Review: Audi A4 (2005 – 2008)

Rating:

Looks classy from the outside and feels classy on the inside. Huge array of engines on offer. Reasonably balanced handling and good ride.

Drive of oil pump of 2.0 TDI PD prone to shearing, wrecking the engine and possibly also destroying the turbo. Total repair cost could write off the car. Early S line had appalling ride, but this was later improved.

Recently Added To This Review

26 December 2018

Report of front windows of 2006 Audi A4 TDI avant auto opening by themselves after car is locked and hazard flashers coming on. Unsually in the rain. Suspect mosture ingress to locking and windows ECU... Read more

15 November 2017

Report of 2007 Audi A4 2.0 Multitronic making a "small sort of clunk noise" when accelerating from a junction, then losing all drive. Gear selector does nothing at all; doesn't even register on the dash... Read more

23 February 2017

Another report of a 2007 Audi A4 2.0TDI 140 Multitronic losing all drive. Read more

Audi A4 (2005 – 2008): At A Glance

For 2005, the Audi A4 was comprehensively facelifted. And this wasn't simply window-dressing, because under the bonnets were four new engines: an all new quad chain cam 255bhp 3.2 FSI V6 petrol; the new 200bhp 2.0T FSI petrol engine shared with the Golf V; the quad chain cam 204bhp 3.0 TDI V6 shared with the A6; and the 140bhp 2.0 TDI shared with the Golf V, A3, Touran and Altea. This last engine is likely to be by far the most popular throughout Europe and the UK.

Underneath there were plenty of improvements, too. The new transmissions allow the longitudinal engines to be set a bit further back, aiding weight distribution. And the mainly alloy, four-link-per-wheel suspension has been redesigned using lessons learned on the S4 and the new A6 to give both a better ride quality and a sportier feel to the car, especially to front wheel drive models. The more powerful 2.0T FSI, 3.2 V6 and 3.0TDI have new speed-dependent servotronic steering. And the bigger brakes have a self-drying function triggered by the wiper's rain sensor.

Audi A4 B7 2004 Pre-Launch Road Test

Audi A4 B7 RHD and Avant 2005 Road Test

What does a Audi A4 (2005 – 2008) cost?

List Price from £29,260
Buy new from £23,576
Contract hire from £226.34 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Audi A4 (2005 – 2008): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4586–4703 mm
Width 1772–1826 mm
Height 1427–1436 mm
Wheelbase 2648–2808 mm

Full specifications

The interior hasn't been neglected either. Though difficult to improve on it has been, with standard aluminium inlays (or optional walnut, or fine grain birch wood in grey or beige), three new cloth trims, leather and Alcantara combinations and two exclusive grades of leather. There are two levels of optional satnav: the basic one giving voice instructions and displaying by pictogram in the centre of the instrument cluster and the other by voice, pictogram and a 6.5 inch colour display is DVD covering the whole of Western Europe, with faster access. The car is pre-prepared for E/E network phones and the Bluetooth interface guarantees future compatibility. All very classy.

This even extends to the pleasantly damped way the substantial grab handles pull down and cannot trap your fingers in their hinges; the fact that the vanity mirrors are lit from overhead so they light you rather than just the mirror glass. Someone has really thought about these things, and been given the money to do the job properly.

And, of course, increased secondary safety has been a primary consideration. In addition to large front airbags, there are thorax/pelvic side bags in the seats and ‘sideguard' a unique system of side airbags covering the entire window area, which remain inflated for several seconds following an impact. The front passenger airbag can be deactivated by a turn of the key.

Child seats that fit a Audi A4 (2005 – 2008)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Audi A4 (2005 – 2008) like to drive?

The 140bhp 2.0 TDI suits the car better than some other models in the VAG line-up. It still has a narrow power band, so you need more revs than idle speed to get out of a side turning, then the torque comes in very rapidly, peaking at about 1,750rpm and staying at peak torque to 2,500rpm before tailing off. Meanwhile, power comes in even later with 90% available at 2,500rpm, rising to its maximum at 4,000rpm. After that it's all over and the engine is really at its best between 2,000 and 3,000rpm.

So it needs its six gears. In real road conditions it rows along in the same punchy, powerful and satisfying way as the Mk V Golf and A3 with the same engine. The cable gearchange is a bit notchier, but not enough to be obstructive.

