I love my a4. I bought it used over a year ago, and haven't had too spend TOO much money fixing it up. Of course, some things have gone wrong, but thanks to a large internet owner's community, you can easily fix many problems yourself if you are willing to learn some DIY. I have never once regretted buying it.
IMO, it is very fun to drive and never gets old. While not a rally car by any means, it has more than enough power to get you where you need much faster than you probably should get there. Overall, mine has been pretty reliable; I fixed the headlight switch myself for less than 10$, and I am getting ready to replace a leaky gasket and a stripped tie rod (both around 100$). The ride is great, the steering feels sharp, and the interior looks brilliant. Or at least it did before the previous owner smashed up the plastic console covers which cost $170 to replace.
It really doesn't get good gas mileage, which works in my favor because it means I can convince my friends with more efficient cars to drive when we are all going somewhere. The headlights are nearly useless (assuming mine are OEM), the engine can be difficult to get around and work on, and the terrible cup holders were clearly designed by people who only drank beer and were therefore not allowed to bring their beverages in cars with them. There is also an annoying whispering sound produced by the A/C (which is quite good), but you get used to it. The car is low, and because the oil pan is located at the bottom of the front of the car, you need to be careful about hitting bumps too hard.
I bought this car with 113k on the clock and it is in great condition. It has 125k on it now and I intend to drive it till 400k if it'll let me. The v6 engine is awesome but know you are not getting any modification potential other than exhaust. Performance chips are worthless for this engine. It corners great for a bigger car and the torque this engine provides makes it great for around town driving. This is my first lux AWD sedan and with the 5spd it is easily my favorite car owned so far. Very sleek exterior and interior. The build quality is top notch and the 2.8 has been extremely reliable as long as you keep up with maintenance. I couldn't have bought a better car.
Quattro: The AWD system is awesom and handles extremely well for a heavier car.
Suspension: The suspension is comfy but also very tight with a small amout of body roll but not as much as expected from a stock luxury sedan. very sporty.
2.8L: The 2.8L is a powerful and efficient engine. It is quick enough and the MPG(US) is averaging 24.5mpg.
Build Quality: The interior build quality is what I love the most. the dash is sleek and doesn't rattle like some of my other economy cars, (1996-1999 jettas)
Performance: The 2.8L engine is not the most powerful thing around and is probably quite heavy. thus the front bias is more than the 1.8T. Lesser handling.
MPG: I get 24.5mpg at 75% highway driving. That is probably the best you can get with this car. It isn't terrible for a v6 with 200hp but it isn't a 4cyl either.
Snotty factor: I love this car to death and bought it with 113k for $3000. the paint is awesome, the car has no problems and it is extremely clean. I can't help but get the feeling people look at me and resent me like my parents gave me this car free. Good and bad I guess.
Maint. cost: The parts cost a premium for Audis. Do the work yourself, nuff said.
I bought my A4 2.8Q brand new. Over 13 years later I couldn't be much happier. It drives like new with over 120k miles on it. It is great fun to drive and I love carving through the mountain snow here in Utah with only all-season tires. I had some front suspension issues until my local mechanic solved what my dealer could not. I have had my brakes done once with that same mechanic for about $600 for all four.
I have replaced all four lower door trim pieces and both heated side view mirrors but no sensor or engine issues. It runs smooth and hard and I love it!
My kids don't like the back seat but that is what the Odyssey is for. I wish I could afford a new one. An all around great car!
All wheel drive that you can over-steer in the wet! Balanced and smooth with well damped suspension.
Lovely interior! Still fresh exterior.
Bought it with 129,000 miles on it. After buying it, spent few grand on regular maintenance (timing belt, fluid flushes, water pump) none of those thing were needed, but I was looking to keep it for long time. Currently has 140,000 miles on it. It has been very reliable for me ever since I bought it. Only thing I had to fix after I bought it, was wheel bearing and valve cover gasket set. I have many after market parts on it such as (performance chip, borla exhaust, itg air filter, etc) the gas mileage has been decent. 18-20 city and 26-31+ highway. Which I think its great for an all wheel drive car. I will drive it till wheels fall off.
turbo, all wheel drive, 5-speed, the look
wish it had more hp, better location for cup holders. 6th gear.
Bought it new 1998. Six V cylinder engine with a manual stick. Fun to drive and a lot of pep, but repairs way too much and suspension design and transmission not worthy of German engineering (mechanical engineer myself). 12 years and average maintenance/repair cost $1,000/year. First the lower suspension arms replaced, twice each side (Audi recall eventually), then new leaky radiator, wheel bearings on three wheels, timing belt and water pump at 90,000 miles, 142,000 miles new clutch ($1,300), control arm upper front, and exhaust pipe clamps (3 times) plus regular maintenance. I think this is my last Audi and I will turn it in
Really fun and quick to drive
Oil filter access without dismounting stupid plastic cover under car with a lot of attachment screws, which will not be put back. The plastic cover will then rattle. Cup holder design ridiculous. Suspension arm design to complicated and too many breakable parts