Right where do I start? Apologies It’s going to be a bit of a long intro here as buying the car I ended up with wasn’t brilliantly planned (I’m not greatly organised – that‘s another story in itself......the last time I told that one it brought tears to the eyes of the trainer while at a work training session).
Anyway, it all started with my first car which was a Ford Focus Mk1 petrol nearly a decade ago – up till two weeks before purchasing it I was going to stick with the VAG family and get another Golf (I was driving my bro’s GTI MkII before) on the advice of the car “experts” amongst family friends. As I’m not one for just following blindly, I did some research and realised very quickly how much better the Focus was than anything else – that made me realise that the experts were just badge snobs.
Impressively for a Ford of that time, the Focus was very reliable which was why I had it for so long and other things in life simply took priority: getting married (‘cos she was the one), going back to Uni (things at work became that bad), changing jobs etc. But over time I was looking at my next car.... the A4 was never the one - the B6 and B7 never quite hit the spot for me but was always at the back of mind........ My bro’s best friend in the US had an A4 B7 2.0 TFSI with a tuning box – but it felt harsh (S-Line spec) and the pickup wasn’t amazing to me. At that time I had been a bit spoilt having been a regular passenger in M3 and C55 AMG in colleagues cars here.
So I just had to get a saloon that was NOT a Beemer – but begrudgingly knowing they were constantly the best in their class, had to get something which I didn’t feel inferior with - hmmmmmmm. So believe it or not it was the Alfa 159 right up till a few weeks before getting the A4 (see a pattern here? I refer you back to my Focus purchase!). The reason then was simple – it was and still is, IMHO, the best looking saloon in its class. Up till a year ago I was working in the technical field and just wanted to purchase a car out of joy and not logic. Also in my social circles it’d have given me the individuality the Focus gave me (despite it being the bestselling car in the UK for years?? Badge snobbery again) as the saloon of choice was the Beemer.
One weekend, my bro hired a Fiat manual diesel as the Focus he preferred was out of stock – I took it for a spin and we both struggled with the behaviour of its performance..............but I got the hang of it and was astonished at the torque and how risky it was for a hire car firm to have a car with so much low end kick – this was when my eyes opened up for diesel power.
So the time came to change cars – the Focus was a teen now and was having tantrums, my only sibling was getting married so the time was right for a change. I started looking at a 159 1750 TBi as the diesel alternative, while producing 210 BHP out of just a 2.4, was heavy, very thirsty and they had stopped making that engine for a few years now. The replacement was a Fiat diesel engine – so lots of promise. My best mate came down from Scotland in an Alfa Giuleta with that engine and I took it for a spin........ I was very disappointed. The 159 1750 TBi was also available only in manual so I’d have to get a small auto for the Missus.
Crunch time came when I learnt that the 159 had stopped production a year ago and the replacement was still not due which was bizarre. I then stumbled upon the performance figures of the A4 3.0TDI and was gob smacked with the auto option not far behind the manual. Admittedly not a like-for-like comparison due to the size of the engine in comparison with my Focus or the 159s I was looking at – but the even the 3.0TDI auto trounced the top-of-the-range 159 3.2 petrol in performance!! The degree I did helped me switch jobs out of the technical field – but my techie side came back out was in overdrive when I learnt that the engine could be comfortably remapped to 300BHP!!
I also learnt of the B8 facelift and liked it enough to live with and realised with the auto I’d now only need one car so could combine the budget of two cars. So I started looking at an MY08 as a starter with no more than 30-40k. I decided I needed practice dealing with car dealers while I sell the Focus. I stumbled upon a 3.0TDI which was out of my budget from Audi themselves – but had dropped in price (it’s a 59 plate with 12k miles)........ a week of hard haggling and slagging the car off (negotiating tactics) and I was stuck with two cars!!!!
Looking forward to getting to know you guys,