Audi A4 B8 2009-2016 (4th Generation) Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used A4 4th Gen

Read in this article:

4th Gen Audi A4 What Owners Say

  • Owners love the understated exterior styling and inviting interior.
  • Passengers appreciate the added interior space of the fourth-generation Audi A4.
  • Ride comfort and refinement are highlights of living with an A4 B8.
  • The available Multitronic transmission dulls the driving experience.
  • Reliability issues and maintenance costs have soured the ownership experience for many A4 owners.
  • Some owners find the MMI infotainment interface clunky and unintuitive to operate.

Fourth Generation Audi A4 Facelift

Arriving in 2009 in both sedan and Avant (wagon) forms, the fourth-generation Audi A4 (B8) is a ground-up redesign that continued with minimal changes, barring an engine rationalization, until 2012. The 2013 facelift introduced a number of external and mechanical differences and another revision of the model lineup, which saw the Avant being discontinued in favor of a new Allroad variant. The B8 Audi A4 then continued until 2016 with no cosmetic changes, albeit with some equipment improvements in its last years.

2013-2016 A4 B8 Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
2013-2016 A4 B8 Facelift Front Changes

Viewed from the front, the 2013 Audi A4 facelift is easy to spot. The new model's Singleframe grille has a thinner chrome outline, its upper corners are sloped, giving it a slightly hexagonal shape, and the headlights are redesigned to mirror the new grille outline. This gives the visual effect of a wider grille and optically lowers the facelifted A4's front end (although it isn't really). The air-intake slot in the lower bumper is shallower, and the outer lower air intakes are shaped to echo the inner edges of the new headlights1.

The headlights are restyled as well and are now slimmer close to the grille before flaring wider as they merge into the front fenders, reversing the styling theme applied to the pre-facelift model. The headlamp clusters also gain a new folded strip-like LED DRL arrangement2, and the foglights take on a rectangular shape instead of the original car's round items3. Finally, the bumper4 and hood5 are both reshaped to match the new grille- and headlight designs.

2013-2016 A4 B8 Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
2013-2016 A4 B8 Facelift Rear Changes

The 2013 Audi A4 facelift also brings noticeable changes to the rear-end styling, with a redesigned trunk lid to house restyled taillight clusters1. The facelifted model's taillights appear slimmer than before, and their top edges reach further into the trunk lid before joining the sloped lower edge via reverse-slanted inner edges similar to those of the headlamps.

The detailing of the taillights is changed as well, with segmented LED lighting elements, and the backup lights are now mounted in the middle of the taillight clusters, not in the bottom third as before2. Finally, the rear bumper is slightly simplified, losing the old model's upper crease and sharpening the remaining character line, giving some more definition to a rear view that verged on blob-like on the pre-facelift A43.

2013-2016 A4 B8 Facelift Side Changes CarBuzz
2013-2016 A4 B8 Facelift Side Changes

In its profile view, there aren't any changes to the facelifted Audi A4 B8's body styling or detailing - in fact, even the base model's wheels carry over unchanged. However, the revised bumper styling1 and new head2 - and taillight clusters3 serve to distinguish the facelifted A4, so that's where you'll be able to tell the two models apart.

2013-2016 A4 B8 Facelift Interior Changes CarBuzz
2013-2016 A4 B8 Facelift Interior Changes

Interior changes applied during the facelift are minimal, and the design remains identical to that of the pre-facelift model. The only noticeable changes revolve around the window switches1 and some infotainment-system controls2, which receive chrome trimmings to improve wear resistance and add a dash of flash to an otherwise-sober design. The steering wheel also came in for a redesign, but its style depends on the selected trim package3.

Engine, Transmission and Drivetrain

The Audi A4 B8 was available with a very wide variety of engines in world markets, but North America was only offered two engines - one of which disappeared after a single model year. The expected turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which has been a fixture in every A4 generation since this nameplate was first introduced, remained for the B8 A4's entire production life, but the 3.2-liter V6, which carried over from the B7 generation, was only available in 2009.

Drivetrain options included the Multitronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) for the entry-level front-wheel-drive variant or two six-speed gearboxes in either manual or automatic flavors for cars equipped with quattro AWD. The Avant was only available with the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, in combination with quattro and the six-speed automatic, and no FWD variants were offered with a manual transmission. 2011 saw the introduction of a new eight-speed automatic transmission to replace the previous six-speed unit, improving both performance and efficiency in the process.

2.0L Inline-4 Gas Turbocharged DOHC EA888 Gen 2
211 hp | 258 lb-ft
211 hp
258 lb-ft
CVT (FWD), six-speed manual or six-/eight-speed automatic (AWD)

Do not confuse this 2.0-liter engine with the one which was used in the B7-generation Audi A4, because it literally shares only its displacement with its predecessor. Everything else is new, from top to bottom. Technical features include a cast-iron block and aluminum cylinder head, chain-driven camshafts, stepless variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust cams, variable exhaust-valve lift, direct fuel injection, and two chain-driven counter-rotating balance shafts.