The main improvement is to the car's road manners. Instead of being the A4's Achilles heel, ride quality is now very good. And the car grips and turns in without the pendulum effect sometimes experienced in the previous generation car. It's much more balanced, and that makes it better to drive on all types of road in all conditions. It's the sensible private buy or user chosen company car.

The 3.2V6 FSI Multitronic most definitely isn't. Yet, unlike the previous 3.0V6 Multitronic, this one is coming to Britain and it's probably the best automatic available anywhere to drive. The steering wheel paddleshifts now offer seven selectable ratios, right paddle to upshift; left paddle to change down. And it works like a dream. As soon as you go for it, you get the ratio you want. And combined with the impressive 255bhp of the engine, that means serious performance on a twisty road.

Leave it to its own devices and it's just as good. It doesn't start mucking about changing ratio half way round a corner like most conventional autoboxes still do. And if you want instant, fierce acceleration, you get it instantly. On de-restricted German autobahns it would pull 200kph at the drop of a hat, then keep accelerating to 230kph before traffic ahead dictated caution.

Now and again I get to drive a car I can't afford, but I'm instantly very happy with. The new A4 3.2FSI Multitronic was one of those cars. But, if you really like driving, the 200BHP A4 2.0T FSI quattro 6-speed is even better.

This combines the sweet, totally lag-free turbo power delivery of the new Golf V GTI with Audi's longitudinal engine installation and Haldex-clutched four-wheel-drive system. Everything works as a perfect team, and the result is simply stunning.

It pulls quickly and cleanly to 120mph. The close-ratio box gives you a gear for every situation you're likely to encounter and, on a mountain road, the free-revving engine gives a spread of power and speed in third, which is particularly impressive. Dig too deep and of course you get understeer. But the four-wheel-drive looks after you so well it even makes a bad driver look good. On the basis of the five new A4s I drove (and not having driven the new S4, which doesn't reach the UK until later), this has to be the best-balanced most perfectly sorted A4 ever. Very much the enthusiast's choice.

The 130bhp front-drive petrol Multitronic works well, 7 ratios helping to overcome the relative lack of power and torque. But it's obviously got to be a lot better, and a lot more economical, with the 140bhp/236lb ft TDI engine.

Compared to the A6 V6 TDI quattro Tiptronic, the A4 with the same drivetrain was a bit disappointing. The engine is ‘de-tuned' for the A4 down to 204PS. The test car did not have any paddleshifts, so the only way to ‘hold' gears was with Audi's illogical back-to-front Tiptronic shifter, which I just don't get on with at all. Left to its own devices, even in ‘Sport' mode, it slurs its changes too much so you can easily find yourself in the wrong gear on a corner. It will still be the A4 of choice for many drivers to whom ultimate handling are less important than a relaxed automatic drive, plenty of poke, decent economy, reasonable BIK and the security of quattro four wheel drive. Maybe if it had the optional paddleshifts I'd have felt different.

But car of the range is definitely the 2.0T FSI quattro 6-speed. Runner-up, the 3.2 V6 Multitronic.

2007 MY A4 2.0 TDI 170 S-Line Avant

This is an update. The look of the car hasn't changed since the 2005 model year facelift. But under the skin Audi engineers have been working on it to overcome criticism of poor ride quality, particularly with the S-Line handling pack.

I'd been catching up too. Last summer I drove an A4 TDI 140 Avant Bluefinned by www.superchips.co.uk and had been very impressed by the way that car pulled cleanly even uphill from 1,200rpm.

My first impression of the 170 was that it, too, would pull from lower revs without the wait-for-it then sudden catapult effect of the standard 140. On the flat it's okay from 1,200rpm. On a slight ascent from around 1,400.

But two aspects of this car really stuck.

The first was that the whole car felt like it had been milled from solid. Not moulded or pressed. Quality seems to have gone up rather than down like it has with every other manufacturer.

The second was the ride. This car was the S-Line, on 40 profile tyres. A spec you'd expect to scramble the fried eggs you ate for breakfast and shake all your internal organs like a James Bond Martini. But it didn't. Apart from very slight, barely perceptible tramlining on uneven surfaces, it was fine. Even over speed cushions.

