View Full Version : B5 A4 as bad as MSN reviews say?

10-25-2006, 01:37 PM
I'm looking for a reliable daily driver and don't mind paying a little more for the maintenance if I'm getting the luxury. I'm looking to spend around $10K CDN and came across a 1996 A4 2.8 Quattro w/ 67K kms (42K miles) for $9500 CDN ($8500 USD). I'm attracted to this car as I'd hope the low mileage would mean reasonable maintenance costs. The luxury, looks, and AWD don't hurt either.

But, looking at the reviews on the MSN website you'd think this car is a money pit... NOT something I'm looking for. This could be skewed as often it's only the people with problems that will bother posting.

Should I be staying away from this car? Will I have any better luck with a slightly newer A4?

Thanks for the input,


p.s. How much for replacement control arms? Are there aftermarket ones that are stronger?

10-25-2006, 01:48 PM
Id go for a newer one. mine is a 99 and its a bit of a money pit but I drive it like I stole it. look into 2000+ ones for a little over 10k and you should be fine. Honestly, any car built in 1996 is gonna be a money pit. after 10 years cars nowadays tend to fall apart.

10-25-2006, 01:59 PM
If the cost of maintenance is a non-issue then this is the car for u...
Nice, luxurious and expensive.

Upgraded Control arms and tie rods cost around $600 plus labor.
Then $1000 for timing belt parts included in price.
U can find one cheaper than that
I have a 98 but I owned it for 3 plus years I would by a 10 plus year old car for that much...

10-25-2006, 02:00 PM
I'd recommend getting a newer car with more miles... 67K miles over 10 years means that car was either used just for city driving or wasn't used at all.

10-25-2006, 02:20 PM
it takes some work to keep her happy, but its worth every last bit of it

10-25-2006, 02:23 PM
what are you looking for in the car?

are you going to modify it?

if not, that might be the car for you, the 12v motor is pretty bulletproof, but there is no hope for anything but BPUs.... theres not a whole lot of hope for big power adders...

if you are going to modify it, i say go for a 97+ 1.8TQ turbo motor has good options for mods... but it does take a little more effort to keep going than the 2.8 12v v6 takes...

10-25-2006, 02:24 PM
Originally posted by LateraLex
I'd recommend getting a newer car with more miles... 67K miles over 10 years means that car was either used just for city driving or wasn't used at all.

thats not 67k miles, its 67k KMs... or about 42k miles.. so even less than you thought...

10-25-2006, 02:27 PM
^^^doesn't matter it's 10 yrs old and not even a 30V

10-25-2006, 02:28 PM
hey, mines 10 years old....

plus, i was just pointing that out...

10-25-2006, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by SeanF
[B]what are you looking for in the car?

are you going to modify it?

I'm looking for a reliable daily driver to get me around town in style and the occaisional 8-hour drive to Minneapolis.

No plans to modify... when I've got the need for power/speed, I jump in my 350z.

10-25-2006, 02:33 PM
o dont thinkyoull have any problems with the 2.8. only maintenance thing you have to worry about is the control arms and other regular maintenance. whats wrong with a low mileage car anyways people? isnt that what you want?

10-25-2006, 02:36 PM
i don't know about that price. its a bit high for a 1996. I bought me 99.5 for a little bit more than that. You'll like the look of the newer ones too. not that much price difference either.

10-25-2006, 02:37 PM
The only problem I've heard with lower mileage older cars is the seals drying up. I figured with 42K miles, that shouldn't be a problem.

As for price it's about another $5,000 CDN up here for a '99 or '00 with that mileage.

10-25-2006, 03:01 PM
You get what you pay for. Personally, I'd stay away from the older B5 A4's. I have a 1998.5 and that's about as old as I'd ever buy one. Get a 2000+ if you're looking for reliability.

10-25-2006, 04:18 PM
what everyone else said.

10-25-2006, 05:06 PM
Originally posted by B5Ghost
what everyone else said.

Ha ha ha... they've said a lot of different things. I appreciate all the input though.

I don't know if it makes a difference, but the car has an additional 3 year Audi warranty on the powertrain... although that's the toughest part of the car from what I've read.

I dunno.... 42K miles w/ all the service records & the warranty. What could it be hiding?

10-25-2006, 05:08 PM
Yeah, MSN junkies know everything. It's a terrible car. That's why we have two.

10-25-2006, 05:09 PM
Ha ha ha... that's why I'm talking to you guys... I figured the forums MAY be a bit more reliable [:p]

10-25-2006, 05:18 PM
Here's my story. I bought my 2000 for $10.5k CDN last november. Had 187,000km. I'm now up to 202,000km and I haven't had a check engine light. Mind you, I've done some things like timing belt and clutch, but pretty much everything I changed was a wear item.