This engine was used for the entire B8 Audi A4 production run and could be ordered with the Multitronic CVT and FWD, with a six-speed manual and AWD, or a six-speed (later eight-speed) automatic and AWD. It delivered a very satisfactory performance in the A4, and made it capable of sprinting to 60 mph in as little as 6.4 seconds and returning up to 30 mpg on the highway.

3.2L V6 Gas Naturally Aspirated DOHC CALA (2009)
265 hp | 243 lb-ft
265 hp
243 lb-ft
Six-speed automatic

The 3.2-liter V6 power unit also carried over from the B7-generation A4, but was only offered for one year. However, while it was available with a CVT as well as a six-speed manual gearbox in the older car, it was exclusively paired with the six-speed automatic transmission and AWD in the B8. Technical features include stepless variable valve timing on both intake- and exhaust cams, variable valve lift, a two-stage variable-length intake manifold, aluminum cylinder block and heads, and direct fuel injection.

While the 3.2-liter had a very pleasant soundtrack, it was slightly down on torque when compared to the 2.0T, and not very far ahead on horsepower. Hence, its performance wasn't much ahead of the smaller engine in real-world driving. Audi claimed a 0-60 mph dash in 6.3 seconds for the V6, which isn't much quicker than the automatic AWD 2.0T's claimed 6.7 seconds, and it was thirstier and heavier as well. This likely explains why the 3.2 V6 was dropped from the lineup so quickly.

2009-2016 Audi A4 4th Generation Real MPG

The EPA has a service where owners can upload their real-world fuel consumption figures, which we can then compare to the official EPA consumption data. For some models, the sample size is too small to give statistically meaningful results, but those owners who submitted their real-world data show that the Audi A4 B8 is capable of matching or improving on their official figures.

This obviously depends on the owners' driving styles, so figures which deviate from the official ratings by too wide a margin indicate that the drivers may have been hypermiling or driving slower than the norm. But, with that said, it's clear that the official figures for most B8 Audi A4s are somewhat on the pessimistic side of reality.

EPA mpg (city/highway/combined)Real-world combined mpg*
2.0T Sedan CVT FWD (2009)23/30/2525.7
2.0T Sedan CVT FWD (2010)23/30/2634.7
2.0T Sedan CVT FWD (2011-2012)22/30/2527.3
2.0T Sedan CVT FWD (2013)24/31/2627
2.0T Sedan CVT FWD (2014)23/31/2625.8
2.0T Sedan CVT FWD (2015)24/31/26N/A
2.0T Sedan CVT FWD (2016)24/31/27N/A
2.0T Sedan six-speed manual AWD (2009-2010)22/30/2524.9-34.4
2.0T Sedan six-speed manual AWD (2011-2012)21/31/25N/A
2.0T Sedan six-speed manual AWD (2013-2016)22/32/26N/A
2.0T Sedan six-speed automatic AWD (2009-2010)21/27/2320.9-23.8
2.0T Sedan eight-speed automatic AWD (2011-2012)21/29/2424.3-28.3
2.0T Sedan eight-speed automatic AWD (2013)20/30/2421.5-24.6
2.0T Sedan eight-speed automatic AWD (2014)20/28/2322-25
2.0T Sedan eight-speed automatic AWD (2015-2016)21/30/24N/A
2.0T Avant six-speed automatic AWD (2009-2010)21/27/2325.8
2.0T Avant Eight-Speed Automatic AWD (2011-2012)21/29/2425
3.2 Sedan six-speed automatic AWD (2009)17/26/2028.8

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.


The B8-generation Audi A4 built on the strong safety foundation laid by its predecessors, and is regarded as a very safe vehicle even when seen through a modern lens. Standard safety features include six airbags (two frontal airbags, two front-side airbags, two curtain airbags), seatbelt pretensioners all round, stability and traction control, four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated in front) with ABS, emergency brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, halogen projector headlamps, front foglights, tire-pressure monitoring, five height-adjustable head restraints with whiplash protection in front, and rear child-seat anchors.

NHTSA crash-test results confirm the B8 Audi A4's safety credentials, giving it five stars for overall frontal crash protection, with both the driver and front passenger's individual ratings both achieving the full five-star rating. It also scored five stars for its overall side-impact and rollover protection.

Also note that these crash tests were performed in 2012 under the 2011 NHTSA test regimen, which is much more punishing than pre-2011 crash tests. When subjected to the older test procedures in 2009, the B8 Audi A4 scored five stars in every criterion.

