What can I do about my faulty Audi R8?
A reader asks what his rights are regarding a second-hand Audi R8 Spyder that has suffered a litany problems since he bought it...
Last May, I bought a 2011 Audi R8 Spyder for £60,000. It had one previous owner and 30,000 miles on the clock.
I bought the car from JCT600, a franchised Audi dealer, and it came with a 148-point check and the provision of a year’s warranty to provide me with reassurance that if a fault did occur, it would be covered. However, the car has suffered a catalogue of problems since then, so I’ve had to take it back to my local Audi dealer repeatedly.
First, a warning light came on to say that one of the tyres was under-inflated. Walton Audi found that one rear tyre had a nail in it and the other was worn below the legal limit, so both were replaced.
Then the warning light came on again. This time, Walton Audi changed one of the tyre pressure sensors, because it was faulty.
Next, as I was driving into London, I noticed steam coming off the engine, so I stopped driving and the car was recovered to Walton Audi. The diagnosis was that the expansion tank had cracked, allowing coolant to leak onto the engine. The tank was repaired and I collected the car again.
A day later, the car’s battery failed, and I had to pay £300 for a replacement. After that, the ECU [engine control unit] warning light came on. After diagnosing a leaking gasket on the left side of the inlet manifold, Walton Audi replaced the gasket.
Soon afterwards, the ECU light came on again, and this time the cause was the right inlet manifold gasket, which also had to be replaced. This didn’t appear to fix the problem, though, because the ECU warning light came on once more. This time, some pipes around the inlet had to be replaced.
However, the ECU light soon came on yet again. This time, the crankshaft damper and two sensors were placed, costing me £990.
JCT600’s used car warranty expires in a couple of weeks’ time, and I’m seriously concerned that more problems will happen, landing me with massive repair bills.
During the past year, around a quarter of the 9000 miles the car has done have been road testing to find out about faults. Needless to say, this really has taken away my enjoyment of driving the car.
I’ve been left feeling extremely disappointed, because the R8 Spyder was my dream car, but I no longer have any faith in it and don’t enjoy driving it, because I’m continually expecting another fault to occur.
I’ve written to JCT600 stating that if the car develops another fault, I would like them to pay for an independent inspection once it has been fixed to ensure the issue really has been resolved.
If all is okay, I would like another year’s warranty to give me continued peace of mind. If the car isn’t okay, I would like to reject it and either get a like-for-like replacement or receive a refund. Am I being reasonable, and do I have the right to reject the car?
What Car? says…
The engine issues you’ve told us about sound serious and a big cause for concern, so if the dealer isn’t able to fix the car, you have the right to reject it under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This law gives a main dealer one chance to rectify a fault that happens six months or more after purchase, and yours has already exceeded this limit. Your request for another year’s warranty if the car needs to be repaired again seems reasonable, too.
However, you’re only entitled to a full refund if you reject a faulty car in the first 30 days after purchasing it. After that, the seller is allowed to deduct a reasonable amount for your use. You should get the car’s market value, though; this can be checked on our valuations tool.
With regards to getting a like-for-like replacement, this might not be easy, because not many second-hand R8 Spyders are available and the dealer or Audi won’t buy one to do a swap for you. If you do want to swap your car, it will be easier to exchange it for a different model that JCT600 already has in stock, with the proviso that you should get a good deal to compensate for the expense and hassle you’ve had with your R8 Spyder.
Armed with our advice, Wailoon went back to the dealer and was given the extra warranty. Audi also paid half the cost of the full service his car was due. A few weeks later, he was happy to report that he’d just taken his car for a spin on the track at Goodwood and all is well so far.
Best convertibles and the ones to avoid
Now is the perfect time to buy a convertible car, because sales are slowest when the weather is at its worst. You should, therefore, be able to snap up a bargain.
Convertibles and cabriolets still have to offer more than just good looks, though. They need to be refined, comfortable and economical enough to drive every day, whatever the weather.
Of course, all this is pointless if the car isn't any fun to drive, so the best open-tops out there need to strike a good balance between performance and four-seat practicality.
Below and over the next few pages, you'll find our favourite convertibles and the ones we think you should avoid. And, remember, before you start shopping for your new car, take a look at What Car? New Car Buying to see how much we could save you on your next car.
Inject some American style into your open-top drive with the Ford Mustang. The big selling point here, apart from its distinctive looks, is the potent V8 engine under the bonnet. Its prodigious power makes the Mustang explosive in a straight line, which partly makes up for its mediocre handling and sky-high running costs.
The first BMW offering on our list is the open-top 4 Series. We'd stick with SE specification, which has most bases covered, and team it with the smooth 420d engine. It isn't the most spacious four-seat model out there, but it does offer striking looks outside and a quiet, upmarket experience inside.
8. BMW 2 Series Convertible
The BMW 2 Series Convertible looks expensive next to its immediate rivals, but it is great fun to drive and comfortable over long distances. Our recommended Sport trim gets you sports seats and bespoke alloy wheels – and the 220d engine we recommend is punchy yet reasonably economical.
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