And I notice it’s been around the block during its time away as well, having racked up more than 14,000 miles. It was also looking extremely grubby, particularly inside after a summer of lugging holidaymakers around the UK.
The dash was dirty and scuffed, the carpets filthy and there was sand and mud all over the place. It had obviously been working very hard.
Having had it last when it was brand new and pristine, I had my doubts it could ever look like that again, but I set about it with some leather cleaner for the seats, carpet cleaner for the mats and polish wipes for everything else. Within an hour I was amazed.
Removing the layers of grime revealed fixtures and fittings that had not aged one day since it was new. Not a scuff remained, no damage had been done and not a panel or fitting had budged at all. If you need testimony of how superbly Audi puts its cars together, this is it, because this car has taken a battering and is still as solid as the day it came off the production line.
The Avant isn’t quite so unruffled if you put the wrong fuel in it. And by that, I don’t mean diesel rather than petrol.
The other day I was running very low and had to pull into the next available garage, where the higher quality unleaded wasn’t available. The cheap stuff had to do and it’s now running like a diesel. It doesn’t tickover very smoothly and it feels slightly more sluggish. The sooner I can get some higher quality fuel into the tank the better.
The FSI engine is designed to run on sulphur-free petrol, but there’s not much of that. The rule seems to be, the more expensive the better the engine runs. On the 92p per litre Texaco ultra low sulphur petrol, the 2.0 FSI runs like a V6, it is so creamy and powerful. But it’s still too high a price to pay at the moment for marginally better running. Super unleaded is a decent compromise.
Audi A4 Avant 2.0 FSI Sport
Price (OTR) £23,030
CO2 emissions (g/km) 170
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (40% tax-payer) £152 per month
Insurance group 14
Combined mpg 37.7
Test mpg 37.5
CAP Monitor residual value £8,350/37%
HSBC contract hire rate £430 per month
Expenditure to date Nil