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My test drive thoughts on 170 TDI

Discussion in 'A3/S3/Sportback (8P Chassis)' started by steve184, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. steve184
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    steve184 Active Member

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    [Sep 30, 2006]
    Well went on a 45 minute test drive this morning - was quite shocked when salesperson showed me the car and said right off you go - have fun - but all i ask is please be back for quarter to 3!!!! I was like.... oh you are not coming with????? Never had a test drive like that before but very impressed! So much more useful when your on your owna dn u havent got a salesperson in the car watching every move and going on!

    Anyway, it confused me a little as it didn't 'feel' as quick as my 140 strangely enough and I was trying to get my head round why. I think its because the 140 you put your foot down and nothing - but then all of a sudden - bang - a massive whack of torque rips the car forward. But, i was surprised the 170 didn't do that, you don't seem to get that whollop of torque in it although I have to admit that it is smoother (less vibration under load) and a little quieter at speed (not much so at tickover or around town). I did find it revved much more freely however and the power held on much longer through the revs wheras the 140 is nothing -bang everything then all of a sudden nothing again its like an on off switch whereas the 170 isnt its delivers the power smoother and hence i think its this smoother ramp that hides what it actually has - which is a shame cos i have got used to loving that huge whack of acceleration the 140 gives you (albeit short lived). I cant help thinking that my car has more torque than this 170 i just drove - but surely this can't be the case???? I am a little confused by it to be honest.

    The other thing that crosses my mind is - is my car a liar? Is it possible its got more power and torque than it really should have?? I got back into mine afterwards and i really wanted it to feel slow and horrible - but it didn't - it felt punchy as ever!

    This just goes to show that numbers on paper can sometimes mean nothing - its how a car feels and drives that is more important.

    I had high expectations for the 170 - i expected it to be the same as the 140 but just stronger urge and I thought an extra 30 bhp would have been very noticeable but i really struggled to notice it all that much as it does behave totally different to the 140.

    steve
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  3. Vertigo1
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    Vertigo1 Well-Known Member

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    [Sep 30, 2006]
    I find your comments very interesting Steve as, when I tested a 170, it felt noticably quicker than my 140 and the shove in 2nd and 3rd was quite significantly more powerful. I agree with you on slight increase in refinement and willingness to rev but I can't explain how you felt it slower than your 140.

    When I stepped back into my 140 it felt much slower by comparison.

    BTW, with regards to test drives, I took three whilst I was deciding on my next car. The first was a quick spin around the block with the salesman in an S-Line 140 but after that I had a 2+ hour unaccompanied test drive in a 140 DSG (decided I didn't like the DSG) followed a few weeks later by another 2+ hour test in a 170 manual, also unaccompanied.

    I'm not sure whether it works the same at all dealers but our local one (Birmingham Audi) appears to have a system whereby the sales reps get free cars to drive but they're all effectively demonstrators and the reps have to allow them to be used as such. Both the unaccompanied tests I had were in cars "belonging" to sales reps rather than dedicated testers. Makes sense to do it this way I spose.
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  4. AndyMac
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    AndyMac Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [Sep 30, 2006]
    Steve, maybe your 140 was chipped in a previous life, unless you've had it from new of course. Or maybe it was just trying a lot harder as it didn't want you to trade it in.
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  5. steve184
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    steve184 Active Member

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    [Sep 30, 2006]
    could be right there AndyMac - (defo not chipped tho - i've had it from new) I am confused tho why I don't see an 'obvious' difference - as a few people have said you can.. hmmmmm
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  6. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Sep 30, 2006]
    VAG diesels are renowned for leaving the factory with more horsepower than standard. I recall a Diesel Car magazine advertorial which looked at Superchips' conversion on the 2.0TDI. When they put it on the rollers first, in totally standard trim before the remap for a comparison, it recorded 156bhp.

    Steve, you might want to take part in the AmD rolling road day to see what your TDI is churning out!
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  7. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 1, 2006]
    I also had a test drive of a new 170 TDI yesterday. As is normal, for me at least, I arrived at my dealers, was shown the car and given the keys and the salesman said "See you an hour - have fun!". The car had on done 8 miles so I assume I was probably the first person to test drive it.

    It was a Silver/Black interior, Sport version with a Manual gearbox. First thought as my own A3 140 is a DSG - Must remember to put the clutch down to change gear and select first gear when I stop!

    At tick-over the noise level seemed about the same. When out on the open road it was possibly a little quiter but not much. It seemed to rev well especially when in 3rd and was again a liitle faster through the gears, but it did seem to have a bit less go than my 140 below about 2,000 revs. That may be because mine has done 32k and had on done 8 miles.

    Generally it was OK to drive. I spent some time on the A1 dual carraigeway and a new bypass and quite a bit of the time driving through country lanes. I personally think you get a much better idea of the good and bad points of a car driving in lanes. Most cars will go OK on fast straight road.

    All in all a very pleasant drive. Will I go for a 170 next time or stick to a 140. Not sure, probably the 170 if only to give a little more top end when driving on a derestricted autobahn in German. The DPF and straight chrome exhausts appeal.

