Audi is one of the most popular German luxury car brands. But there is a mixed bag of reviews over the internet, when it comes to how good Audi cars are.
This article explains all the pros and cons of Audi cars in detail and answers all your queries related to them.
Audi does make some great cars, those are especially known for their luxurious cabins, advanced technology, performance-packed engines, and athletic dynamics. But, over the years, there has been a big question about Audi’s reliability. However, in 2021, Audi cars have been considerably improved over their predecessors. Plus, Audi constantly holds its spot on the list of the safest cars.
1. Luxury and Technology
When it comes to Audi, their cars not just expand the boundaries of innovation in the automotive sector, but also furthers the horizons for science and technology. Audi cars like the A8 are an epitome of state-of-the-art technology and supreme luxury.
Audi crafts one of the most exquisite interiors on their cars, and packs in some of the best-in-segment features. Only the finest of materials are used inside the cabin, which is extremely spacious as well as comfortable. Furthermore, the spot-on suspension setup on the Audi cars, makes the ride even more comfortable.
The Audi A8 comes with an extensive list of high-tech equipment and passenger comfort features. The most important ones include:
- Level three autonomous driving assistance
- Self park
- Rear wheel steering
- Remote parking through mobile phone
- Automatic Laser Headlights
- 360-degree parking camera assist
- Twin infotainment touch screens
- Virtual cockpit
- Adaptive air suspension
- Powered massage seats with heating and ventilation function
- Four-zone climate control
Also read: 3 Best Audi for First Car (+Models to Avoid)
Multiple websites have rated Audi cars as one of the most rustproof brands. This is a huge advantage for Audi owners, as they don’t need to worry about rust on their cars. Audi uses supreme quality of paint on their vehicles, and sturdy metal body panels that are galvanized properly. Very few Audi vehicles face issues of paint chipping away, and the body being corroded or rusted.
3. Driving Pleasure
Audi produces one of the most powerful, athletic, and fun-to-drive vehicles, especially the sports lineup. The cars have very powerful V6, and V8 engines on board. Special mention to the 610 hp naturally aspirated V10 on the R8, which is a madhouse of an engine, providing incredible acceleration and top speed.
And when you combine all that power with the Audi’s legendary Quattro all wheel drive system, you get loads of stability and traction. Plus, those vehicles have the ever-so-dynamic chassis and precise handling to give you a great deal of driving pleasure.
I found the following Audi models as the most entertaining to drive:
- Audi TT RS
- Audi R8
- Audi RS Q8
- Audi RS7
- Audi RS6
- Audi RS5 Sportback
- Audi S8
- Audi S7
- Audi S6
- Audi S5 Sportback
- Audi A5 Sportback
Audi cars are one of the safest vehicles on the road. In the latest 2021 list of the safest vehicles on road presented by NHTSA, multiple Audi models secured a strong spot in that list. All these vehicles are built on a safe and stable body structure and come equipped with multiple advanced safety features, resultantly, scoring a 5-star rating in the NHTSA crash tests.
Let’s have a look at the Audi models that got featured in the 2021 NHTSA’s top safety pick plus:
Midsize luxury cars
- Audi A4
- Audi A5 Sportback
Large Luxury cars
- Audi A6 AllRoad
- Audi A6
- Audi A7
- Audi E-Tron
- Audi Q8
Despite being a luxury car brand, Audis hold their value pretty well. Audi is certainly one of the top car brands in value retention among the luxury vehicles segment.
According to Car Edge, on average, Audi vehicles depreciate close to 19.27% in the first year or have a resale value of 80.73%. The depreciation rate continues at 24.92% in the second year, 34.80% in the third, 40.89% in the fourth, and 49.33% in the fifth year.
This rate, of course, varies from models to models in the Audi lineup. Surprisingly, it’s the sportier S and R range of Cars that depreciate less than the A lineup of vehicles.
Generally, sports models such as the S5, S4, TT, R8 suffer lesser depreciation, while the A models such as A4, A6, and A8 find themselves at the contrasting side of the spectrum. Meanwhile, the Audi Q series of SUVs like the Q7, and the Q5 falls somewhere in the middle. The Audi A8 is currently one of the biggest liabilities that you can invest in, as it holds just around 38% of its value after 5 years.
Have a look at this detailed comparison of the average Resale value of some of the popular Audi models over the years.
|Vehicle||First Year||Second Year||Third Year||Fourth Year||Fifth Year|
1. Expensive Maintenance
High maintenance cost is one of the biggest worries of Audi Owners.
According to Repair Pal, Audi owners spend $987 on average in the annual maintenance of their vehicles. This is an insane $335 greater than the industry average of $652. Audi recommends owners to take their cars for a minor service at approximately 10,000 miles ($120 – $140), and a standard service at almost 20,000 miles ($460 – $612).
