The Audi A4 debuted in 1995. It shared a platform with the Volkswagen Passat but had a higher-end interior and exterior than its sister car. Over the years, it has received several redesigns and upgrades, including better engines and more entertainment features. As a result, the A4 is now one of the best compacts on the market, competing against cars like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C Class.
Many people buy used Audis because they're cheaper and don't want to pay the brand-new price, especially compact sedans like the Audi A4. The best luxury compact sedans ever made, these cars offer power, style, and high-tech features. That's why they are very popular on the used market, but with so many Audi A4 models to choose from, which one is right for you?
If you're looking for a used Audi A4 or have found one, this guide should help you to decide which year is best.
10 Best Years for Audi A4
By Least Complaints:
2019 - 0
2018 - 0
2021 - 0
2022 - 0
1998 - 0
2020 - 1
2001 - 1
2015 - 2
2016 - 3
1997 - 3
Best Value for Money: 2018-2019
According to Audi diehards and enthusiasts, the best year for a used Audi A4 is the 2001 model. This is because this model was the final year of the original B5 production line, which gives it all of the unique features of the first-generation model but with a bit of an attractive facelift. In particular, this model has the 1.9-liter turbo-diesel engine—which is widely regarded as one of the most durable and long-lasting engines Audi has ever made.
However, the high mileage of most 2001 Audi A4s could be off-putting. If that's the case, the A4 from 2018 to 2021 gets high marks for reliability, style, power, and safety, making it a great alternative if you want something newer or more modern.
For used cars, what's the difference between years?
Essentially, newer models have more advanced electronics, more refined interiors, and other small improvements. What this means is with a new model, you'll have greater peace of mind that you're spending your money on a car with fewer mechanical flaws.
For example: When you're looking to buy a used luxury car like an Audi A4 2012-2015, there are several factors to consider. One of these factors is how many years the car has been on the road. Over time, even with proper maintenance and care from the previous owner, cars will accumulate miles. This can affect the car's performance and precious parts that might need replacing down the road, such as the brakes or the tires. For this reason, selecting a model with low mileage can be an important decision for any used luxury car buyer.
Because the 2022 model hasn't been out long enough to gather much data on owner-reported problems, this is only a predicted reliability score based on the previous three model years.
10 Worst Years for Audi A4
By Least Complaints:
2009 - 35
2011 - 31
2013 - 22
2008 - 20
2010 - 19
2006 - 18
2017 - 18
2007 - 13
2012 - 13
2014 - 12
Should Avoid Buying: 2008-2011
The worst model year for the Audi A4 was 2011. This model year of the Audi A4 experienced a variety of mechanical difficulties and failures, with the majority of them coming from the engine. The most prevalent complaint about the 2011 Audi A4 was that it was not at all fuel-efficient and routinely ate up gas. This may not be a life-threatening situation, but over time can be one of the more expensive.
Not only does this imply that the 2011 A4's owner will have to refill their tank more frequently, but it also means that if the owner decides to remedy the problem permanently, it will cost more. With many owners choosing to replace the engine altogether, the average cost for this repair was well over $5,000. While the 2011 model year is often considered the worst overall model year, the 2009 model year beats it out for total complaints recorded.
Despite having the most overall complaints in 2009 A4, the average cost of repairs was actually lower than the 2011 year. That's because many 2011 A4 owners chose to replace their engines entirely, which bumped up the average repair cost.
In general, the Audi A4 model years between 2008 and 2011 routinely received several complaints, the majority of which were related to the vehicle's oil consumption and poor engine performance. All of these issues with high oil usage occurred around the same mileage total mileage and were costly to repair. On average, these vehicles started seeing significant performance drops around just 60,000 miles, but the model years following this span were improved.
All in all, we feel that the 2018-2019 Audi A4 is the ideal choice for those looking to purchase a used model. While the price might be a concern for some, you'll find that most models can be had for well under $25,000 if you look hard enough. They look, drive, and perform almost like new but with a noticeable drop in price. So for us, it's an easy choice as we feel it's the best deal for your buck.