Used 1998 Audi A4 Sedan

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1998 Audi A4
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1998 Audi A4

Pros

  • Gutsy new V6 engine. Comfortable interior. Great handling. Stellar design. Optional all-wheel drive. Optional Tiptronic automanual transmission.

Cons

  • Small back seat. Useless cupholders.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Buy this car. Audi's A4 is sleek, sophisticated and speedy, and has won praise worldwide from the automotive media. Small but safe, the A4 scored best in its class in the 35-mph offset crash tests performed in Europe, and performed brilliantly in stateside crash testing. For U.S. buyers, this translates into a competent and crashworthy alternative to the BMW 3-Series, Acura TL-Series and Volvo 850, among others.

For 1998, three versions will be available: the 1.8T, the 2.8 and the 2.8 Avant. A 2.8-liter V6 engine putting 190 horsepower through the front wheels powers the 2.8 models. The less expensive 1.8T, which features a turbocharged 20-valve inline four-cylinder engine good for 150 horsepower, is available in the same configurations as the 2.8; front- or all-wheel drive with a five-speed manual transmission or an automatic.

The A4 features a multi-link front suspension that virtually eliminates torque steer, according to Audi. We've tried a front driver and their claims have been substantiated. Quattro all-wheel drive continues as a stand-alone option, reasonably priced at $1,650. Dual front airbags, side-impact airbags mounted in the front seats and antilock brakes come standard. Purchase an A4 and enjoy free maintenance for three years and 50,000 miles.

Audi's 1.8T model features alloy wheels, a unique Sport package and a base price starting in the low 20s. Standard equipment on the more expensive 2.8 includes a more powerful V6 engine, wood trim and fog lights. The 2.8's eight-way power driver's seat with lumbar support is exceptionally comfortable. Leather upholstery is available only on the 2.8. A theft alarm keeps thieves from making off with the radio or anything else left in an unattended car. All-new for 1998 is the 2.8 Avant, a sportswagon version of the A4 that should compete well with loaded Subaru Legacy Outback models when equipped with quattro all-wheel drive.

A short options list reveals that almost everything you need comes standard on the A4. With prices starting near $24,000, this means that you can get a status car that is comfortable, well-equipped and costs less than it does to send your kid to college. We think that Audi has a winner with the A4: the affordable 1.8T, much-improved 2.8, and new 2.8 Avant will do nothing but enhance Audi's image with near-luxury buyers.

1998 Highlights

The 2.8 sedan gets a valve job resulting in 18 more horsepower and additional torque. Side-impact airbags are standard, as is traction control. Opt for the automatic and you'll get the same Tiptronic technology that allows Biff to manually shift Buffy's 911 Cabriolet. A new station wagon called Avant debuts, while the A4 1.8T gets new wheels, a sport package and an ambient temperature gauge. New colors and stereo improvements round out the changes for 1998.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Audi A4.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

2.8l Quattro
theburchyfeel,08/04/2013
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.
Sweet and solid 2.8 5 speed
LJT 992,09/11/2009
I have read reviews about expenses. One person spent 3,000 on brakes, tires and rear wheel bearings, try finding a honest local repair shop. Max on that bill should be 750. Tires and brakes are consumables. I had two upper control arms put in at a total cost of 140, big whup! I have read reviews on Hondas and Toyotas and people complain about them. Make sure you know a local repair shop that works on these and the bills will only be slightly higher than the bland accord Camry domestic cars. This is a car that you smile in as you drive. If you are looking for a grocery car then buy something else b/c this is meant for a driving enthusiast not Gramma. Drink holders stink, who cares ur driving not eating.
Tons of fun!
inmyblood,01/21/2011
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!
Own two A4's
squidward,06/15/2004
I have two of these cars - a 98 Turbo FWD and a 99 Turbo Quattro. Most of the people on this site who have rated these cars are idiots - comparing apples to oranges. Yes, if you have Quattro it is goin to be sluggish in first and second. AWD robs power, you fools. Don't compare it to a FWD Japanese car. Yes, your car is going to need new tires and timing belt at 60,000 miles. Stuff wears out, suck it up. No, it is not more expensive to fix than a Japanese car - I have found it to be cheaper.
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Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
20 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
150 hp @ 5700 rpm
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
19 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
150 hp @ 5700 rpm
See all Used 1998 Audi A4 Sedan features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1998 Audi A4
More About This Model

