Audi Used Car Advice
History of the Audi Marque
The Audi brand name was created in 1910, when the pioneering German motor engineer August Horch left the established business that already bore his name and set up a different company. A new name was needed; in German, ‘Horch’ means ‘hear’, hence he called his new firm ‘Audi’, the Latin word meaning ‘hear’ or ‘listen!’
Over the next few decades the German motor industry continued to evolve. In 1932, the company Auto Union AG was formed by the merger of four manufacturers: Horch, Audi, Wanderer and DKW. The four-ring badge made its début at this point, with the four interlinked circles representing the four separate companies that constituted Auto Union AG.
The Audi name subsequently fell into disuse but was resurrected in 1965, the year in which the company became part of the Volkswagen Group. In 1969, following the acquisition of NSU, the company was rebranded Audi NSU Auto Union AG, and in 1985 it was renamed Audi AG.
Audi has a long tradition of innovation. Landmarks include its ‘quattro’, launched in 1980, which was the first production car with permanent four-wheel drive; it was the first manufacturer to produce cars with a fully galvanised bodyshell; and more recently, in 2008, Audi was named European Inventor of the Year for its groundbreaking ‘Audi Space Frame’ (ASF) technology, which significantly reduces the weight of the car by using aluminium in the frame structure. ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, indeed.
Today’s Audi range covers the entire motoring spectrum. There’s the A1 supermini and the luxurious A8 limousine; there’s the iconic TT sportscar and the R8 supercar and there’s the massive heavy-duty Q8 sports utility vehicle. But its best-selling models in the UK are the A3 and the A4, aimed at buyers who want practical everyday motoring with a touch extra class.
The marque’s reputation is built on refinement, build quality and leading-edge technology. Whilst many Audi models have close cousins wearing VW and Skoda badges, Audi invariably positions itself a notch higher as the premium brand. Consequently its resale value tends to remain high with used Audi cars, very much in demand.
Each model is available in numerous engine, transmission and trim variants. Standard trim levels normally include the entry-level S (Standard), the higher-spec SE and the sporty S-line. However, Audi offers an extensive list of highly desirable optional extras, and pre-owned models often come with additional kit.
The Audi Range - Model by Model
Audi’s new baby, launched in 2010, is based on the same platform as the VW Polo but has a better-equipped cabin, more luggage space and better economy, with the 1.6 TDI offering lowest fuel consumption and emissions/tax. Resale values are likely to be high when the Audi A1 reaches the used car market.
The Audi A3 has been with us since 1996, with the second generation introduced in 2003 and a third generation launching in 2012. One of the first breed of compact hatches, it is now firmly established alongside the ever-popular VW Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa. Within the A3 range are engine variants that maximise on either economy or performance, making it a ‘hot hatch’ or a practical small family car according to choice. The A3 is hard to fault, but inevitably, pristine used models fetch significantly higher prices than their competitors.
As a family saloon the Audi A4 has more class than that stalwart of family motoring the Ford Mondeo – reflected, of course, in its higher price tag. The A4 also crosses over into the small executive saloon marketplace to compete with the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3-Series. In 2004 the A4 range was given a facelift and new variants were introduced. If you’re happy with the earlier generation’s looks, pre-facelift models offer a high level of refinement at a lower price.
This sleek and stylish Audi A5 sports coupe, introduced in 2007, is stunningly eye-catching. The one trade-off for its slinky outline is that passenger space is limited.
On the one hand, they are smart, spacious and extremely well-equipped, and ex-fleet cars can be picked up relatively cheaply. On the other hand, with the exception of the Audi A6 2.0 TDIe introduced in 2008 they were not really designed with economy as top priority, and electrical and air con problems appear to be fairly common.
Sportback: Launched in 2010, the Audi A7 is a spacious executive coupe that cuts a impressive dash.
In a small and exclusive niche at the very top end of the market, the Audi A8 offers the ultimate in luxury.
Audi Q3 & Q5
These two relatively new offerings, the Audi Q3 and the Audi Q5, launched in 2010 and 2009 respectively, fill the gap in the Audi range for smaller, more domesticated SUVs that offer reasonable economy.
Uncompromising is one way of describing the Audi Q7. Huge, rugged and loaded with kit, this giant SUV is not for the faint-hearted. Nor is it cheap to run, especially in its petrol variants. It’s a case of love it or hate it; if you love it, be prepared to make a serious investment, but with the expectation of a good return on resale.
Aspirational and iconic, this is the sophisticated sportscar that successive generations have dreamed of owning; exciting but not brash. The MkI had a few reliability issues that have been overcome in the MkII, introduced in 2006. Available as a 2+2 coupe or a 2-seater Roadster convertible, with a good range of engines, transmissions and trim levels as well as various ‘special editions’, the Audi TT can either be commendably fuel-efficient and economical to own, or delightfully self-indulgent, according to choice.
This supercar offers a choice of two engines: a V8 or a V10, and two bodystyles: Coupe or Spyder (convertible). Performance is awesome, and limited production makes the Audi R8 look set to become a collector’s item in the future.
Audi S & RS badged models
These are limited edition, factory upgrades of Audi’s standard production models across the range.
Classic Audis are relatively rare in the UK. Probably the most commonly available collector’s items are Audi 80s, 100s and Quattros from the 1970s onwards. Prices for these vary from the low hundreds to many thousands, depending on original spec and condition.