Audi A4 (2008 – 2015) Review

Audi A4 (2008 – 2015) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
All the usual Audi A4 attributes but with a much improved driving experience. A better controlled ride put it on a par with the BMW 3 Series, and it steered and handled well, too. Great quality and a simple to use infotainment set-up also appeal.

+High quality interior with plenty of space. Excellent steering and handling. Available with quattro four-wheel drive. Frugal 2.0 TDI. Improved for 2012 with more efficient engines.

-Doesn’t handle quite as well as a BMW 3 Series. CVT gearbox used with 2.7 V6 diesel.

Insurance Groups are between 19–36
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

When the new Audi A4 saloon was launched in 2008, the small executive market gained another frontrunning contender alongside the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class. This Audi A4 handled, steered and rode with the best of them, while also delivering on Audi’s usual high standards of cabin finish. A wide range of engines appealed to company and private buyers, and there was the usual option for four-wheel drive. 

The Audi A4 of 2008 marked a significant improvement in the way the upmarket small saloon handled, steered and rode the bumps. It is seriously worth considering if you are looking for a top used car buy, and our Audi A4 review will explain why.

Gone was the too firm suspension of the previous model and in came a fluency that made the Audi A4 a much closer contender to the BMW 3 Series as a driver’s car. It also delivered the comfort of a Mercedes C-Class alongside the understated appeal of the Lexus IS or Sweden’s Volvo S60.

It helped that the Audi A4 was based on the same platform as the Audi A5, which is effectively a hatchback version of the Audi A4 four-door. Most Audi A4s remained front-wheel drive, but with the weight of the engine better balanced in the car to deliver that improved dynamic feel.

Quattro four-wheel drive also remained a key component of the Audi A4’s appeal to both private and company buyers. This system could deliver all-weather confidence without ever feeling clunky or intrusive during normal driving conditions, and crucially it didn’t impact unduly on fuel economy or carbon dioxide emissions.

Where the Audi A4 did show a weak link was the CVT (continuously variable transmission) used with the 2.7-litre turbodiesel. It never feels truly settled while also being sluggish when it comes to acceleration. Much better is the semi-automatic S tronic used with the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, although most drivers will be best served by the 1.8 TFSI turbo petrol or 2.0-litre turbodiesel motors.

Inside, the Audi A4 is roomier than the contemporary BMW 3 Series and solidly put together. It’s not the most dramatic dash to look at yet it’s functional and there’s an early infotainment screen operated by Audi’s simple MMI controller.

On top of this, the Audi A4 scored well for safety and equipment, so a used buyer won’t feel shortchanged. The higher spec S line models come even more loaded, though they also have a slightly firmer edge to their suspension set-up.

Ask Honest John

We've had four clutches in our Audi A4 - is there any way to rectify this constant issue?

"I have read with interest what to watch out for on the car reviews for the Audi A4 B8. We have had four clutches and DMF because of the juddering issue. One at 20,000 when my father owned the car, one at 35,000, one at 35,500 (replaced at the cost of Audi) and now Audi are again advising the gearbox is removed and the clutch checked. I know full well they are going to come back with it requiring a new clutch. From the car reviews, I can see that other people have suffered the same problem and was wondering if anyone ever got to the bottom of this issue before we look at selling the car."
Our records show a number of examples of this problem, but eventually this was reported. "8-11-2015: Reader reported clutch and DMF failure on 2009 A4 B8 2.0 TDI in 2012 at 26,000 miles, then again in late 2015 at 58,000 miles. Independent garage fitting clutch discovered that a modified clutch release fork was required in accordance with an undated Audi TSB." See:
Answered by Honest John

The rpm on my Audi A4 jumps erratically when idle - what is causing this?

"I have a 2010 Audi A4 diesel auto. When idle, the rpm jumps erratically. It doesn't do this while driving normally though. What could be causing this?"
We would suggest that you check all air/vacuum pipes in case they are loose.
Answered by Alan Ross

What are the implications of not having the emissions fix done?

"How will the emissions update affect the EGR and DPF in my 2009 Audi A4 170PS diesel. It has only 64,000 miles of mostly motorway driving and has been maintained over recent years by an independent VAG specialist. What are the implications of not having the fix done?"
If the EGR is on its last legs and if the injectors are worn they won't take to the remap, which alters the injection sequence. If the car has always been Audi maintained there is a chance that your dealer will fit a new EGR FoC. None, but you may find a VAG dealer unwilling to take it in p/x when you want to move it on.
Answered by Honest John

What would you recommend doing to keep my diesel Audi A6 Allroad well maintained?

"I own a 2011 Audi A6 Allroad 3.0 TDI 240PS 6 speed auto with paddle shifts (98,000 miles). Other than 10,000 mile oil changes, what would you recommend doing to keep this on the road for a few years? It has had full Audi service from new. Is this the troubled gearbox I've read bad reports on? I sold my 2009 Audi A4 2.0 TDI 8 speed at 210,000 miles and am looking for similar again. I cover around 35,000 miles a year. "
This will have a proper, reliable torque converter transmission, but the quattro Haldax clutch does require maintenance with regular fluid and filter changes. You might run into trouble due to a build up of ash in the diesel particulate filters, but other readers have successfully had them cleaned out by the Ceramex process at £350 a time. Vital to maintain the tyres so they are all the same type and have similar tread wear. Any significant disparity can confuse the electronics controlling the quattro system.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Audi A4 (2008 – 2015) cost?