Well, it’s come to this. My Rover 620 – a car that failed to put a single foot wrong – has left the fold to be replaced by this awfully vulgar German car. What’s gone wrong? Why an Audi of all things? Well… like everything in my life, it’s not as simple as all that. A family member decided that his recently purchased Audi 80TDI simply wasn’t interesting enough to contemplate running on a daily basis and decided to purchase a Citroen BX 16 Valve in its place.
He had seen me sell the Rover 620 on to a fellow enthusiast and so, instead of selling the Audi on eBay and possibly getting about £63 for it, he decided to pass it on to me – as I’ve said before the Rover 600 was a victim of its own competence, as it started, ran and drove perfectly and looked as if it would go on doing so for another 100,000 miles. At least… For someone like me, who needs drama, that really won’t do.
Okay, so the Audi is even more boring and, from an enthusiast’s stand point, it’s in the same boat as the 620. The 80’s much more clinical to sit in but it does have one redeeming feature – its fuel consumption. Whereas the Rover struggled to better 25mpg on my mixed commute, the Audi returns well over 45mpg. That really does make living with its agricultural VAG TDI just about bearable.
It has to be said that, in terms of solidity and quality, the ageing Audi leaves the Rover for dead, too. Although the 600 was rattle-free and handled sleeping policemen with aplomb (soft suspension helped a great deal), it somehow felt cheap inside, despite a friendly and inviting looking cabin. The Rover’s doors shut with a nice cushioned sound, but the Audi’s feel more like a bank vault’s. I think that’s the difference – the Rover’s quality feels added on, whereas the Audi’s is fundamental and built-in from the wheels up.
Surprisingly, the SE model on sports suspension settings, outhandles the Rover significantly. It’s more assuredly damped and tied-down at speed. Since when did a 1990s Audi outhandle a 1990s Rover?
Overall, though, the plain Jane Audi with its basic cloth interior and dowdy styling, just feels better to sit in, and more special behind the wheel. Thankfully, it’s boring, very boring. Otherwise, I’d be sounding almost enthusiastic. It would be interesting to compare a Rover 620SDi alongside this car – would the British car be viewed more favourably with Audi’s excellent fuel consumption equalised?
It would be interesting to find out.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.