Review: Audi A4 (2008 – 2015)

Rating:

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.

Audi A4 (2008 – 2015): At A Glance

The Audi A4 of 2008 marked a significant improvement in the weight distribution of the drivetrain of front wheel drive Audi models.

Just as Porsche developed increasingly sophisticated solutions to overcome the fundamental imbalance of an engine overhanging the back wheels, Audi has had to do the same job at the front.

Worst of all were the old iron block five-cylinder Audi 100 diesels that much preferred to go straight on at corners than actually change direction.

Fortunately, for most of us, these are no more than a memory. Audi has continually been getting better at dealing with its disability and had all but disguised the ponderous pendulum effect of its overhanging engines in the final incarnations of the 2005-2008 A4.

But its big breakthrough came in 2007 with the A5. The engine still sits out in front of the front wheels longitudinally, but, by moving final drive further forward, the weight of engine and transmission is better distributed between the front wheels.

How they do this is to take drive from the back of the gearbox, then run a propshaft forward to a differential that sits on the right hand side of the flywheel, with the left driveshaft running between the engine and the flywheel.

The 2008 A4 shares this new drivetrain, as well as a longer wheelbase than past Audis and much improved front suspension, now 5 link in aluminium, with a steering rack repositioned in front of the engine so steering input is fed more directly to the wheels.

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

List Price from £29,260
Buy new from £23,257
Contract hire from £226.34 per month

Audi A4 (2008 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4701–4717 mm
Width 1826–2040 mm
Height 1406–1427 mm
Wheelbase 2808–2811 mm

Full specifications

Great looking. Comfortable, with those clever Audi seats that don't feel quite right when you first sit in them but which you thank when you finally step out of the car without a twinge. It's also beautifully made, of course, giving the feeling of solid, long-lasting quality. It cruises sweetly in 6th at 30mph per 1,000rpm. And at 480 litres the boot is huge.

Child seats that fit a Audi A4 (2008 – 2015)

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What's the Audi A4 (2008 – 2015) like to drive?

Worth noting is that the new 160PS 1.8TFSI engine is held together by a chain rather than a belt. So no need for expensive 4-year belt changes. The only little belter left in the line-up is the 2.0TDI that will later be offered with three different outputs up to around 175PS.

Among the car's new features Audi offers a system it calls ‘Audi Drive Select' that, as on the BMW M3, allows you to select ‘comfort', ‘active' or ‘dynamic' roles for the engine, steering and suspension responses, then also lets you custom tailor them to your own package of preferences.

All new A4s also have daytime running LED halo lights that don't dazzle oncoming motorists or render motorcyclists invisible.

I couldn't really tell anything much from around 10 miles in the 1.8TFSI Multitronic. Just that it's uncannily quiet and the only noises felt in the cabin were the thumping of tyres from the occasionally broken road surfaces we were driving on.

I got on a lot better with the 1.8TFSI manual that I took on a short 27 km handling route through the mountains.

It has a sweet enough engine and it turns-in, grips and handles more fluidly than A4 B6s and B7s. You can get plenty of pleasure from driving it, but there's still a small trace of lumpiness at the front emphasised by a shortage of torque. These aren't big problems and don't irritate, but the car isn't quite as finely balanced as the new Mondeo.

Next, a tale of two quattros, both 3.0 V6 TDIs, both manual, both the same colour, both on Michelin Pilot Primacy HP tyres, and both with the latest quattro system that works on a 60/40 rear bias that in theory should kill understeer.

Both also had Audi Drive Select. Yet in ‘dynamic' the first car seemed to understeer when I booted it out of the apex of bends.

I complained, was taken on a test drive by a former German rally driver who demonstrated that there was nothing wrong with it on a slalom course. And maybe there wasn't. Maybe I just hadn't selected ‘dynamic' mode properly. Or maybe the roads I drove it on had bends with tightening radii that naturally force any car into understeer, even quattros.

So, with half an hour of testing left, I took the second 3.0 V6 quattro on the same Michelin Pilot Primacy HP tyres on the same 27 kilometre handling route at the 1.8TFSI. And that turned out to be my kind of car.

The gearchange was still far from perfect. But the engine was much more lively then the first. And the ‘dynamic' setting worked as a quattro should, pulling the car into the bend from the apex instead of scrubbing off speed running wide.

Bags of grunt too, from 240PS and 500Nm torque from 1,500rpm to 5,000. It's long geared in 6th at 40mph per 1,000rpm. And with C02 within Band E (£165pa), together with a potential 40.9mpg, you could almost make sense of the money sums too.

The 2.0TDI 143 is absolutely fine. Better, in my opinion, then than the 1.8T because it had bags more grunt to pull the tall gearing of around 32.5mph per 1,000rpm in top. Yet even though it had a heavier engine it also seemed better balanced in the turns then the 1.8TFSI. And the gearshift was fine as well. I hitched ride back to the airport in the same car and it passed the back seat test too. Combined with the better fuel economy, lower VED (£115pa) and lower BIK it's definitely worth the extra £1,400 over the 1.8TFSI.

