Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1999.5 Audi A4 Avant - V6 5 Speed - I Want This Car... I Need Somone Else To Buy It. Soon.

As I've mentioned in the past, I have a weird relationship with Audis.

1) I owned one once. An Audi 90. It was many, many years ago, but I remember liking it. I really liked the way it looked. I can't find any pictures of it and I don't have any incredible memories of driving it, it was just a nice car. That's it. A nice driving, great looking, car.

2) A few months ago I had a friend's newish A4 for a day. I liked it. But, at the end of the day, I had no desire to keep it. I dropped it off at her house and was very happy to get back into my far older, rattier, higher mileage, BMW.

3) If someone I really loved - say my son or a girlfriend / wife, whatever - came to me and asked what used European high performance sedan they should buy, I'd recommend an Audi. With the quattro AWD system, they are about as safe a car as you'll find. After they bought the car however, I would spend the rest of my days telling them how my BMW is better than their Audi. Eventually they would hate me.

4) As safe and "nice" as Audis are, they are not extremely reliable. If you buy one you will need to get used to the warm glow of the "check engine" light. Little things - and occasionally major things - fail at an alarming rate. The cost to repair those things range from just plain expensive to ridiculously stupid expensive.

OK, having said all that, why do I find myself wanting this car? I mean really, really wanting this car. Want, bordering on lust...

This is a 1999.5 Audi A4. Essentially, it's a 1999 with many of the upgrades that appeared in the 2000 model year car. Audi seems to like to use the half year designation when they upgrade a model. It is titled as a 1999.

The engine in this car is Audi's 30 valve 2.8 literV6. It's a huge upgrade over the previous 12 valve V6. In my opinion, this is the engine to have in this car. 1999 A4s also came with Audi's 1.8 liter, turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. That's a fun engine, but it was prone to oil sludge problems. The 6 is more powerful, smoother and more reliable. It is, however, a lot of engine crammed into a tiny space. Maintaining the cooling system is a must. Flush and inspect the cooling system once a year and use Audi coolant. (Personally, I like and use the non-toxic Sierra brand antifreeze in my car - That's not a plug. I'm sure other non-toxic brands are just as good - but, apparently, using non-VW / Audi coolant in an Audi can cause problems. Spend the extra money.) If the cooling system is even slightly compromised, the engine will get hot and the head gaskets will blow. That's just the way it is. (Even though there are no oil sludge problems with the 6, I'd change the oil and filter every 3000 miles. I know there are all sorts of sites out there that will tell you it's not necessary to change your oil that often, but clean oil in never a bad thing, so why take the risk? An oil change is cheap compared to a ring job.)

What makes me lust after this car is the transmission. It's a manual. You don't often see that with a V6. You almost never see that combo in an Avant. It's a great combination.

The rest of the car is typical Audi and in great shape. The interior and dash are in great shape. The body has a minor ding or two on it, but is also in great shape.

I keep staring at the ad, thinking about how it's only an hour and a half drive away. Somebody needs to buy this before I do something stupid.

Located in Rhode Island, click here to see the Craigslist ad.

An addendum of sorts - Besides having a passion for unloved cars, I have a passion for unloved dogs. Instead of writing a Just a Dog Geek blog (How would I end my posts? Instead of closing my posts with things like "This car is in rough shape but worth restoring. It would probably be too unreliable to use as an everyday car, but I'd love to see it at shows", I'd have to write, "This dog is in rough shape but worth adopting. It will probably piss all over your furniture and bite your mother's arm off, but I'd love to see you walking in the park with it someday..." Somehow I don't think I or the blog would be very popular.), I put in a few hours a week at an animal rescue place. Monday was a beautiful day here in New England, so I stopped by the shelter to take a dog or two for a walk. I don't really "walk" a dog. I sort of meander with it. I let it sniff everything and I check out all the scenery. It's relaxing. But, yesterday, one dog was particularly energetic, so I decided instead of walking or meandering, we'd run a bit. All went well until we got to this little fork in the trail. I went right, the dog went left. My left leg remained firmly planted in the middle. My left knee is now the size of a cantaloupe. It's just as ugly, too.

My aching knee wasn't allowing me to get much sleep last night, so I got up, found an old heating pad, wrapped it around my knee, cracked open a bottle of Bacardi, and sat in front of my computer waiting for the heat and the alcohol to work its magic. That's when I found this car.

I thought maybe my lust for this was due to being tired and having "Bacardi goggles" on when I looked at it. It's now 10AM, I'm awake and 100% sober. I still want it. Uh-oh.

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