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Used car focus: Audi A4 2001-2005

The second generation A4 comes very close to the standards set by the BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class; it’s a quality medium car with executive aspirations.

There’s more interior room than the old car and improved driver appeal.

Handsome looks, superb build and beautifully presented interiors means the A4 is a star performer on the used market. And if that isn’t enough, there’s a wide range of highly developed, powerful and efficient petrol and diesel engines.


It went on sale in March 2001 in saloon and Avant estate forms. There’s standard, SE, Sport and quattro spec. All have ABS, climate control and an alarm. SE adds 16in alloys, CD player, and electric rear windows. Sport adds uprated suspension, 16in alloy wheels, sports front seats, elec rear windows (V6 only).

The cabriolet arrived in early 2002 and the S4 saloon/Avant V8 quattro with the 4.2-litre, 340bhp engine, was introduced in early 2003.


Handling and driver satisfaction was a weakness on the previous generations A4 Avant, so Audi went to great lengths to make sure this model was an improvement. The result is a more responsive and composed car that’s pleasing as well as comfortable to drive. Low speed ride can be a little harsh but it’s an acceptable trade off for the fun.


The driver benefits from a clear and logical dash layout. Ergonomics are excellent, with all switches well placed; the seat adjusts for height on most models. It lacks some of the goodies that you’d expect from a Mondeo or Vectra, but it’s far better quality – top-rate materials are used throughout. Although it’s the same size as the MKI A4, this model has much improved interior space, with more rear legroom, It’s a calm environment with little wind or tyre noise.


A wide engine line up, kicking off with a 1.6. This engine doesn’t really have the punch to match A4’s sports exec image and is avoided by buyers on all but the tightest budget.

1.8T is available with 150bhp, 163bhp and 190bhp, but the 150bhp has enough power for most needs. 2.0 and 2.4 are powerful and refined, while the 3.0 is very fast indeed.

S4 quattro models will please even the pickiest petrolhead. Diesels are outstanding - as you’d expect from Audi. Entry-level is the 1.9 TDI, available with 100bhp, 115bhp or 130bhp. Fast and refined 2.5 TDI models have 155bhp, 180bhp or 163bhp.


Euro NCAP rates this as a four-star car in its crash tests. Plenty of safety equipment fitted as standard makes it as reassuring a place as possible if you do have an accident. Rear side airbags are options on top of the six fitted as standard.

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