Audi A4 B6, one of the more expensive used cars of the 2000s, enters the Almost Car Reviews ring. Find out why it has managed to keep its value so well, in today’s article.
When I says that it has managed to keep it’s value, I do not refer to the category of gentlement who made this car in 2008 so popular, right before the crisis. In fact, all the wide-neck-short-forehead hoorayed, cheered and bought the 2nd generation Audi A4 by the truckload, the A4 B6 coming as a logical answer to the success of the BMW E46, which was launched 1 year prior.I won’t bother talking about Mercedes’ C Class, because we’re not talking about the dark age in the history of the pointed star brand.
So what did the A4 B6 come up with in the fight with the BMW E46?
With a can of diesel, a few ropes and an open mind. Born ready for action, the Audi sedan boasts a complete offer that mixed both the performance desired by BMW E46 enthusiasts, as well as an offer of cars for those who want a simple compact limousine, BMW having only sports engines for the 3 series at that time. And this helped in terms of sales, because not everyone leaves the traffic light first, not everyone goes 100 km / h through the city, not everyone has something to prove to the world because they themselves do not have enough confidence in themselves.
What are the differences between A4 B6 and Passat B5.5?
Today, the main rival of the A4 B6 is not BMW, but VW. The A4 B6 was built on a shared platform with the Passat B5.5, and so naturally many people wonder why they should pay an extra 1000-2000 euros for what is essentially the same car. There are however a few differences.
- The A4 B6 is shorter but wider than the Passat B5.5. If the Passat is a classic luxury without sporting values, whereas the A4 is much more dynamic but sacrificing practicality. The space reserved for the rear passengers is microscopical, the trunk is also microscopic. Anyway, the back space is irrelevant, because you don’t have friends anyway. Because you have an Audi.
- The overall quality of the interiors is slightly higher than that of the Passat. In college I had a room mate with a Passat B5.5, at every bump or pothole taken the CD jumped out of place and he ran out of music. At A4 B6 you need a little more dedication to do this.
- The brand. It doesn’t make sense to beat it around the tampon (or was it bush?), A lot of people are more interested in that Audi logo and keys, even if the cars are much more expensive than a Passat and are marginally better. If you are interested in the car and not the brand, Passat B5.5 beats A4 B6 at the bottom as enthusiastically as Churchill did with waitresses all over the world.
- The safety. The lord of the rings is also 2% stiffer and safer than the poor man’s car aka VW Passat. So, if you get yourself in a horrible crash you have 2% better chances of survival.
- The 4×4 system is a very important party piece here, because they differ between the Audi and the VW, but this is a topic for another edition. The A4 B6 also received large engines and a different Quattro system for models with a longitudinally placed engine.
Audi A4 B6 Engines
- 1.6 MPI of 102 horsepower – An engine rather suited for a Golf / Audi A3, this city crawler does well in the urban jungle, but that’s about it. If you ever plan to leave the city by car, switch to another engine. Bonus points for reliability instead, being built out of concrete taken straight from the Elan aqueduct.
- 2.0 MPI of 131 horsepower – Another naturally aspirated petrol from a bygone era, this petrol and oil muncher is even more reliable than the 1.6 MPI, not needing too much stress to move the A4 B6 at decent speeds, even on roads outside the city.
- 2.0 FSI of 150 horsepower – The same 2.0 ALT, only with added FSI system. Decent in power and reliability, but it only rolls about using 98 petrol, and the LPG installations only work in 70% gas and 30% petrol, never 100% gas. Plus, if you put an LPG tank in the already tiny trunk of the A4 B6, you will only have room for 1 CD with Tom Jones and that’s about it.
- 1.8 Turbo of 150, 163 and 180 horsepower – One of the best engines of this era and of all time, this turbocharged petrols offers strong experiences that will leave your underwear soft and wet. Yes, there are occasional hunger pangs that are cured with ignition coils, but overall the motor is fantastic. Reason for which an Audi A4 B6 4×4 1.8T costs in 2020 5000 euros or more. 5,000 euros for a 2002 Audi. And it’s only getting pricier.
- 2.4 V6 of 170 horsepower – Rather suited for the Audi A6, this classic petrol tank is reliable, fast but thirsty. Yes, and it’s a V6, so maintenance costs.
- 3.0 V6 of 220 horsepower – Large, in chage, fast, expensive and thristy. Apparently there are problems with this engine with a worrying ammount of cases of engine block cracking that have been reported.
- 4.2 V8 of 344 horsepower – This is the engine exclusive to the S4 version, which is a car different enough from the base car to deserve its own article.
- 1.9 TDI of 100, 113 and 131 horsepower – The legendary, ancient 1.9 TDI that brainwashed most europeans. Whatever car you have, the best engine is 1.9 TDI. Slavs especially, they knew how to say “1.9 TDI” before they could say “mama”. The 113-horsepower engine is decent, and the most delicious and balanced engine for the A4 B6 is the 131-horsepower, codenamed AWX, powerplant.
- 2.5 V6 of 155, 163 and 180 horsepower – If the 1.6 MPI is suited strictly for urban use and is very weak on roads outside, 2.5 TDI is the opposite: fantastic on country roads, a very bad idea for the city. Also, this generation of 2.5 TDI has serious issues with the camshaft. Avoid this, because the 2.5 TDI without problems is on the next generation, A4 B7. If you still insist on buying one of these, buy one with the titanium camshaft.
Audi A4 B6 General Issues
The reason why the A4 B6 is so expensive, even in 2020, is the reliability. This Audi comes from an era in which cars were built out of reinforced concrete. An A4 B6 is much more reliable than the generations that came after, an A4 B6 will continue to work even when cars 15-20 years younger will get acquainted with the cemetery. But that doesn’t mean it was a 100% bulletproof car.
- The complex multi-link front suspension is the main issue with these cars, sharing the same complex system with the Passat B5.5 and A6 C5 and the previous A4 B5. Built for comfort, this expensive suspension has a short life on the roads that are not butter smooth, roads that remind you of Seal’s face.
- The multi-tronic gearbox has been affectionately called the “multi-trauma gearbox” due to it’s serious reliability issues.
- Like any VW product from the 2000s, there are climate control issues. It’s not as bad as the Skoda Octavia, but expect new compressors every summer.
Audi A4 B6 Verdict
Personally, I’m not a big fan of this car. Yes, it is a beautiful, sturdy car, built with a sense of responsibility. However, this does not justify the exaggerated asking prices of this car. An A4 B6 diesel ended up costing more than the next generation. A 2002 Audi A4 can cost 5-7,000 euros. This price is simply bollocks. But people pay, because they’ve heard they’re good cars. Yes, they are good cars, but no matter how good they are, a 15-20 year old car with 2 million kms under it’s belt will lose the battle with time. It was and is a very good sedan, but it is already technologically and morally outdated and should not cost so much.
Ah yes, and if you are going to buy an Audi A4 B6 anyway, the most balanced engine by far is the 1.9 TDI 131 horsepower, code AWX. And if you prefer petrol power, then the legendary 2.0 MPI 131 bhp ALT engine is more than up for the job.