Hi folks - thought i'd do a short report on the test drive i had today in an A4 Avant S-Line Spec.Ed.
I asked to test drive the petrol TFSI as after driving a 138bhp 2.0 TDI Seat Altea, and the previous car (a 1.9 130bhp TDI Golf Mk IV) i was tiring of diesels and wanted to see just how far these TFSI engines have progressed - the press reports on the 1.4 TFSI VAG engine seem to make the technology sound wonderful, and so with the keys in my hands i was expecting to be impressed by the 220PS offered by the 2.0 TFSI version.
The tickover noise was naturally more pleasant than the TDI rumble/rattle that has graced me and my neighbours every morning for the past 6 years of diesel ownership, and pulling away at low speed seemed perfectly normal, and to be honest very diesel like - the torque of the engine is impressive, however a very short shift into second whilst leaving the car park at Audi did reveal that the engine wasn't happy at being asked to accelerate from near tickover in second gear, which wasn't the car's fault - it was the drivers fault for short shifting.
Out onto the roads and into 3rd and 4th and the car drove brilliantly around town, where space and speed limits allowed the throttle was nudged to see what the car could do, and whilst this demo car was FWD, the power at low to medium revs was transferred without fuss or bother to the tarmac. The driving experience was fine with a half hour session on the motorway at 80(cough) MPH the car pulling really well in 6th gear with no need to go for 5th when accellerating any higher, from 60 to 75 mph the car was sluggish in comparison to a diesel, but the revs were simply not there to take advantage of the 220ps drop it into 4th gear at these speeds, and the response was far better, but the noise was louder, and the red digits in the DIS showing me the MPG were lower
On an open A road i took full advantage of the revs and with quick gearchanges the car was doing speeds that would leave me without a driving licence for a period of time! Yet whilst driving the car in this manner, it did not feel nice, the gearchanges were not smooth, and you almost felt guilty by asking such a usually refined and relaxing car to drive to pick up its skirt and sprint around like a daft thing. I suppose fast driving would be smoother with practise, but the experience left me with a "wow" grin on my face, but a furrowed brow as it felt stressful.
Driving the car normally in town and around at legal speeds, and not having traffic light grand prix starts the engine didn't give me any more performance than the 2.0 TDI in my Altea, perhaps less, as i was short shifting and trying to settle into a relaxing rhythem and not have to stretch the gearchanges out to noisy 5000 rpm levels to "feel the power".
So would i go back to petrol - well i'd say yes if i was buying something like an S4 where you get lots of low down grunt and a nice soundtrack, but for me the 2.0 TFSI was mis-matched with both the larger A4 Avant and my driving style - i could fully understand the engine in an A3 or a Golf GTI or Seat Leon and it would make a great hot hatch, or trackday toy, but for everyday driving things didn't quite "gel".
on a 1 hour drive over about 50 miles i was getting 25mpg which included a couple of full on 0-60 starts, and quite a lot of motorway cruising to balance things out. I reckon i'd struggle to see 30mpg with this engine.
I've got the account manager at the dealer sourcing a 170TDI for the next test drive, hopefully with a quattro system to see if this suits me better. It looks like i'm a diesel addict (unless i can afford a 4.2 V8 petrol !)