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

2009 Audi A4 Sedan

Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (Driver):
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (Passenger):
Side Crash Rating (Front):
Side Crash Rating (Rear):
Rollover Rating:

2016 Audi A4 Sedan

Overall Rating:
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (Driver):
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating (Passenger):
Side Crash Rating:
Side Crash Rating (Front):
Side Crash Rating (Rear):
Rollover Rating:

4th Generation Audi A4 Sedan B8 Trims

A high feature content has always been one of the A4's main attractions, and the Audi A4 fourth generation is no exception to this rule. Standard equipment depends on the trim level selected and also varies according to the engine choice. Audi doesn't call them trim levels, though - they refer to the different variants as packages.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four or 3.2-liter naturally aspirated V6
CVT, six-speed manual, six-/eight-speed automatic

This was the highest-specification A4 in 2009, and really pulled out all the stops with everything the Premium Plus offers plus 18-inch alloy wheels, MMI Navigation Plus with a seven-inch color LCD screen and an embedded navigation system and keyless entry and start. The heated exterior mirrors have auto-dim capability and a 14-speaker B&O premium audio system with a 505-watt output.

2009 - 2016
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four
CVT, six-speed manual, six-/eight-speed automatic

Premium trim is the entry point to the B8 Audi A4 experience, and features a sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, single-zone electronic climate control with activated carbon filter and rear ventilation outlets, halogen headlights and foglights, eight-way powered front-seat adjustment, leather trim for the seats, shift knob, and steering wheel, a ten-speaker, 180-watt audio system with in-dash single-CD player and a memory-card slot, one-touch up-and-down power windows all round, heated and powered mirrors, a manual tilting-and-telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, and alloy dashboard, door, and console trim.

Premium Plus
2009 - 2016
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four or 3.2-liter naturally aspirated V6
CVT, six-speed manual, six-/eight-speed automatic

Premium Plus adds quite a few nice extras to the base Premium's equipment, with self-leveling bi-xenon headlights and LED DRLs, three-zone climate control, heated front seats, and memory for the driver's seat adjustment and mirror settings as standard. The infotainment system gets USB and iPod compatibility, and LED taillights brighten up the sedan body type's rear end. This was the lowest trim level in which the A4 3.2 was offered.

To these trim levels, buyers were able to add extra option bundles or single options. The Driver Assist package, available for Prestige trim only, adds blind-spot monitoring, a high-resolution rear-view camera, and rear parking sensors. Also only available only for the Prestige trim, the S line package is a sportier choice, with more-aggressive exterior styling, 19-inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, sport steering wheel, and leather-and-alcantara trim for its powered front sports seats.

Stand-alone options for the Premium Plus included the Navigation Plus infotainment package, and adaptive cruise control was available as a Prestige option. The choices are quite bewildering, but also means that there are some really well-equipped Audi A4s out there.

4th Gen Audi A4 Features

PrestigePremiumPremium Plus
Adaptive Cruise ControlON/AN/A
Auxiliary Audio InputSOO
Back-Up CameraOOO
Blind Spot MonitorON/AO
Bluetooth ConnectionSOS
Brake AssistSSS
Climate ControlSSS
Cruise ControlOSS
Driver Air BagSSS
Front Head Air BagSSS
Front Side Air BagOOO
Hard Disk Drive Media StorageOOO
Heated Front Seat(s)OOO
Keyless EntrySOO
Keyless StartSOO
MP3 PlayerOOO
Multi-Zone A/CSSS
Navigation SystemOOO
Passenger Air BagSSS
Power Driver SeatOSO
Power LiftgateN/AN/AN/A
Power Mirror(s)SSS
Power Passenger SeatOSO
Premium Sound SystemOOO
Rear Head Air BagSSS
Rear Parking AidOOO
Rear Side Air BagOOO
Remote Trunk ReleaseN/AN/AN/A
Satellite RadioSOO
Seat MemoryOOO
Smart Device IntegrationON/AO
Stability ControlSSS
Steering Wheel Audio ControlsSSO
Tire Pressure MonitorSSS
Traction ControlSSS
Universal Garage Door OpenerSOS
WiFi HotspotOOO

Interior, Trim And Practicality

Audi A4 Sedan 4th Gen Interior Overview Audi
2013-2016 A4 B8 Interior View

The B8 Audi A4's cabin is a comfortable place to spend time, with high-quality materials and considerate ergonomics combined into a very classy interior. It's a pleasure to behold, simple to access, and easy to use, and still looks modern more than a decade since it first appeared.

However, the old Audi A4 bugbear is still present: cabin space isn't the greatest in its class. Front-seat occupants will be quite happy with the A4 sedan's 40 inches of headroom, 41.3 inches of legroom and 55.5 inches of shoulder room, but these figures are nothing exceptional and are very close to the competing BMW E90 sedan in all respects.

