I've had my A3 for just over a year and love it, but being 14 years old it's getting a bit rusty and unfortunately my days of old cars is coming to an end as I have a little girl on the way. I've grown up with Austin Minis, mk2 Escorts, Honda CRXs, so I'm familiar with getting my hands dirty but the A3 I feel will be a little too small for my needs in this next year.
I plan on buying a B7 at the end of the year, but I cannot decide on an engine choice. In an ideal world I'd like a B5 S4/RS4 but that will depend on money (budget will be doubled for an RS4) at the time and condition. The wife loves the looks of the B7 and I do too, so it's looking more likely. I have a budget of around £4-4.5k which should get me a decent 05/06 model.
So, in my mind there are a few shortlisted models, and hopefully be an S-Line ideally and I've added a few other bits in case you guys are thinking of selling up at the end of the year:
Transmission - only manual, wouldn't even contemplate an auto (I'm too old skool for that and before manuals get completely replaced I want to have a gearstick until no cars remain).
Colour - black, any greys, red
Could any of you give me a brief idea about each engine. Problems, power delivery, buying price compared to running costs (ie. is a V6 worth it?), real world mpg.
For example, is the 2.0T petrol worth the lower mpg compared to the TDi? Or is the oil-burner prone to problems (DPF etc?) to not warrant the shift to diesel. Is the 3.2V6 full of problems (I've heard some horror stories) but I know they sound so sweet, but is buying a car for the noise of the engine a bit lame? What's the 3L diesel like, haven't done any research on these yet?
I only use the car for S&DP, no commute, will have a newborn in it soon (6mth old by Xmas), but I like to have a play on B-roads sometimes, but it will predominantly be used for comfy motorway drives (family are 150 miles away) and pootling around town, carrying all the baby stuff like buggy etc, and currently I do around 12k miles a year (mainly from those drives to see family ramps it up, normally it's around half that). I'd prefer 30+mpg too, as I get close to 40mpg in the A3, so that kinda rules the V6 out doesn't it...
I'm completely sold on the looks and style of the B7, but not sure what to go for. I have the 1.8T now, it sounds dull, goes alright (despite not being mapped yet), handles OK, fits tonnes of stuff with the seats down (moved house with it), love the Recaros I assume that the A4 comes with similar ones (cloth not leather preferably or does that discount the S-Line thing?), doors are leaking so it's wrecked the carpet and need to remove the SAI as it's causing an error (that will be done soon if it ever gets a bit warmer outside LOL).
Thanks in advance and sorry I know it really depends on each person but an insight from experienced owners is what I'm really looking for.