12 Best & Worst Audi A4 Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Audi A4 is a compact executive sedan that first entered the U.S. market as a ’96 model year. 

It boasts a well-designed interior, balanced handling, and a powerful selection of engines. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best and worst years of the A4.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Audi A4 Are:

The best Audi A4 model years are 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2016, and 2012. The worst model years of the A4 are 2006, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2003, and 2008. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Audi A4?

2023 Audi A4

The 2023 A4 is an excellent sedan that provides a blend of performance, style, technology, and luxury. This model is part of the fifth generation that was introduced for 2017.

It has state-of-the-art safety and entertainment features, plenty of space for cargo and passengers, and a selection of high-performance turbo engines.

LED headlamps were fitted as standard for this model year and the more expensive Premium Plus trims come with a Bang & Olufsen sound system.

EPA estimates state that the base model can achieve 24 mpg for city driving, 33 mpg for highway driving, and 28 mpg for combined driving. 

There are 6 trim levels to choose from: Premium, Premium S Line, Premium Plus, Premium Plus S Line, Prestige, and Prestige S Line.

The midrange Premium Plus trim, priced at approximately $46,000, is what we would recommend as it provides more than enough features at a justifiable price.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2023 A4, Edmunds review:

“I bought this car roughly three weeks ago. Since then, all of my great first impressions have held up and then some. What drew me most to this car was the interior (because that is a huge factor for me, aside from driving experience) and it has not disappointed. It is comfortable and filled with great features. The drive has been fantastic…”

2022 Audi A4

The 2022 A4 is a great model year that competes with the best executive compact sedan on the market.

Its cabin is well put together using high-quality materials and it is loaded with tech features.

For 2022 an optional Black Optic package was made available on the base 40 models which includes glossy back styling cues and the pricier 45 models were fitted as standard with a sport suspension.

As you would expect from a premium car, the 2022 A4 scores a perfect 5-star NHTSA safety rating.

Noteworthy safety features include Audi Pre Sense City to protect you from frontal collisions, Audi Active Lane Assist to aid you should you veer out of your lane and Audi Connect which is a variety of services such as helping you to summon roadside assistance.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2022 A4, Edmunds review:

“I test drove the Mercedes, Volvo, and Lexus that compete in this price range. I bought the A4 and am loving it! I was inclined to buy the Lexus 350, since I had been driving Lexus for 22 years. But I did not like the new grill, and the technology was worse. Using a mouse pad and cursor to navigate the screen was difficult, and seemed impossible to use while driving. Which makes a lot of things unusable. The Audi has great tech, including two screens that are digital that can be changed. For example, if you want the nav system in front of the steering wheel, you can put it there, and put something else on the middle screen. Buttons and dials make this happen -very easy, very practical, and very cool…”

2021 Audi A4

The 2021 A4 is style, comfort, and performance, all in one package.

The model has state-of-the-art safety features and is powered by a 2-liter TFSI engine that offers 201 horsepower for the entry-level and midrange trims and up to 261 horses for the top-spec trims.

For 2021 all A4s were fitted with Audis patented Quattro all-wheel drive system and lane-departure warning and Wireless Apple CarPlay comes as standard too.

Fuel economy is quite respectable, EPA estimates are around 24 mpg for city driving, 31 mpg for highway driving, and 27 mpg for combined driving.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 76 / 100

2021 A4, Edmunds review:

“ … It is a great car, but it is not an out of the world car. You will hear many people say that Audi cars are endless money pits, that they don’t age well, they require a lot of maintenance, that repair costs are high, a lot of depreciation, etc. I don’t know if all this is true (except depreciation), but if you are concerned about such opinions, this car is not for you. If you are willing to pay the price, you will get a wonderfully crafted interior (one of the.most beautiful in my opinion), audi ownership prestige, amazing driving experience, smart security features and happiness. It sounds materialistic but once you have worked hard enough for something, you deserve to treat yourself…”

2020 Audi A4

The 2020 A4 is another solid choice when shopping for a quintessential compact luxury sedan.