The glowing orange sun slipped demurely behind the edge of the mountain range as we climbed higher and higher along the winding highway, classical music transforming the quiet interior of our test car into a mini-ampitheater. It was surreal; all we needed was a bottle of wine chilling in the backseat and a chauffeur. Except then someone else would get all the fun of driving this sporty little gem into the mountains. Nope. Nix the chauffeur.

Everything had been taken care of for our getaway ski trip: bags were packed, cat was fed, gas tank was full and skis were piled neatly in the back of the Audi A4 Avant Wagon we had snagged for our weekend in the mountains. We were off to the Summit. Summit County, that is.

My husband had been as excited as a little boy on Christmas morning when I told him about getting the Audi for our trip. And after laying eyes on the good-looking wagon (in this case, that is not a contradiction in terms), he was awe-struck. Once we were settled inside the Audi, he proceeded to push every button and flip every switch in sight. Accomplishing this within the first ten minutes of our journey, he then leaned back in the heated leather seats for a two-hour drive. Suddenly, in the midst of the serenity, an annoying high-pitched buzz started to sound. It gave us three insistent beeps, then silenced itself. Three minutes later, it happened again. And again, and again and again. Darkness now cloaked the vista, the radio was silenced and both of us were testing every button and gauge in the car trying to get the damn beeping to stop. Nothing was working. Desperate, we rummaged through the glove compartment for the owner’s manual, eagerly opened to the table of contents and discovered that the entire thing was written in German.

My husband immediately handed the book over to me, assuming I could decipher the manual. Having lived in Austria for half a year, I squinted, trying to make sense of the familiar language, but my experience was unfortunately limited to interactions with store and restaurant owners and small talk with my host family. Apparently, my Deutsch teacher had failed to teach us the finer points of automotive terminology. So, back into the glove compartment went the book. Thankfully, our poking around finally confused the trip computer enough to get the buzzing to stop, and we continued on our way.

Night had fallen hard on Summit County when we cruised smoothly through the Victorian-esque ski town of Breckenridge, Colo. Hitting the trip meter as we passed the Blue Moose Restaurant, we proceeded to drive 4.2 miles down the road to Blue River, where our turnoff was supposed to be. After passing 5.5 on the trip meter, we turned around and headed back to a nearby gas station, which, interestingly, didn’t stock a street map of the city in which it was located. (This still makes no sense to me.) Anyway, halfway back down the same road, we figured out the problem: the gauge was in kilometers instead of miles per hour. Doh! German car, the metric system, yada yada. After six or seven kilometers, we found our turnoff and parked our very stylish light blue test car in front of the wood-sided home. Boy, it looked good in the mountains.

Later that evening, on our way into town to meet friends, we noticed something else: everything on the wagon was written in German, including the cruise control labels that read aufn/ein/aus. Driving on the highway was interesting when we had no idea how fast we were actually going. We quickly figured out that slowing down to 100 kilometers per hour when passing police cars was sufficient to avoid getting pulled over.

I found out later that the car was being shipped back to Germany after our trip and was just in America on vacation. By the end of our vacation, my husband and I had talked ourselves into needing an Audi A4 Avant. It proved to be a fantastic car, with more than enough power thanks to its 2.8-liter V6 engine. It tackled the 10,000-plus-foot altitude better than any sport-utility vehicle I’ve ever driven. Making 190 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 207 foot-pounds of torque at a low 3200 rpm, the all-wheel drive wagon climbed steep, backcountry mountain roads without a hint of effort.

