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
Purchased new; all service done by Audi dealers. Traded at 49,000 miles and $5,700 in non-warranted repairs... 6 instrument panels, 4 batteries, engine computer, climate control computer, catalytic converter, steering rack, cam shaft tensioner seals, stereo, 2 speakers, coolant reservoir, coolant temperature sensor, fuel guage sending unit, turn signal stalk, turn signal flasher, tiptronic switch, passenger-seat bushings, 2 passenger side CV boots, alternator, EGR secondary return pipe.
Car drives very nicely. After 35k, I have a rattle, and the exhaust system is a problem, but the car handles very well. Not quite as fast as I thought it would be, but pretty fast. The dealer, in Cherry Hill, NJ is terrible. Their services department is too small and unresponsive. They can't figure out problems, and they lie about delays in returning the car. My exhaust has never been right. My hood stinks after short drives. They all know it is an exhaust problem, but they can't fix it. As nice as I have been, they have failed to get it right on three visits.
This is an amazing car with handling, power, and all wheel drive packed in an inconscpicuous wagon. My friend just purchased a 2003 Mercedes C240 and it has been back to the shop 4 times in the first 10,000 miles. My A4 2.8 has had minor expected repairs but it has over 90,000. I recommend replacing the timing belt before 50,000 miles, I've only heard nightmares. I also think the water pumps came from Detroit not Germany. Although I will always own an Audi.
I bought my 1998 Audi A4 Avant from a dealer at with 45,000 miles on it coming of a 3 year lease. I have only replaced the front rotors and resurfaced rear with brake new pads. I have 75,000 miles on the car today. Maybe I'm lucky. This is my 4th Audi in 12 years and the only real problem I had were the denso A/C compressors on the 90 series.