Used Audi A4 1995 - 2001 review

Category: Executive car

A top-quality interior makes the Audi A4 great for long journeys, and the car will last years, too

Audi A4 1994-2001
  • Audi A4 1994-2001
  • Audi A4 1994-2001
Used Audi A4 1995 - 2001 review
Star rating

What's the used Audi A4 saloon like?

The high-quality, flush-fitting dashboard of the opriginal Audi A4 set the standards of the time, while the fully adjustable seat and wheel place any driver just where he or she wants to be. The view out is clear and switchgear is well sited, though the stereo has too many tiny buttons.

Room up front is generous but it's tighter for rear passengers and the boot's small opening can make loading a pain.


A top-quality interior makes the Audi A4 great for long journeys, and the car will last years, too

  • The A4 has been built to last
  • It's understated and elegant
  • Dull to drive compared to a BMW 3 Series
  • The small boot aperture makes it awkward to load large items

The A4 is relaxed and safe on the motorway, and wind and road noise is muted. Its ride is composed, although sudden jolts can intrude and it can't match a BMW's precise steering, grip and feedback.

The controls are well damped and smooth, but the brakes can be a challenge – more than a dab on the pedal and you'll jerk to a stop. Euro NCAP awarded three stars for occupant crash protection but warned that the driver risked fatal injuries in a severe side-on impact.

Ownership cost

What used Audi A4 saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Audi A4 saloon?

Early examples of the Audi A4 are now very cheap to buy, while last-of-line Y-reg offer serious value.

Engines and transmissions last well and shouldn't hit your finances hard, while servicing is affordable providing you avoid Audi dealers and seek out a good independent garage. However, the car's reliability record isn't great and bills for high-priced spares can easily mount up.

Warranty Direct reports that repairs are typically a third dearer than on a BMW 3 Series. A professional pre-purchase inspection is a smart way to avoid trouble.

Diesels return an easy 40mpg providing you keep a light throttle foot, while petrol 1.8s run to mid-30s. Others do 30mpg or less.

Our recommendations

Which used Audi A4 saloon should I buy?

Pick from engines ranging from 1.6 to 2.8 petrols and 1.9 to 2.5 diesels.

The mid-rangers flatter the car's talents best, so go for the 1.8 petrol or two 1.9 turbo diesels, and preferably the 110bhp rather than the 90bhp version. Need more power? Go for the punchy 1.8 turbo, or the six-cylinder 2.8, both of which come with front- or four-wheel drive.

All A4s came with plenty of equipment, including twin airbags, anti-lock brakes, central locking and electric mirrors and windows. Side airbags became standard from 1997.

To be sure of desirables such as alloy wheels and climate control, you need the SE. Step up to Sport and you get more contoured seats, a three-spoke steering wheel and extra instruments. Of the three trim levels, SE is by far the most common and the best.

Hunt down a quality independent dealer specialising in Audis. Auctions throw up bargains, but bid only when you're satisfied that the car's sound and straight.

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