Audi For 1999
By Carey Russ
"Avant" is Audi's term for sport wagon, and there are new Avant additions to Audi's lineup this year. The mid-size A6 Avant debuted last summer. A version of the smaller A4 Avant with the 1.8- liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is now available, in addition to the existing 2.8-liter V6-powered model. All Avants come standard with Audi's "Quattro" all-wheel-drive system, which is optionally available in the Audi sedans.
All 1999 Audis have a larger right-side mirror for improved visibility. A4 and A6 models feature the "Atmospheres" concept of custom interior design. Audi's five-speed automatic transmission has the "Tiptronic" manual shifting system, licensed from corporate relative Porsche.
The A6 Avant joins the A6 sedan for 1999. With more room than many a compact sport-utility and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system standard equipment for responsive performance and all-season traction, the A6 Avant could be thought of as a combination of sport sedan and sport-utility. It uses the same 2.8-liter, 200-hp, five-valve- per-cylinder V6 matched to a five-speed Tiptronic automatic as the A6 sedan. It shares the sedan's front styling, with an elegantly-sculpted wagon body shape similar to that of the smaller A4 Avant.
Both the 1999 A6 sedans and 1999 Avants made after September, 1998 have standard interior enhancements and upgrades to option packages. The A6 sedan is available in front-wheel-drive or Quattro form. Its unique, coupe-like styling remains unchanged.
The A4 lineup has been filled out with the addition of the A4 1.8T Avant. It combines the sporty turbocharged performance of the A4 1.8T sedan with the convenience of a small wagon body. It uses the same 150-hp 1.8-liter, dual-overhead-cam, five-valve-per-cylinder turbo four-cylinder engine as the 1.8T sedan and, like all Avants this year, features Quattro all-wheel-drive. Like all A4 models, it is available with a five-speed manual or five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
Besides the 1.8-liter turbo engine, the A4 sedan and Avant are offered with a 190-hp version of Audi's 2.8-liter V6. A special performance package with sport suspension and other upgrades is available on all A4s. Tiptronic-equipped cars with the package have the shift controls mounted on the steering wheel.
A4 sedans are available in front-wheel-drive form as well as Quattro.
Audi's entry in the prestige luxury class is different. The A8 sedan is built mostly of aluminum, and so is lighter than its competitors. Two models are offered. The A8 3.7 is a front-wheel- drive car with a 3.7-liter, 230-hp V8. The A8 4.2 Quattro has a 4.2- liter, 300-hp V8 and the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. Both use Audi's five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
Changes to option packages and new color choices highlight the 1999 Audi A8.