Engine hesitates & lacks power on 1996 Audi A4

From standstill when I floor the gas pedal the engine pauses, with an almost complete lack of power, which results in the car hardly moving. I need to raise the engine speed by pressing the clutch back in again or nothing happens. If I drive away from rest slowly however, there doesn't seem to be a problem. If however I'm driving along in 4th gear at say 30mph and accelerate, there is little response and I need to drop into 3rd. I also need 3rd to climb even the mildest slope of a hill. The engine idles erratically and seems very noisy at idle - sounds like its a diesel when it's a 1.8 20v petrol. Driving at 70mph in 5th, no problems. Please help!

by in Beverly Hills, CA on February 23, 2010
2 answers 2 comments
ANSWER by on February 23, 2010
There's not a lot we can do for you except give you some advise, and that would be to check the diagnostic trouble codes and post them, then we could perhaps give you some info. Other than that this vehicle needs to be inspected by an experienced mechanic so they can run a few tests to see what is going on with your A4.
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COMMENT by on February 24, 2010
@some guy - anyone asking a question has to enter a zip code or city name in the U.S. and people from outside the U.S. will often pick Beverly Hills, or Washington D.C. as their address. What gives it away to me is when they use "Petrol" and "Kilometers".
ANSWER by on February 23, 2010
a 96 a4 "t" vin year with a 1.8??? its not a US car then? by your description i would be looking for a loss of boost like a leaking intercooler, loose hoses or stuff like that. any fault codes like pressure deviation, lean and rich? try to listen for a hiss under boost that sounds like air escaping.
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COMMENT by on February 24, 2010
@bretb, thanks for the tip. i did'nt know that. WOW you diagnosed that from the word "petrol"....your good. (just kiddin')