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Audi A4 vs VW Passat (1 Viewer)

Brian Kleinke

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I'm going to buy a new car this fall... and have basically narrowed it down to these two cars... I like the 1.8 Turbo 4 cyl engine (which they both have) and I want a manual tranny...

The break splits there....

VW won't sell me a Passat with a stick and AWD... but I can get just that in the A4... the list of benifits goes on and on...

What I'm interested in is if any of you have owned or driven these cars. I may end up posting this no VW Vortex but there are so many idiots over there who will show up just to flame some car they don't like.

Or if you think I'm nuts and should look at some other car that's fine too..

Brian
 

Peter Kline

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Brian. Try Edmunds Townhall Sedan/VW Passat link. I have a 2002 Passat 1.8Tip (auto). You should be able to get a 2003 with manual and AWD (unless they will no longer offer it). If your dealer won't sell you one, go elsewhere! In general the Audi is more expensive and a little fancier. However the Passat can be a better buy. In the end it all depends on which car gets you on the emotional level. After 2 Camry's ('95 and '98) the Passat is a revelation. Beautifully built, fun to drive, solidly built with lots of safety features and, to my mind, a handsome car.
 

Denward

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Brian, You are aware aware that VW and Audi are the same company, right? I would guess that reliability issues would be very similar since they probably share many components.

When I was last car shopping, my choice came down to the A4 and the Saab 900SE. I went with the Saab because it had larger cargo capacity. BTW, I'll probably be looking to sell the Saab (1998 2.3 Turbo coupe, 5 speed, 31000 miles) in the next few weeks. I'm looking into a family mobile now.
 

Brian Kleinke

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I've been to Edmunds many times, you're right should try posting there as well.
4Motion (VW's AWD) is only avalible if you get a Tiptronic Tranny :frowning: Its not a deal breaker, but I do live in Minnesota where the winters can be quite harsh.
Which ever car I get I'm going to be ordering it directly from the factory so options aren't a problem :)
Brian
 

Keith Mickunas

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Is 4Motion available on the VW with the 1.8t? I thought you had to get the V6 for that. According to the web site you can't get 4Motion with the 1.8t or with a manual. If the stick and AWD are things you want, go with the Audi. Now if they'd put the AWD with the CVT in the A4, that'd be cool.

Be sure to check out vwvortex.com for horror stories about VW dealers in your area. In some areas it may be worth it to spend a bit more on the Audi to hopefully get better service. Also, one would hope that the Audi wouldn't have the rattles and squeaks that come standard in a VW. I'm speaking only from my experience with the VW A4 (not related to the Audi A4) bodies (golf and Jetta), I'm not too familiar with the Passat and how the quality is on that.
 

Brian Kleinke

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Ok I know what it is... you can get 4motion on the GLS and GLX Passats if you get a 6cyl but starting with the 2003 you must get the GLX (fully loaded) Passat to get 4Motion.
The biggest Difference here is I can get the Passat for $500 over invoice, and with the Audi I'm lucky if I can get $1000 below MSRP. And I'm not willing to pay $6k more just to get AWD. However the Audi has things like Climate Control, and a newer frame (the Audi B6).
The Golf/Jetta Body was never used in an A4. The first A4 used the VW/Audi B5 frame. The Passat starting using this frame when they completely redesigned it a few years ago. Starting with the 2002 A4 Audi is using a new fram called the B6. It's a few inches longer, a bit wider and half an inch taller then the old A4. However the Passat is bassed upon a Stretched B5 frame, so it didn't have the tight fight problems with the old a4.
The local VW dealer seems quite good, unlike the ones in the Twin Cities. That is the other issue with the Audi, I have to drive 60 miles to get to a dealer... on the flip side I'm told Audi's only need service every 10,000 miles thanks to Synthetic Oil.... This is one of the reasons I'm looking for people who have one of these cars :)
The Passat is an excellent car, I'm just trying to figure out if its worth the xtra cash for the Audi....
Brian
 

Justin Doring

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For both Volkswagen and Audi, 4Motion or Quattro is a must in my opinion. Because you cannot get AWD on the Passat 1.8T, I would certainly opt for the A4 1.8T Quattro. As a bonus, the Audi has both a nicer exterior and interior and a better warranty. In reality, I don't think the price difference is that much, and whatever the difference is, it's worth it. Stick to the basics, but make sure you get the sport package, and you'll have a fine automobile at a bargain price.
 

