Audi A4 (2001 – 2005) Review

Audi A4 (2001 – 2005) At A Glance


+Better than previous A4 in virtually every respect. Classy looks, plenty of kit, roomy cabin and a good crash safety rating.

-Not cheap to fix if something goes wrong. Multitronic transmission can give trouble.

Looking like a miniature version of the A6 that went on sale in the late 1990s, the B6 generation Audi A4 was a classy-looking car. But not only did it look good, it also handled neatly. And with a excellent engine line-up, the A4 was ready to take the fight to the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes C-class. Indeed, this model is really the starting point for the car’s dominance in the UK executive market.

Diesel was a crucial part of gaining that foothold. Using the Volkswagen Group’s Pump Duse technology, Audi was able to offer company car drivers decent performance, strong fuel economy, and good emissions – a win as the then new company car tax was based on a combination of CO2 emissions as a percentage of list price.

All of this was wrapped up in a premium package that offered a real alternative to BMWs (whose drivers were getting an increasingly bad reputation) and Mercedes (which seemed to have gone off the boil in terms of design and performance).

But what Audi really needed to secure its foothold was a halo model. BMW had the M3 while Mercedes has the C32 AMG. Audi didn’t disappoint. Using the ace up its sleeve, Audi was able to offer a 344bhp 4.2-litre V8 Quattro. Astonishingly fast and offering fist-fulls of grip, it could cover ground at a terrifying rate. It wasn’t quite enough to deliver a knockout blow to the M3, but the Bavarian was on the canvas and the referee was counting…

Ask Honest John

Why does my private plate now make my car non ULEZ compliant?

"My '55 Registered Audi S4 4.2 Cabriolet was OK for ULEZ on it's original 55 Plate, but having moved it onto an S40 Plate purchased direct from DVLA it is no exempt, how do I fix this?"
Other drivers who have added a private registration to their car are experiencing similar problems, as the congestion charge system relies on data from the DVLA. Until the DVLA has updated its records to reflect the change in number plate, the car will show as non-compliant.
Answered by David Ross

I'm looking for a fun convertible for £14,000 - what do you advise?

"I've got £10,000 - £14,000 to buy a car that's a bit of fun. It won't be driven over huge mileages - I've got a diesel Skoda Superb for that. But I've never had a vehicle that's been genuinely exciting. It has to have four seats and my son is keen for it to be a convertible. I was thinking maybe an Audi S4."
I'd be tempted to invest in a classic (or future classic) that's bottomed out in value. Something like a Porsche 996 911 or Mercedes-Benz R129 SL will be a lot of fun, while also being very different to your Skoda Superb. They'll take a bit more maintenance and you'll need to do your research before buying one, but buy well and you won't lose a penny in depreciation. Combine this with cheap classic insurance and you could be onto a winner.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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