Solid European performance in a high-class package
I'm going to include the previous owner, as he kept impeccable service records. All of the following had to be replaced (unless otherwise indicated) over the last 5 years. Total cost was over $14,000 for incidental AND preventative (not listed) maintenance. Note that the previous owner was a little obsessive about maintenance and insistent on OEM parts, which are absurdly expensive for this vehicle. The previous owner had the car for ~50,000 miles.
- Heater core
- AC Compressor
- Intercooler failure, + all hoses (+turbo hoses)
- Left front +right front axle (outer CV joint failures)
- Right front CV boot failure (prior to axle)
- Clearcoat damage hood+roof (repainted)
- Various interior lighting
- Most exterior bulbs
- Fuel injectors (multiple smog failures attributed)
- Spark plugs
- 1 interior speaker (Bose)
- Driver-side window controls
- Ventilation blower (bad bearing)
- Wheel bearing left-front + right-front
- Check brake light (never fixed)
- Handbrake warning (never fixed)
- Leaking carbon canister valve (never fixed)
- Malfunctioning passenger side-view mirror (never fixed)
- Full steering rack replacement
- Oxygen sensor
- MAF sensor
- Various hoses (trust me, you don't want them all listed)
- Catalytic converts (both)
- Brake discs + brake lines
- Ignition coil
- Control arms
- Diff housing gasket
- Axle seals
- Parking brake cable
- Front strut mounts + inserts
- Overrun cutoff valve
- Fuel pump
- Water pump (twice)
- Clutch slave + pedal
- AM/FM radio has issues (never fixed)
- Sunroof is possessed (never fixed)
OEM/S parts are hard to come by, and if you do find them, they are insanely expensive. Some parts you cannot find off-brand replacements for at all.
This review applies to a 1993 (model year) Audi S4, but should be applicable for years 1992, 1993, and 1994 (basically the same car). 1993 has a special carbon-fiber trim option (mine has it). That's about the only difference I'm aware of.
Super, super fun to drive. Despite all the maintenance listed above, I tend to think a lot of it was just put off by previous owners before the last owner got the car. Also, his insistence on OEM parts hugely increased the cost of many repairs (axle, heater core, injectors).
Handles as good if not better than our family's 2005 A4 1.8T, and is certainly quicker in a straight line (short gearing in 1st and 2nd). 0-60 is rated at 6.1 seconds, and I believe it. The clutch has never been replaced, and it still engages perfectly (it's pretty heavy), and that amazes me to some extent.
The Quattro works pretty good, though it doesn't feel quite as "active" in terms of slip-prevention as newer Audis, but it makes the corners a little more exciting in that regard. Brakes stop on a dime for a car that weighs 3800 pounds.
The interior is great, the seats are very resilient and have held up well over time. The 10-disc CD changer still works perfectly (hooray for Sony products when they didn't suck).
Despite the car's hunger for maintenance, the engine in this automobile will never, ever die. The only way to kill an Audi 5-cylinder engine is overheating (aka stupidity). But, it is a slight oil-burner (thank god for the oil-pressure gauge!), and requires a half-quart every 1500 miles between changes.
In terms of coolant, it doesn't burn much, but I check it regularly for good measure.
Overall, it's a great car (and a very cool car), but maintenance can be pricey (remember, in 1992, this car cost near $48,000 ($70,000+ today)) since less than 1,000 were imported per year during the 3 years this platform was available in the US.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th July, 2010