Brian Kleinke

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I live in Minnesota so I'm not planning on getting this... I need all season tires and I've learned that the 02+ A4 has the same Suspension as the previous Audi's Sport Package.
The price difference is about 6k, granted I'll easily pay 2k more just so I can get Quattro, but its weather the rest of the bells and whistles are worth it :)
Just food for thought... it will cost more or less the same to insure either of thes cars even though the Audi is 6k more :)
Thanks for the input so far, and keep it coming :)
Brian
 

Brian Kleinke

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Denward,
I'm fully aware they are the same company :) That's one of the things I like about the Passat... its basically an A4 with a VW nameplate.
Perhaps I should add the 3-series BMW to my list...
The problem with Volvo and Saab is they don't offer a Manual Tranny or even AWD at the price point I'm looking.
The funny thing is I can get any American Car or a Saab or Volvo for less then Invoice thanks to a company perk... but I just don't like any of them... Seems only the Germans and some Japanese car companies understand the idea of a Sports Sedan with a manual tranny. :frowning:
Seems to have to do with the notion that us American's are lazy and don't want to deal with having to Shift....
Brian
 

Keith Mickunas

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The A4 I'm referring to is the internal name for the VW Jetta/Golf/TT/A3 platform. Just like the new Corvette is a C5, the Jetta is an A4. Its not that a Jetta is anything like an Audi A4, its more like an Audi A3 or Audi TT.
 

Keith Mickunas

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For standard service can you take the Audi to a VW dealer? In many places they use the same parts, after all the 1.8T is an Audi motor. I think my friends GTI with the 1.8T even has the Audi logo on some of the parts.
 

Alex Prosak

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I haven't driven the Passat but I have driven the A4 and have previoulsy owned a BMW 328. While the Audi Quattro was a blast to drive, the Bimmer (RWD) was even more fun. The bimmer also did very well in winter conditions, so long as the roads aren't too steep. However, since AWD is a must for you, I would not consider the BMW, I think their AWD models cost far more than they're worth. I would suggest going with the A4. I think they are great handling cars that are reasonably priced considering all the items that are standard. They are also very well built and I think their Quattro system is superior to the BMW AWD.

A new A4 may very well be my next car. We recently bought a new house that has a very steep driveway and my Bimmer was stuck at the bottom for 3 days this past winter. I got rid of it soon after for a Toyota Tacoma and I can't say I'm very happy. Sure it has 4WD but it just is no fun to drive at all. With the A4 I'll have the best of both worlds.

One thing I suggest is, if you don't need the car as soon as this fall, wait a little. Since the new A4 just came out, there is a lot of demand for it. Wait till the demand dies down a little and the prices will fall. You could also look at going to dealers farther away. Try Jon Shafer at Cutter Moters in Santa Barbara, you may be able to find him at Audiworld.com or the Bimmer pages at Roadfly.com. He will probably be able to give some of the better prices you'll find anywhere and you could have it trucked to your house (~$500?) and avoid any CA sales tax.
 

Brian Kleinke

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Keith,
Ah that makes sense :) And although the Passat uses a lot of Audi parts I can't take a Audi to a VW dealer... However the audi dealer clostest to me (58 miles) says they give out loaner cars when your car is in for service.
Alex,
Thanks for that info! I intend to call as many dealers as I can before I decide where to get an A4 if I do get one. Right now the place I've found most willing to Negotiate is about 85 miles away in Rochester, MN (the Mayo Clinic and IBM are there = lots of well paying jobs)
I will have to look up Jon Shafer, though that is almost half way accross the country :)
Brian
 

Peter Kline

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The 2002 Passat has been reworked internally from the previous model. There's something like 2000 changes. Same with the 2003 Audi. The new Passat is now selling only second to the lower price Jetta for VW in the U.S. Sales are booming. it has gotten extremely good press and recommended over the Camry and Altima by Consumer Reports, Automobile Magazine and a few others. Quality of parts is the same as the Audi, only the interior is not quite as fancy. Dealerships can be a problem with VW so you need to choose carefully. Many dealers have been given an ultimatum to get better or else loose their franchise. Passat has a better reliability record than the comparable Audi model. You can, of course, manually shift the Tiptronic.
Looks are a matter of taste and one is not better then the other, only different in my opinion. I;ve had my car fort a year with absolutely no problems.
 

Evan S

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Brian, I have driven both cars. I own a '97 A4 that I bought coming off a lease exactly two years ago.

The A4 is a great ride, very quiet, very stable, great in bad elements (living in CT is not like Minnesota, but close). I have never had a problem in the snow with this car, not once. I have the V6 with Quattro. The manual shift is smooth as a baby's bottom.

