Okay, I've sold my A4. I have had it 1 year and in that time I have had highs and lows with it. So, to sign off, my review of the car, the marque and the experience.
First it was a 2001 Audi A4 1.8T SE in Merlot red met. I owned it for 11 months all in, in that time it needed 8 (2 pairs on both axles) tyres over 11,000 miles. It needed 2 services, one full and one interim. I was miffed that the service length is only 9000 miles.
I fitted the 312mm discs up front, rear parking sensors and cruise control and I had the car ST3 tuned with high torque and fast road maps.
As standard the A4 has some significant weaknesses. I found it to be very nose heavy, especially when you try and give it some welly on country lanes. The ESP is invasive and over compensates. The steering is too vague and lacks feel.
The ownership experience involved a number of visits to my Audi dealer. I found them to be difficult and often very dismissive. My local Audi dealer has no dedicated parts, service or sales departments, instead you must wait in a seating area for a person to wander to the receptionist and have them pointed at you. They also carry no stock at all. I needed a set of A4 wiper blades, not a stock item, they'll be here in a few days, we'll call - no call - that kind of thing. The ownership experience was expensive. Lots of parts are common to VW and Seat, but the same part from Audi is more money. Oil filters are a good example of this!
The car was very fragile, it total over one year, the glovebox hinges broke twice, the door trims on one side fell off, the boot release button stopped working, the dashboard creaked, the steering coumn rattled, the steering wheel squeaked on full lock when parking, the car cut out at low speeds, the drivers side mirror glass fell out and one of the drivers seat adjuster stopped working. There was a difficult to find rattle on the passenger door side, this turned out to be the plastic of the armrest rubbing on the plastic of the door card.
In short it wasn't a good car! Maybe made on a friday, but generally poor fit and finish.
The good bits are there too, good lights, good power delivery (after re-map) good brakes (after 312mm upgrade) The ride comfort was very good, it was quiet and calm at speed, it rode the camber changes well and its weight helped it stay firm over mid corner bumps.
In short, if I could take that engine and put it in a better built car, with a significantly lighter bodyshell, I'd be laughing!
I expect other people to come and rubbish my thread, to defend the Audi build quality, the ownership experience etc. but these are my views. I must add that th bods on the forum have been very helpful with technical advise, I have needed and appreciated it.
I have gone and bought a Fiat now. It doesn't have anywhere near the carpark cache of the Audi, but it doesn't squeak, it doesn't rattle and it cost a whole lot less for amuch younger car.
Many Thanks all.