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Nick Jones

Audi A8 - Talk Me Out Of It!

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Yes, I know it's not very classic - more of a future classic, however.......

 

I have an urge to own one of these beasts - one of the original D2 series in V8 quattro form. Grace, space and plenty of pace! In the UK at least these are remarkably cheap just now, though clearly there is some risk associated with buying a well-used 15 odd year old car that cost north of £ 50k new.

 

It's very probably a very stupid idea.  It would have to be a replacement for the faithful soot monster (A6 2.5TDI), which I've had for over 10 years. While justifying replacing that is not so hard (on the face of it) as it's coming up on 18 years old and almost 263k miles (and I have two people would will buy it from me tomorrow) it's actually still working fine - and it does a pretty reliable 50mpg.  A V8 A8 won't even do half of that.....  And I do around 15k miles a year though 60% of those are work miles and mostly paid for.  LPG is an option though pricey install.

 

Then there are the well-known issues with the ZF autobox - largely caused by Audi claiming the gearboxes are sealed for life (yes, but it's a short life!) though ZF themselves recommend oil and filter every 40k.

 

I've been looking for while - but now a 3.7 40v  (260 bhp) one has come up locally........ it's even quite a nice colour.

 

It's late 2001 so road tax is more and the tyres are huge and it'll drink like a navvy on shore leave....... 

 

I've had very good service from Audis to date.  I've done just over 150k miles in the A6 in a little over 10 years.  At 263k it is still on it's original exhaust and clutch.  It's had suspension parts (the 12 car rallies in the Dorset lanes don't help that) and brake parts and a couple of wheel bearings (the rears are original) and a radiator, but damn all else apart from service items.  As more than half those miles have been work miles at £ 0.45/mile it's been a good earner too!

 

Nick

 

 

A8.JPG

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WOW! What's to argue?  It's something we all should own at one time!  Doesn't mean you have to keep it but if you could nail Marilyn Monroe would've you done it?  Same thing.  Do it and let the consequences sort themselves....

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Hello Steve,

 

" It's something we all should own at one time!"

 

Your opinion and diametrically opposite to mine, it just holds no appeal whatsoever.

 

Alec

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Each to their own. 

 

I'm going to take at look at it / drive it if possible.  I've only been a passenger in one (think near silent, magic carpet capable of pulling significant Gs!).  It's auto (5 speed with tiptronic over-ride) and they only ever came to the UK as auto so if I don't like that aspect it's pretty much a show stopper.  The last auto I owned was a Dolly Sprint in about 1990.....  I converted that to manual.  While it is apparently "possible" to make a manual A8 (parts exist from S4, S6 and European market A8) it involves massive effort and expense.

 

Nick

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As you were........

 

Seen it, and it's a big NO.  Looks superficially nice inside and out, but has clearly suffered some abuse and "budget ownership" in recent times. Service book stamped by Audi up to 2011 / 106k miles (now 122k). Front tyres bald on inside edges, rears 3/4 worn and cheap, nasty make (245/50Z18!).  Non matching spare.  Needs 4 brake discs and probably rear calipers.  Big oil leak from the back of the gearbox (common issue); evidence that the CATs have been off recently suggesting the gearbox pan has been off (possible serious issues).  Rear diff seals leaking (another common issue).

 

Ragged, hunting idle though picks up well and sounds sweet enough when the revs come up.  Has had recent oil change.  Quite severe damage to lower lip of the front valance and undertray.  Doesn't show unless you look underneath (though you can just see it in the pic I posted if you know where to look) but I reckon it would flap at speed.  Nasty paint scab on the passenger door.

 

Interior is lovely apart from a really nasty cheap stereo (think Barry Boys Saxo!) which has been  badly fitted.

 

The dealer (small time!) wants £ 2k.  Reckon if he paid more than £ 800 at auction he was robbed!  Needs £ 1k spending minimum to make it right and, if the gearbox is knacked, alot more unless DIY.  I've done some reading and I'm sure I could fix the box if I had to but as it weighs 160kg I don't have the ability to remove and refit.

 

I'll keep on looking.

 

Nick

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Yeah..... that's two cars I've managed to walk away from in the last 3 weeks.  Must be learning something with the advancing years......

 

Mind you, the other was a Seat Arosa 1.0 being viewed for no.1 son.  That has a snorting 50bhp when running on all 4 little cylinders.  The particular example we saw (in lemon yellow- eugh!) had lost a cylinder somewhere along the way and was also reluctant to select first gear.  Surprisingly still quite a likeable car to drive and not as slow as might have been expected.  I'm looking for a better one or the very similar VW Lupo.

 

Nick

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I had the use of an Arosa last time I was in the UK, bit noisy on motorways and didn't cope with slight inclines very well but did a reasonable job on minor roads.

Edited by pomwah

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I'm still at it.

 

I've driven a couple now - both dealer cars and both pretty good ones.