This model year received a number of upgrades including a bigger 10.1-inch touchscreen display, revised exterior styling, better tech and new lighting and wheel designs.

There are two powerful engine choices available although we would recommend the more powerful 45 TFSI engine which offers around 250 hp.

The engine is paired with a smooth-running 7-speed automated manual transmission. 

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.5 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2020 A4, Kelley Blue Book review:

“I’ve currently owned my vehicle for 1 year and my A4 has gotten me through 30k miles! It’s a great daily but out of hiccups, I had 1 instance that coolant was leaking. Even if the vehicle is CPO please check under the vehicle and engine bay that everything is good to go. It’s easy to do your own oil change on the A4 and do it every 3k-5k miles. Otherwise enjoy your ride!”

2016 Audi A4

The 2016 A4 is the last model of the fourth generation that was introduced in 2008. If you are shopping for a fourth-gen model, the 2016 edition is the most reliable, based on NHTSA data.

The cabin is well-appointed and uses quality materials, the ride is smooth, and handling is very sharp. 

Tech features aren’t as generous or as modern as the newer models – features such as USB ports and Bluetooth are optional.

Fuel economy varies depending on the powertrain although on average EPA estimates are around 26 mpg for combined driving.

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 83 / 100

2016 A4, Edmunds review:

“After more than 2 years and 20K miles, I can say this car has been great. Excellent acceleration and handling. The sports mode allows for more lively driving. The quattro system is great on curves. No problems with anything and have gone in only for routine maintenance. A few years ago A4s had some problems with oil consumption, but I have not had that problem with this 2015 model and it’s possible Audi solved whatever problem was ailing earlier models…”

2012 Audi A4

Whether in wagon or sedan form, the 2012 A4 is a great choice, especially for those on a tighter budget. The 2012 A4 is part of the fourth generation, which is notably more reliable than previous generations.

Styling is impeccable, fuel efficiency is good and build quality is top-notch.

The best feature of this model is its powerful, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine which stands out in a segment dominated by inline and V-6 engines.

The sedan version comes in 3 trim levels: Premium Quattro AWD, Premium, and Premium Quattro.

The wagon, on the other hand, comes in a single variant, known as the Avant Premium Quattro.

The 2012 A4 secured an admirable 4-star NHTSA safety rating, and boasts features such as a post-collision safety system, front and rear head airbags, stability control, and traction control. 

  • Edmunds: 3.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2012 A4, Edmunds review:

“This is my first Audi and I absolutely LOVE it! Before purchase I was concerned about a 4 cyl, but the turbo makes it a non issue and the gas mileage is AWESOME! The interior is extremely comfortable and well thought out. The attention to detail truly makes the car fun to drive. I’m officially an Audi convert.”

Consumer Scores For Best Audi A4 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD PowerConsumer Rating
2023 Audi A44.4 / 5.04.5 / 5.078 / 100
2022 Audi A44.4 / 5.04.5 / 5.078 / 100
2021 Audi A44.4 / 5.04.5 / 5.076 / 100
2020 Audi A44.3 / 5.04.5 / 5.0NA
2016 Audi A44.3 / 5.04.4 / 5.083 / 100
2012 Audi A43.8 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA

Related: 6 Most Common Problems of the Audi A4 (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Audi A4?

2006 and 2005 Audi A4

The 2006 A4 is statistically the most problematic model year ever produced and the 2005 model wasn’t far behind, both racked up hundreds of complaints mostly due to problematic headlights.

These issues were linked to manufacturing issues that allowed water to enter the ballast.

Owners reported intermittent flickering and loss of power or brightness. 

Here’s one owner’s complaint:

“I get a “right dipped headlight” message and my right headlight goes out. I can correct the issue by turning the headlights off and back on but this is not safe after dark. The car has been doing this with increasing frequency especially over the past year. It occurs more when it’s raining and more after dark-when you most need the headlights.”