The same applies to the rear seats, where headroom exactly matches that of the E90 BMW, although the Audi A4 B8 sedan has almost an inch less shoulder room but about half an inch more legroom than the BMW. Cargo capacity is slightly better than that of the E90, though, with 12.4 cu.ft. on offer as opposed to the BMW's 12 cu.ft.

PrestigePremiumPremium Plus
Bucket SeatsOOO
Leather SeatsOSO
Leather Steering WheelOSO
Premium Synthetic SeatsON/AO
Woodgrain Interior TrimOOO
Black, Leather seating surfacesSSS
Light Gray, Leather seating surfacesSSS
Cardamom Beige, Leather seating surfacesSSS
Velvet Beige/Black, Leather seating surfacesSSS
Velvet Beige/Brown, Leather seating surfacesSSS
Titanium Gray/Black, Leather seating surfacesSSS
Titanium Gray/Steel Gray, Leather seating surfacesSSS
Chestnut Brown, Leather seating surfacesSSS
Black, Leather Seating SurfacesSSS
Gray/Black, Leather Seating SurfacesSSS
Gray, Leather Seating SurfacesSSS
Brown/Black, Leather Seating SurfacesSSS
Beige/Black, Leather Seating SurfacesSSS
Beige/Brown, Leather Seating SurfacesSSS
Gray/Gray, Leather Seating SurfacesSSS
Black/Alabaster White, Fine Nappa Bi-Color Leather Seating SurfacesSN/AS
Black/Cloud Gray, Fine Nappa Bi-Color Leather Seating SurfacesSN/AS
Black/Congac, Fine Nappa Bi-Color Leather Seating SurfacesSN/AS
S Line Competition Black, Alcantara Leather Seating SurfacesSN/AS
Black, Leather/Alcantara seating surfacesSN/AN/A
S Line Black, Alcantara/Leather Seating SurfacesSN/AN/A
Black/Cognac, Fine Nappa Bi-Color Leather Seating SurfacesSN/AN/A

2009 - 2016 Audi A4 4th Generations Maintenance and Cost

There's nothing particularly difficult about the Audi A4 4th generation's service schedule, with oil and oil filter changes set at 5,000-mile intervals by the manufacturer. We strongly recommend sticking to this interval, especially due to the demands made on the lubrication system incurred by the direct-injection system. Oil-sludge formation in the sump is a known issue on both the 2.0T and 3.2 engines, and the only way to avert this is by frequent replacement of the oil.

For Audi A4s with the Multitronic CVT, Audi recommends the replacement of the transmission fluid and its filter every 35,000 miles, but we'd replace them even sooner. 30,000 miles should be regarded as the upper limit between CVT fluid changes to maximize the service life of this rather temperamental transmission. The manual gearbox needs no servicing, and there are almost no owner reports of 2009-2016 Audi A4 B8 clutch problems. The manual gearbox will only need new fluid in the event of it developing an oil leak.

The automatic transmissions used by the B8 Audi A4 are supposedly sealed for life, but we recommend fluid changes for these ZF gearboxes every 60,000 miles to help you steer clear of 2009-2016 Audi A4 automatic-transmission problems. This is quite an involved job, and includes removing the gearbox oil sump to replace the filter within, but it is well worth doing to avoid Audi A4 B8 gearbox problems.

The spark plugs should be replaced every 55,000 miles, which is a convenient interval because it coincides with the engine's air-filter replacement interval. Audi says that the spark plugs should be good for 60,000 miles, but seeing as the air filter needs to be replaced just before that, it may be easier just to do them both at the same time.

The pollen filter is scheduled for replacement every 15,000 miles, but we'd recommend cutting this interval in half, along with the engine air filter's replacement if the vehicle is used in dusty (or other extreme) driving conditions. Brake fluid must be replaced every two years, regardless of mileage.

Pre-facelift (2009-2012) Audi A4s have hydraulic power-assisted steering, and these cars will need a power-steering fluid replacement every 75,000 miles to avoid Audi A4 B8 steering rack problems. 2013-2016 A4s use electric power assistance, which doesn't need any fluid changes or other attention. All engines used in the B8 Audi A4 range employ chain-driven camshafts, so the only belt to worry about will be the serpentine drive belt - inspect it with every service, and replace it as soon as you see hairline cracks appearing in the rubber.

Fourth Gen Audi A4 Sedan Basic Service

The B8 Audi A4 3.2 takes 6.9 quarts of 5W-40 full-synthetic oil, which should cost between $100 and $124, including an OEM oil filter. An OEM engine air filter costs about $30 for this model, an OEM cabin air filter costs around $23, and a set of OEM spark plugs costs about $108 from an Audi dealership. To have the oil, its filter and both engine- and cabin air filters replaced at a non-OEM workshop will cost around $320 including parts, while asking that workshop to change the spark plugs on an A4 3.2 will set you back almost $560.