 

First up a pre-facelift 4 speed 4.2L sport with 300 bhp.  Nice colour outside, foul, pale grey leather inside.  Drove well - just waft along in near silence, and when you hoof it - wah!  Great endless shove in the back and the scenery goes all blurry - still in near silence!  Doesn't drive like a big car either.

 

Then a later face lift one with 3.7L sport (260 bhp).  My favourite colour combination (dark green and black leather) and reasonably tidy.  This one had the later 5 speed with sequential change option and tiptronic buttons.  Box was superb - I honestly could not detect the changes without watching the tacho/gear indicator.  However, after the 4.2 the lack of grunt was big disappointment - felt far more than 40bhp down, though the engine seemed to run well.

 

They both remain for sale.  I felt the dealer asking prices were too high considering lack of real full history (though both were claiming it) and both had minor issues than would have been reasonably costly to sort properly.  I have a lead on another locally though I'm not sure about the colour.  

 

Should I care about the colour - well probably not that much, except that my experience with the PI (whose colour I never much liked) suggests that if you don't like the colour, you'll struggle to like the car.  And I'm not having one with cream or pale grey leather - yuk!

 

Nick

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If you can afford the bills for parts go for it. The old boy had a 51 plate S4, fast but the bills were just as fast and impressive. Why an engine mount has a sensor in it is beyond me still.

 

Love a sleeper like that.

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Go for one :)

 

I have a 52 plate A6 Allroad, 2.5V6TDi (around 180hp I think?) which goes pretty well, though drinks diesel with a healthy appetite!

 

Moderately quick, although slower than equivalent A6 as gearbox is lower ratios throughout, put pulls like a train regardless of what is in/on it! Damn thing out accelerates most traffic with a darn caravan on the back! Soot monster is a good description though.....................

 

Also damn expensive in the bill department, a new door lock has just cost me 200 quid the other week! I keep my fingers crossed the suspension doesn't fail, although the compressor is on it's last legs (rebuild kit sat waiting for good weather!!).

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Ah, C5 A6.......  Mines one of the last of the C4s with the I5 2.5TDI in 140 horse form.

 

The 2.5 V6 TDI is supposed to be cleaner, more powerful and more refined than the previous I5 2.5.  More powerful, yes, more refined - maybe - they do make quite a nice noise - cleaner.....?  I dunno - but the I5 can lay a pretty good smokescreen, though mine improved alot once the EGR system was, err, modified.  I5 is extremely fuel efficient and very, very durable.  They can also manage a reliable 220 bhp with no internal mods.

 

Nick

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Eh?  The ones I'm looking at have belts.....  Good thing too looking at that pic!  That's what puts me off the Jag V8 (stick with the AJ6!)

 

Maybe that is a later engine - the car industry in general and the Germans in particular do seem to have gone a bit chain-crazy in recent years.  This is causing a few problems with some very nasty stories about recent BMW 2L diesels especially - chain at back of engine and sprocket machined as part of the crank so if (when) it wears out you are badly screwed......

 

Nick

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Mad...... don't know what you mean  :blink:  :P

 

After 12+ years smoking (!) around in the Soot Monster at 50mpg I've earned some V8 time......

 

Trick is finding one that is only going drink me out of house and home!

 

Good to hear from you anyway - you've been quiet...... are you being good?

 

Nick

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Finally I think I've got one. '96 4.2 quattro...... supposed to collect tomorrow.  Bit sheddy, but very cheap (less than a Herald in  crap condition these days) and seems to drive nicely.

 

Nick

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Surprising what £ 750 can buy you in the "future classics" world.......... 300bhp, 4 wheel drive, loads of toys (mostly working) and it even changes its own gears.......
New arrival.jpg
1996 A8 4.2 Quattro Sport with new MoT, only 136k and quite alot of history.  Very definitely not mint, but most things work and it even made it back from Taunton just now without anything falling off at 26 mpg average.  Apparently the plate is worth £200 (yeah right!) and it has 3/4 tank of fuel...... (60L). 

No doubt the catch will become obvious soon enough but I do like the electric leather armchairs it comes with..... is that bad?

Nick

The Soot Monster will probably refuse to start tomorrow - it has previous shown jealousy issues where A8s are concerned..........

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I have been wafted about in one of those, the 320bhp version. IIRC it was a 98 model, but rather comfy and not exactly slow. 

He did mega miles with work in it, and luckily it came with LPG fitted, old fashioned type which had 150bhp as a limit. Ideal for the long motorway cruises especially with the massive tank in the boot (which was still huge).

Fantastically strong too as he got hit a couple of times. (the reason he had large strong cars, rather than small economical ones)

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Post '99 (face lift) cars had 40v engines and about 310 bhp IIRC.  They have quite a bit more complexity (flyby wire throttle, scary locking systems, timing chain tensioners that sometimes do silly things) but do deliver a more polished performance than the older ones.

 

Side by side it is very slightly bigger than the soot monster, weighs a little less and has more than double the grunt.  Goes very well - going have to watch myself as a twitch of the throttle! changes 60 to 90 in the blink of an eye......

 

LPG is a consideration - see how we go.

 

Nick

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