don't want to enter a traffic snarl with your hand wrapped around a gear lever. You may, after fighting traffic for an hour, curse that you are a spendthrift who would have enjoyed motoring a tad more if you'd spent the extra $3000 on an automatic. small torque Audi A4 2.0TDIe Origin: Germany Price: $51,100 Engine: Two-litre, four-cyl turbo- diesel Power: 100kW @ 4200rpm Torque: 320Nm @ 1750-2500rpm 0-100km/h: 9.5 seconds Top speed: 215km/h Fuel: Diesel Fuel tank: 65 litres Economy (official): 4.8 litres/ 100km Economy (tested): 5.7 litres/ 100km Greenhouse: 124g/km (Corolla: 175g/km) Transmission: Six-speed manual; front-drive Brakes: Four-wheel discs, ESC, ABS, EBD, brake assist Turning circle: 11.5m Suspension: Front --- Double wishbones, five-link, coils; Rear --- multi-link, coils Wheels: 16-inch alloy, 225/55R16 tyres; space-saver spare Warranty: 3yr/unlimited km What we like: Economy, quality, comfort What we dislike: Expensive, wide turning circle, manual gearbox Features: Climate airconditioning; 10-speaker six-CD iPod audio; six airbags; cruise control; park sensors Rating: 84/100 Rivals: BMW 120d ($45,500) --- 82/100; Jaguar X-Type 2.2D LE ($56,490) --- 80/100; Volvo S40 2.0D ($42,950) --- 83/100 281 Main Road, Glenorchy Phone: 6213 3315 Hans Kerkvliet 0411 174 411 Robert Heuke 0438 289 277 $23,990. Drive away. The V240 4x2 Ute -- Leather trimmed seats, airbags, CD/radio, ABS/EBD, air conditioning, electric windows, alloy wheels and a 3-year/100,000km warranty... Great. 4x4 $3,000 extra. Metallic paint $350 extra. The Great Cars of China are here! $23,990. Drive away. The X240 4WD -- Leather trimmed seats, airbags, CD/radio/mp3, ABS, climate control, electric windows/mirrors/driver s seat, alloy wheels and a 3-year/100,000km warranty... Great. Metallic paint $350 extra.
July 3rd 2010
July 17th 2010