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Thread: A4 in winter?

  1. #1
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    Default A4 in winter?

    No need for a big thread here, just wondering how an awd A4 handles shitty icy highways in the winter? My brothers WRX handled that Christmas blizzard like they were dry summer roads so I'm looking for something comparable, but I'm more of a luxury/sedan guy than a sports car guy. Figure the low center of gravity rules out SUV's, and subaru's AWD can't be that special can it?

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    No personal experience here, but it's an AWD vehicle. With a set of proper winter tires I'd think it would be excellent.

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    Both Audi's (S4's so very similar to A4) I've owned were awesome in the winter. A big heavy car with lots of tech and a great AWD system is a winning combo for winter driving.

    Regardless of what you're driving, the tires are going to make the biggest difference - probably more so than the car. On a great set of winters, even 2WD cars do just fine in the winter. Stopping and turning is when you're mostly at the mercy of the tire's ability regardless of the vehicle, the AWD mostly just helps you get off the line faster or not be stuck. I'd venture a guess that my Civic was actually slightly better at certain things than the S4's in the winter because I could put really skinny tires on it instead of fat, wide 18" ones.

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    Awful, don't get one. Get a Corvette instead, much better suited to winter conditions.

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    Mine's been fine...no concerns..would drive again (2007 3.2 quat wagon). Harder to predictably drift than my old 2000-era Subaru, so I don't do that anymore. Usually run four-seasons and have winters, but haven't felt the need to mount 'em (but I would if I was daily driving or doing long icy commutes).
    Originally posted by scat19
    I have a BMW so im not stupid.

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    I had an 05 A4 manual last year for winter with Dunlop SP winter tires.

    Pretty fun car to drive and predictable in the snow/ice, if I wasn't so paranoid about its reliabiality I'd still be driving it. My current 4Runner gives me more "oh shit" moments in the snow but that's because the tires I have now probably, and also the 4Runner doesn't let you turn off traction control whereas the Audi did.

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    Originally posted by Mitsu3000gt
    On a great set of winters, even 2WD cars do just fine in the winter. Stopping and turning is when you're mostly at the mercy of the tire's ability regardless of the vehicle, the AWD mostly just helps you get off the line faster or not be stuck. I'd venture a guess that my Civic was actually slightly better at certain things than the S4's in the winter because I could put really skinny tires on it instead of fat, wide 18" ones.
    This.

    But he doesn't want to hear that a '96 Civic with good winter tires is a beast for winter.

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    My 06 A4 Avant is awesome in the winter. They are a bit heavier cars so they feel nice and solid on snowy/icy roads. I have blizzard WS80 rubber and the A4 runs great all winter long with them on. Mine is lowered, still gets through anything I want it to. Im in the mountains every weekend with it skiing and never had a problem.
    _____ASP______

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    (I mostly just want a new car but since it's come up...)

    What kind of tires are guys running in Alberta? I tried X-ice's and hated them, they honestly felt worse than my all season's on normal dry ice conditions. Had duratracs on my xterra which not surprisingly were great in deep snow but terrible on ice as well. Running Discoverer AT-W's on my van right now and they're also pretty underwhelming, but that's more a van thing than tires I'm thinking.

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    Originally posted by Mitsu3000gt
    Both Audi's (S4's so very similar to A4) I've owned were awesome in the winter. A big heavy car with lots of tech and a great AWD system is a winning combo for winter driving.

    Regardless of what you're driving, the tires are going to make the biggest difference - probably more so than the car. On a great set of winters, even 2WD cars do just fine in the winter. Stopping and turning is when you're mostly at the mercy of the tire's ability regardless of the vehicle, the AWD mostly just helps you get off the line faster or not be stuck. I'd venture a guess that my Civic was actually slightly better at certain things than the S4's in the winter because I could put really skinny tires on it instead of fat, wide 18" ones.
    Just a further note as people always say 2wd,rwd and awd are equivalent when turning in slippery winter conditions. I own fwd, rwd and awd cars I can tell you that awd is far superior for cornering stability. A RWD car oversteers in slippery conditions, a FWD car understeers but an AWD car stays very balanced making it 100x easier to avoid serious slides and recover from them in the event they occur.

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    Originally posted by J-hop


    Just a further note as people always say 2wd,rwd and awd are equivalent when turning in slippery winter conditions. I own fwd, rwd and awd cars I can tell you that awd is far superior for cornering stability. A RWD car oversteers in slippery conditions, a FWD car understeers but an AWD car stays very balanced making it 100x easier to avoid serious slides and recover from them in the event they occur.
    I think this is a big part of what I noticed with the WRX. Brother could literally pin it from the shoulder of the highway (mid blizzard, slick wet and icy) and I didn't feel any kind of spinning/fish tailing/anything. Literally glued to the road, I've driven a lot of 2wd vehicles and a bunch of 4wd trucks (but no awd's) and none of them have inspired that kind confidence.

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    Our 15' has been good to us, 2nd winter with winter tires so good enough I guess. No accidents to report..
    sig deleted by moderator, click here for info

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    Originally posted by birdman86
    (I mostly just want a new car but since it's come up...)

    What kind of tires are guys running in Alberta? I tried X-ice's and hated them, they honestly felt worse than my all season's on normal dry ice conditions. Had duratracs on my xterra which not surprisingly were great in deep snow but terrible on ice as well. Running Discoverer AT-W's on my van right now and they're also pretty underwhelming, but that's more a van thing than tires I'm thinking.
    Winter tires that are good on ice tend to be too soft for dry roads.

