Audi is the luxury brand arm of the VW auto group.
Audi cars are a fine example of German engineering and the company has strived to make vehicles that are luxurious, fast and fun to drive. Since the late 1990s, with the introduction of the A4, their sales have grown enormously and Audis have become more common. Prior to this time they were a more unique brand, almost like Saab. Because of their limited ownership and somewhat complexity, new cars depreciated precipitously and they made for some fantastic, inexpensive luxury car buys. All wheel drive was featured in Audi cars long before many other brands offered it. Lower-end Audi’s often share common drivetrains with higher-end Volkswagens (the A4 and Passat are examples).
While their modern engineering is state of the art some older Audis incorporated some very strange features such as inboard front disc brakes. Rear inboard disc brakes were a Jaguar legend for many years, and while complicated to service on the rear, they are simplicity when compared to the same arrangement under the hood (as featured on the Audi 100). Needless to say, as Audi evolved, this difficult to service item was eliminated and the brakes were moved out to the wheel where they should be.
Servicing modern Audis can be expensive and this is in fact one of the causes for their high depreciation. Overall they are well-built and reliable cars.
One common concern that we find are engine oil leaks and these can be costly to repair especially on the V6 models. Water pump failures due to plastic impellers also occur as they do with BMW, VW and Jaguar. Timing belt replacement is required between 100,000 & 150,000 kilometers on most engines.
Much of the cost of Audi repairs can be attributed to the construction of the car. Under the hood of that beautifully sculpted body sits a drivetrain that is packed in very tightly with millimeters of air space. As an example, to replace the starter on an S4 the front bumper must be moved into its service position (partially unbolted and moved forward) then the alternator is removed and from there this allows enough room to slide the starter out of the front of the engine compartment. Around the starter there is a couple of millimeters of clearance. Brilliant engineering but expensive to fix!
We owe one modern safety feature to Audi and that is the park lock on automatic transmission vehicles. This is the feature that requires you to press on the brake before shifting out of park. It came as a result of some Audi 5000s that were allegedly suddenly accelerating when the driver shifted into drive.
Though the cause of this concern was never found, and Audi blamed the drivers, they did introduce this feature and it was soon incorporated into all vehicles.