Used Audi A4 review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Audi A4 covering the A4 Mk2 (2000-2007) and A4 Mk3 (2008-2015)

Audi A4 Mk2

When it comes to discreet efficiency, few cars can rival the Audi A4. Whether you want a saloon, estate or a cabrio­let, it’s more than up to the job. 

The A4 is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a classy and luxurious compact executive machine. It’s seriously capable – especially when equipped with Audi’s famed quattro four-wheel-drive transmission. 

Strong residual values mean it’s hard to find a bargain, but the A4 is better value used than its Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3-Series rivals.

History

The second-generation A4 was launched in December 2000 as a saloon. The Avant estate followed in July 2001, coinciding with the first 2.4-litre petrol and 2.5 TDI diesel engines. In May 2001, 100bhp and 115bhp versions of the 1.9 TDI joined the existing 130bhp model. A 2.0-litre FSI petrol arrived in July 2002.

The big news was a major facelift in September 2004, which included fresh front and rear styling, plus additional engines. These comprised the 2.0T and 3.2 V6 petrol units, plus 2.0 and 3.0 TDI diesels. Within a month, the V8-powered S4 was on sale, and by April 2005 the rapid RS4 arrived. In February 2006, a 2.7 TDI V6 diesel came along and from May of the same year, a 168bhp 2.0 TDI was available.

Audi A4 Mk2 reviews

Audi A4 reviewAudi A4 2.0 FSI reviewAudi A4 2.0 FSI DTM Edition reviewAudi A4 2.5 TDI reviewAudi A4 long-term test review

What to look for:

Cambelt

If you are buying a 2.5 TDI or 2.0 petrol model which has had a new cambelt fitted.

Water pump

Make sure that the water pump was also replaced – if it wasn’t and the existing unit fails, the engine could be wrecked.

Running costs

Both the S4 and RS4 variants are very quick, but check that you can afford the running costs before buying. Service, fuel and insurance premiums are all certain to be high.

Fabric roof

If you are thinking of going for an A4 Cabriolet, take a look at the state of the fabric roof, because even the slightest damage can be very costly for a trimmer to put right. Ensure, too, that the frame is in good condition, as replacing a damaged one will be expensive.

Alternatives to the Audi A4 Mk2

The BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class are the A4’s main competitors. They’re both worth a look, but neither offers quite as much value for money. A less obvious rival is the Lexus IS, or for something cheaper, try the Volkswagen Passat. The Jaguar X-Type is another option. It is good to drive and more affordable – and, just like the Audi, comes in four-wheel-drive guise.

Verdict

If you want a premium car but don’t want to shout about it, the A4 is for you. There’s something for everyone, with a huge choice of engines, transmissions, trims and bodystyles.

Thanks to booming fleet sales, there will always be plenty of used A4s to go round, too. Later facelifted models command a premium over the earlier cars (pictured), but both make solid second-hand buys.

Have you ever bought a used Audi A4? Tell us about it in the comments section below...

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