AUDI A4 2008 – 2018

2008 Audi A4 Avant

2008 Audi A4 Avant

A major player in the trio of prestigious German cars Audi has become increasingly strong in its public image in Australia in the last decade or so.

The Audi A4 is a midrange model that’s sold as a sedan, a two-door cabriolet and an Avant station wagon. A further variation is the A4 allroad quattro. Based on the Avant it has increased ground clearance, as well as added body and underbody protection.

While the shape of the A4 was nothing to get excited about in early years, it leapt forward in the style stakes with the introduction of an upgrade that saw the use of the ‘single-frame grille’ in the B7 series from 2005.

Interior design is a longtime hallmark of the Audi marque and the A4 has the sort of quality you normally associate only with top-grade furniture.

Most Audi A4s are unusual in this class in having front-wheel drive. However, many of the high-performance versions use Audi’s ‘quattro’ all-wheel-drive system for improved handling and acceleration.

2014 Audi A4 sedan

2014 Audi A4 sedan

Space efficiency isn’t as good as you would anticipate from a front-drive car, because the engine is set a fair way back. The rear seats may not be suited to large adults if the front seats are set well back. Later models are better than the original ones – the B8 series arrived here in April 2008 and is larger in all dimensions than its predecessors. However, it’s still best to try the rear seat area during your personal pre-purchase road test.

The Audi A4, B9 series, was launched Downunder in stages from February 2016 and has been selling well, though like many in it just about every vehicle class it tends to be overshadowed by the SUVs in Audi’s range.

The B9 series is larger in every important dimension, particularly in interior space, but is lighter as it’s built on the MLB platform. It also has even more aluminium components than in previous models. It’s well worth buying a B9 rather than a B8 if your budget is up to it

These mid-sized Audis are sold in a bewildering range of engines, with four, six or eight cylinders, fuelled by either petrol or diesel. Naturally all the diesels are turbocharged, but an increasing number of petrol engines also get force feeding. The turbos are generally there to reduce fuel consumption, but some sporting turbo variants are set up to squeeze a lot of extra power out of the engine.

2016 Audi A4 Avant

2016 Audi A4 Avant

Automatic transmissions come as conventional torque-convertor units, as well as double-clutch and continuously variable (CVT) S tronic systems.

Audi was an early adopter of tiptronic automatics, with the driver able to use manual-type overrides when they felt the computer had got it wrong.

The front-heavy mechanical layout makes for more understeer than we like in early models, but Audi answered criticisms over the years and later models are better balanced. That’s due mainly because of suspension changes, but also due to electronic assistance braking individual wheels as required.

Insurance costs for the Audi A4 are often higher than average, even more so for the full-on sports variants. Young and/or inexperienced drivers can attract savage premiums.

These Audis are complex machines and the amateur mechanic shouldn’t attempt anything more than the most basic servicing. Audi’s Australian dealer network is well established, though relatively limited.

We have heard of no real complaints of parts availability or pricing. Naturally some unusual spare parts may have to be ordered in, perhaps from Germany, but this shouldn’t take more than a few business days.

The Audi S4 and RS4 are sports variants of the A4, though considerably more expensive. They feature significantly more engine performance, revised suspension, steering and braking systems.

You may also care to look at the Audi A5 range of sporty, coupe-like models that share many mechanical components with the A4.

Interiors feature quality materials and are built to a very high standard. Unless treated badly they should still be in good condition even when the Audi is many years old.

An engine that has done a lot of work or which hasn’t been serviced correctly may prove difficult to start and blow smoke from the exhaust when accelerated hard. Get a professional’s opinion if there’s even the slightest doubt as repairs aren’t cheap.

If an A4 high-performance turbo engine has a high pitched whining sound it may have been thrashed. Again, be very wary.

Automatics had problems in some earlier A4s. Check that all gear changes are smooth and quiet and that the transmission doesn’t change up or down unnecessarily. The Australian importer usually fixed cars under warranty, even outside the normal warranty period.

Manual gearboxes are generally trouble free. Make fast third-to-second downchanges and listen and feel for crunching.

Audis have exceptional corrosion protection and are unlikely to ever give trouble. It’s still wise to have a good look over the car in case it has been incorrectly repaired after a crash.

Expect to pay from $7000 to $11,000 for a 2008 Audi A4 2.0; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2008 2.0 quattro Avant or a 2011 TDI Avant; $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2010 3.2 quattro sedan; $22,000 to $30,000 for a 2013 3.0 TDI Quattro; $29,000 to $40,000 for a 2014 3.0 quattro; $33,000 to $45,000 for a 2016 2.0 quattro Sport; and $41,000 to $54,000 for a 2017 2.0 quattro Avant.

Moving up socially in the automotive scene? Excellent, but be aware everything – servicing, spares, insurance and more – all cost extra.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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