There was a small mountain of semi-fast wagons available to Shed this week – this is the molehill we chose…
By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 8 September 2023 / Loading comments
Shed has been in a state this week. Or rather, in estates. Almost all of the cars on his SOTW shortlist of sub-£2k cars from PH Classifieds were wagonishly inclined. There was an apparently sound but also apparently re-speedo’ed W124 E280 Merc, a leathery Audi A6 3.0 TDI Avant, a battered old Volvo 850 T5, and even a £1,994 Porsche Cayenne V8. Yep, you read that right, a Cayenne for under £2k. Only the knocking engine, potentially a sign of munched and uneconomic-to-repair cylinder bores, stopped it from appearing here.
Fortunately, there was yet another estate for Shed to chuck his virtual trankliments into, namely this B7 Audi A4 T Avant S Line with the belt/chain-driven EA113 2.0-litre TFSI petrol motor that preceded the all-chain-drive EA888. There was a ‘DTM Edition’ version of the EA113 which was remapped to 217hp/221lb ft but the one we’re looking at here has the 197hp/207lb ft unit which in manual quattro Avant form made it good for a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds and a top whack of 145mph. The official combined fuel consumption figure was 32.1mpg and today there’ll be an annual UK road tax burden of £365 a year.
Like the (also directly injected) EA888, the EA113 was a good motor, but also like the EA888 it wasn’t issue-free. The bullet points are worn cam followers, high oil consumption, carbon buildup in the valvegear and turbo difficulties usually connected with diverter valve membrane failures. The carbon problems associated with direct injection engines have been more or less sorted now on modern lumps with combined direct/indirect injection, but for owners of direct injection cars like this one possible solutions included removing the EGR or replacing the PCV valve with a PCV block kit and oil catch tank.
Audis of this vintage were rarely praised for the wonderosity of their drive experience, and the B7 A4 Avants weren’t especially spacious, but they were nicely made. Expressing your respect for the build quality and cabin design was a copy-and-paste exercise for journos back then, and the shine on our 17-year-old shed justifies the praise. A wheel refurb looks overdue but they have rolled over 174,000 miles so that’s fair enough.
Contemporary road tests rated the zippy performance. Scribblers weren’t to know about the problems that would rear up in later years. Talking of rearing up problems, for Shed the ’S’ in early S line Audis often stood for sore. The firm ride you got with that spec played absolute havoc with his farmers. Audi softened the S line ride up a bit as the years went by so our shed shouldn’t be too bad. It has full leather, Bose sound, a towbar and dare we say it a modern feel that doesn’t always feature in Shed’s selections.
Bearing in mind what was said a para or two ago, a good service history on one of these is pretty much essential. In this case, we’re told the car has a full Audi and VAG specialist service history. Most likely this will be the usual three-part lifecycle blend of dealer to start with followed by independent specialists and ending up with Billy Grease-Monkey down a back street somewhere.
Nowt wrong with that of course. Since the postmistress bought an A1, Shed himself has been able to carry out plenty of private VAG servicing in his village workshop and he is also perfectly happy to use the tradesman’s entrance when the situation demands it for his own vehicles.
His view on taking the sump plug out, bunging some new oil in and replacing the odd filter is that there’s very little point in paying dealers big dollar for that just so they can ‘deliver’ a customer experience of carpets, cappuccino machines and thinly-disguised contempt. He can achieve the same result for peanuts (plus the cost of a John Bull printing set for that all-important book stamp) while happily throwing in some of his own home-brewed contempt on a complimentary basis.
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