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neemz

Buying A4 B6 1.9 diesel for motorway machine. Different engines.

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Looking at replacing a BMW petrol E46 with an Audi A4 saloon B6 series 1.9 diesel with a manual box for putting miles on on the motorway. I don't have any prior experience with VAG diesel so could do with some advice please.

Parkers reports 3 engine flavours for the 1.9, a 100PS, 115PS and 130PS. Are there any major differences or caveats between these engines? I presume that throughout the build cycle the more powerful engine replaced the less powerful one preceding it, as this is usually the way these things work. Are any of these engines renowned as baduns and best avoided? I am after MPG and reliability rather than "refinement" or out and out speed. I'm looking at around a 2003 with sub 100,000 miles. Hopefully and presumably there is no DPF to worry about on these models?

Advice welcomed.

Thanks.

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Can someone tell me which was it I had, a B5 or a B6, when I had the 1.9 TDi Sport Avant (54 plate)?

Because that will depend on my feedback about the A4 1.9 TDi...

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Ah right.

Well in that case I had one after numerous recommendations of the 1.9 TDI 2WD platform (in Avant guise in my case). I covered 50,000 miles in a year, so there is no doubt it will crunch the miles.

I was used to a 320d (E46) which my wife owned at the time.

Oh and it was the 130ps version. The 'Sport'. It wasn't remotely sporty and the handling felt very squidgy even in comparison to what was an SE variant 320d.

In a nutshell, I thought the A4 was positively agricultural in engine terms by comparison. Noisy, smelly, unrefined and not as good. It returned excellent MPG.

However, my main issue was that it was lethal in damp/wet conditions. The FWD 2WD system was appalling. Moderating acceleration didn't solve it and the amount of spin from the front wheels in anything but dry conditions was frankly awful. I personally didn't like it. I felt it was far inferior to the BMW traction/engine mechanics.

The cabin is nice though, nicer than an E46. The gear change was notchy, but fine. The drivers side cabin space felt a little cramped around the knee area due to a higher centre console than in the E46 and I didn't really like that, but I lived with it. I ragged the backside of that car for a year but the economy was mightily impressive and I did learn to live with the traction.

One last thing - prepare for a shock with the dealers (most anyway). I found them unresponsive, generally lacking in knowledge and they had a 'couldn't care less' ethic in respect of customer care.

Take other opinions though because they're be plenty of people who speak differently of them. I felt in retrospect that I had bought on the recommendations of people who thought any car they owned at the time was the best thing since sliced bread. So that was my mistake for listening.

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I owned a 53 plate Skoda Superb 1.9pd 130 TDi, (same engine etc), from brand new, for 3 years doing around 50k a year, mostly town driving.

Engine was bullet proof, and very flexible/easy to drive, rest of the car fell to pieces, and as mentioned above, grip/traction is awful, but then that's a problem with all 2wd VAG products from that era.

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I should clarify that as Tipex says, despite my saying the engine felt argicultural which it did - it doesn't change the fact it crunched 50k for me in a year and didn't feel any worse for wear.

If you could stretch to a 4WD diesel then I'd say it's probably an entirely different proposition. The A4 had some neat little touches and I think in Avant guise it's a very good looking car indeed (still to this day). It just wasn't for me and the traction gave me nightmares.

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I had a Y reg B6 A4 SE 130 Tdi and it was great - at a steady 70mph it could fetch 55-60MPG I recall doing a trip to Ipswich long the A14 sticking to 50-60 and it was well into the 60's but when it went wrong - it really went wrong!

After some 30k miles (got it with 18k on the clock) the release bearing broke and fell into the gearbox - needed a new one and clutch which was fortunately done under warranty!

I didnt really rag the car at all and it was very good - but after the above failing traded it in for a Golf Mk5 GT 2.0TDi which was frekkin terrible.

Tone

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Best thing about the old 1.9pd was the low rev flexibility, especially noticeable around town, you could trundle up to a junction in 2nd, at around 800rpm, put your foot down and it'd pick up and pull no problem, most of the time you never needed to change gear, you could leave it in 3rd for most of your journey.

Modern diesels do not have this flexibilty, try it in a Euro5 spec car and if it hasn't already activated the anti stall and accelerated you when you didn't want it to, it'll just stall.

Mine was mapped, to around 170bhp or thereabouts, and got ragged for most it's life, great engine, shame about the rest of the car.