Servicing the Audi A4 2.0T will be considerably less expensive because it takes only 4.8 quarts of 5W-40 full-synthetic oil. This will set you back between $78 and $112, including an OEM oil filter, depending on your choice of oil. A set of OEM spark plugs for the 2.0T engine will cost about $61, and it uses the same $23 cabin air filter. Having the engine oil and all filters replaced by a private workshop should cost about $275, and having that workshop replace the spark plugs will cost around $195. For both the A4 2.0T and 3.2 models, it will be much cheaper to just buy the spark plugs and fit them yourself!

Audi A4 B8 Tires

2.0T Premium
Tire Size:
Wheel Size:
17" x 7.5"
Spare Tire:
2.0T Premium Plus
Tire Size:
Wheel Size:
17" x 8.0"
Spare Tire:
2.0T Prestige
Tire Size:
Wheel Size:
18" x 8.0"
Spare Tire:

Check Before You Buy

The 2009-2016 Audi A4 recall list is quite short, and two of them are related to the airbags:

  • The first is the 2009 Audi A4 airbag recall for the airbag control unit, which may corrode due to water damage, leading to malfunctions in the system and unpredictable airbag deployment. The second airbag-related recall involves the airbag control unit of 2013-2015 Audi A4s, which may prevent the deployment of airbags in secondary collisions. This is remedied by a simple re-programming of the control unit's algorithm, so should not be a major cause for concern.
  • There are other recalls at play for 2013-2016 A4s, with the first one being the Audi A4 B8 water pump recall involving the supplementary electric coolant pump (the "run-on water pump"), which may become blocked with cooling system debris or sustain internal damage due to water ingress, possibly leading to overheating of the pump or a short circuit, respectively. In both cases, an engine bay fire may result, so it's important to ensure that this issue has been addressed.
  • Another electrical-system recall involves the auxiliary heaters on 2013-2016 Audi A4s, where the electrical connector could corrode, leading to overheating wires and also possibly causing an electrical fire.

If an OBD-II diagnostic scan is performed on a 2009-2016 Audi A4, the following fault codes may appear.

  • P0042 indicates a problem with an oxygen sensor's heating element, P1157 and P1190 mean that there's a problem with the oxygen sensor's output signal, and P2247 means a problem with an oxygen sensor's reference voltage circuit. Catalyst efficiency problems will result in the P0420 error code being displayed.
  • Error code P0100 means that there is a problem with the airflow sensor's output signal value.
  • Throttle-position sensor signals outside of the allowable range will trigger code P0121, and P0221 means that there's a problem with the accelerator pedal position sensor.
  • P0299 and P0299 both indicate a likely boost leak, while P0238 means that there's a problem with the boost pressure sensor or its wiring.
  • Random or multiple misfires can trigger error code P0300, while the last number in P030x indicates which cylinder is misfiring. For example, P0301 means cylinder number one is missing, P0302 means that cylinder number two is the culprit, and so on.
  • P0351 indicates that cylinder number one's coil is unplugged or that there is a problem with its circuit. As with the misfire error codes, changing the last digit in this P-code will indicate which coil's circuit is malfunctioning.
  • Problems with the fuel tank's evaporative control system will be indicated by error codes P0451, P0455, and P0456.
  • P0506 indicates that the engine's idle speed is too low, and P0507 means that the idle speed is too high.
  • Problems with the automatic transmission's speed sensor will cause error P0722, and P0730 , P2700, and P2703 all indicate an incorrect correlation between the input- and output-shaft speeds (such as an improbable gear ratio or excess transmission slip due to a lack of oil). P0850 is also automatic transmission-related and points towards a problem with the Park/Neutral switch on the gear selector. If an automatic transmission has been replaced, code P1701 indicates that the control module needs to be re-coded for the new transmission. P1743 indicates serious problems with the torque converter's clutch solenoid on cars with an automatic gearbox, either due to contaminated oil, or a faulty clutch solenoid valve.
  • If the fuel-tank level is too low, error code P1250 will be stored.
  • A problem with the left lower engine mounting's solenoid-actuator circuit will trigger code P1573, with P1577 indicating a problem with the right lower engine mounting's solenoid circuit.
  • P2181 means that you need to stop the engine immediately, as there's a problem with the performance of the cooling system.

Fourth-Generation Audi A4 Common Problems

Problems Common To Both 2.0T and 3.2 Engines

A number of problems are common to both 2.0T and 3.2 engines, but no 2009-2016 Audi A4 engine recalls were issued for any of them. Most of these 2009-2016 Audi A4 B8 sedan and wagon engine problems stem from their direct fuel-injection systems, which use a High-Pressure Fuel Pump, driven by a dedicated lobe on the intake camshaft via a bucket-type cam follower. This actuator could wear down, causing low fuel pressure errors and eventually damaging both the HPFP and the camshaft. This is one of the major concerns as far as 2009-2016 Audi A4 mechanical problems go.

