I have owned 11 BMWs to date, and decided to downgrade to an older Audi to try to see what all the fuss is about. Most reviews talk about how poor this car is on reliability, but I had to try it.
I decided to buy one when I had a full time company car, and I've been using this as a weekend car. It has been no different from BMWs I have owned.
The general trick with any euro car, is they like to be taken good care of. And you need to feed it good stuff.
Saying that, after I bought it I did the following:
Water pump and cam belt change (I would do these every 90k).
Full service (good to do it every 10k).
Transmission flush (needed every 80k).
All up they cost me 1250 NZD, and till now I have had no issues.
These cars are designed for open road driving. I get about 900ks out of a 60L tank, but I don't run it down to empty of course.
Do make sure you take unleaded fuel. In NZ standard it's 95 or higher. It doesn't like 91 very much.
The best part is the Multitronic transmission. It's like a cone design where you don't feel changes as it gradually goes up. Very impressive.
Read lots of reviews of them going wrong, but these days it's not as expensive to fix the older Audis, as most of them are well known by mechanics.
The previous owner said he had issues with the reverse gear selector, which was an electronic error, but it was fixed for 200 bucks.
So don't go to an Audi dealer if you fear cost. Lots of indie mechanics these days do a similar or better job for a lot less, and offer great service.
All the electronics work like new, although it's now 11 years old. The engine seems to be very smooth. Love the interior much more than the BMW 3 Series. I am comparing it with an E90 even, although I should compare it with an E46.
My personal experience has been great, but here are a few tips before you buy:
- Make sure it's not off a boy racer who trashed the car.
- Try to avoid Singapore imports, as they tend to have lots of electrical problems.
- Service history is an added bonus.
- Get it checked by professional like AA/VTNZ if you can.
Once you buy - you always must carry out a full service, check cam belt/timing belt and water pump when due, and flush the gearbox if due every 80-100k.
These are not cars where you can be thrashing it, but if you take good care, they can be as reliable as any other trusted Japanese car.
Service is not as expensive, if you know the right mechanic.
Value for money - I am very pleased, and I would surely consider buying more in future when I sell this.
Try one yourself, but don't buy if you're not prepared to spend more after purchase