Edited by Tipex

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Thanks for the responses.

Having examined autotrader it looks like you unsurprisingly get more for your money from the VW Passat of the same era, it ain't no Audi after all. I presume they are reasonably similar with the engines being especially so. Next step is going to have a sit in both and seeing if I think the Audi is worth the premium or go super hack with the Passat.

Thanks again.

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MrsMe had a Passat 1.8 20v Turbo before her 320d. It wasn't a patch on the Audi in build quality terms.

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Having had 2 Passats and numerous Audis, I'd go for the Audi everytime. They are fine, BUT they just don't feel the same.

As above by MrMe.

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What I should say is that the Passat suffered a rear end collision at 40mph. Some idiot didn't see her stopped at traffic lights and ploughed into the back.

The Passat was totalled due to chassis twist, but it saved her life without doubt. The driver of the Focus that hit her suffered two broken legs, broken pelvis and spine damage. The front of the Focus had all but disappeared. It was a good car and the dash lights were fabulous (like a purple shade, almost like a pastel neon if that's possible).

I would have no qualms recommending that particular variant purely on safety grounds and driver/passenger protection. It was built like a tank. It was just other build things like the quality of plastics etc that let it down.

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I've had a few 1.9 engined VAG cars and I never had any problem with any of them, the lowest hp version I had was a 105 in a VW and it would regularly return 60mpg on a run, the 130 I had while more spritely was lower economy in the early 50's.

Our A4 did 40k miles in 12 months and was fine for motorway driving, as Mrme said the ability in the wet was distinctly lacking, but that was only evident for me when driving around town and wanting to ge tthere quickly, in normal driving I never had a problem.

In the time around the 04/54 plate models there will be some confusion on model designations, we had a sport but it looked the same as a s-line that was introduced later in the year with 17" not 18" wheels, imo you'd be better off looking at the sport or SE designation as the smaller wheels tend to have cheaper tyres and certainly with the sport model they appear to be worth less than the equivalent s-line. There was also at this kind of time a sport / limited edition which has a bit of a marmite body kit fitted from the factory.

As another alternative - the VW bora isnt a bad motorway cruiser if you dont need the space and significantly cheaper than the A4 and Golf and you'd mentioned saloon. The latter Boras came with a highline designation which gave it climate, leather and a few other bits and bobs along with variants of the 1.9 - I had the 130 version but I think you could have 110 and 150 as well.

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I think a Bora is a really good shout. Cheap too for what you get.

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Bora? I had one as a motorway muncher for 3 and a bit years. A1 (M), 120 miles a day, returned 55 mpg day in, day out. Regular servicing, rear suspension bushes and tyres were all that were needed. PD 115 BHP version

Bought at 85K and sold at just over 200K. Only had the AA out once to remove the engine undertray that had come loose and was rattling in the wind.

As MrMe says, the blue dash glow is fab and is the best dash glow I've ever seen (and still is)

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I've had 2 passats and got severely rear-ended in medium traffic by a Fiesta in one of them. Damage to the Passat was minor paint scratches on the bumper and slightly depressed. New bumper. The fiesta was totalled - front end totally demolished. They are built like tanks and my (personal import) W plate 1.9 TDi Hi-line is still going strong. Only thing to watch was potential water in the electrics if the drainage holes got blocked (one replacement electronic package - VW contribution at cost - paid for labour).

No hesitation in getting another VW diesel though I have some reservations on what I hear about dual-mass flywheels on automatics.

On my 3rd A4 (all petrol) - all excellent cars and 80k in the one I'm just replacing with a quattro. A colleague got rammed at a speed at a dual-carriageway junction by someone joining. They bounced around all over the place, hit the central barrier and the A4 looked like a banana. Once cut out of the wreck they walked away. The other driver and passenger didn't. I have a LOT of time for VAG safety.

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It's got bugger all to do with VAG being extra safe or built like tanks or any of that bollox.

I was driving a Peugeot that was rear ended by a Mercedes, with similar results, my car barely a scratch, Merc looked totalled.

The reason is simply because the front of a vehicle is where all the crash absorption and crumple zones are, the more energy a car dissipates in an accident, the worse it looks, but the better it's protected it's occupants.

Which would suggest you VAG car suffering little damage is inherently much more dangerous.

That isn't the case of course, as there is less protection at the rear of any vehicle than the front.

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