Both the 2.0T (EA888) and 3.2 V6 engines as used in the B8 Audi A4 employ timing chains to drive their camshafts, and they both present 2009-2016 Audi A4 timing chain problems with elongating chains, malfunctioning tensioners, and plastic tensioner guides which become brittle and disintegrate with age. The tensioners could develop internal leaks, or their pressurizing oil channels could become blocked with debris, in both cases leading to a loss of chain tension. There wasn't an official 2009-2016 Audi A4 timing chain recall, but Audi did extend the warranty for 2009-2013 models which may have defective tensioners.

This problem goes deeper than that, though, because both engines' timing chains have a tendency to elongate as the miles accumulate, eventually getting to the point where, even if the tensioners are working as intended, the chain could skip teeth and probably destroy the engine through valve-to-piston contact. The fact that the tensioner guides of both 2.0T and 3.2 engines have plastic linings compounds the issue: As the plastic ages, it becomes brittle in the presence of heat, oil and vibrations, and could disintegrate without notice, again causing catastrophic engine failure.

Oil sludging problems are also common to both engines, and are most often brought about by infrequent oil changes. If this happens, the oil pressure drops to the point where it cannot provide adequate lubrication to the engine's moving parts, and loses oil pressure on the all-important timing chain tensioners and turbo oil feed line, again leading to engine failure.

As is common with all direct-injected engines, carbon build-up in the intake ports is an ever-present issue. This is caused by the engine's sump breathing system admitting microscopic oil droplets into the intake manifold, from where it will deposit on the intake port walls and eventually choke the engine's ability to take in air.

This problem will be exacerbated by a defective PCV (crankcase ventilation) valve, which will allow even more oil vapor into the intake system. There was however no 2009-2016 Audi A4 PCV valve recall notice issued. A secondary effect of carbon build-up is restricted movement of the tumble-generating valves in the intake ports, which can become stuck due to the gunk accumulated around these butterfly valves and their actuating shaft.

Coil packs are also known to fail on these engines, and sometimes at surprisingly low mileage. However, no 2009-2016 Audi A4 coil pack recall was issued, as this is considered a wear item. If the first one goes, the rest will follow soon, so it's best to replace them as a complete set when the time comes.

Mileage: HPFP problems can start as soon as 35,000 miles, carbon build-up will be noticeable from 50,000 miles, PCV valves can malfunction from 30,000 miles, timing chain problems can appear on both engines as early as 50,000 miles. Coil packs could fail from 30,000 miles but usually last until around 50,000 miles.

Cost: A HPFP cam follower costs about $30, plus around two hours of labor to replace; and an HPFP could cost upwards of $520. Removing carbon buildup through walnut blasting could cost from $300 to $500, while an OEM PCV valve will cost $193 for the 2.0T and about $253 for the 3.2. Timing chains cost from $173 for the 3.2, and its tensioners and guide rails could cost from $200 each (and there are several), plus a day's labor to pull the engine and replace them all. The 2.0T's timing-chain setup is much simpler and less expensive, but could still cost upwards of $166 for the chain, and its tensioner could cost up to $103 excluding sprockets. OEM 2.0T ignition coils cost about $200 per set of four, and OEM 3.2 coils will cost around $310 for a set of four. Note that the 2.0T and 3.2 coils are not interchangeable.

How to spot: HPFP failure will lead to reduced performance, illuminate the Check Engine Light (CEL), and cause ticking noises from the gearbox side of the engine. Carbon buildup will cause an illuminated CEL, reduced performance, and excessive fuel consumption. Timing chains that are about to expire will present a rattle upon cold start, followed by a metallic ticking noise when the engine is running before expiring. It may also present a CEL with P0341 stored in the engine control unit. A faulty PCV valve will cause increased fuel consumption and reduced performance and could present P0171 in the diagnostic memory. Failed ignition coils will cause misfires, poor performance, a rough idle, excessive fuel consumption, and illuminate the CEL.

3.2-liter Naturally Aspirated V6 Engine Problems

The oil-filter housings of these engines are made of plastic, which means a finite service life, dependent on the number of heat cycles and vibrations to which the housings are exposed. These housings are sealed by gaskets which may start leaking around 60,000 miles, and the simple act of removing the filter housing could cause cracks in the now-brittle housing as well. For this reason, we recommend replacing the oil-filter housing and its gasket at the same time.

Mileage: Oil-filter gaskets can leak from 60,000 miles, and oil-filter housing cracks could appear before 80,000 miles.

Cost: OEM oil-filter housings and gaskets will cost around $310, plus about three hours of labor.

How to spot: Oil dripping under the engine, low oil level.