So Audi has finally done it. Possibly using lessons learned on the RS4. And this A4 TDI 170 Avant is a very worthy competitor to the BMW 320d Touring. Two very different cars. Front drive versus rear drive. Belt cam versus chain. But now very difficult to choose between them as drivers cars.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.8T 34–34 mpg 8.6–8.8 s 197–199 g/km
1.8T quattro 31 mpg 8.7–8.9 s 221 g/km
1.9 TDI 49–50 mpg 11.2–11.5 s 152–154 g/km
2.0 34–34 mpg 9.9–10.1 s 193 g/km
2.0 FSI quattro 31 mpg 7.5 s 209 g/km
2.0 TDI 49–50 mpg 8.6–9.9 s 154–162 g/km
2.0 TDI quattro 42–52 mpg 8.5 s 177–179 g/km
2.0 TFSI 35–37 mpg 7.1–7.6 s 184–192 g/km
2.0 TFSI quattro 30–32 mpg 6.9–7.5 s 209–214 g/km
2.7 TDI 42–42 mpg 8.4–8.6 s 179–182 g/km
3.0 TDI quattro 38 mpg 6.8–7.0 s 198–204 g/km
3.2 FSI quattro 27–27 mpg 6.4–6.6 s 250–252 g/km

Real MPG average for a Audi A4 (2005 – 2008)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

95%

Real MPG

24–62 mpg

MPGs submitted

287

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Audi A4 (2005 – 2008)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Why is my insurer seeking to recover costs directly from the driver that hit my car?

My car was written off in August after another driver made a right turn in front of me, hitting the front and side of my Audi A4. I had owned this vehicle since new, it was in very good condition, low mileage for it’s age but with a low market value due to it’s age. I was fortunate in that there was a fire service vehicle passing shortly after the impact who made clear to the other driver that they were at fault. The police who attended also confirmed that the other driver was at fault. The other driver subsequently admitted fault and this has been treated by my insurers as a no fault claim. My insurers quickly settled the write off value of my vehicle, provided a hire car for a few days and passed me onto their legal partners to resolve my uninsured losses. This amounted to the value of my insurance excess and loss of pay for one day. I was travelling to work at the time of the accident, had banged my head, was in shock and had to sort out the contents of my vehicle, pick up hire car, and deal with the insurance company. My wife also left work to pick me up, collect the contents of the car and assist me with dealing with the aftermath as I had bumped my head during the impact and was quite dazed for a while. I was also in shock. We included her one day loss of pay in the claim. There were a couple of other sundry losses but these were less than about £50 and all was evidenced including letters from our employers. I was expecting the next communication with the insurers to be a settlement offer. Out of the blue, I now find that I am now being asked to complete yet more documentation as my insurers have passed this to a legal firm who are now seeking to recover the market value of my vehicle from the other driver directly. It would appear that the other drivers insurers are refusing to settle the claim but no reason has been given as to why that is the case. I have the opportunity to add my uninsured loss to this. If I do not assist my insurers in recovering their costs this will go onto my insurance record as an at fault claim even though no one is disputing that the initial collision wasn’t my fault. I am now faced with another mountain of paperwork much of which duplicates what I have already provided. I am not finding my insurers legal team very helpful and it would appear that the other drivers insurers are being even less helpful. My claim is a relatively small one, the car was worth more to me than the market value. My uninsured loss is considerable, but the sum that I have been advised that I can claim for is minor and I am not making any claim for personal injury. This leaves me to be very confused as to why I am now in this position. I would be very grateful if you could offer some insight as to why I am where I am with this and any advice would be appreciated. It is clear that I have to go along with this but unclear as to exactly what I am getting myself involved with.
Clarify who you are dealing with. Make sure the solicitors are working for your insurer in contract. Make sure they are not an accident management company or solicitors acting on their behalf. It sounds like the at fault party was not insured, or his insurer are declining to act as his insurer for breach of policy conditions. They cannot do this, as they are bound by the Road Traffic Act 1988 to handle any claim made against their insured. This does not mean that they don't do it and will try to ignore their liability. This will be why your insurer/solicitor will be issuing proceedings directly in the at fault parties name. You can claim for "any loss incurred as a result of the tort feasor made against you" due to the other parties negligence. Going back to my first comments, establish who the legal team working for your insurer are and whether they have been appointed by your insurer. Let the insurer seek your insured losses, then appoint another solicitor to recover your uninsured losses. Read all of your paperwork very carefully and establish the facts.
Answered by Tim Kelly
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Audi A4 (2005 – 2008)?

Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.

What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

  • 5 star 50%
  • 4 star 17%
  • 3 star
  • 2 star
  • 1 star 33%

See all owners' reviews