Have a look at the average Audi service cost:
|Service at 10,000 miles||$120 – $140|
|Service at 20,000 miles||$460 – $612|
|Service at 30,000 miles||$120 – $140|
|Service at 40,000 miles||$710 – $910|
|Service at 50,000 miles||$120 – $140|
|Service at 60,000 miles||$505 – $680|
Cost of common maintenance services (Audi A4):
|Air filter change||$70 – $105|
|Oil and filter change||$140 – $180|
|Interior air filter change||$80 – $135|
|Tire rotation||$45 – $55|
|Brake fluid change||$75 – $95|
|Coolant change||$135 – $190|
To ease out the ownership experience, Audi also offers prepaid maintenance plans that range somewhere between $800 to $1300 depending upon the plan that you opt for. Furthermore, Audi does offer multiple extended warranty options to owners.
2. Poor Reliability
Audi ranks quite low in terms of reliability.
The reliability index places Audi at the 34th position out of a total of 40 car manufacturers. In the 2019 dependability ranking by JD power, Audi took the 22nd spot out of the 24 manufacturers. However, the 2019 consumer reports reliability ratings suggested slightly better reliability figures, as Audi received a total reliability score of 60%.
In conclusion, Audi isn’t a car brand that you would call very reliable, especially with the numerous problems in their vehicles.
The 34/40 ranking of Audi in reliability is well below average, particularly when compared to the Japanese manufacturers. However, Audi’s other German counterparts such as BMW, Mercedes also didn’t come out as very reliable, with a ranking of 31/40 and 30/40 respectively.
The dependability ranking by JD power, rates car brands on the basis of ‘number of problems per 100 vehicles’. Audi came out with 167 problems per 100 vehicles and was placed at 22/40 spot. Peugeot topped the list with just 77 problems, while BMW was the worst with 181 problems per 100 vehicles.
In the 2019 consumer reliability ratings, Audi scored 60% and the Q5 emerged as Audi’s most reliable vehicle, while the A3 turned out to be the least.
3. Too Many Problems
Audi cars have had just way too many problems over the years, certainly putting up a question to its reliability. The 2009 to 2014 Audi A4 has been the one with the most set of problems reported. A few other notorious models include the A6, Q5, and A3.
Below is the list of the most common Audi problems with the number of times that problem got reported:
|Engine and cooling problems||1223|
|Braking System problems||612|
|Exterior lighting problems||525|
|Fuel system problems||476|
Over 1500 Airbag problems have been reported by Audi owners since 1996. Following were the common issues:
- Airbag problems
- Airbag not deployed problems
- Airbag light on problems
- Curtain airbag problems
- Front airbags inflator problems
- Airbag sensor control problems
Engine and cooling problems
Over 1200 engine-related problems have been reported by Audi owners so far. The 2017 Audi Q7 faced a severe engine misfiring issue; during cold starts, its engine bucks and shudders. The 2019 Audi A8 faced an engine control module-related software issue, the fault caused the A8 to misfire and lose power. Furthermore, the 2020 Audi Q3 had some severe engine malfunctions, that resulted in sputtering on start-up and stalling while driving. The 2009-2001 Audi A4, 2015 A3, and 2015 A5 were serious oil guzzlers.
Following were the common engine and cooling related problems:
- Engine and cooling problems
- Engine consuming excessive oil problems
- Car stall problems
- Engine cooling system problems
- Engine cold start problems
- Check Engine light on problems
- Engine Pulleys and Belts problems
- Engine oil leaking problems
- Engine timing chain problems
Electrical system problems
Audi cars have faced multiple electrical faults, owing to the complex electricals and technology that Audi offers in their vehicles. Also, the 2007 Audi Q7 had an electrical problem, the car just refused to start. There was an issue regarding the instrument cluster failure and an issue with driving modes in the Audi TT.
Let’s look at the common electrical system problems in Audi cars:
- Electrical system problems
- Instrument cluster problems
- Ignition switch problems
- Ignition coils failure problems
- Starter problems
- Wiring faults
- Dashboard system faults
- Battery problems
Power train problems
Early 2000 Audi A6 had Tiptronic transmission failure problems. Plus, several other powertrain problems were reported in other Audi vehicles.