    Blizzak LM80 vs WS80, read up on them. WS80 is great on ice/snow but shit on dry. LM80 is good on dry but shit with ice. But both are way better than all seasons under 0c.

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    Originally posted by J-hop


    Just a further note as people always say 2wd,rwd and awd are equivalent when turning in slippery winter conditions. I own fwd, rwd and awd cars I can tell you that awd is far superior for cornering stability. A RWD car oversteers in slippery conditions, a FWD car understeers but an AWD car stays very balanced making it 100x easier to avoid serious slides and recover from them in the event they occur.
    Fat, wide, winters and AWD isn't necessarily better in corners. Skinny tires with more grip can still be better for holding a line in a corner in poor conditions. I think there are too many variables to say one is always better than the other. All else being equal though, I think everyone agrees AWD is preferable.

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    Had a 2011 S4 with Blizzak's on it and it was awesome! great traction and handling. Would definitely recommend.

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    Originally posted by Mitsu3000gt


    Fat, wide, winters and AWD isn't necessarily better in corners. Skinny tires with more grip can still be better for holding a line in a corner in poor conditions. I think there are too many variables to say one is always better than the other. All else being equal though, I think everyone agrees AWD is preferable.
    Balanced power application in corners is always better though. My Impreza has 205s on it and my Jetta has 195s. You have to work really hard to get the Subaru to slide even in icy conditions. In the Jetta curling your toes on a corner will have you plowing in no time. The Jetta has the better winter tires on it too. Jetta has traction control as well, while the Subaru doesn't.

    I've honestly never driven a 2wd car that can beat an awd for cornering control and stability on ice.

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    Having owned an A4, an Impreza, and Golf R, I would say in terms of balanced and predicable handling in the snow, the Subie was the best. The A4 tended to understeer unless induced, the Impreza was on the balanced side, and the Golf R is slightly on the understeer side but overall relatively balanced. All cars are very capable in the winter, and awesome winter cars.

    If you're looking for more fun factor, go with the Impreza. If you want a capable winter car that doesn't feel like you're sitting in a GM, go with the Audi. If you want both, go with the Golf.

    I've had a number of AWD cars in my life, and to this day my favorite winter car I've ever had was my Audi 4000S, purely from a fun factor perspective.

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    Originally posted by J-hop


    Balanced power application in corners is always better though. My Impreza has 205s on it and my Jetta has 195s. You have to work really hard to get the Subaru to slide even in icy conditions. In the Jetta curling your toes on a corner will have you plowing in no time. The Jetta has the better winter tires on it too. Jetta has traction control as well, while the Subaru doesn't.

    I've honestly never driven a 2wd car that can beat an awd for cornering control and stability on ice.
    My only comparison was 235's vs 195's, so maybe it made more of a difference for me. Also I am just going off my perception, obviously I didn't conduct any scientific testing. I am pretty confident in saying the skinnier tires stopped better too. I also had performance Blizzaks on the 235's and Michelin Xi3's on the 195's, and the Xi3 is a better winter tire so that could have further affected things. Also my idea of cornering in winter doesn't really involve power. If it's slick enough that you might lose it in the corner, you are probably going so slow that the power going to the wheels is next to nothing (or coasting/lightly braking) and the tires ability is the limiting factor. Like I said, so many variables haha. All else being equal I would much rather have AWD.

    To think I used to be in the "who needs winter tires, I have AWD" camp haha, it's embarrassing.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 02-28-2017 at 10:28 AM.

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    Of course, every model from even the same make is going to handle winter differently.

    My B8 S4 with Torsen and sport diff was quite drama free and competent in the winter. Neutral, and extremely stable at high speeds in a way that no Subaru could match. It was fast and sure footed, but also had that long wheelbase lack of fun.

    My 8P A3 with haldex felt like an extremely planted small fwd car. Predominant characteristics of understeer and difficult to provoke into slide. But high levels of grip and again stable at high speeds.

    My 2011 STI Hatch, 2009 WRX265 sedan, 2005 Legacy wagon, 2004 Outback, 2002 WRX, 2000 Legacy, and 1998 Legacy were all more or less the exact same car in the winter. Understeered heavily, squirrelly on power, and not overly stable at higher speeds. That said, they did possess decent raw grip, and the STI in particular had the power and diffs to draw out extended powerslides.

    My 2015 WRX is totally different. Very "neutral" and twitchy. And by the parentheses, I mean it's fairly tail happy. This winter if you see an ISM WRX sideways at inappropriate times, it's probably just me going tail out on liftoff or trail braking. Still not German highway stable, but this is a FUN chassis in the winter. It has grip, but also lots of drama driving around ass out. If the C&D did a long term review of this car in the snow and their testers antisocial enough, this car would rank quite highly.

    My 3 BMW xdrives are all the same again. Very stable like the Audis, but more RWD biased. I like it.

    If you're looking for a car that makes snow feel like pavement, get a German car. And on the subject of tires, I've owned as many winter tires as cars, and I like XI3s most.

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    08 A4 with winter tires. Best vehicle I have ever driven in the winter. Very stable and tons of traction. The only downside is the understeer at the limit at slow speeds.

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