Sunday, July 5, 2015

Test Drive - Audi A4 Avant 2.0TDI 140bhp B8 chassis


With over 140.000 km on the clock, I must say that it's a brilliantly built machine. No noises, no major issues apart from the standard maintenance program... much like the gas version and this is no surprise because though it vibrates more than the gas unit, the engine is actually well balanced.

And so the test begins.

The engine: A bad surprise... this was the engine that replaced the PD130 and PD150... this is 16valves (don't really understand why 16v on an oil burner) against the 8v.. it is claimet to have 142 bhp... but it actually feels less!
I must say, in it's justice that if is as round as the PD150 was, and not a brute hulk like the PD130... but the common rail, 16valves crap really killed the engine.
It feel s as if the turbo is not working properly. Low down torque, however is very good... so, at traffic, all you need to do is lift off you clutch a bit and it will get you going.
One good surprise was fuel economy... if you don't push-it beyond 2500rpm it will run with excellent mileage.

The Gearbox: I must say this gearbox is very good.
Perfectly matched to the engine, perfect command weight, the engagement takes the propper force to happen and it feeds back exactly the info you need without letting you feel you are touching metal. Very refined touche but clearly the win is the engine match...
In this car it is a must as if you try to heel-toe, it will miss-understand you and emergency mode the engine... stupid i know.. but seem to plague the ESP units on all the VAGs.
So this gear box is a joy.

The Chassis:  This is almost copy paste on the A4 2.0 TSFI review....it's an Audi... it is very composed and with good grip levels (particularly after fitting bigger rims and tires). The grips is good enough to make you think it's lighter that it actually is, but it is not as involving as...say... the megane3 break chassis.
The one problem with this car... as any other AUDI is the let-go... UNDER-steer. It's like this by design as the every day banker that buys them really doesn't know how to drive and in an extreme situation, will get scared and break... so all AUDI's except the R8 are tuned to under-steer on the limit.
This however is the exact opposite behavior you really want on a curve as what you need is the chassis to help resolve the curve by biting in with the front axle and letting go the rear to roll the car into the corner.
Again, much like the twin 2.0TSFI test:
This could obviously be solved with a handbreak strike but no... noooo! the hand break on this is electrical.... how stupid of you audi.. this was the one thing that could solve the chassis stupid fine-tuning and you manage to eliminate it!.

Conclusions: 
It is fair and for motorway cursing it is economic...
Buy the 2,0TSFI, revo-it and you are better off.. but if you really are looking for a chassis that corners with you, instead of against you...(and don't mind the ugly looks and bad plastics) buy the megane and save a tone of money.


UPDATE:
This car was now fitted with a set of 18" rims running Bridgestone RE050a tires.
What a transformation. This simple setup made the car's turn into the corners a LOT sharper. The grip levels increased and the on-the limits under-steer that annoys me so is now let evident and more composed on the let-go and recovery from it.
A MUST. This chassis was clearly designed for big rims, low profile, wide tires and with high grip level.