I got a minimum of 10km/l in Bengaluru traffic and a maximum of 17.5km/l on a busy highway. With spirited driving on the highway, fuel efficiency showed 13.5 km / l.
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- Silent and smooth engine with fuel economy.
- Good quality and luxurious interior with minimal chrome.
- The cabin is properly insulated. External sounds seem far away.
- Audi Virtual Cockpit – the best iteration of the digital instrument cluster.
- The spare wheel has its own space, which leaves a huge trunk for luggage.
- Comfortable suspension that doesn’t compromise on maneuverability.
- Small steering wheel, good weight in dynamic mode.
- Audi phone box actually increases mobile coverage in rural/hilly areas.
- There is no rear-wheel drive / all-wheel drive even as an option.
- There is no prior sense of Audi. So there is no increase in power from the Mild Hybrid system.
- Precisely average sound quality from a 10-speaker system.
- Android Auto / Apple Carplay Wired only. Do not use the wireless charging pad.
- The car is heavy in front. It is easily felt at high speeds if the luggage compartment is empty.
- The gearbox is sluggish in the comfortable and eco-friendly mode. Changes to quick transitions in dynamic mode.
- There are no ventilated seats (not available in this category). No perforated leather on the seats.
- A small horn is hard to reach and requires extreme pressure to operate.
- My old trip: The 2014 Santa Fe was a car monster. Complete separation from the road via suspension and steering means this vehicle can be driven for hours without tiring. The engine is a sleeping beast, once the driver learns to compensate for the sluggish automatic box, this car can easily keep up with the likes of the 520D. It also managed to keep up with the legendary 530D on our roads.
- My job: I drive cargo ships and specialize in car carriers. Over the years I have worked closely with Daimler/Mercedes, VW, BMW, Ford and all Japanese brands. I can see their newest and coolest cars (not all the time, we’re doing our second run too).
- use: The highway runs mostly with occasional city use. So there is no need to boot. The spare wheel is also important.
- make a decision: Since my old ride is a big, fast SUV, many cars feel too slow in my perception. I rarely drive my dad’s Creta or my wife’s i10 because it’s too slow. My wife will take care of any car we buy and drive because I’m at sea half the time, so her liking for the car is important.
The decision to buy a mid-size sedan from the Four Rings:
- I’ve always wanted my next car to be European. I’ve been looking, in passing, for new cars for a few years now.
- In 2018 with a budget of 60 lakh in Bengaluru, I was getting an AMG C-43 within my budget. Since Santa was only 4 years old, I decided to put off buying a car.
- In 2021 with the same 60 lakh budget, I couldn’t get a regular C class or 3 series before the discount!
- Speak to the family, if this trend continues, even basic Germans won’t be within reach in a few years. So with a BMW 3 Series or budget-driven Volvo XC60 in mind, we began test drives in September 2021. I first tried the pre-owned track, and since my wife has to take care of the car, she was quickly turned down.
[Before I go into the test drives I want to say that in Bengaluru, every showroom I visited, we were attended to immediately and all questions were answered. Once we walked out of the showroom only follow-up as per my request were done. We felt welcome everywhere we went. This is different from our Nexa/ Honda/ Hyundai experience from 3 years ago.]
first stop – Mercedes Benz (wife wanted to try the GLC): The GLA test drive was nice, my kid loved the sunroof. I liked the engine. The digital instrument cluster is probably the sharpest I’ve seen in this segment but the car is very small. The wife did not like to ride and found the interiors basic for the passengers in the back.
Then I sat in Class C. The seating was almost cart style with little height adjustment available. Looking at the interiors I was like “Are you kidding me!”. I carried the latest C-Class to China in March 2021, and this model “probably” is coming in 2022. The shoe can’t even take a large suitcase with a spare wheel. You did not test drive for Class C. I had a similar reaction in the GLC. Since I recently ran a Daimler, I saw the newest Mercedes in March 2021 going to China and these old cars will still be sold in India until 2022. So there are no Mercedes for us.
next station – BMW: After the Mercedes experience, the interiors of the third series appeared as basic. The digital instrument cluster is digitized just to mark someone’s checklist you had better look with a physical block. Well, that’s not what makes BMW famous. Let’s do a test drive.
330Li drove. After the Santa Fe diesel, this car did not impress. I have repeatedly confirmed with the SA seated next to me if the car is in Sport mode. So if the Series 3 petrol wasn’t as good as the car we were replacing, we’d have to look at the X3 or the 530i. My old wife company used BMWs for office pick up/drop off and my wife flatly refused to consider the X1/3 and X3. BMW finds it uncomfortable for passengers on city roads and bumpy highways.
Still wanting a BMW, I asked for a price list for the 3/X3 and 5. The salesperson kept pushing the 330Li with a long wait for the regular 3 and 5 Series. No discounts on any of the cars. In the end, the difference from the Audi was too much to ignore.
Volvo: The following weekend, I did a long test drive on the S60. This is a very comfortable vehicle with ADAS usable. The car drove itself into Bengaluru traffic with the SUV pressed in front and no signs on the lanes. The XC60 is a completely different car. Luxurious interiors with proper massage seats (not like Mercedes) and an excellent sound system. I got a good offer on the outgoing diesel model. The new 2021 petrol model is waiting at least two months after launch and there is no Android Auto / Apple Carplay! Only Android head unit. Without Apple Carplay, for me, the car is out. With Siri, I listen and reply to email/SMS/what’s the app etc without taking my eyes off the road.
Special mention to Yesudas and his boss Arun at Martial Motors Bengaluru. They responded to all my requests, took the car to my place and spent hours with my wife answering all her questions.
Unfortunately, my wife wasn’t keen on an earlier diesel model of the XC60 which would be a headache for resale as I had my Santa Fe. These cars, no matter how good they are, are not getting any attention in India.
The next day my wife told me she had arranged for me to test drive an Audi A4 and the car would be at our house first thing in the morning.
Before the car arrived, I quickly opened the A4 – 2021 thread on Team-BHP to check for any complaints. I just got pages of great discounts on the forum.
The driving experience was good. The car was racy, comfortable and boy the virtual cockpit looks nice. Seating position was also the highest compared to the 3 Series, C-Class and S60. I’ve clearly told SA that any car with the term “DSG” attached gave me a creep. (Yes yes I spend a lot of time on team-bhp.com). He told me that Audi uses a different transmission and I should look for an Audi DSG, not a Skoda DSG.
The A6 was also discussed but there was no Quattro there, so even if it was cheaper than the 5 Series, BMW was a better option.
Back home, the last OTR price quoted by the Audi SA was much lower than any we’d heard in weeks!
We finally decided to buy a 50,000 mid-size sedan to replace our SUV, then next year bought Thar to get the SUV balanced in our garage. My kid was fine with the small A4 sunroof as I have a strict “don’t head out of the sun roof” policy.
Once we decided on A4, the showroom had trouble confirming the color we wanted. By mid-October, most of the discounted A4s were sold out.
My wife insisted on blue outside and beige inside. They finally offered a blue exterior and tan interior, and we’ve accepted that.
Two weeks after our initial booking, we received an A4 in Navarra Blue with Okapi Brown inside.
We decided to take out a loan instead of paying up front. The loan process was smooth and the showroom representative took care of everything.
Keep reading BHPian gungax’s A4 Ownership Experience for more ideas, reviews, and information.