But it was more than just a workhorse; the A4 Avant handled like anything but a wagon. Driving down pothole-ridden I-25 in Denver, I literally found myself looking at the corroded asphalt and wondering why I couldn’t feel any of the bumps. It was a hoot to swing fast around corners and easy to park in ski lots chock-full of SUVs. Not only that, but it held three passengers and five pairs of ski boots, skis and gear loaded in the back with no problem. When we accidentally discovered the First Aid kit and ski sack stuffed in the backseat fold-down center armrest, our accolades tripled. A car that crunches rocks (almost) as well as a sport-ute, handles the twisties like a sports car, holds (almost) as much gear as a minivan and comes with extras like a First Aid kit and a ski bag to keep the inside of the car clean? It seemed too good to be true, and I secretly wondered what the catch was.

Perhaps it was a death trap? No, the Avant came standard with dual front airbags, side-impact airbags mounted in the front seats and antilock brakes. No one was going to fly through the window in this tank. The car, zippy as it was, still felt solid and substantial and the doors and hood closed with an appeasing thunk. In the evening, twisting the windshield wiper spray button caused even the front headlamps to get their own burst of washer fluid squirted on them for better visibility. The front seats slid up and down for a more commanding view and the telescoping steering wheel offered the perfect individualized fit for any size driver. Safety had definitely been a priority.

There were, however, some complaints. The climate and radio control panels had so many buttons that figuring them out gave me a headache and the trip computer, nice as it was, provided more information than I really wanted to know. For instance, the digital display behind the steering wheel specified the radio station call letters AND tuning numbers. And we never did figure out what that beeping alarm was for.

One backseat rider thought the front seat headrests were so large and the back seats were so low that his field of view was limited. He also complained that the rear windows only went down three quarters of the way, which could be a positive safety feature if you’ve got a few little ones snuggled in the backseat. And despite the great visibility everywhere else, the rear window wiper/washer consistently smudged up the view out the back.

In its trend-setting way, Audi offered a few innovative gadgets on the A4 Avant as well as traditional luxuries. The cupholders were simply two plastic flaps that popped out of the center console to hold a cup in place. One friend scoffed when he saw it, contending that they would never hold a can steady. Upon testing it out, however, we found it worked quite well. The automatic sunroof dial was an interesting idea, but required a little too much concentration to control. In an effort to avoid quick, out-of-control starts with the peppy engine and smooth five-speed manual transmission, the A4 Avant’s clutch had to be almost completely released before acceleration would kick in. The cigarette lighter didn’t accommodate our cellular phone plug and the vanity mirrors needed lights.

Despite this, none of these complaints caused enough bother to ruin the overall greatness of the car. When one editor first got into the car, he thought the seats felt too low, the car felt too heavy, the clutch felt too stiff and the brakes felt too grabby. Yet by the end of his test loop, all he could say was the Audi felt too perfect.

As a shorter staff member, I appreciated the low roof height, which would’ve allowed me to reach across the entire top when hand washing the vehicle and to load bikes, skis or a car-top carrier onto the roof rack without assistance from a taller being.

Other amenities available on the vehicle include a retractable rear luggage cover, luggage net, standard center headrest and a remote rear deck lid release. Although the standard sound system on our test vehicle was more than adequate, you can option out for a Bose eight-speaker, 150-watt sound system with five-channel amplifier and a six-disc CD changer. I know, I know. It still seems too good to be true, but it gets even better.

Audi’s standard warranties include bumper to bumper coverage, free scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for three years or 50,000 miles. All this is available for a base price of only … aha, here’s the catch I was looking for … $31,540 including destination charge.

Well, it’s a bit steep, but the A4 Avant wagon does offer luxury, safety and road prowess for the money. Still, we’re wondering what’s going to happen later this year when the VW Passat wagon, with its nearly identical powertrain, arrives in showrooms with a lower price tag slapped on its window?

I guess we’ll just have to take it to the Summit in order to find out …

Used 1998 Audi A4 Sedan Overview

The Used 1998 Audi A4 Sedan is offered in the following styles: 2.8 4dr Sedan, 1.8T 4dr Sedan, 1.8T quattro 4dr Sedan AWD, and 2.8 quattro 4dr Sedan AWD.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Audi A4 Sedan?

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Find a used Audi A4 for sale - 3 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $24,784.

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Should I lease or buy a 1998 Audi A4?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Audi lease specials
Check out Audi A4 lease specials