2.0-liter Turbocharged Inline-Four (EA888 Gen-2) Engine Problems

2009-2016 Audi A4 Diverter valve (DV) problems are quite common on this turbo engine, which will lead to a loss of boost pressure and reduced engine performance. It is the leading cause of 2009-2016 Audi A4 accelerator problems and is often misdiagnosed as a turbo problem, due to the boost pressure being bled off to the low-pressure intake pipe. This is a reasonably easy repair, though, and Audi has improved on the DV design through the years by changing from a rubber diaphragm-type DV to a piston-type DV, so fitting the latest version of this part should prevent this problem from recurring. Look out for error code P1297 on the OBD-II system if you suspect a DV failure.

The EA888 engine also has a reputation for oil consumption problems in the 2009-2016 Audi A4, sometimes running through more than a quart of oil in 600 miles. This even led to a class-action lawsuit involving 2009-2012 Audi A4s, which was settled in 2015, but no official 2009-2016 Audi A4 engine recall was issued for oil consumption. If you're lucky, the PCV valve could be the problem here (and it often is), but there's also a possibility that the piston rings have excessive wear. In the case of the former, it's an easy repair, but in the latter case, a complete engine rebuild with new, uprated pistons and rings will be the only solution.

2009-2016 Audi A4 water-leaking problems are common on the 2.0T EA888 engine, with the plastic thermostat and coolant-pump housings being prone to cracking and leading to Audi A4 B8 thermostat problems, such as overheating and coolant loss. These parts can fail without warning, and still haven't been redesigned to alleviate the problem.

Mileage: DV boost leaks could start as early as 20,000 miles, but may appear earlier if the engine is tuned outside of factory specifications. PCV valves can fail from 30,000 miles, and thermostat housings and coolant pumps can fail around 60,000 miles.

Cost: $140 for an OEM DV plus about an hour's labor to fit, and OEM PCV valves cost about $193 and an hour's labor to fit. An OEM water pump/thermostat assembly costs around $311 plus about an hour to fit. Replacement OEM pistons and rings cost about $222 each, plus a plethora of additional parts and labor to fit. A complete replacement block from Audi will cost about $8,200, but rebuilt units are available on the aftermarket for about half as much.

How to spot: DV failure symptoms include unusual hissing noises under boost, a significant reduction in performance, and an illuminated CEL with P0046 stored as a possible fault code. PCV valve failure is indicated by excessive oil consumption and a reduction in performance, and may trigger error code P0171 in an OBD-II scan; and a failed thermostat or coolant pump housing will manifest as water leaks and overheating.

Multitronic CVT problems

Early examples of the Multitronic CVT, as employed in B6- and B7-generation Audi A4s, are notorious for being fragile, unresponsive, and expensive to repair. But, by the time the B8 Audi A4 came around, Audi had fixed most of these issues in the third-generation Multitronic (model code VL400). It features a new clutch design, improved mechatronics and solenoids, and an uprated drive chain, but it can still suffer from premature wear and costly failures. For this reason, we recommend CVT oil and filter changes every 30,000 miles, to avoid 2009-2016 Audi A4 B8 Multitronic (CVT) gearbox problems as far as possible.

Mileage: Improperly maintained Multitronic transmissions can fail as early as 60,000 miles, or even sooner if subjected to an aggressive driving style.

Cost: Rebuilt CVTs could cost up to $3,500, but the problems could also be caused by comparatively inexpensive solenoids, which cost from $350 to $800.

How to spot: The vehicle accelerates slowly or struggles to pull away, shudders when changing ratios or coming to a stop, and ultimately doesn't move at all in the event of total failure.

Less Common Problems And Problem-Free Areas

The Audi A4 B8, like many other modern cars, employs aluminum control arms in its suspension, with rubber bushings to locate the control arms as well as the subframe. Over time, these rubber bushings will degrade, especially on vehicles that often encounter rough roads or road salt. Failure could happen at any time from 30,000 miles, although most cars only show symptoms of failing rubber bushings past the 60,000-mile mark. This is the leading cause of 2009-2016 Audi A4 front and rear suspension problems.

There have been reports of 2009-2016 Audi A4 B8 engine-mount problems, mostly due to their complex design. Rather than normal rubber mounts, the B8 Audi A4 features adaptive engine mounts which stiffen up or relax, depending on the driving conditions. If their actuating solenoids fail or get stuck, or they leak hydraulic fluid, they have to be replaced with OEM-level parts, else a CEL can be triggered. These mountings are very expensive, though, costing around $366 each at the dealership.

A very small number of owners have reported 2009-2016 Audi A4 stalling problems, where the car could cut all engine power even when driving at speed. While some dealerships recommend replacing the coils if this happens, the fault most likely lies with the fuel-pump control unit.

Owners have reported some 2009-2016 Audi A4 B8 central locking or door locking problems, which are usually caused by the door-lock actuators or the vacuum system developing leaks. 2009-2016 Audi A4 B8 climate-control and air-conditioning problems have also been reported, and are most often the result of a defective control module.

