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Old 30.12.2016, 22:00
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Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

Hi all, I would like to ask for your opinion and advice.

Today I was looking at two Audis S4 in "Autocenter Winterthur AG" car park:
https://www.comparis.ch/carfinder/ma.../show/21597659
https://www.comparis.ch/carfinder/ma.../show/21178622

Firstly, prices differ "a bit" from the prices given in the ads - the one for 23'900CHF was offered for 24'900CHF in the park and the second which costs 24'900CHF in the ad was offered for 27'900CHF (!). When I asked about the correct price, the owner confirmed that the one in internet is the correct one. Fair enough.

Secondly, I checked both car's service books and the one from 2011 is from Italy or at least Italian part of the country (I forgot to check the original dealer stamp...). The one from 2010 is from AMAG Winterthur. As the VIN for the second one confirms the year 2010, the one for 2011 indicates actually 2012 as the year of production (letter C). Should it indicate 2011 instead?

Can I ask someone more experienced to help me identify if there is anything disturbing with both cars? Both VIN numbers are:
2010: WAUZZZ8K0AA098799
2011: WAUZZZ8K6CA030459
I used some free VIN decoders on the web but I couldn't get more info than both cars are Audis A4/S4 from produced in Germany from the given year.

And btw. I asked if it's possible to have a test drive before I decide to purchase the car. The guy said that such a test drive will cost 200CHF. Is it normal? He said that it will be deducted from the purchase price if I decide to buy it in the end.

Is there anything else I should consider checking before making final decision? Having the VIN number and dealer's details I want to contact them directly and confirm that the history of the car is without any doubts. I hope I can get any information from them.

Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 30.12.2016, 22:35
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

I can't help much, but I bought a 2011 S5 used in 2012. If the dealer had told me was going to charge for a test drive, I'd have laughed in his face.

Also, the fact that he's advertising two prices - one to catch gullible walk-ins and another for the Internet where price-comparison is the normal behavior - tells me that he'll be looking to nickel and dime you wherever he can. There will be other places where he tries his best to take you for a ride.

Frankly, given those observations, I wouldn't buy from this dealer. I'd rather pay a bit more and go to a dealer that doesn't have to play the same games because his profit is already embedded in the markup.
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Old 30.12.2016, 22:37
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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And btw. I asked if it's possible to have a test drive before I decide to purchase the car. The guy said that such a test drive will cost 200CHF. Is it normal? He said that it will be deducted from the purchase price if I decide to buy it in the end.
I have never paid for a test drive, weird that is.

As for the rest, just a regular Audi owner but no expert, sorry
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Old 30.12.2016, 22:47
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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And btw. I asked if it's possible to have a test drive before I decide to purchase the car. The guy said that such a test drive will cost 200CHF. Is it normal? He said that it will be deducted from the purchase price if I decide to buy it in the end.
Wish him good luck in selling the car and look elsewhere.

Last edited by dodgyken; 31.12.2016 at 19:28.
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Old 31.12.2016, 12:00
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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Wish him good luck in selling the car at look elsewhere.
I have seen dealers charge money for test driving sports cars to select only the serious buyers and not the guy that just wants to try a GT3. A S4 does not qualify for this I would say and I have never paid for any test drive (even very expensive 911s).

walk away
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Old 02.01.2017, 14:13
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

Thanks guys for your feedback.
Can anyone recommend any car seller in Switzerland that possibly won't rip me off?
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Old 02.01.2017, 14:16
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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Can anyone recommend any car seller in Switzerland that possibly won't rip me off?
There is no car seller in Switzerland that won't rip you off!
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Old 02.01.2017, 14:20
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

Piena Corsa in Grüningen I can recommend
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Old 07.01.2017, 19:31
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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Thanks guys for your feedback.
Can anyone recommend any car seller in Switzerland that possibly won't rip me off?
buy on EF!
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Old 07.01.2017, 22:36
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

Of course! Unfortunately nothing interesting in here lately...
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Old 08.01.2017, 10:53
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

Paying for a test drive is a joke. Never buy from such a place. By the way you will save by buying from a private party. Basically because the VAT (8%) will not come into the price.
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Old 08.01.2017, 11:02
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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Paying for a test drive is a joke. Never buy from such a place. By the way you will save by buying from a private party. Basically because the VAT (8%) will not come into the price.
There's really not many private adds, and finding the car you actually want seems near impossible without compromise.
Most of the private adds are either old cars, high mileage, or an import, and asking prices don't seem that much keener. I think people see the stealer price and think they can acheive the same.
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Old 08.01.2017, 11:03
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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Paying for a test drive is a joke. Never buy from such a place. By the way you will save by buying from a private party. Basically because the VAT (8%) will not come into the price.
VAT is on the dealer profit, not the full price on a second hand car.
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Old 08.01.2017, 11:49
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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VAT is on the dealer profit, not the full price on a second hand car.
Exactly! The dealer has to calculate it into his expenses. However, when a private party sells a car there is no VAT involved.
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Old 08.01.2017, 12:04
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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Exactly! The dealer has to calculate it into his expenses. However, when a private party sells a car there is no VAT involved.
private sellers generally overvalue their cars and offer no warranty.
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Old 08.01.2017, 13:01
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

