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Old 12-21-2013, 02:11 PM   #1
in2dwww
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Default Chomping at the bit - TDI 19" sport vs non-sport

With less than 4 weeks to go until my TDI arrives, and while it was 70 degrees out this afternoon, I decided to visit the dealer today. They finally had a TDI Premium Plus without a sport package (I ordered a non-sport prestige), so I took it for a spin.

This finally gave me the chance to compare my W211 Mercedes diesel to the new Audi diesel without any sporty setup. It also gave me a chance to compare the 19" sport TDI to the non-sport for the first time.

Ride:
Compared to the TDI 19" sport, the non-sport ride was much less prone to road imperfections. I did notice some body roll, as expected with the higher suspension, but the roll was not as pronounced as it is on my 2008 Mercedes E320 bluetec. The Mercedes was still smoother on rough road, but the non-sport TDI had more directional control, probably due to weight and balance. The 19" sport was flatter in the corners but not as compliant - it felt like the rear end was very subtly "bucking" on rough stuff.

Steering:
The steering felt perfect in the non-sport. The first A6 TDI I drove back in August was a 19" sport and it was hot outside - the steering was in comfort mode and feather light in the parking lot. I didn't care for it at all. However, in this non-sport, I was able to go from my old-school hydraulic Mercedes to the TDI (with everything in auto mode) and didn't even think about it. It was perfectly weighted on the road and in the parking lot. Compared to the Benz, the steering in the TDI felt laser-guided, I just pointed the TDI where I wanted it to go and there was no need to correct or alter the steering or throttle. When I was on the highway, I ran between comfort and sport and noticed immediate throttle response difference and much more communicative steering. Also, the non-sport 4-spoke steering wheel doesn't look as good or have paddle shifters like the sport package does, but it did feel more comfortable. I wasn't struggling to find a good steering wheel position and the bottom-right rung meant I could keep my right arm on the armrest. Overall, the non-sport TDI was the most comfortable even though it didn't have the larger seats from the prestige trim.

Noise:
I was surprised at how quiet the non-sport was on the highway. It's much smoother than my 2008 E320 bluetec and whisper quiet at 70mph. The TDI also felt lighter than the Mercedes during acceleration, braking, and cornering.

Some interesting things:
This TDI just went through PDI and had Pirelli Cinturato P7 tires. I'm not sure if that's because it was a P+ or if that's just what Audi is doing now. I was expecting Continental ContiProContact tires.

I had some time without a salesman so I took a good look under the hood after a 5 minute drive. The first thing I noticed just in front of the engine cover was a dipstick tube with a plug. This is great for topside oil changes. What I didn't do was lift the engine cover (engine was hot). Interestingly, I didn't see the fuel filter... is it on top of the block and under the engine cover like it is on the Mercedes OM642 V6 bluetec?

I didn't really check out the Bose stereo but I don't think it comes close to the Harmon/Kardon in the Benz. Volume levels aside, the Bose was crisper and lacked overall warmth.

Overall, I think I'll be pleased with the non-sport and I can make the switch from a W211 to a C7 without any regrets.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:09 PM   #2
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Tires with the 19" Sport pkg come with either high performance summers or all seasons which when compared to one another might make a difference in steering feel. Otherwise, the A6 steering system with both sport or non-sport is identical with the same software so assuming the same tires, it would be interesting to note much difference. (The only differences with the Sport pkg. are the tuning of the suspension, lower ride height, three spoke steering wheel and shift paddles). Perhaps the more promounced body roll of the non-sport changes the dynamics of the steering but it's curious there would be a difference in effort.
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:50 PM   #3
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I too drove a non-sport TDI and a sport TDI when I bought mine, but it was nearly 100 outside when I bought it, so the difference I noticed may be different. I also traded in my old Merc for the C7, and no regrets.

The non-sport felt too squishy in steering around the corners by the lot. It was OK, don't get me wrong, but if I wanted a car that looked as good as the A6 I would want something that was fun and the sport suspension just added to the TDI torque. It rode better than the sport, obviously, but the handling and overall fun factor just oozed from the 19" sport sitting back in the lot.

The sport did have some drawbacks, it was very loud when hitting bumps and you could definitely tell you hit something. The tires I have (I bought the sport) are the ContiProContacts which were on the non-sport too so no significant difference. One thing that sold me on the sport package vs the non-sport was feel of contact with what I drove over. As I pulled into the lot driving the sport, hitting the small concrete seam sticking up was much more prevalent, not uncomfortable, but told me I was indeed going over a bump. The nonsport did the same, but it just seemed the right side was not giving the same feedback as the left, IMO. Also, I did not confirm this, but the brakes in the sport package A6 seemed to be better at stopping, whether the size is different I do not know but perhaps someone could chime in here.

