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Autobahn Experience Part 1 : Audi A4 1.8 TFSI M/T rental car

Discussion in 'News and Features' started by Kevin Lee, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Kevin Lee

    Kevin Lee 5 Year | Silver

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    Mein Damen und Herren (Ladies and Gentleman), I have recently returned from Germany and I have been priviledged enough to rent an Audi A4 1.8 TFSI for my Autobahn conquest. Most people are aware that the German Autobahn has no speed limit. It pretty much means, you could actually go as quick as you want, as long as your car could take the speed.

    There is a minimum requirement for any vehicles needing to use the autobahn. If your vehicle can't hit 60 km/h an hour, you are disallowed to use the Autobahn. Sometimes I wished Malaysia could have introduced such a law, so we don't see tiny kei cars trying to hog the right lane, it's just crazy! However, the recommended speed limit on the Autobahn appears to be at 130 km/h, that's still 20 km/h above our Malaysian speed limit. I wished Malaysia would have taken into consideration of creating proper roads that allow us to hit a higher speed limit. Going 110 km/h is simply exhausting and 80 km/h during festive seasons makes it more tiresome to drive.

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    The procedures are easy. All I did was check out the prices from www.expedia.com and look around for the best prices they offer for a rental car. One of our Zerotohundred.com readers, Rog Stadelmann of Switzerland has mentioned that Europcar provides the best rates in terms of rental. He was definitely right with it, it was cheaper than other companies, such as SixT, Avis and etc.

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    On the the internet page, it states that the 4 door standard sedan costs 75 Euros without Insurance to rent per day. It only described either offerings would be an Opel Insignia sedan or an Audi A4. Sadly it doesn't say the engine capacity and vehicle specifications beyond that, though it did provide CO2 figures. I've tried to match the CO2 figures online using Wikipedia and it pointed me to a Audi A4 2.0 TDI. The Audi A4 2.0 TDI does provide a top speed of 230 km/h , which is sufficient for me to satisfy myself on the Autobahn (Most German cars are speed limited to 250 km/h or 155 MPH, in this case 20 km/h difference isn't too big of a problem for me) The next upgrade from the standard 4 door sedan would be either the BMW 5 series or Mercedes-Benz E class. But with no certainly on the engine capacity and additional weight from the increased size, I decided to bet my hopes on the Audi A4.

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    I've chosen Hannover for my Autobahn experience because most of my friends said that driving in Berlin or anywhere near populated cities would cause you to get stuck and be part of the traffic, you will never get to hit 200 km/h and above.

    So I arrived in Hannover Hauptbahnhof (Hannover Central Train Station) and picked up my car at about 7.40 PM. While I have pre-booked my vehicle online on Expedia for 9PM, the lady on the counter was kind enough to let me start 1 hour early. All I needed to do was to fill in some personal details such as address and contact details. Then I handed in my passport and credit card for verification, along with my drivers license as proof of license to drive. She asked whether if I was happy with an Audi A4 1.8 in silver. I did asked if there was an alternative. There was an Audi A4 2.0 TDI Avant (wagon), which is for the same price. Which some mental calculation and prior Wikipedia knowledge, I decided to stick with the Audi 1.8, in hopes that it would come with a Turbo say the least.

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    The lady from the counter passed me the keys and told me that I needed to walk about 500 meters out of the train station and to walk towards the parking garage they have on 7th floor of the building. With the map provided by the lady, I proceeded to the parking garage, where I collected my car. I took the elevator and went up the floors.

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    I found my car with the same number and letters engraved on the Audi key tag, HH LF 7412. The car turns out to be dark grey, instead of silver as the lady claims. I was excited, the car looked really good. There were other rental cars besides, like some Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but these are just common selections I can find in Malaysia and I do get to drive a Mercedes-Benz C200K regularly and I've had my hands on the BMW 3 series in the Castrol Nurburging Challenge.

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    I proceeded to unlock the car with the key alarm and I loaded up my bags at the back of the boot. I was lugging over 25kgs from all over Europe, so having a car and being able to travel in a car, I was just blessed, because I definitely missed driving for a week since my trip from London.

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    The boot space was pretty amazing at 480 litres. Not bad, considering the only car in comparison that we are all familiar with, the 8th Generation Honda Civic FD has 485 litres of boot space. You can clearly see I've loaded 1 large bag, 1 travel bag and 1 backpack for space benchmark.

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    OK, now to proceed with starting up the car. I pushed the key into the key slot and held against it. Nothing happened! I tried again and nothing happened again! I began digging for the manuals in the car but it was all in German! So I decided to call up the lady in the Europcar counter. With her average English, she tries to explain to put both my foot on the pedals on the car. I tried with various pedals and I realised, the right combination was to stomp both the clutch and the brakes, then push the keys into the car to actually start it. This is the first time I ever drove an Audi and it was exciting as hell. I guess non Audi owners would never have figured out how to start this car!

