New cars: Audi 200

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Gordon Cruickshank

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It is less than a year since the new Audi 100 was launched, and yet already the German company has backed it up with their top-line luxury development of it, the turbocharged 200. The previous version suffered by being a long time behind its base model, and also from certain developmental shortcomings in the turbo system. Generally speaking, however, it was well received, particularly the automatic version which tended to disguise the turbo lag, and as a target to surpass it cannot have been easy.

With economy one of the main objectives, the very slippery body of the 100 has been substantially unaltered, with the exception of a new chin spoiler and flatter headlamp units, while thereon lamps now spread right across the tail. 180 bhp is developed by the “second generation” five-cylinder intercooled turbo engine, while a non-turbo 135 bhp car will also be offered. The turbo engine has been greatly developed and with its high 8.8:1 compression ratio pulls extremely strongly from low speeds, with the boost coming in very smoothly indeed. Using this relentless surge is made easy by the well spaced “sports” five-speed gearbox which can be left in top for virtually all motorway running, such is the power available at high speed. Keep the throttle open and 143 mph should be possible, but cruising at 120-130 mph is such an effortless, silent and absolutely stable experience that this four-door five-seater must merit the title Grand Tourer. Behaviour on more demanding roads is impressive, the informative power steering enabling the driver to place the car with great accuracy, and the wider track and extra roll resistance at the rear making the modest understeer of no consequence, easily counteracted with the throttle.

Anti-lock brakes are part of the package for the Turbo, and are an option for the 200E, together with larger discs in 15 in alloy wheels of smooth profile. The ride is relaxing at all speeds, the seats giving good support although a “sport” package of grippier seats, leather wheels and other trim is also available.

For the British market, the standard model will enjoy all the luxury appointments conceivable including air conditioning, central locking, cruise control and power windows, mirrors, sunroof and seats, which include a four position memory.

What VAG UK call “the likely prices” are £13,500 for the 200E and £17,000 for the turbocharged 200T. GC.

 

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