It's all fun 'n games, until catastrophe happens..
written on 09-02-2015
I have an '08 A4 Quattro 6MT Special Edition S-line. I bought it as a CPO car in 2011 with 36k miles. The car is absolutely sublime to drive in every way, even with the firm suspension. The first year I owned it, I put over 25k miles commuting 100mi each way for work, across a mountain range. The traction control and AWD have literally saved my life twice hitting black ice on a bend in the highway. Very little issues with the car; cruise control module went out, covered under warranty; ignition switch died last year out of warranty, $160 total (cheap). Then one day, accelerating onto the interstate, the engine shut down leaving me just enough momentum to coast over to the shoulder (on a massive bridge, no less). After having it inspected and diagnosed at the dealer, it turns out a high pressure fuel pump exploded, literally. It blew metal shrapnel into the engine destroying the block and fuel system. A piece(s) of shrapnel severed the intake cam chain, seizing the cam and destroying most of the remainder of the engine. The engine is damaged beyond repair and has to be replaced, to the tune of over $7500! Audi has generously offered to cover 25% up front, but I am currently working with Audi of America to see if they can extend that courtesy a bit more. At this point, I haven't decide if I'm going to keep the car after all this or just dump it. Either way, I'm out as much as $6k on a car only worth $11k...
If you want a car that is nearly perfect to drive, this is the one. Specifically the 2008 owing to it's having the new AWD system (which is MUCH better than the old Haldex system). That said, I'd have some kind of extended warranty, service agreement, and/or a whopping fistful of expendable greenbacks.
I purchased this car used with about 1 year left on the original warranty. I had a couple minor problems, but Audi's service is fantastic. However, after the warranty ended I began experiencing problems every 3-4 months. These included spark plugs going bad, problems with water getting into the intake, the fuel pump going bad, problems with the brake light switch, and more. These also included my car being stuck in the shop for multiple days very long costly repairs. Overall, the car is fun to drive, but be prepared for a lot of costly repairs down the road.
Purchased this car in 2014 after my 2006 A3 2.0T was totaled by a hit-and-run driver. The 2008 A4 had 28K miles from a warm-weather state and was a one-owner car from a vacation home - well cared for with full service records based on time, not mileage. I would have preferred Quattro, but the price and mileage were hard to beat. I should have listened to my instincts. Vastly different character than the A3... this A4 feels like a luxury car without any sporting pretense. The CVT transmission is horrendous - slow to respond in standard mode, jerky engagement from dead stop... in Sport mode, it holds RPMs far too long at low speeds before initially "upshifting." Engine vibration is far more apparent than it should be for any luxury vehicle - the same engine in the A3 was less prone to vibration. Brakes on the A4 are less direct, more difficult to modulate and with longer pedal travel than the A3 - might be fixed with stainless steel brake lines. Steering is much lighter and less dynamic as well; same with the suspension which is calibrated for a compliant, soft ride over handling - lacking the balance of a BMW 3-series. Lastly, the climate control is noticeably less accurate than the A3... the interior temp seems to be about 5 degrees higher than the set point during all seasons. Might be a faulty part or just the nature of the system - hard to tell and not worth tearing apart the climate controls to find out. On the good side, the car is indeed comfortable as a highway cruiser. The interior materials are top notch. The trunk seriously swallows more cargo than my wife's Ford Escape. Instruments are legible and direct. For the price paid, the car came well optioned for a 2008 model - although bewildering that certain features now standard on mid-level cars (like heated seats, Bluetooth and USB/AUX inputs) were nowhere to be found on my A4. It's a handsome car that will serve as a good family hauler for a couple of years - a car that I wouldn't be ashamed to take clients between point A and B. Lesson learned though - it's not a driver's car in the same way a 3-series might be. No major mechanical issues so far (knock on wood)... replaced post-purchase: an A/C diverter valve, the engine thermostat and the window lock switch. Not bad for a mid-2000s Audi. Overall, I'm not sure I would buy the A4 in this configuration again... at this price point for a used vehicle, there are more competent sport sedans and more reliable family sedans that cost less to operate.
The car is fantastic, extremely fast, it only has two flaws. One, in deep snow the car is too low so although it maintains excellent traction, snow builds up underneath so it can't go through more than 8-10" of snow. Two, the back covers on fronts seats, glue gave out over time.
Bought 2008 Audi A4 2.0T AWD with 29K miles to replace a 2003 3-series that was starting to nickle and dime me to death; the moonroof breaking and soggy floors (from the doors not moon roof) was the last straw. Bottom line is I appreciate the A4, but it lacks the getup and go of the 3-series, granted the 325xi BMW was a 3.0L-5 speed manual. I commute about 70 mi. per day mostly on the interstate, the A4 with sport suspension gives a decent ride and is extremely comfortable for a 35 minute commute with an aver. 24.7 MPG but it lags substantually off the line until you get to about 2500+ RPM, however, at hyway speeds it kicks into passing mode just fine and you'll be going 90 before you know it. I've driven it 6500 miles and haven't had any maintenance issues yet however I've broken the latch to the storage area in the armrest and broke the hook that holds the sun visor. I've read these are common complaints; I don't think I've been overly 'hard' on it. The A4 has been good for me by softening my somewhat agressive driving style. If your looking for a nice comfortable ride with some sportiness the A4 is right up your alley.