while i was working at the VW service department, i got to drive quite a few A4's around the parking lot. the biggest complaint i had was how slow the throttle response was when first getting on the gas. i think they are engineered to reduce torque when the engine is cold, so the engine revs up, but the car slowly takes off. throttle response is better when the engine is warmed up. people who are used to the VW/audi shifter feel love them...i don't particularly care for them. i think the shifter feels loose, so much so that it feels disconnected. where the VW/audi shifter slips into gear too easily, i feel the shifter in my SS is a little too stiff/notchy. since this is the first straight drive i've owned, it's all i really know. i test drove a 3-series a while back, and instantly i didn't like my shifter feel as much. the feel of the bimmer's shifter is so precise and direct...but i guess that's why they're the benchmark for most manufacturers.
also, i have seen the consumer reports ratings for the audi lineup. i've always thought of audi as generally an unreliable brand, and consumer reports agrees with a solid black circle for reliability for practically all audi models. but ironically, the audi service department didn't do much business in comparison to VW. now i know there aren't nearly as many audi's on the road as VW's, but service writers at my dealership generally thought of them as somewhat reliable due to the lack of problems people came in for at my location.