1997 Audi A4 1.8T FWD 1.8 turbo petrol


An expensive, but fun car. Maintain religiously, and you will be able to enjoy it


The car was experiencing a coolant leak when I bought it at 55,000 kms. I replaced the water flange hose and this did little to solve the problem. Finally, a tightening of a hose clamp above the alternator solved the problem. (Php 1,500 for labor)

Air conditioning system was leaking coolant (Php 2,000 for labor, Php 1,500 for parts).

The rear brake pads were totally worn and I needed to have both replaced, and the rotors needed to be refinished as well at 55,000kms. I replaced the timing belt, timing belt tensioner and tensioner roller, all at the same time (Php 4,000 for servicing, Php 20,000 for parts).

The brake master cylinder failed at 55,000 kms, because the previous owner put in DOT3 fluid instead of DOT4, and this made the brakes fail unpredictably. Replaced at S$190 (Php 5,000).

The fitting in front of the steering wheel rattles.

The boost valve and the oil level sensor both malfunctioned at 59,000 kms (Php 3,000).

The radio has had several pixels burn out. The tape deck loader is also misaligned.

The front suspension control arms, control rods and bushings are worn and need to be replaced (Php 9,000 for labor and Php 40,000+ for parts).

The windshield cracked while I was having it tinted (Php 25,000).

General Comments:

First, let me explain the history of the car.

I bought this car secondhand for Php 350,000 (US$7,100) from a Philippine Congressman, and as we all know the world over, politicians are corrupt liars. So, I was sold a car without knowing that the brake master cylinder was melted, the coolant system was leaking, and the other sensors were malfunctioning. The week before I bought the car it was fine. It appears the owner put the wrong brake fluid in it, and stole the CD changer magazine before it was sold to me.

Upon getting the car, I gave it a general checkup. After reading all the reviews on this page, I replaced the entire timing belt system to avoid very costly repairs.

Anyway, despite all the repairs I've made to the car, I inexplicably love driving it. I know that the repairs are horrendously expensive, and that there is only one official dealer in the Philippines, and few independent service centers, but the car has its charms.

The interior still looks great after 10 years, the leather is soft and supple, and the sound system is better than my near new Mazda 3.

The turbo combined with a manual transmission, makes acceleration exciting and surprises faster-looking cars, whose drivers think my car is for old people who drive slowly.

The exterior is timeless and tasteful, and many people who are unfamiliar with Audis think my car is less than 5 years old. The car's engine is extremely fuel efficient for an old car, and gets from 8.5 km/L in the city to 12km/L on the highway, and 9.5km/L mixed driving.

The ride is a bit busy for my taste, but it filters out the discomfort of large potholes. The only time the car's suspension is uncomfortable is with repetitive road defects.

If you must buy an Audi, buy one that has been serviced regularly, and avoid the automatic transmissions at all costs, because they rob power and break down easily. Also make sure the timing belt and suspension have been serviced to avoid headaches.

Once you own one, be religious in having it serviced, and consider independent mechanics if they are reputable. If you are Filipino, buy parts from abroad, as local prices are overstated.

The car is expensive, but the looks of curiosity of all the BMW 4-cylinder drivers is worth it as I overtake them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th February, 2007