Finally, the 2.7V6 TDI Multitronic, again front-wheel drive, but with the benefit of Audi's latest 7-plate clutch CVT. That was lovely, shifting seamlessly on the steering wheel paddles and left-foot braking smoothly into the turns. It could be driven very quickly indeed without alerting passengers to the velocity they were travelling.

It worked well left to self-select too, effortlessly picking up speed to overtake slow moving trucks, and later, on a long twisting descent, stuck behind another car it also offered over-run braking. Unlike other autos left in ‘drive', this works like selecting a lower gear in a manual and retards the car just enough that you don't have to brake all the time. A very useful unexpected feature. Not only that, being CVT rather than torque converter, it's a low £165pa Band E VED.

So what's it to be?

Common sense and a surprising level of ability say it has to be the 2.0TDI. Bur for frugal fun, if you have to have an automatic, then stump up the extra six grand for the 2.7TDI Multitronic.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.8 TFSI 40–50 mpg 8.1–8.6 s 134–164 g/km
1.8 TFSI 120 40–44 mpg 10.5 s 151–164 g/km
1.8 TFSI 170 46–50 mpg 8.1 s 134–142 g/km
1.8 TFSI 170 multitronic 46–49 mpg 8.3 s 134–144 g/km
1.8 TFSI multitronic 39–49 mpg 8.3–8.6 s 134–169 g/km
2.0 TDI 120 58 mpg 10.7 s 127–129 g/km
2.0 TDI 136 61 mpg 9.5 s 120 g/km
2.0 TDI 136 Ultra 69 mpg 9.3 s 108 g/km
2.0 TDI 143 49–63 mpg 9.2–9.4 s 119–149 g/km
2.0 TDI 143 multitronic 49–59 mpg 9.1–9.4 s 127–149 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 60–63 mpg 9.2 s 119–124 g/km
2.0 TDI 150 multitronic 57–59 mpg 9.1 s 127–131 g/km
2.0 TDI 163 Ultra 67 mpg 8.3 s 109 g/km
2.0 TDI 170 55 mpg 8.3 s 134 g/km
2.0 TDI 170 quattro 50–51 mpg 8.3 s 145–149 g/km
2.0 TDI 177 61 mpg 8.2 s 120 g/km
2.0 TDI 177 multitronic 59 mpg 7.9 s 127 g/km
2.0 TDI 177 quattro 55 mpg 7.8 s 134 g/km
2.0 TDI 177 quattro S tronic 53 mpg 7.9 s 139 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 58–60 mpg 7.7 s 124–129 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 multitronic 57–59 mpg 7.8 s 126–131 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 quattro 52–54 mpg 7.4 s 135–140 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 quattro S tronic 52–53 mpg 7.3 s 139–143 g/km
2.0 TDI Ultra 67 mpg 8.3 s 109 g/km
2.0 TDIe 61 mpg 9.5 s 119 g/km
2.0 TDIe 136 66 mpg 9.3 s 112 g/km
2.0 TDIe 163 64 mpg 8.4 s 115 g/km
2.0 TFSI 44 mpg 6.9 s 149 g/km
2.0 TFSI 225 quattro S tronic 39 mpg 6.4 s 166 g/km
2.0 TFSI multitronic 40–47 mpg 6.9 s 140–167 g/km
2.0 TFSI quattro 38–42 mpg 6.5–6.6 s 159–175 g/km
2.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 40–42 mpg 6.4–6.5 s 155 g/km
2.7 TDI 44 mpg 7.7 s 167 g/km
3.0 TDI 58 mpg 7.1 s 129 g/km
3.0 TDI 245 quattro S tronic 46 mpg 5.9 s 162 g/km
3.0 TDI quattro 43–49 mpg 6.1 s 152–173 g/km
3.0 TDI quattro S tronic 43–50 mpg 5.9–6.2 s 149–174 g/km
3.2 FSI multitronic 34 mpg 6.5 s 192 g/km
3.2 FSI quattro 31–32 mpg 6.2 s 213–214 g/km
3.2 FSI quattro tiptronic 30 mpg 6.4 s 215 g/km
S4 3.0 TFSI quattro 28 mpg 5.1 s 234 g/km
S4 3.0 TFSI quattro S tronic 30–37 mpg 5.0–5.3 s 178–219 g/km

Real MPG average for a Audi A4 (2008 – 2015)

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

77%

Real MPG

19–66 mpg

MPGs submitted

699

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 (2008 – 2015)?

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

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: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/audi/a4-b8-2008/?section=good/
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What Cars Are Similar To The Audi A4 (2008 – 2015)?

Key attributes of the this model are: Diesel engine, High quality interior, Economical and Compact premium.

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

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