Well what a fantastic day that was! I drove up from South Wales not knowing what to expect, some Audi hospitality perhaps and waits ahead for an allocated drive or two? I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Huge appreciation goes out to all involved in the planning and holding of this event. Thanks so much for your efforts Sandra, as others have beaten me to it this wouldn’t have been possible without all the hard work and dedication you repeatedly give to the site and all of its members. Andy Poole and his supporting staff did everything possible to make us feel welcome and VIP’s to the brand and succeeded in every aspect. I thoroughly enjoyed feeling like an ‘Audi customer’ again after the last 18 months of my relationship with my local Audi being a little patchy. It was the greatest of pleasures to finally meet John and Judith today after so long, you both lived up to expectations and more. I think myself and John can relate in quite a few aspects of abnormally anal car care
Now onto what I thought of the cars I drove, I was lucky enough to drive the whole range on offer but two (the A4 and SQ5). It was a perfect day in my eyes, a nice 270 miles in the seat of my pride and joy to take charge of another 7 sort after Audi’s, spectacular day.
Audi A6 2.0TDI; first opportunity was to drive the A6 but this was one of my preferred choices in the first place. I spent some time driving both the new 520d and 530d last year and have been eager ever since to compare it to Audi’s offering. The A6 didn’t disappoint and certainly has followed the Audi trend in scuppering the BMW interior regards to build quality. The 2.0 was as expected having experienced the latest of BMW’s Diesel engine tech, greatly refined, more than adequate poke and very smooth but arguably still a little small for a car as large as this.. for a bit of a snob anyway
What I didn’t like about this car?.. well until when I drove the A7 later I hadn’t found my way through the one assist settings. On country roads the car was very interfereing and made the steering very ‘lumpy’ with patches of strong assistance and really took the enjoyment out of it, only because of me having not figured out how to turn it off though as it simply wasn’t suited to the roads.
Audi Q3 2.0TDI; the Q3 was available next so was first up as my first experience driving a Q’ car. Now I’ll be honest I was surprised to have just found out it was a 2.0, might just be me but I had expected it to be the 1.6TDI, not because of engine refinement but just based on the power I felt under my foot (I did only have a short drive however). I was rememarkably surprised by this car, I expected it to be very familiar with it being on the same platform as the A3 but it drove totally different, very nice driving position and soaked up all of the bumps perfectly.. nice car, but as mentioned perhaps one needs to be prepared to look past the aesthetics, in this spec on offer anyway (RS SNOB ALERT!).
Audi Q7 3.0TDI; now I had hoped to drive the Q7 out of curiosity of what the Q’ car would be like before given the opportunity to drive the Q3 but I didn’t really know what to expect. The first time I accelerated onto the dual carriageway I was immediately overwhelmed with how the engine pulled myself and the big lump that is the Q7 with little effort. It took all of 5 minutes to realise I really liked this car, comfort, driving dynamics, power and refinement was all perfect for me. I felt more at ease driving the Q7 compared to the A6, until I looked in the side mirrors and saw how little tarmac there was between my wheels and the white lines
On reflection the Q7 was my favourite of the day and I drove a great selection, it’s one brilliant piece of machinery (not an applicable RS3 replacement though).
Audi A7 3.0TDI; Well having been in the Q7 and experienced that amazing power plant, I was very much looking forward to the A7 having learned it had the same engine in it. This car didn’t disappoint, the specification was very impressive and the 3D parking assistance is just brilliant. Very easy to drive, soaked up all the lumps and bumps like they weren’t there and my second favourite to the Q7 of the day. I love the styling on the A7, it is so sharp and the headlights are a work of art.
Audi A1 1.0TFSI; I was looking forward to driving the new A1, with its funky looks that I’m undecided on but the design has definitely grown on me. Very spacious in the front, lacking leg room in the back upon inspection with my 6ft seating position but totally to be expected and no different to its competitors. The engine was as expected having had plenty of experience with these wonderful 3 cylinders with the latest turbo technology, plenty adequate for the job great fun in the bends. The interior looks great and has been brought on an awful lot, some scratchy plastics on the door cards and a manual handbrake but a small price to pay to be in a ‘more affordable’ Audi, I’ve recently driven the new Polo and the A1 is leaps and bounds ahead. But the one negative to take from this car as with all other A1 experiences I’ve had, the suspension is awful firm and all those lumps and bumps in the road that I didn’t know were there in the larger cars all of a sudden became abruptly apparent. None the less a great car and I know had I not been lucky enough to be driving an RS3, speaking for the younger generation a car I’d be MORE than happy to drive.
Audi Q5 3.0TDI; I was made aware of this car by John & Judith who highly recommended taking it out for a spin. Well I’m back with the simply awesome 3.0TDI and it didn’t disappoint in the Q5 as previous. The seating position is nice and high in the Q5, very comfortable and enjoyable as an allrounder. I picked up on the steering rack being a little light but on my return both John and Andy disagreed, I did cycle in and out of dynamic a few times in surprise because it did feel light to me.. not just comparing to the RS3 but the cars I’d driven so far today. Anyway, a great comfortable car with endless potential.
Audi RS5; I was lucky enough to pop out with John & Judith in the RS and I will follow suit and say something John has heard before, you don’t drive like my granddad
Couldn’t have asked for a better couple to go out with, very much enjoyed my experience in this car. I was lucky enough to have a quick spin on the way back which I am extremely grateful for, I really didnt expect the effort gone into accommodating me today. I’ve driven the RS4 previously so the mounds of torque came as no surprise, fantastic pase and ability to carry effortless speed. The acoustics in the cabin are simply lovely, if only it wasn’t aided by technology.. the exhaust note does lack as we all know but this doesn’t reflect in the way the car performs. Upon startup the comment I made was something along the lines of “nice, some noise”. I enjoyed driving the A’ and Q’ series cars but the roar of an RS springing to life did excite me. Driving dynamics were to be as expected, sharp turn in, on rails throughout and the ZF gearbox was super slick and something I picked up on instantly. The interior is gorgeous in that car, it’s the one thing I envy from being an owner of the RS3 not that I have much to complain about in the RS3. A great car, but not one for me... I love my RS3.
So I think that summarises my day and my drawn out reviews, apologies for that but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading what everybody else thought of the cars I’ve also been lucky enough to drive today. I made a point of reviewing my own car on the journey home after John told me to. Now my car still put a huge grin on my face, the raw engine note, incredible pace (need you have any more???) and ability to hold the road. I’m far from in-experienced in the more ‘normal’ Audi’s I’ve done 25k+ miles in them over the years but having driven a great variety today it gave me appreciation on just how well the RS3 holds the road and inspires confidence. Most of it was motorway work, with one tunnel run.. but where I could I enjoyed it and can’t wait to bring it out again tomorrow for a clean and errands.
Thanks again to everybody, including all of the club members I met today. I will be honest I was a little anxious heading up alone not knowing what to expect but it was brilliant and a day I’d not hesitate doing again. In fact, Sandra please pencil me in for ALL future Audi Centre gatherings, with the exception of those north of Manchester or in Ireland, I need to draw the line somewhere I feel like I’ve abused mine with 14k on the clock after seeing John’s getting on for 8 year old Bluey today with less mileage