Much like the denim jacket, the Audi A4 B7 tried to come up with a mix of new and old. If this mixture of a German model came out succesful, we find out in today’s article.
In the article on the Ford Fiesta VI we talked about the life cycle of a car: Most models have a lifespan of 8 years, and in the middle of life they receive a facelift, after which they are replaced by the next generation. In that article we talked about how Fiesta, being such a successful model, had a lifespan of 10 years, receiving a facelift 5 years after its appearance. And Audi A4 B7? Only 4 years of life, no facelift.
Why did the B7 A4 have a life almost as short as the “Pimp my bedroom” show?
- The Audi A4 B7 lived so little because it was essentially an intense facelift of the Audi A4 B6. Same platform, with some updates and some improvements.
- The B7 went a little too much on the safety side and less on the fun side, especially the electronics. An ABS, an ESP, a can of beer, a brake drying system in case of rain, a system that works simultaneously with the rain sensor and a Nokia 3310 fitted as brake pads. Even Vader’s Executor had less technology.
- A wide selection of engines, many of which were unfortunately too old for 2008. The A4 B6 was no exception in terms of available engines, but the A4 B7 is more equipped than Christina Hendricks. If the engines were as delicious and good as those of Christina Hendricks, it remains to be seen in the engines section.
Audi A4 B7 was the middle child of the compact saloon from Audi. With a conservative, elegant and simple look inspired by A4 B6, A4 B7 remains an elegant, discreet but anonymous car. Due to this relatively anonymous aspect, it was also avoided by those who chose other ways in life to make money, as they flocked towards the newly launched BMW E90. Moreover, the Audi A4 B7 lived in times dominated by the BMW X5, Range Rover, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne and other monstrosities made of money. This allowed this model to escape relatively unnoticed, following the theme of discreet luxury that consecrated Audi.
Audi A4 B7 Engines
- 1.6 MPI of 102 bhp – This gentle and sort of slow relic of the past was somehow retained for the B7 version of the A4. Decently reliable, slightly thirsty and with an occasional apettite for coilpacks and oil, this is by far the best city engine for the A4 but the worst for outside the city. Built for the people that want reliability, not speed.
- 1.8T of 163 bhp – We are catapulted from the sluggish 1.6 MPI straight into this porno inspired, legendary 1.8 Turbo. It still munches down on coilpacks and petrol, but now it’s the most balanced engine of the bunch, thanks to the 131 bhp 1.9 TDI AWX being retired.
- 2.0 ALT of 130 bhp – The good ol’ 2.slow was bolted on for like the first 3 months of the model so good luck finding one. Excellent reliability and decent performance. So how did it fail class? It simply couldn’t pass the emissions test, it was too old and got sent off to St Nicholas Gardens, Westhill Road, Kings Norton, Birmingham, UK.
- 2.0 TFSI of 200 and 220 bhp – The performance vehicle bicycle from VW, that powered the Octavia vRS and Golf GTI, got bolted on the Audi A4 somehow. Great performance, but that oil consumption is so bad that you start wondering if this engine requires more oil than petrol. Still worth the buy though.
- 3.2 V6 FSI of 256 bhp – Loved by Touareg owners that carry around boats, caravans or other cars, this engine somehow made it’s way here. But because it’s much too heavy and the suspension has not been upgraded, this is one understeering boy.
- 4.2 V8 of 344 and 420 bhp – 420 blaze it into the Audi S4 and RS4, cars that are so different from the regular model that I’ll have to talk about them separately.
- 1.9 TDI of 116 bhp – Ahh, it’s final hurrah for the glorious, ancient, immortal 1.9 TDI that made the B5.5 Passat and Golf IV so famous. Brought in with just 116 bhp because the 131 bhp AWX would’ve kicked the 2.0 TDI in the nads, this version is reliable, but slow and noisy. Still, it’s the most popular engine on this generation A4 because of it’s old-school technology.
- 2.0 TDI of 149 and 170 bhp – VW really tried in 2005 to shove this 2.0 TDI down our throats. I talked about it in the Passat B6 article so I won’t copy paste it here. Yea, it had some injector issues in the past but thoese were most likely changed by now. The big one however is the oil pump’s balance shaft that wears out, grinds your oil pump to a halt which makes the engine run on no oil. I don’t think you need an explanation on what happens next, nor an explanation as to why so many 2.0 TDIs are so cheap to buy, ofen cheaper than the less equipped 1.9 TDI.
- 2.5 TDI V6 of 163 bhp – Built out of titannium ( literally), this engine is the complete opposite of the 1.6 MPI. Very reliable, excellent for highway and backroads, but one of the worst engines for city driving that modern money can buy.
- 2.7 TDI V6 of 190 bhp – More controversial than Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, this engine was mostly ignored by the people that preferred to pay a few hundred euros and jump straight to the 3.0 TDI. Equally expensive to buy and run, with similar tax brackets and similar issues. So why would you buy this?
- 3.0 TDI of 204 and 230 bhp – Now this is one hell of a classic. Bolted on anything from the Touareg to the Phaeton, this behemoth is ready to warp you into the next dimension, aboard an rather small Audi A4. But only if you keep the injectors, water pump and EGR Valve in check. And perform that massive timing chain replacement.
Audi A4 B7 General Issues
- Even though the B7 is an facelift of the B6, VW couldn’t be bothered with fixing the reliability issues. One of which is the “multi-tronic” CVT gearbox, affectionately known as “multi-trauma”, available for all FWD models. The Quattro AWD models however got the Tiptronic autobox which is much better.
- Yes, it’s old and proven technology, but it’s still old. That 2DIN infotainment looked good back in 2000 when the B6 was launched, but for 2008? It’s much too old. Especially when you paired it agains the rivals 3 Series and C Class, cars were you didn’t have to pay extra for rear power windows.
- That fabulous but complex, expensive and frail multi-link front suspension was kept and that’s gonna cost you quite alot, especially if you constantly drive on bad roads.
Audi A4 B7 Verdict
Audi A4 B7 is just a facelift of B6, nothing more, nothing less. An elegant and discreet car, which you either love or hate. Personally I really like the A4 B7, having that classic Audi look and being part of the last generation of true Audis, before things took off and jumped of a cliff. What I didn’t understand about this car was the reluctance of VW to update the interior. I understand that there are people who want simplicity and robustness, but these words should not characterize a car of 30,000+ euro starting price. Sturdiness? Maybe yes. But “simplicity” is by no means acceptable at this price range. Not when you’re Audi and you come in the compact premium saloon segment. It’s like Apple selling iPhone 4 today or launching an iPhone with buttons, because it’s more reliable.
So which engines would I pick? For the diesel I would go with the good ol’ fashioned 1.9 TDI 116 bhp, and for petrol I would save up and buy the glorious 1.8T 163 bhp torpedo.