whatta machine!

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

When ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's matric results were exposed recently a number of people - including the media - had a good snigger.

Cartoons were drawn, opinion pieces written, radio talkshows had a field day.

Now I really felt for young Julius at the time as, just as he received an "F" for woodwork, I scored a similar mark in computer classes. In fact, as far as I remember, the teacher said I was lucky to have done that well!

So when I got behind the wheel of Audi's new Avant 2,0 TDI Ambition I can only imagine I had the same feeling as Julius would experience if asked to quickly assemble some kitchen cupboards . totally lost!

You see my first car - a 1965 VW Beetle - had an instrumentation panel that consisted of three knobs and switches - one of which didn't even work.

The Avant on the other hand has more than 70 - I know, I counted every one of them! There is no doubt that this is a highly technically advanced car . the only problem is that I'm not.

"Consult the handbook if you're not sure of something," commented some smart alec. That sounds fine, except for one thing - the size of the book makes War and Peace look like a paperback.

The car we had on test came with a six-speed manual gearbox coupled with an engine that produces a reasonable 105kW.

The ride itself is typically Audi - smooth and, coupled with the advanced suspension mechanism, bumps are easily soaked up.

Comfort features are too many to list but the ones that I managed to utilise were the retractable glass sun roof, a dual air-conditioning system that thankfully takes away little from the engine's performance, and a CD system that accommodates up to 6 discs at a time.

When driving this vehicle you definitely have a feeling of solidness and safety which, though a niche vehicle, should appeal to those in the market for larger than normal family vehicles.

Top speed is a slightly disappointing 215kmh but shines in its fuel consumption - a miserly 5,5litres per 100km

Priced at R339500, the Avant finds competition in the BMW's 320i Touring Steptronic (R322000) and the Honda Accord Executive Tourer (R321900).