    One thing the test drive did confirm for me. I definitely made the right choice when I bought my current A3. To me the manual gearbox was very dated technolgy and a pain to use compared with my DSG. I also much prefer the SE's suspension setup to the Sport. All my previous A3s have had sports suspension and I find I can drive my current SE just as quick, especially in lanes and other non main roads and I find it much less 'jittery' on minor roads and more comfortable for long journeys. Another advantage is beacause it has 50 series tyres, if you do happen to touch a kerb its generally only the tyre than hits the kerb and does no damage to the alloy wheel. At least now Audi offer the choice. Previously you could only have the more powerful models of the A3 a Sport version. Now you can choose your engine and have almost any trim level. A definite move forward.

    I am now looking forward to my dealers getting a DSG version as they have said they will ring me and I can dive that as well to see how it compares more directly with my current A3.
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  8. PJLarge
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    PJLarge Member

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    [Oct 1, 2006]
    As a 170 owner, maybe I can add some more info here.
    I only test drove a 140, which was quick enough to be honest, but wanted the more powerful one anyway just 'because' :icon_thumright:

    My car has still only done 300 miles, and I'm the only driver except for the PDI mechanic. I've been driving it fairly sympathetically for now, but have given it the odd squirt to help seat the rings and just give it a clear out.

    The first time I floored it, to be honest I thought 'is that it?' and was a little disappointed it didn't feel significantly quicker than the 140. As H5DJR says though, the motorway doesn't really give you a feel, so on Friday I came home from work using the back roads all the way (some 40 miles). Where the extra power is noticeable is on these roads. Make no mistake, this car is bloody quick point to point. At one point, I went to make an overtake and the car surprised me by being able to clear the car I was wanting to pass - and the two cars in front of that too! Later on in the drive after being held up by an old codger who finally turned off, I opened the taps and put a *massive* distance between me and the car behind in no time.

    I had chatted to Steve184 by PM about the 170, and it certainly does get better with every mile you put on it. It is a powerful car and would be interesting to compare side by side against a 140. I think fact that there is a more progressive transition into boost that masks the slam you get with the 140 is what makes you think it's about the same, but watch the speedo and it's doing some fairly big numbers quite quickly.

    One other thing I discovered yesterday - when it rains it's almost too powerful. Coming out of any junction saw it breaking traction. It'll be interesting to see how long my front tyres last...

    Phil
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  9. h5djr
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    h5djr Well-Known Member VCDS Map User

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    [Oct 1, 2006]
    Hi Phil

    I'm sure your right about the 170 being quicker overall than the 140. I see that you A3 also has a DSG (or S-tronic as it's now called). I'm sure the 170 I drove will be better when it has a few more miles on the clock and I will certainly be looking forward to driving a 170 with S-tronic as a direct comparison with my 140. Personally I think the S-tronic suits the 140 very well and I'm sure the same is true of the 170. I'm sure when I change I will go for the 170 if only to get the environmental advatange of the DPF - at least that's what I will tell my wife !
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  10. steve184
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    steve184 Active Member

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    [Oct 1, 2006]
    Yes i agree - it is more transitional with the power build-up and it is this that seems to 'hide' waht it actually has. The 140 is very transparent with waht its got - you can compare nothing to everything with it in a split second - you can't do this with a 170 its more gradual. Call me daft but I kinda like the 'on off switch' mentality of the 140 - it gives you such a feeling of power - it is this in my opinion that allows you to drive a 200bhp 2.0T then get back into a 140 and think 'this feels no slower!' (even though in reality it is).

    I wonder if the 140's as someone said were overated and produced more than the official figures but then the 170's make the only the official??? Is that possible? Just doesnt feel like a difference of 30bhp to me feels more like the difference between 156bhp and 168 (more like 12bhp and very little torque difference) again this just could be rubbish and it is just the smoother power delivery that masks it - i think i do wish it was like the 140 tho with the instant explosion of torque :-( even if it did cause the front tyres to lose traction in the wet in third gear! lol
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  11. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Oct 1, 2006]
    Spot on - I thought exactly the same thing when we first test drove a Sportback two years ago. We drove a Sport model, and I just thought the ride was needlessly harsh. The SE is firm enough anyway, and with a bit of travel in the suspension, I find that the car's weight allows it to "dig in" a little during hard cornering. Certainly as you say it's less skittish over broken surfaces.
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  12. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Oct 2, 2006]
    Could be the one you drove was simply a pish one.
    If the two Golf Gti's I have test driven are anything to go by,VAG's variable build quality makes a helluva difference to power.
    One felt flat and dull.
    The other felt really quick.
    I'd have been disappointed with one,but delighted with the other.
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  13. steve184
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    steve184 Active Member

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    [Oct 2, 2006]
    yes thats also possible - problem is can't really test this as rang around all my local dealers and noone else has a 170 TDI yet - although not tried warrington audi - guess that wouldn't be too bad.
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  14. PJLarge
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    PJLarge Member

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    [Oct 2, 2006]
    Right, I've now done a back to back comparison as I've just taken my 170 in for an armrest retro fit and I've got their 140 S-Tronic demo for the afternoon...