Another rare comfort-related concern is the audio system, where 2009-2016 Audi A4 bluetooth problems can confound even the experts. Some owners claim that their (decade-old) cars simply can't detect their (very new) mobile phones via Bluetooth, but that appears to be software-related. In contrast, the navigation system doesn't present many issues, apart from not being very user-friendly to operate.

Electric power steering arrived for the Audi A4 in 2013, and some 2013-2016 Audi A4 electric power-steering problems have been reported by owners. This is usually caused by water entering the low-mounted steering rack, which will damage the steering-assist motor, and could possibly cause secondary damage to the steering-control unit and body-control unit as well. If fitted, this would also cause 2013-2016 Audi A4 dynamic steering problems, which can usually be resolved by fitting a new control module to the steering column. 2009-2012 Audi A4 power-steering problems are usually due to the high-pressure feed pipe bursting, but this usually only happens at high mileages, and there was no 2009-2016 Audi A4 steering recall issued.

Some owners mention 2009-2016 Audi A4 left and right headlight problems, which mainly seem to affect those models with self-leveling bi-xenon headlight units. This is often due to water entry into a headlight unit, which will damage the ballast resistor. Other mentioned 2009-2016 Audi A4 electrical problems mostly involve the starter switch, which gets worn with age, and light-switch problems, which gets damaged due to water ingress.

A few owners have reported 2009-2016 Audi A4 vacuum-pump problems, but these are usually caused by the vacuum-pump gaskets failing due to old age. This might trigger error code P0068, which indicates a vacuum leak in the engine. It's not a serious problem, but the repair is very difficult on account of the vacuum pump's location close to the firewall. Be careful when replacing these seals, as the thread for the three bolts which locate the vacuum pump are prone to strip out of the head, which will cause not only vacuum leaks, but a massive oil leak as well.

Regarding the B8 Audi A4's traction-control system, some owners have noted that the classic Audi malady of misbehaving brake-light switches still occasionally appears. There are two circuits in this switch, and one of them signals to the stability control and engine control unit when the brake pedal is pressed. This then prompts the engine to almost close the throttle plate, reducing the engine's power. However, if you're not pressing the brake pedal but the car thinks that you are, it could cut the power at inopportune moments. This issue is often misdiagnosed as a 2009-2016 Audi A4 traction control problem.

2009-2016 Audi A4 misfiring problems are well-known and are usually easily solved by replacing the spark plugs and/or coils. However, this may also be related to the fuel system, because 2009-2016 Audi A4 injector problems have been known to occur. Direct fuel injectors are subject to tremendous pressure, high temperatures and lots of vibration, and will eventually just stop working due to pure old age or a blockage in their nozzles. Fortunately, OEM injectors for these cars are fairly inexpensive at about $79 apiece, but unfortunately, it takes a lot of work to access them. For this reason, we recommend replacing the injectors as a set if one of them fails.

In most other areas, the Audi A4 B8 has proven to be reasonably problem-free, and there don't appear to be any specific 2009-2012 Audi A4 Avant problems, either.

Which One To Avoid

We're going to pick two variants of the B8 Audi A4 to avoid. The first one to fall by the wayside is the 2009-only A4 3.2. While it's a nice car in its own right, its fuel consumption penalty over the 2.0T and potentially problematic engine both count against it. If it were noticeably livelier to drive than the 2.0T, perhaps there might have been a case to be made for it, but as it is, the 3.2 simply doesn't offer enough real-world advantages to choose it over its smaller counterpart.

The other B8 Audi A4 you should avoid is any example with the Multitronic CVT. Not only does it remove much of the driving pleasure from the A4, but its potential for transmission problems means that long-term ownership could be a daunting prospect.

Which One To Buy

Seeing as early model-year examples of the B8 Audi A4 appear to suffer the most from reliability problems, we'd narrow down our search to the facelifted model. It looks more contemporary than the pre-facelift cars, has better equipment, and its bugs appear to have been ironed out from 2013 onwards.

The nicest option would be a 2015 Audi A4 2.0T quattro with the six-speed manual transmission, but the eight-speed automatic transmission would be entirely satisfactory as well. For a bit more visual spice (if your spine can handle the stiff-legged ride quality), look for an S line, or for extra luxury, look for an example in Premium Plus trim.

4th Gen Audi A4 B8 Verdict

While its list of potential problems could be off-putting, the reality is that the B8 Audi A4 is actually a well-resolved executive car with a lot of appeal. The key to running an A4 without financial trauma lies in finding an example with a full service history, and then be prepared to perform the preventative maintenance on time. Keep on top of its servicing and maintenance, and an A4 B8 will give you many miles of happy driving. Just remember to fix anything that goes wrong right away, otherwise the problems could snowball and turn even a good A4 into a nightmare. Being on good terms with your local Audi specialist won't go amiss, either.

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