I personally like the firmer ride. AZ has some pretty crappy roads and the suspension, while not smooth, is acceptable. I think the electric steering is superior over the hydraulic in the Merc, I can still feel the road and its conditions, except it is easier to steer.

The steering wheel I thought was better for me to rest on the door panel with my left arm and drive that way, but I am left-handed so bias may be evident
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Old 12-21-2013, 07:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DasA6 View Post
I did not confirm this, but the brakes in the sport package A6 seemed to be better at stopping, whether the size is different I do not know but perhaps someone could chime in here
No difference in the brakes with the Sport pkg vs non-sport - only the things I mentioned in my last post.
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- 2002 allroad 2.7t - 13y/49K mi and still like new
- 2009 A4 3.2 Prestige w/Nav (sold at 4y/48K mi)
- 2001 A6 2.7t (sold at 8y/98K mi)
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Old 12-22-2013, 04:09 AM   #5
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Another option is get the non-sport and add in the Stassis suspension, it adds progressive rate springs and beefy rear sway bar, and drops stock car 1.6 inches.
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Old 12-22-2013, 05:20 AM   #6
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I plan to put about 40k highway miles per year on this TDI. I drive from DC to CA via TX several times a year for business. Places like Shreveport, LA, I-35 in TX, and I-5 in CA keep me from going for the sport package. Tire/road noise and tread life are another factor.

The first 19" sport I drove was in August, before the update. It could be that the dealer with the 19" sport had the tire pressure too high.
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Old 01-02-2014, 04:04 AM   #7
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We just took delivery of a TDI (wife's) w/sport pack and I'm glad I found one equipped with it. The paddles are great! The ride is very smooth in my opinion, not noticeably harsher than the non-sport versions we drove. Overall I am thrilled with the car so far. Anxious to see what kind of mileage she gets on her daily commute.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:00 AM   #8
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I was just about to start a thread asking about TDI 19" sport versus 19" wheel non-sport. I test drove a 2014 TDI 19' wheel non-sport and liked it but since I drive a 2011 S4 I'm not sure about going non-sport. I can't find a sport in NH/Northern MA. I mostly drive mostly highway now so I don't really get to use the S4's suspension. They have a TDI exactly like I want except 19" wheel non-sport. I just don't know if I'll be disappointed that I didn't get a sport.
I did find once I put the steering in Dynamic model in the Individual setting - that is the same as I drive my S4 everyday - I was much happier about the steering compared to Auto mode.
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Old 01-05-2014, 04:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toppernh View Post
I was just about to start a thread asking about TDI 19" sport versus 19" wheel non-sport. I test drove a 2014 TDI 19' wheel non-sport and liked it but since I drive a 2011 S4 I'm not sure about going non-sport. I can't find a sport in NH/Northern MA. I mostly drive mostly highway now so I don't really get to use the S4's suspension. They have a TDI exactly like I want except 19" wheel non-sport. I just don't know if I'll be disappointed that I didn't get a sport.
I did find once I put the steering in Dynamic model in the Individual setting - that is the same as I drive my S4 everyday - I was much happier about the steering compared to Auto mode.
We were able to find one pretty easily. I went through the same dealer where I got my S4 in 2011, and they found one within a day of me sending them the spec sheet. Very glad we got the sport pack. The car handles very well. It's not the S4, but it is a great highway ride that is fun to drive on back roads. It is only a $600 upgrade if you are going with 19's anyway. As I mentioned in my prior post, I think the paddles are a great addition as well. I use them everytime I drive the car whereas the wife's previous car had the steptronic and I almost never used the manual mode. With the paddles on the A6, you can drop a gear or two coming into a curve when you are in D, and it'll take back over when you are done seamlessly. Particularly helpful in snow/ice situations.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:29 AM   #10
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I'm coming out of an S4 and went for the non sport TDI. Wanted something different, but mainly quieter and softer riding. Spend a lot of time on the freeway. The non sport is not as soft as a 5 series, but is way softer than the slammed B8s or C7s.

To my way of thinking, if you want flatter handling start with one of S cars. Consider resale also. A4/S4 buyer more likely to be interested in sportier set up than the A6 which I consider my ticket into the old folks club.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:29 AM
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