2003 Audi A4 Quattro 1.8T from North America


Fun to drive, but mechanically a wreck


Oil sludge in engine. Ignition quit working. Air bag had to be replaced.

General Comments:

I have owned this car for 2 1/2 years. The car originally cost about $32,000. I bought it new. Since the date of purchase I have spent over $12,000 on repairs. Audi will do nothing to help. I would highly recommend not purchasing a VW/Audi product.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th June, 2005

7th Aug 2006, 12:11

Maybe on your next vehicle you won't wait forever and a half to change you're oil. Use synthetic and change it every 5,000 km's. You would be amazed at how long your car lasts when you maintain it properly and use high quality products in it. Letting your oil turn to sludge is unacceptable.

8th Aug 2006, 13:29

I am going to buy a 1999 Audi Quattro 2.8L.. do you think it's a reliable car??


19th Jun 2010, 21:32

The oil in these engines turns to sludge in the American market because most people don't understand how turbos work. The blades get VERY hot after running, and they are cooled by circulating engine oil. If you turn off the car right away after normal operation, the oil trapped in the turbo will over heat, and turn into sludge or even solid matter. On next start up, it will get flushed into the rest of the lubrication system and plug some important passage... So use synthetic only, change oil every 5000km, and idle your car after a hard run; or get a turbo timer.

2003 Audi A4 TDI Sport 1.9 turbo diesel 130PS from UK and Ireland


A superb car let down by too many mechanical faults.


Fifth and sixth gears felt oddly "notchy" from new and this got progressively worse. The dealer found a misaligned gear linkage from the factory. Fixed under warranty.

Clutch judder started at about 8,000 miles and again worsened to the point where it would vibrate loose items in the door bins or glove compartment. Clutch dismantled and a leaking main oil seal was found which had caused engine oil to leak onto the clutch plates. New oil seal and new clutch fitted under warranty.

Whiffs of hot coolant inside the car traced to a leaking heater matrix. Replaced under warranty.

Two pixels died on the central matrix display on the dash. Had to wait four weeks for parts, but was fixed under warranty.

Engine would intermittently refuse to turn over when the key was turned. At first the dealer suspected an immobiliser fault, but it turned out to be nothing more serious than a loose connection on the starter solenoid.

General Comments:

This is a refined and relaxing to drive with lots of torque from idle, very low noise levels, and an astonishing compromise between performance and economy. I can easily achieve 50 mpg on the motorway at a steady 80 mph cruise, yet it will lift the nose if I squeeze the throttle hard. The engine had an alarming appetite for oil early on, but this had settled down by 5,000 miles.

The seats and driving position are excellent, and the quality of the cabin is the best I've seen on any mass produced car. It is a very soothing car after a long hard day, and it makes most cars I've sat in since feel ill conceived and crude. Standard equipment is tight however.

The car handles well enough, although the whole driving experience is slightly vague and detached. Fun is not on the agenda, but with most of my driving being on long motorway runs, this is not really a consideration for me. I also get my kicks on two wheels, so fun is not part of the brief for any car I choose.

The only real disappointment has been mechanical reliability. My old A4 TDI 110 covered 134,000 miles without a single breakdown or non-consumable part related fault (hence my automatic choice of the newer model to replace it). This newer A4 doesn't seem to be anywhere near as durable based on the evidence so far. Thankfully, the dealers are excellent as ever and couldn't do any more to help.

A superb car, but I am worried about what mechanical woes it will inflict on me, particularly as the warranty doesn't have too much longer to run. I am considering selling the car before the end of this year as a result, and will probably not buy another Audi.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 16th June, 2005