Following were the most common Power train related problems:
- Power train problems
- Automatic gearbox problems
- Automatic gearbox control module problems
- Gearbox failure problems
- Gear indicator problems
Braking related problems in Audi cars:
- Service brakes problems
- Brake light on problems
- Brake electric Anti Lock faults
- Brake Anti Lock Control module programs
- Disc pad problems
- AbS Warning light problems
- Disc brake problems
Audi cars have had multiple exterior lighting issues, the most common ones include:
- Headlight faults
- Exterior lighting faults
- Turn Indicator problems
- Exterior lighting problems
Fuel system problems
Audis have had the following fuel system-related issues:
- Fuel system problems
- Fuel pump problems
- Fuel system tank assembly problems
- Fuel gauge problems
Also read: BMW vs Audi: (Head-to-Head Depreciation)
4. Repair costs
Unexpected repairs are a huge expense that increases your vehicle’s ownership cost. Repairs on Audi cars are far from what you call as cheap, plus Audi cars have almost 0.8 probability (industry average: 0.4) of facing a severe problem that would need to get fixed.
Let’s look at the cost of some common Audi repairs:
|Thermostat replacement cost||$527 – $655|
|ABS control module replacement cost||$1,270 – $1,345|
|Catalytic converter replacement cost||$1,775 – $1,850|
|Fuel pump replacement cost||$867 – $1,460|
|Alternator replacement||$830 – $1240|
|Window regulator replacement||$300 – $335|
|Ignition coil replacement||$250 – $380|
|Spark plug replacement||$170 – $220|
|Knock sensor replacement||$435 – $540|
|Valve cover gasket replacement||$187 – $227|
The above cost may vary based on your particular Audi model as well as your location. Electric component failures generally cost between $300 – $1200.
5. Insurance cost
Audi cars have higher insurance rates, as Audi makes expensive cars that come equipped with complex mechanical systems and state-of-the-art technology.
According to the Zebra, the average annual insurance cost on Audi cars ranges around $1606. Audi owners pay almost 36% more on insurance on their vehicles than what other auto owners pay on average.
However, the Zebra suggests GEICO has the prime auto insurance company that offers the best in class insurance rates; even less than the $900 average annual insurance premium. While prices for other auto insurance companies like Allstate and Progressive can cross well above 2000$ annually.
Here is the list of the average monthly insurance costs of some Audi cars:
- S5: $98
- A4: $191
- Q3: $191
- S8: $191
- Q7: $197
- R8: $197
- A7: $124
- TTS: $125
- A3: $191
- S3: $132
- A4 AllRoad: $132
- SQ5: $132
- A6: $136
- Q5: $138
- RS7: $191
- TT: $128
- A5: $127
- S7: $191
In general, like other luxury brands, Audi cars don’t offer much mileage owing to the powerful V6 and V8 engine options that Audi offers. Plus, a few Audi models like the 2006 A6, have had issues with their FI system that resulted in the consumption of more gas than required. However, some affordable Audi options do offer good gas mileage, particularly the 2.0-liter four-cylinder models such as the A3, A4, Q3, Q5, and the A6
To get a better understanding of the gas mileage on Audi cars, let’s have a look at the average combined mileage on common Audi vehicles (according to fueleconomy.gov):
- R8 (5.2 l, 10 cyl): 16 mpg
- S6 (2.9 l, 6 cyl): 22 mpg
- S7 (2.9 l, 6 cyl): 22 mpg
- S8 (4.0 l, 8 cyl): 16 mpg
- Q3 Quattro (2.0 l, 4 cyl): 22 mpg
- Q5 (2.0 l, 4 cyl): 24 mpg
- A3 Quattro (2.0 l, 4 cyl): 25 mpg
- A3 (2.0 l, 4 cyl): 30 mpg
- S3 (2.0 l, 4 cyl): 25 mpg
- A6 Quattro (2.0 l, 4 cyl): 27 mpg
- S5 (3.0 l 6 cyl): 23 mpg
- S5 Sportback: (3.0 l 6 cyl): 23 mpg
- S4 (3.0 l, 6 cyl): 23 mpg
- A4 (2.0 l, 4 cyl): 30 mpg
- A7 Quattro ((3.0 l 6 cyl): 24 mpg
- A8 L (4.0 l, 8 cyl): 18 mpg
- Q7 (3.0 l, 6 cyl): 18 mpg
- TT RS (2.5 l, 5 cyl): 23 mpg
What are the Best Audis to Buy?
I found these 2021 Audi models as the best:
- A5 Sportback
- RS5 Sportback
- RS Q8
- A4 AllRoad
Which Audis to Avoid?
Here are some of the worst Audi models that you must avoid at all cost:
- 2009 A4: Leaks too much
- 2011 A4: Oil guzzler
- 2004 A6: Fuel injector failure; low gas mileage
- 2015 A3: Oil guzzler
- 2007 Q7: Refuses to start (Electrical issues)
- 2014 S4: Rattling and sudden bunking issues
- 2005 S4: Rattling issues on start-up
- 2001 TT: Instrument cluster failure
- 2015 A8: Rattling issues
- 2005 A6: Tiptronic transmission failure
- 2020 Q3: Engine malfunctions
- 2019 A8: Engine control module related software issue
- E-Tron: Battery issues