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To satiate such longing, my girlfriend and I decided to head for The Rockies for my long weekend getaway. I didn’t want to drive my Audi S4 Avant to the Rockies as it would be quite a drive from my hometown, San Francisco. But, if we fly, how will we ensure that we get a fun car to drive through the stratospheric mountain passes? My familiarity to the smell, the touchy feel of the buttons, the pleasing white and red instrument glow, the comfort of the sporty seats, and the driving characteristic of the 2007 A4 2.0 T made me feel right at home. There was almost no adjustment I had to make, except for the seating position, the rear view and side mirrors. The car fit like a pair of very comfortable wool winter gloves...

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Our first stop after passing the boring part of I-70 was Georgetown at exit 228. Georgetown in the modern days is a little quaint tourist town with crafts stores, convenient shops, family restaurants, and cafes. After a brief stop at Georgetown, we headed west on I-70. The peppy 200 hp 2.0T FSI engine begged me to unleash its 207 lb-ft of torque. The RPM rested confidently at around 2200 rpm when we cruised at 80 mph! The B5 A4 Quattro 150 hp 1.8 T idles at around 3600 rpm and the B6 S4 340 hp 4.2 V8 idles at around 2500 rpm to maintain the same speed. I was expecting an up surge of rpm and a brief deceleration when I triggered the kick-down button. None of those happened. Instead, this latest generation of Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) enabled the rpm to linearly rise toward 6000. Without any hesitation, the car rapidly approached the triple-digits speed. As I eased the accelerator, the rpm went down linearly to a place where the engine could maintain the speed I desired...


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The vista point at the Loveland pass offers the breathtaking grandiose view. No matter which direction I looked, I saw hundreds of mountains and they are weaving at each other. I saw roads in the distance zigzagging downward on the ridges, brows, and valleys of these never-ending-weaving mountains. After clearing the G-force producing hairpin just after the pass, I was greeted by the view of a large radius descending carousel turn. I could not ask for more. Looking downward, I could see the road turns into switchbacks for another half a mile or so. The best part was that I didn’t see any car coming up. I shifted to third to pick up some speed after the slow-but-G-force-producing hairpin turn. I entered the carousel with enough speed. I held the steering wheel at the right angle for this turn and steered the car by varying the power I transferred to the rubber patches. The G-force pulled me to the left, the tires started to make that soft screeching sound. I eased the power delivery so the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) didn’t take over my driving. After clearing the carousel, I shifted to four to pick up some more speed to devour the upcoming switchbacks...


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At the Independence Pass, a few people were walking with their umbrellas and raincoats toward the vista point. We parked the car and started walking. Quickly we ran out of breath. At 12,095 feet, the air at this Continental Divide is thin. The 2.0 turbo engine didn’t think so. As I snaked the Audi up the mountains, the 2.0T didn’t feel what my lungs felt at that moment. It flowed, delicately and precisely.
This car doesn’t have a launch control program that can take me from 0 to 60 in the same amount of time I mistakenly gulp swimming pool water. It doesn’t have the ostentatious eight exhaust pipes in the back. It doesn’t have oversized fenders that can fit tractor-wide tires. It doesn’t have a deafening growl that makes a librarian think the car has a broken muffler. It doesn’t have the amount of horsepower to pull the Space Shuttle from the hangar to the launch pad. But the fact that those attributes are missing makes this Audi so great. It is not over the top and pretentious. It is a just practical car that wakes up my senses and gives me the tingling sensation...


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Driving back to Hertz, I felt content and fulfilled knowing that my addiction was satiated. I savored the blissful feeling I had while we were at the top of the mountains, the moment where I felt I could almost touch the sky. I was just there with no past and no future. Immersing in the beauty around me, I felt buoyant, refreshed, and rejuvenated.Over the years, I have enjoyed several Audis as my daily driver; B4 90, B5 A4, and B6 S4. Every B platform generation outperforms the one before. It is a testament of Audi perseverance for progress and excellence...


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Now, I am looking forward to the drive new B8 A4. I can’t wait to find out what the white coat engineers in Ingolstadt have improved upon the already impressive and satisfying feat of engineering. It requires a lot of diligent, creativity, and ingenuity to achieve excellence. It requires unwavering determination, vision, and passion to consistently and continually outdo one’s excellence achievements. Boarding the San Francisco bound United Boeing 737, my mind drifted to the conversation I had with one of my elementary school teachers. She said, “Dream big, and reach for the sky!"



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