|1999 Logbook II: July 26, 1999 My New A4 is Here!!|
July 26, 1999
those of you who have been disappointed with my lack of logbook entries
the past couple of months get ready for what will likely be my longest
post ever. :-)
recap, my new A4 is a Hibiscus Red/Onyx 1999.5 1.8T with the following
options: Quattro, Sport
Package, Sport Seats, Moonroof, All-Weather Package and Trip Computer.
the 1999.5 A4 is pretty much the same vehicle as I had with my 1997 model
Iím not going to go into the basics of the car but rather Iím going to
concentrate on the myriad small changes that have been incorporated into
this production run. Some of
them I like and some of them Iím not so keen on.
Iíve only had the car for a little over a day but I have a
loooong list of observations and musings.
next item of note is somewhat of a disappointment.
Despite the slight hope that I would get the new Symphony in-dash
CD and stereo with the car this was not the case.
My new A4 has the standard Concert in-dash cassette head unit.
As noted before, I elected to forgo the Bose system this time
around as I couldnít justify the $1200 price tag.
Iíll simply be getting the factory CD changer from Clair
for about $300 and installing it myself.
After listening to the Standard Concert unit I have to say that it
actually sounds better than how I recall the original non-Bose unit
to the Moonroof and its controls I was dismayed to find that the Moonroof
is (as far as Steve Sherwood and I could tell by measuring our two cars)
the exact same size as previous model years.
If Iím not mistaken, one of the improvements for the 1999.5
models was supposed to have been the addition of a larger moonroof as
found in the A6. This is
apparently not the case. The
moonroof control console is nicely laid out but it does bulge down into
the cabin a little more than before.
As noted by others, the console also includes two recessed red LEDs
that bathe the center console area below in a soft red glow.
The effect is pretty much limited to the area right above the gear
shift and fades quickly if you move your hand outside that area.
It is really not that noticeable in my opinion.
Iím not even sure itís really necessary given the amount of
illumination present in the dash. Iíll
get to that in nextÖ
of the nicest improvements is the addition of more dash control
illumination. The sunroof and
dome light controls are now illuminated in red. The dash vent controls are illuminated (they look very cool!)
and every button on the center console is lit up.
It actually seems like a little much at times. The dash has so many buttons lit up it looks like a Xmas
tree! Even the icon for the
in-dash cup holder is illuminated.
negative I discovered with the illumination of the moonroof controls is
that when you use the daytime/nighttime feature of the rearview mirror as
intended you get a reflection from the moonroof controls in the mirror.
Basically, when you pull the lever towards the rear of the car to
avoid being blinded by a car following behind you the mirror gives a
perfect reflection of the moonroof controls lit up in red.
I didnít find this disorienting as one person had recently posted
on A4.Org but it was annoying. I
solved the problem by changing how I use the rearview mirror.
I now have it set up to move the lever forward to avoid bright
lights from the behind the car.
really cool new feature that I have not heard anyone else mention is that
the car now monitors the status of your brake pads!
If you have the trip computer and Autocheck system a warning icon
flashes in the display when the pads get below a certain level.
Without the trip computer there is a light in the instrument
cluster than illuminates. I
floormats no longer have an A4 logo or even Audi rings, which is rather
sad, BUT they now have a much-improved fastening system.
Rather than having a locking mechanism that was somewhat difficult
to use and often led to the latch being torn out of the mat, the new
fastener simply snaps down onto the carpet connector.
Iíve had the old latching mechanism torn from my old mats by car
detailers who couldnít figure out how to unlock the old mats.
metal strike and latch for the doors is now a polished metal rather than
the flat metal of the older model and the door handles are also more
cleanly integrated into the car. It
seems that Audi is trying to streamline the A4 to bring it more in line
with the A6 and other models while at the same time increasing its overall
level of luxury.
cosmetic changes include the movement of the windshield washer nozzles
from on top of the hood to the top underside of the hood.
This looks much better. The
black plastic nozzles of the old style were really not that big a deal on
my black A4 but they stood out on other colors.
The hood also has another nice change in that Audi has added a
rubber strip to the bottom edge underneath the grille.
This prevents the hood from scratching the top of the bumper cover
when the hood is closed. The
grille itself has a more aggressive look in that it only has four instead
of five horizontal slats and the chrome trim around the edge goes back
inside the grille more. The hood latch that pokes through the grille now has a
rubberized cover on the end that is easier to grip when opening the hood.
the switchblade key is pretty cool. I
like it not so much because of the ďswitchbladeĒ feature but because
it integrates the key and the remote for the alarm system into a single
unit. Itís much easier to
nice touch was the addition of an actual toolbox to hold all the tools
used for changing a tire. Itís
much nicer than the standard roll-up tool kit found in lesser brands.
and it may just be me, but the horn for the alarm seems a little more
muffled than in my 1997 A4. I may be imagining things but there you go.
reading all of the above it may seem that Iíve gone over this car with a
fine toothcomb. Actually,
being so familiar with the A4 to begin with makes even minor changes stand
out. Besides, I had the help
of my buddies Steve, Sharon and Corey from the NorCal A4 Owners Club who I
got together with Saturday within hours of picking up the car.
is one problem that we discovered while checking out the car.
On the trunk lid around the 1.8T emblem on the right there is a
flaw in the paint that can be seen depending on the light.
Itís somewhat of a jagged line that starts on the left side of
the emblem; goes down and under the emblem then up the right side.
We tried some swirl remover in case the blemish was on the surface
but the flaw is clearly in the paint.
Itís not very visible but I now know its there.
I spoke with my salesman David Leibenson at Rector and he was
familiar with the problem. Apparently,
this is a side effect of moisture getting under the protective wrapping
placed on the cars during shipment. The
wrapping is called Rapgard and there is a technical
service bulletin with a procedure for eliminating the discoloration.
The discoloration will go away on its own within a few days
according to the TSB but can be accelerated using a heat gun and Isopropyl
wise the car is great with the exception that there appears to be
something missing! Could it
be a chip? Ha! The car is
still perky in its stock trim and gives a nice pull when taking off due to
the stock torque levels but that feeling quickly disappears once you get
going. The extra torque and
horsepower provided by the chip in my 1997 A4 is clearly absent. I will be living with this level of performance (which
isnít at all bad!!) for a while to come as I allow the car to break-in.
Iíll be revisiting the issue of chipping in a few thousand miles,
perhaps after my first service at 5K.
Whose chip will I choose? HmmmÖ.
thatís about it for now. Now that Iím back on the road Iím sure Iíll have a lot
more to share with everyone. Itís
late and Iím going to bed. :-)