    Initially the 140 does feel quicker - certainly at low RPM but having driven it a bit there is quite a difference. The 170 is much smoother with almost no vibration through the chassis at peak torque whereas the 140 does have some vibration. That's not to say that is a bad thing as the vibration gives the feeling of greater power than it has. The 170 is keener to rev and holds its power for longer in the rev range. The 140 acutally seems easier to start off in - the 170 has a tendancy to try and light up the tyres whereas the 140 is smoother on take-off.

    Noise wise, there is not a lot of difference. The 140 is maybe a tiny bit more diesel sounding, but you wouldn't really notice it's just I was listening out for it.

    DSG is about the same although seems keener to drop a gear than the 170. That maybe because of programming or it could be that the DSG in the 140 hadn't learned my driving style yet.

    It'll be interesting to hear other people's thoughts as they get to drive the 170.

    Phil.
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  15. steve184
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    steve184 Active Member

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    [Oct 2, 2006]
    yes i would agree with all of that - pretty much all the differences I had noticed - i definately agree on holding the power for longer (guess this is where the acceleration is improved) i did notice that when revving hard it was much more petrol like (although not completely with a 4500 redline) but definately doesn't fall off as quick as it does in the 140. Guess this is why the 170 has more horsepower because it is holding on to the torque at higher revs whereas the 140 doesn't
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  16. jasonmymail
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    jasonmymail Member

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    [Oct 2, 2006]
    I've not had my 170 for long enough to really put it through its paces ... but ... it's true that it doesn't always feel really 'shovey' ... but I tell you what the speedo tells another story - climbs really well and I'm constantly surprised at how far behind I leave people. I think the power delivery is smoother than the 140.

    When I finally get the chance to drive it properly I'll record the 0-30, 30-50, 50-70 times and post them. Will be interesting to do a comparison as only have 200 miles on the clock and then maybe when I've got 1,000 miles on it as still feeel very tight.
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  17. ren
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    ren Member

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    [Oct 2, 2006]

    spot on! the 170 is smoother so you don't realise you're pulling away in the same way that the 140 engine makes you really feel it. it's similar to the psychological difference being closer to the ground gives you: in my old spitfire where my arse was about 3 inches (ok, a little exaggerated) from the ground, i'd be bricking it at 30 on some roads.

    i too am constantly suprised by how cars behind me seem to shrink into the distance without me making any effort to leave them standing. i've put the speed limit warning on mine to come on at about 95mph because i find it far too easy to get to 110 and feel like i might be doing 85. and without a little beep telling me i was about to hit 100, i don't think my driving license would see the end of the month.
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  18. ren
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    ren Member

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    [Oct 2, 2006]

    spot on! the 170 is smoother so you don't realise you're pulling away in the same way that the 140 engine makes you really feel it. it's similar to the psychological difference being closer to the ground gives you: in my old spitfire where my arse was about 3 inches (ok, a little exaggerated) from the ground, i'd be bricking it at 30 on some roads.

    i too am constantly suprised by how cars behind me seem to shrink into the distance without me making any effort to leave them standing. i've put the speed limit warning on mine to come on at about 95mph because i find it far too easy to get to 110 and feel like i might be doing 85. and without a little beep telling me i was about to hit 100, i don't think my driving license would see the end of the month.
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  19. john_cook
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    john_cook I was the STIG.

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    [Oct 2, 2006]
    What are the official performance figures for the 170 TDI?

    according to AUTOCAR tests I read the following


    My old cooper S 163bhp (0-60mph) 7.4 (0-100mph) 19.9

    My A3 140 TDI (0-60mph) 9.2 (0-100mph) 28.6

    new A3 170 TDI (0-60mph) 8.2 (0-100mph) ???

    Dont have the figures for the new 170 TDI. Would be interesting to see the 0-100 time, that should be a bit faster. To be honest I love my A3, it doesnt feel much slower than my cooper S did up to 60, and when doing 70-80 mph on the motorway and wanting to overtake someone its great. But the mini did feel like it really sprinted to about 80-90 mph from standstill with no effort, if trying the same in the A3 it feels a fair bit more laboured. I think I will get it REVO's nex year. I would love to know how fast the REVO car is. I read a PDF on the web of a REVO 140 TDI which was pumping out near 190bhp, they said it was close to 7 secs 0-60mph but they didnt document the 0-100 time.

    cooky
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  20. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Oct 2, 2006]
    I'd be very interested in the 0-100 times for the 170.
    I've timed my own 140 at 26 mind-numbing,never seems to end,how long is this road anyway,good grief are we not there yet,seconds.
    0-100 is,IMO,a better measure of power than 0-60.
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  21. benw123
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    benw123 Moderator

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    [Oct 2, 2006]
    It sounds as if the difference between the 140 and 170 was similar to the old 1.9TDI 130 and 150 versions, where the 130 was quicker off the mark but once the slight lag of the 150 cleared, the extra performance really tells.
    #20

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