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    So I took a very quick photo before I proceed to exit from the parking garage. I must admit that, being so used to a Right Hand Drive country, trying to drive on the other side of the road caught me off guard. I almost forgot that I drive on the wrong side of the road now and I had to reverse everything I learnt! My blind spot is on my right instead of my left now and I have to do everything in reverse. I tried to balance my clutch and accelerator at the same time since I haven't been driving a manual for ages now. The experience was all very exciting. Even the reverse was on the wrong side, being on the far left instead of the bottom right, because it was a 6 speed manual.

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    So I pulled out from the Parking Garage and began to engage the GPS system to find my way to my hotel. My hotel is located in another suburb called Laatzen.

    Audi A4 1.8 TFSI MMI interface - YouTube

    The location is pretty close to a Hannover Expo where technological lovers and geeks alike would visit it yearly for the CEBIT exhibitions held around June. The CEBIT exhibition is the world's largest fair showcasing digital IT and telecommunications solutions. I passed by the VW Tower Hannover, an icon to the city, where it used to be a old TV tower for the city. Hannover is the capital city located on the state of Lower Saxony, where VW is produced in the small town of Wolfsburg, which belongs to the same state as well.

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    There was a certain distance to drive before I hit the small strip of Autobahn that leads back to my hotel. Hannover was an average sized city and perhaps it would be as big as Ipoh. There is perhaps not much known tourist spots here in Hannover as most of the city has been bombed during World War II, so it was pretty much a modern city that focuses a lot on its car and technological industry.

    Autobahn Experience at Autobahn A37, Hannover South Direction in an Audi A4 1.8 TFSI, Wet road - YouTube

    Sadly it started to rain when I was on the Autobahn. I couldn't do much about it and I had to exit to Laatzen in a few kilometers. So all I did was just capture a video how did the Autobahn looked like on video. When I came out of the interchange, I passed by the Hannover Expo building. The rain has cleared and I decided to get out of the car and take a couple of photos of the car.

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    Beautiful front

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    Side profile with the Hannover Expo dome in the background

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    Sexy rear. Looks like a great place to have a drag race with that traffic light in position.

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    225/50/R17 Goodyear Vector tyres, capable to go on the mud and snow, perfect for our Autobahn drive

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    Simple and clean Audi dashboard. It is simply ergonomical. The tiny 240 sticker in red and white circle indicates that the car has been fitted with all season tires capable of taking up 240 km/h

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    Generous rear space that is able to comfortably sit 5. Notice the barebones version of the Audi A4 with no rear aircondition and fabric seats. I guess these versions will never appear in Malaysia.

    360 degrees view of the Audi A4 1.8 TFSI interior - YouTube

    Amateur videography by me. 360 degrees view of the car

    The car is just perfect for the Autobahn purpose. Overall I love the car. When I Googled up the specs, the Audi 1.8 TFSI with its 1,798 cc 16v I4 turbo engine, is capable of putting out 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp) @4500-6200RPM and 250 N·m (184 lb·ft) @1500-4500RPM. The car comes with the most basic safety system, just as dual air bags, ABS, EBD and ESP system that is lacking in our local car production. This car is able to stay planted even in the wet rain and with ESP system, it was very hard to wheelspin the car off the red lights, but it was great to know I am in safe hands. I believe the Germans are very proud with their car. At a price of 27,100 Euros, these makes our Perodua Viva, dollar to dollar, look like pure rubbish! I only wished our local car companies would be able to create a car for the masses that has all the safety feature and fun factor in driving daily.

    I will write more about my Autobahn experience in the episodes to come. Right now, enjoy the photos of the beautiful Audi A4 1.8 TFSI, tested, tried and driven by me in Germany. Danke Schoen (Thank you)
     

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    #1 Kevin Lee, Aug 17, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  2. kienmun_15

    kienmun_15 5 Year | Silver

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    nice..thanks for sharing..audi's car is getting better!
     
  3. muhdkhairul77

    muhdkhairul77 5 Year | Silver

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    Thanks for sharing Mr. Kevin Lee (^_^) love that Audi :proud:
     
  4. hachiroku clan

    hachiroku clan Senior Member
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    I wish Malaysia could have a Minimum Speed Limit too.. That would be great.. I Wish!
     
  5. crazybiscut

    crazybiscut 5 Year | Silver

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    Its stupid how most newer cars in malaysia dont have Manual transmission except for local cars
     
  6. DM3

    DM3 5 Year | Silver

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    most germans told me tht why here all cars are auto unlike in germany
     
  7. MetalZone

    MetalZone Senior Member
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    What I love about Europe and UK is over 95% of the cars there are manual. Everything I've seen on the streets from a regular BMW 5 to Mini Cooper's are all manual. It's ANNOYING that most new cars in Malaysia are not available in a manual variant at all or only the lowest specced model has a manual version.
     
  8. DM3

    DM3 5 Year | Silver

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    yea lucky u can drive, i only get to ride in a old e class cab but he was hittin 190km/h+ all the way at autobahn in munich, tht was really cool and yes surprisingly the accident rate there very low when i asked him .
     
  9. cRazYee

    cRazYee Senior Member
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    back from germany last week with my fren hit 120mph on autobahn with laguna
    while i was sleeping
     

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