The Audi 100 GLS

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Although I suppose the Audi 100GLS with a mere four cylinders is now overshadowed by the latest Audi models with five cylinders apiece, I rate it as a very good car. Its main claims to sales are quiet, effortless cruising at higher speeds than our cautious rulers permit, even on our fine Motorways, coupled to really excellent acceleration, which speedily disposes of meandering traffic and is thus an appreciable safety-factor. Then this eyeable Audi goes round corners very fast in safety, although its suspension suffers a little from transverse lurching; but on unmade lanes its wheels stay in contact with the rough stuff’, even if the ride is scarcely “Renault”. And there are no front-wheel-drive peculiarities. Moreover, you get the aforesaid very useful step-off in spite of high gearing only 3,500 r.p.m. in top gear at an indicated 70 m.p.h.

The body seems lightly made but has an acceptable interior, with neat handles, grabs, and instrument layout, the last-named of typical German logic. The three Vdo dials, very big central 130 m.p.h. speedometer, and slightly smaller clock and tachometer reading to “7” but caution-calibrated from 6,250 r.p.m., are clearly presented, behind a flat glass, in a nacelle confronting the driver. Not so the fuel-gauge, which is oddly calibrated and not an instant reader, as it climbs slowly after “ignition on.” The front doors have useful pockets, there is a minimum of simulated woodwork, an internally-adjustable o/s mirror was provided and there are good, if hard, seats, with knob-squab adjustment on the front ones. Down on the console are the angled Vdo temperature and voltage gauges; the former normally reads around 80 deg. and a noisy fan comes in at around 90 deg. All four seats have headrests, neat Tonic safety-belts were fitted, and there is a heater with a simple knob for hot air but complicated ventilatory arrangements which I never did “drive” properly, the car having been delivered without a hand-book. The National Panasonic radio-cassette–player was also sans cassettes.

On the road this Audi 100GLS proved a particularly fast car from place to place, as it can be flung around with abandon. The brakes were spongy but powerful when needed, the steering too low-geared, and I agree with BMW that the Audi pull-straight system isn’t quite the answer. Generally, however, this steering called for no complaints, although castor-return died out from full-lock out of a hairpin. The gear change, with a short lever heavily spring-loaded towards the higher ratios, is a bit notchy, which the long travel of the clutch pedal accentuated; perhaps I should grow longer legs. The fuel-filler cap locks, and was very stiff to remove. If you are seeking a very punchy but decidedly refined family saloon with a big boot, and one that is surprisingly economical in all-round driving (29.9 m.p.g., of 4-star and approx. 800 m.p.p. of engine oily I strongly recommend this o.h.c. 4-cylinder 1;984 c.c. Audi 100GLS, at £5,286. I noticed that at cruising speed the white needles of the speedo and tachometer lay in the same plane – very “Bentley”. The rear-hinged bonnet self props and releases; horns and alternator seem likely to receive water from a wet road.

* * *

For Jubilee week-end felt that a car made in Britain would be appropriate and the ever-efficient Vauxhall Press Department, under Derek Goatman, produced a Vauxhall VX2300 estate-car at very short notice. Impeccably turned-out, this well-appointed, good-looking, load-absorber is very good value, at £3,660. To begin with, I thought it a heavy, old-fashioned sort of barge. But it soon grew on me and I began to like it very much; and what James Hunt proclaims should, I suppose, be good enough for most of us lit a world of lightweight tin-productions, sheer luxury models apart, there is a place for a car that recalls something of what similar models were like in better times, and this the VX2300 does, being dignified within, easy and pleasant to drive, yet no sluggard and it even has Lutonian bonnet-scallops … Vauxhall are following Ford in using competition sorties to dispel a staid image and their win with the Chevette 2300 in the recent Welsh Rally endorsed this attitude very nicely. More about the VX2300 estate after the holiday… – W.B.

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