“Hi Sir, can I help you?”… I had just driven my soccer mum four wheel drive into the basement level of Audi Centre Sydney.
Greeting me was a far from corporate looking gentleman with a full on hipster haircut. He had all the bells and whistles of an Audi employee (white shirt, name badge, usage of the word sir) but definitely wouldn’t be running the company. “I’m here to pick up a car” I responded. No sooner than that, I spotted it. I pointed to it and in that second, the hipsters eyes took on the shape of dinner plates and he immediately dropped the hi sir, bye sir, act. “Bro… That thing is a weapon… How did you score that?”. He handed me the keys, connected my phone to the Bluetooth and advised I get the hell outta Sydney this weekend. A plan which I liked.
First things first, I know little to nil about cars. Sure I appreciate a nice one and actually really like driving, but in terms of car specs etc, I’m lost. That was until around 5pm Friday.
The first thing I noticed about this car is how low it is. You literally nearly do a squat just to get into the thing (by the way I’m about 4ft 1″). Once inside, you’ll notice the seats are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. I’ve seen bucket seats before but never a seat that gives you a hug when you get in. It literally feels like you are in a customised rocket ship about to embark on a space voyage. Every single button you need is within easy reach. Foot on the brake and the push of a button and you start to get the idea that this car isn’t just your standard luxury sports car. Just starting the car created an echo in the Audi basement that forced people to look.
From there I exited the building and very carefully negotiated my way through Waterloo and out on to the long weekend traffic. I gave it a few short bursts in the bumper to bumper traffic but soon realised this car doesn’t belong in the city. Friday night was spent burning through 1/4 tank of petrol in the Eastern Suburbs (and barely getting over 65kmh) and with the Epsom Cup on at Randwick the next day… Sunday would have to be the day I escaped the masses.
Sunday morning rolled around and it felt like Xmas morning (also because it was 28 degrees at 9.30am). After becoming a few hundred dollars lighter the day before (and picking up a decent hangover) I threw my surfboard, wetsuit, boardies, towel and girlfriend in the car and we were off. First stop was the cafe at the Rose Bay ferry terminal. I double parked out the front while girlfriend fetched coffees… Whilst in the cafe she was asked by 2 people what on earth The Versatile Gent was. This car turns heads.
From there we headed south… Kiama via Thirroul to be exact. It was when we reached the highway just south of Sutherland that I truly realised what this car is about. Planting the foot when heading into the 110kmh zone is the same feeling you get on the runway when the plane is about to take off. It throws you back in your seat and you just want to go faster. The sound is not the same sound you’d hear in a HSV or the like, It doesn’t sound like the car is struggling, it sounds like the car is meant to be driven like that. Sound, that is something else that absolutely blew me away.
Bang and Olufsen. I may not know a great deal about cars, but I do know a bit about music. I know that Bang and Olufsen wouldn’t develop a car stereo system that wasn’t the best. The volume only goes up to 25, but at 19 you’re ears start to hurt and your face starts cringing up. The sound is so crisp and clear at both a moderate and loud volume that you kind of forget you are in a supercharged German flying machine. You notice parts in songs that you have never heard before (even songs you have listened to 1000 times). Occasionally you’ll think it was something rattling in the boot or someone has just nicked the back of the car, nope, that’s just a layer on a track that a producer put in that is lost in 99.9% of sound systems.
So after some fun waves at Thirroul we kept on our journey south to Kiama. Each time I enter the freeway, I can’t control my right foot. This car begs to be pushed. Once at kiama, we have some lunch in town and I notice something else. This car is admired by both bogans and the classier folk. I can’t count how many times I saw someone ask their partner what The Versatile Gent is. Either way, it’s very clever and effective marketing.
Monday was spent on the northern beaches and Tuesday I was lucky enough to keep the car for work. Being a sales rep, this was possibly the most memorable day of my career. By 11am I had already had a cracking day of sales and it might sound stupid, but I think the car contributed (honestly). I also think a few clients might start interrogating me over the next few weeks about my salary package.
Heading past the airport on Tuesday afternoon knowing I was about to give this baby up, was severely depressing. One last flurry through the tunnel in dynamic mode and it’s then I consider calling Audi and saying I’m stuck out of town somewhere and won’t be back until tomorrow. My conscience got the best of me however and I turned into Waterloo. The same hipster greeted me when I pulled in and we didn’t really even talk, he could just tell that I’d loved every second of this car. When unpacking my gear from the car, I realised I’d left about 4 cubic metres of sand in the boot and the car was basically filthy. I apologised profusely and the kind folk at Audi didn’t bat an eyelid.
Seriously, enter this competition. I’m not a huge car nut, but I do appreciate when something is built with perfection in mind. This car is exactly that. Thanks the Versatile Gent, I look forward to picking it up again soon (maybe around the Xmas break?… Please?).
Keen to spend a weekend with the #TVGRS4U? Head to over to our Facebook comp and get involved. Next winner will be drawn Wednesday the 15th of October.