The 2006 A4 had a total of 18 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 342 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2005 A4 had a total of 6 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 249 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Headlights flickering
  • Takata recall
  • Windows go down on their own

1998 Audi A4

The 1998 A4, which predates all of the other model years on this list, suffered from anti-lock brake problems that occurred when it rains.

This led to a delayed response when applying the brakes and drivers had to apply additional pressure to stop the vehicle.

Owners reported this nearly caused them to be in accidents.

The 1998 A4 had a total of 260 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • ABS brakes not working
  • Excessive oil usage
  • Engine failure

2007 and 2008 Audi A4

The 2007 and 2008 A4 were affected by the infamous, exploding, shrapnel-shooting Takata airbag recall.

Complaints were lodged due to owners having to wait extended lengths of time due to a shortage of parts.

Owners also reported that their dealerships were less than helpful in addressing the issue.

Excessive oil consumption was also reported, with some owners having to add a quart of oil every 1000 miles or less.

This problem was reported on turbo engines, and has been reported on numerous model years.

The 2007 A4 had a total of 13 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 235 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2008 A4 had a total of 20 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 218 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Sunroof damage
  • Clear coat peeling

2003 Audi A4

The 2003 A4 had several severe powertrain-related issues. 

Common symptoms included abrupt car stalling, transmission failure or non-responsiveness, and the activation of limp mode which restricts a vehicle to minimal speeds.

The 2003 A4 had a total of 11 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 230 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • On-board computer stopped working
  • Defective transmission
  • Air conditioning compressor seized

Related: How Long Do Audi A4 Last? (Solved & Explained)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints(CarComplaints.com)Problems(CarProblemZoo.com)
2023 Audi A401
2022 Audi A405
2021 Audi A406
2020 Audi A414
2019 Audi A407
2018 Audi A4029
2017 Audi A418105
2016 Audi A4334
2015 Audi A4244
2014 Audi A41278
2013 Audi A422122
2012 Audi A41355
2011 Audi A43157
2010 Audi A41973
2009 Audi A435165
2008 Audi A420218
2007 Audi A413235
2006 Audi A418342
2005 Audi A46249
2004 Audi A416202
2003 Audi A411230
2002 Audi A410186
2001 Audi A42130
2000 Audi A4596
1999 Audi A44193
1998 Audi A40260
1997 Audi A43100
1996 Audi A4489

What Problems Do Audi A4 Have?

  • Excessive oil usage
  • Engine failure
  • Tensioner for the timing chain failed
  • Sunroof drain grommet seals leaking
  • Premature failure of variable cam timing adjuster
  • High-pressure fuel pump failed
  • Burning oil
  • Cylinder head repair
  • Fuel injectors failed
  • Lost compressio
  • Oil sludge
  • Transmission failure

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Audi A4?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Acura Integra9.0$30,800 – $35,800City: 26 – 30 /Highway: 36 – 37
Audi A48.7$40,300 – $42,400City: 24 /Highway: 32 – 33
Audi A58.6$44,600 – $53,900City: 24 /Highway: 31 – 33
Mercedes-Benz C-Class8.6$43,550 – $87,100City: 17 – 24 /Highway: 24 – 33
Genesis G708.5$39,400 – $47,000City: 17 – 21 /Highway: 26 – 31
BMW 2-Series8.4$35,700 – $48,550City: 23 – 26 /Highway: 32 – 35
Kia Stinger8.4$36,690 – $54,090City: 17 – 22 /Highway: 24 – 32
BMW 3-Series8.3$41,450 – $56,700City: 23 – 26 /Highway: 32 – 36
Volkswagen Arteon8.3$43,010 – $50,175City: 22 – 25 /Highway: 31 – 33
Volkswagen Golf R8.1$44,740 – $46,190City: 20 – 23 /Highway: 28 – 30
Volvo S608.1$41,300 – $50,300City: 25 – 26 /Highway: 33 – 35
Audi A38.1$34,900 – $36,900City: 27 – 28 /Highway: 35 – 38

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: Audi A4 in Snow & Winter Driving (Solved & Explained)










  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...