Audi A7 long-term test: Hey flatty, zoom zoom!

So one of the lovely skinny tyres on our long-term Audi A7 got screwed last week, extremely very quite literally. How do these things so frequently end up on the road? It's the third time this has happened to me in as many years. Harrumph.
Anyway, here's this season's screw:

But I have a confession to make: the car warned me there was something wrong before I knew about the foreign body in my rubber. I ignored it.

Hitting the ignition one morning, the car bonged loudly and the display panel between the speedo and rev counter proclaimed that there was a pressure issue with the rear offside tyre. "Pffff," I thought, "didn't notice anything when I walked past it just then." Off I drove, like a lazy simpleton.

The subsequent journey involved overtaking a slow moving Vauxhall Vectra on a b-road, then about ten miles of wet motorway. And apart from a feeling that the ride quality had knarled up slightly (which can be easily dismissed), the A7 went about all those things normally. And as quickly as ever.

But then I got out of the car...

Yep, that had happened. Time to change it.

Changing a tyre is, as you'll probably know, a relatively easy but decidedly wearisome task. However, doing it on this occasion was a surprisingly pleasant experience. That's because it highlighted a couple of the type of details that make the A7 more enjoyable than the average car.

On some other occasions I've changed a tyre I've struggled to find a specific place to position the jack (albeit each time with the car stranded on a muddy roadside), leading to a fear throughout the process that at any moment it could give way and, worst case scenario, make me dead. Or at least minus my head for a while. On the A7, however, the jack arm very obviously rests in this particular slot:

The plastic wheel bag (top and bottom pictures) is a nice touch too, keeping the boot clean after the job and doubling up as a handy floor mat during. These might be common on all Audis (you tell me, Audi owners...) but they did make changing the A7's tyre swift, clean and, thus, moderately enjoyable.

What was not enjoyable, however, was driving home with the speed-stifling space saver on...

The original tyre does appear fixable (generally, a puncture in the middle 3/4 area of the contact patch can be sealed), but I haven't bothered sorting it out because a change of rims is inevitable...winter wheels are happening this week.

Yes, yes, I know it's really late to do that, but after sliding down a hill recently it's better late than never - and it'll keep raining at least for a while yet. Report to follow...

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