Car Review: 2001 Audi A4 Quattro
December 14, 2009, 07:50 AM
I have been driving my 2001 A4 Quattro Avant V6 2.8 for about 4 or 5 months. Overall I think it is a good vehicle. It is my first Audi, and I bought it used for a good price because it is older and higher mileage.
So basically, I am speaking from the perspective of an aging Audi, for potential used car buyers.
Body and interior have several luxury features including an excellent sound system, moon roof, and layout. Complaints here include noisy, cheap-feeling plastics, and electronic glitches. For example, in cold weather, the moon roof will automatically shut on its own if I have it tilted. I open it again, stays open about 5-10min shuts again. If I want to open it, I just have to slide it back instead of tilt. Cup holders, as mentioned in reviews below, are ridiculous. You can only fit something the size of a can in there, and location is not very handy. The electronic display messes up frequently making the information you rely on, such as current mpg, indecipherable. Also the warning system needs some kind of snooze to it. In mine, a water pump in the washer reservoir is cracked, so my fluid is always low. Instead of being able to read radio/stereo info on my dash, I have to watch the fountain animation reminding me to fill my fluid, constantly.
I find the brakes to be a bit lacking, but like most things in this car, it depends on the situation. Stopping distance seems to improve if you are at higher speeds. I think this may related to the engine assisted ABS where, somehow, energy from the engine is transferred to your ABS system. Audis make adjustments for drivers all the time in order to improve performance, but this can be a burden for those of us who expect machines to respond consistently. I highly recommend you put an Audi through all of its paces at test drive to see it it suits you.
Drive train is not too bad. My transmission feels sluggish from a stop, so I will often switch to manual shift to to get moving a little more efficiently. It is wonderful to have that option. If the car is getting older, like mine, it is difficult to diagnose the problem. There is no dipstick to check the current state of your fluid, and a complete fluid change kit with filter runs around $120, not too bad. However handling and power are both really nice, and make this car a great cruiser on trips, or slaloming around corners to get the kids from school. There are also many ways in which this car will leak oil, which is apparently common as they get older, and changing seals can get expensive.
When I bought the car, the blinker relay needed replaced, but it solved the lighting issues that came with the car for only around $35 (replacing it myself). In a non-HID system like mine, the headlights seem a little weak, but replacement bulbs are cheap and easy to find, and aftermarket light kits are everywhere.
Apart from the common leaks and expensive repair costs, the engine seems very sound, and I think that Audi engineers really nailed it. Do not expect good gas mileage in the older Audis (not sure how the new 6 cylinders fair though), but performance is far far better than your common econo-driver.
Exhaust is pretty blah in these cars, no sound, no flash of detail. Designers apparently took an out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude toward the exhaust system. Upgrading one may yield better performance and sound. I'd also guess that emissions on older Audis were not a primary concern, so be careful.
Heat has not worked in this car since I bought it because the engineers designed the heater coil to filter the coolant system. This is really frustrating considering the heater coil lies under all of the dash components and center console, all of this stuff has to get ripped out to replace the coil when it clogs (and it will clog). Most people do a back-flush of their heater coils which should remove the sludge that builds up, but regular replacement of the "lifetime" coolant will probably help prevent the problem in your Audi.
Suspension is above average in these cars, the ride feels great, though a bit noisy. In mine, I discovered a coilover (spring) broke in the rear of the car and the noise was considerable because it threw my shock out of whack. I have talked to mechanics and other owners who say that over time the suspension parts get noisy, and wheel bearings go bad often, causing road noise. Generally, these replacement parts are no more expensive than other cars, and if you find a trustworthy mechanic or do it yourself, replacement shouldn't be too bad either.
I wanted to be as detailed as possible to help you be an informed buyer if interested. I wouldn't recommned an Audi to someone on a very fixed income, or who could not afford to have it serviced regularly.
If you want to own a luxury car to be worry/hassle free while continuing to be an excellent performer, look elsewhere.
In my opinion, Audis are cars made for people who are willing to spend the money needed for regular maintenance and servicing (which will be considerable) in order to keep an excellent performer performing excellently.