We've never been charged for a test drive. And we've bought 3 cars during our time in Switzerland. The last dealer we bought from was nothing short of AMAZING and I can highly recommend them - AutoKaiser in Cham. They have multiple sites and we traded our troublesome Audi RS4 for a BMW X3.

We've also bought 2 motorbikes here in Switzerland. Again never charged for a test ride. We did however ask if we could "rent" one of the bikes to ride for a weekend to be sure we really liked it. We paid from memory 300 francs with unlimited kilometres to keep the bike for 3 days. We wound up buying that model, and the cost was deducted from the purchase price.

Maybe the dealer doesn't think you're a legit buyer, so they're trying to dissuade / test you by stating they'll charge for a test drive? In our limited experience, dealers in this country don't seem to be as hungry for business as elsewhere, and if they don't like you they don't try too hard to get a sale?
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Old 08.01.2017, 17:00
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

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Maybe the dealer doesn't think you're a legit buyer, so they're trying to dissuade / test you by stating they'll charge for a test drive?
I have no idea. Although the first question I asked him was if he speaks English as it's easier for me. He said "no" and we tried to continue conversation with my wife's and mine basic German skills. Maybe he didn't want to waste time with us.

But maybe he also doesn't like people who look into things too much. I asked about any major failures, repairs or collisions to the cars and he just said "none". I expect the seller to be able to tell something more about the cars he offers but maybe I expect too much. I know there is a service book, but not everything is written there.

Also when looking at the first Audi I just checked only the exterior and interior without looking under the hood. In the second car I did it and he instantly came over asking if everything was ok... I don't know if he was afraid that I can spot something or maybe it was just a timing coincidence.

In the end I won't come back there.

@smileygreebins - can you tell something more about the troublesome RS4? What issues you had with it?
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Old 08.01.2017, 17:25
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

For what its worth, we walked away from several dealers because they didn't seem to want to play nicely with us. Not in terms of negotiating, or language barrier; but like you, we asked a LOT of questions that we wanted answers to. Keep shopping around would be my tip!

The RS4. Bought it 12 months old, second hand and under warranty from a "reputable" car dealer. After 4 weeks the clutch went. The dealer didn't want to know about it, probably because the cost of repair meant the engine needed to be removed to access the clutch unit. By any standard that's an expensive exercise for parts and labor. You can imagine with Swiss pricing for labor!!

Then the covers for the door latches broke. Impossible to reattach so whole new handle units required. Maybe we were just unlucky though.

Servicing generally was very expensive (we used an assortment of Audi dealers within Kanton Schwyz and Kanton Zug)

The profile of the wheels didn't allow for fitment of snow chains - an issue depending on where you plan to drive.

The powertrain setup was fantastic for regular driving, but accelerating on steep mountains with snowy roads from a standing start - very difficult to maintain control and avoid 400hp spinning all four wheels (and yes, we are both accomplished drivers). We both dreaded driving up and having to pull into the by-passes to allow other cars coming down the roads, knowing that even under feathered acceleration the car would be skittish and hard to control (fun, except when the road is very narrow with a 100m drop). In fairness later models may have better traction control.

Finally the very limited road clearance for us was impossible on our snowy mountain road. Too often we had to abandon her and go find another vehicle to tow us home because she just couldn't drive through the snow drifts that other "shopping trolley" cars would just zoom through.

She was a fun car to drive in regular conditions, and it was always enjoyable to outsprint the blatant sports cars at the traffic lights when road conditions were good, but she was very expensive to maintain and fix, fuel consumption wasn't much better than my old Landrover Disco, and she didn't suit Swiss winter mountain roads.
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Old 08.01.2017, 19:43
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

Wow... quite a hassle with the RS4. I would have thought that almost any 4x4 would be a great car in difficult weather conditions. Definitely in terms of more "controlled" grip.
I'm still thinking of getting the S4, so hopefully I have more luck than you. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08.01.2017, 20:06
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Re: Audi S4 review + VIN decoding

Thanks for your update on the RS4. It is a bit unexpected as I would have expected it to be very good in the snow. So you can have too much power..
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