If you're desperate to save money but want an audi, learn to fix things yourself. I changed my suspension with a friend and his dads advice while being a fairly noobish mechanic. Same with the spark plugs and the ECU. Just get a Bentley manual and you just saved labour costs.

10-25-2006, 05:20 PM
It also depends how handy you are. If you think you can do a lot of the maintenance yourself, i'd say it's not a bad choice. But then again for daily driving, in style why not go for something like a Lexus ES300. Although not very sporty, it probably has more power than a 12V 2.8 minus the awd. I love my Audi but wouldn't want my sister to drive one. After working for toyota for 3 years, i'm quite impressed with their quality, even if they are boring. but, it's up to you.

10-25-2006, 05:38 PM
I enjoy working on the car myself, so that's a non-issue. And I've got backup at good rates if I get in over my head.

10-25-2006, 05:54 PM
I say go for it. It is super low mileage and it still has waranty. If you don't want the upgraded interior and exterior of the new models go for it. I don't think it's got anything to hide. You're paying pretty much blue book value for it so you shouldn't expect any problems but the regular maintenance. I say a perect match!

10-25-2006, 07:29 PM
It could be a money pit. Plenty of ours are money pits. There are a bajillion well-documented little things that commonly go wrong on these cars. And then some cars never have problems.
To be safe, I'd say get a newer one, or one that had records of timing belt and control arm replacements, at the minimum.
It's possible that you'd get one without issues, but its just as possible that you'd be posting here every other week with complaints. They're temperamental.

10-25-2006, 07:49 PM
I'm told the car has all records... if I go ahead with this car, I'll check for control arm and timing belt replacement. If not, then I'll adjust my offer accordingly.

10-26-2006, 07:07 AM
mileage smileage...
I thought they say after 10 yrs a car doesn't have any "value" unless it's a cult car like the batman supra...

I would buy a $10k beater regardless of the low miles...
It has all the records so i guess it could be in immaculate condition but their still alot of cars out there i would buy for $10k over a B5.

I didn't pay $10k for my car when it was only 6 yrs old at the time, granted it has more miles but it had all the records and I bought it from the original owner. Maintenance is inevitable and will cost dollars even if you do the labor yourself.

I drive an Audi and I love all cars in general, I'm not a domestic or JDM hater, but search some more you can find a car that will have more value...

If this car is at a dealership they probably gave the owner $3k for it and marked up the price.

10-26-2006, 07:31 AM
money pit.

fragile front suspension. tie rod ends, wheel bearings, 16 front control arm bushings, etc..

questionable engine electronics on some models. coilpacks, ignition control modules, etc..

10-26-2006, 07:37 AM
Originally posted by onemoremile
money pit.

fragile front suspension. tie rod ends, wheel bearings, 16 front control arm bushings, etc..

questionable engine electronics on some models. coilpacks, ignition control modules, etc..

hate to say it but I agree. Unless this is a toy car for you, skip it and a get a toyota corolla as a DD. High mileage B5's are a money pit. you're going to be replacing everything.

10-26-2006, 04:41 PM
Well, I've heard enough negative things about this car on two forums to not buy it. Disappointment... Thanks for all the feedback guys, I appreciate it. Gotta say, you have an excellent forum here, full of helpful and respectful members.

10-26-2006, 05:00 PM
I dont know much about msn reviews. Im guessing a4's arent ranked too good?
Well we got our car with high mileage(170kish). It seemed like just the bare minimum was done too it. Questionable oil change intervals let alone kind of oil used. It seems like the TB was done but who knows when. It had some oil leaks and found a bottle of some cheap oil leak stopper in the trunk. Check engine light on etc. Vagcom'd and found 14 codes. Im guessing these were the reasons why the previous owner dumped it.
Regardless the car felt solid and drove pretty well so we bought it.
TB, cam tension seals, control arms, tie rods, engine flush and good oil, most of the codes were related to a faulty relay which got rid of 12-13 codes etc. That added up to be 2-3k including labor before and aftermarket mods.
Now its got over 200k. Even though its on the stock k03, its driven hard being redlined every opportunity. Its driven pretty crazy but very well maintained at least in my hands. This car is so much better in feel than majority of domestic cars. Right now it feels, drives, handle so much better then the mustang when it had 10k miles with 3-4 grand sunk in with suspension and etc mods. It feels better then the previous gen accords, civics, camrys.
If this was the price range of car im looking for as a next car, i'd buy another a4 compared to a BMW or merc. Well, another reason to that would be the modability of the turbos.