Audis are not cheap cars and they shouldn’t be. Audi is a luxury brand that should cost a premium to get into. However, not all of Audi’s fans are wealthy enough to afford brand-new cars. In fact, the majority of the brand’s fans are quite young and can only afford much older Audis. That isn’t a problem, though, as there are several excellent older Audis that can be had for relatively little money and provide a ton of fun. One of them is the B7-Generation Audi A4. So here’s a quick Buyer’s Guide of what to look for, what to buy and what to repair when buying a B7 A4.
Why you should buy a B7 Audi A4
The reason the B7 Audi A4 is one of the better used Audis to buy is that it’s in that sweet spot of Audi’s history, where it started to get pretty modern but is still old enough to lack the distractions of the newest technology. The B7 A4 was made between 2005 through 2008, as it was basically just a heavy refresh of the B6-generation A4. But because it’s relatively modern, it can come with tech like bluetooth streaming audio and calling, as well as navigation (though the 2005-based nav isn’t very good anymore). It also still looks fresh, both outside and inside.
But because the B7 Audi A4 is over a decade old, it still has the driving dynamics from the best generation of A4s. So the steering is sharper, though it was starting to get numb with the B7-gen, and the suspension is in that sweet spot. There’s no fancy adaptive dampers or Audi Drive Select modes. It just drives the way it drives and feels great.
It’s also one of the best looking A4 generations in the model’s history. Personally, I think it’s the best looking, with the B6-gen a close runner up. It looks modern and current while not being overly cluttered with crazy LED lights, giant wheels and it’s the right size.
Engines and Transmissions
Under the hood, there are two engine options you can choose from on the used market in America. There’s the 2.0T four-cylinder turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes 200 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Or, you can opt for the 3.2 liter naturally-aspirated V6, which makes 252 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque which, coincidentally, is almost exactly as much as the new B9-gen Audi A4 2.0T makes. Both engines were paired with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, when paired with Quattro all-wheel drive, but we won’t even talk about front-wheel drive models as they’re not worth buying.
The powertrain of choice is the 2.0T with a six-speed manual, thanks to the little turbo-four engine being reliable, efficient, powerful enough and cheaper to own and maintain. It’s also easier to upgrade than the 3.2 liter V6, as extra power can easily be made. A simple ECU tune, bigger turbo and upgraded downpipe can easily push 250-300 hp, depending on the tune and turbo. The reason for the six-speed manual is quite obvious, as manuals are always better. But the manual in the B7 A4 is buttery smooth, with crisp action and a great clutch.
What to Look Out For
If you get the 2.0T, there aren’t a lot of problems that buyers need to be concerned with. When buying a B7 A4, the miles are likely to be a bit high now that the car is about a decade old. If the miles are higher than 80,000, make sure the timing belt was replaced and if it hasn’t been, make sure to do it immediately after buying. This can be a bit expensive if you have it replaced at a shop but it’s not that hard and can be done DIY if you take your time, read up on it and have the right tools. Doing it yourself can save hundreds of dollars and it’s important.
The only other real issue that needs to be watched out for, on the 2.0T, is the cam follower for the high-pressure fuel pump. The cam follower is a very small part that looks almost like a metal thimble and it’s one of the few Audi design faults on the B7 A4. It can wear quite quickly and when it does, it can lead to power loss, a check-engine light and a rough engine. If it breaks completely, it can lead to serious damage. So it should be replaced with every oil change, pretty religiously. The good news is that it’s not an expensive part, with the whole kit (including the part, o-ring and new fuel-pump hardware) only costing $35 from ECS. It can be frustrating to replace, only because it’s in a tight spot and can be tricky to get to, but it’s not actually difficult, just time consuming. Make sure you have the right tools before doing so and look to forums and DIYs before starting.
If you can find a B7 Audi A4 that you can afford, has good mileage and has had its timing belt replaced, it’s well worth buying. It’s a great car that is one of the best looking A4s ever made, has a great interior, features just enough technology so as to not feel old but also not feel overly techy, can be tuned to be very powerful and is relatively reliable.