Basically, I wouldn't consider the VW unless you could get the bigger engine with the Quattro system. I am a manual transmission fanatic and will never settle for an automatic. If I had to with the VW to get the quattro system, I just wouldn't do it.

You will win style points with the A4 you just won't get with the VW, but whether that's worth a price premium to you is something only you can decide.

Also, in two years owning the used A4, I have never had a single problem that required service...(knock on wood). There is a fun factor that is had here that just cannot be replicated with the VW. However, YMMV here.

I love my A4...and if I had the money, I would trade mine in for a new model as I love the subtle changes they have made to the body style for the new model year.
 

Justin Doring

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"The warranty is now identical."
I did not know that. That would seem to reduce the Audi's worth a bit, but not much.
"Just food for thought... it will cost more or less the same to insure either of thes cars even though the Audi is 6k more."
My friend has a BMW 325i on order, and when he was checking insurance rates, his company quoted him the EXACT same rate for the $25,000 Nissan Maxima, the $35,000 Audi A4 3.0 Quattro, and the (if fully optioned) $45,000 BMW 330i! Very strange indeed!
"Perhaps I should add the 3-series BMW to my list."
The BMW 3 Series is a superior automobile to the Audi A4, in my opinion, but if I lived in Minnesota and was in snow much of the year, I'd go with the A4. You lose the superb handling with the AWD on the BMW, yet the Quattro improves the Audi's handling, probably because the BMW is RWD while the Audi is FWD.
"The funny thing is I can get any American Car or a Saab or Volvo for less then Invoice thanks to a company perk... but I just don't like any of them... Seems only the Germans and some Japanese car companies understand the idea of a Sports Sedan with a manual tranny."
Actually, Saab and Volvo are American cars, as they're owned by GM and Ford respectively. :D I know what you mean, however, and I personally don't like the Saabs or the Volvos at all.
 

Peter Kline

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Here are the sales figures for the A4 and Passat from March (the latest month available ):

The all-new A4 led the month with sales of 4,037.

The Passat recorded sales of 9,259.
 

Brian Kleinke

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Thanks Peter, Evan, & Justin
Actually, Saab and Volvo are American cars..
ROFL... yuppers that why I get my discount... but by that definition so are Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Land Rover. (I don't get any discounts on the AMs.... not like I'll ever spend that kind of dough on em!)
I know you can manually shift the Tiptronic but its just not the same... I've got a '00 Merc Mystique right now, and I really miss the Manual I had in the Tracer I owned before it.
Is AWD really that much better then FWD? One of the reasons I'm still considering the Passat is I'm not 100% sure I need the Quattro/4Motion. That and the fact it is so much less...
I looked over on BMW's website and forget it... the Audi's are cheaper and its not like you get much more on a Bimmer.
Looks are less of an issue, though the coolness factor of owning an Audi in a small town of 10k where you don't see many :) They're not rare, just very uncommon. VWs are fairly popular but mostly just Jettas. I know of a few Passat owners in town.
I'm pretty much settled on the 1.8T It provided more then enough oomph in the Passat I test Drove, and I don't want to pay the extra for such a small improvement with worse gas mileage :) I'm going to be taking an A4 out for a spin the middle of next week.
Brian
 

Brian Kleinke

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Peter,
Wow only 2x Passats sold as the A4... That's impressive for the Audi. Also I've heard that Passat sales have been on the rise and according to VW only 4% of buyers will look at both Audi's and VW's.
I'm sure someone over in Germany is smiling at those figures :)
Brian
 

Keith Mickunas

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You might want to check with VWoA to see how the warranties work. It would seem to me that if you got a problem, you could take it to any VW or Audi dealer based on location regardless of the make of your car. But then again, if the Audi includes free service, which I believe was dropped from the VW warranty once they extended it to 4/48, then you'd likely need to go to the Audi dealership.

Its going to be interesting to see how things go once VW and Audi start stepping all over each others markets. In the US, that typically isn't done, but I guess in Europe manufacturers will sell all over the market. Pretty soon Audi will have the A3/S3 here, which will overlap with the Jetta/GTI market, and VW will have the Phaeton which goes up against the A8/S8. Granted they've got overlap already with the Passat and A4, which will only be worse now that the Passat has the W8 with 4Motion. If I remember right, that's a VW that cost $37k.

Of course, none of that compares to the Porsche SUV, which may share parts with the VW SUV. Do we really need an SUV from Porsche? That's just messed up.
 

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