Top 10 most reliable Audi models

Aivaras Grigelevičius

Aivaras Grigelevičius

Audi is one of the German automobile industry giants. In the 1990s, the Volkswagen Group started a mission to turn Audi into one of the most likable luxury manufacturers.

Today, Audi is well known for vehicles that share the same level of image, engineering, and technology as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. However, this time, we've decided to discuss Audi cars in another light – reliability.

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How we made this list

The longevity of any car is determined by a number of factors, including engineering and maintenance. In order to ensure we’re being objective with our list of the most reliable Audis, we based it on data from J.D. Power, RepairPal, What Car?, and other respected vehicle dependability studies.

How reliable are Audi cars?

Audi 1.9 TDI diesel engine
Source: R4vi / Flickr

From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, Audi was among the most reliable German car brands. Its models were beautifully engineered, had a whiff of quality, and offered an excellent maintenance cost to reliability ratio.

However, those days are gone. Because of the complexity of its engines, transmission, and other components, Audi isn’t among the most reliable vehicle manufacturers anymore – the dependability of its cars is average at best.

With modern Audis, it's all about maintenance – if you're willing to invest in maintenance, they will serve you well for a long time. Otherwise, not so much.

Which 10 Audi cars are the most reliable?

10. Audi A8

Grey Audi A8 D5 in a showroom
Source: Ming-yen Hsu / Flickr

Audi is one of the luxury car makers on the market, and the A8 is their attempt to dethrone the S-Class Mercedes-Benz. While the Audi A8 never had a chance in popularity contest, the fourth-generation Audi luxury yacht is one of the few hybrid-powered cars in this segment, offering an impressive power and fuel-efficiency ratio.

What makes the latest A8 more impressive than the equivalent S-Class Mercedes-Benz is reliability. After its launch in 2020, Mercedes-Benz quickly recalled the S-Class for unacceptable faults, like inadequate welding. In contrast, issues with the Audi A8 are much simpler and much less expensive to repair.

If you want the most reliable option, you should choose the model with a diesel engine. Colossal torque and fuel efficiency will undoubtedly help while traveling. As with most diesel Audi engines, these proved to have strong internals.

Note that turbochargers in higher mileage cars can become a problem. If a petrol engine is the only option, beware of problems with the ignition coils, active motor mounts, and failures of the engine oil separator and thermostat.

9. Audi R8

Metallic blue Audi R8
Source: Raymond Wambsgans / Flickr

Audi's ambition to create a competitive supercar was applauded by many, as it brought something very different to the manufacturer’s roster.

Although ordinary supercar owners require drama and other silly things, the Audi R8 is also a vehicle for grownups. The design, the power, and the engine sound are among the strengths of the second-generation Audi R8.

Audi's supercar is often described as a cheaper alternative to the Lamborghini Huracan because of the similarities in structure and the same V10 engine.

However, that glorious V10 could be a problem for those seeking reliability. It’s not immune to carbon buildup in the intake ports and valves, for example. And the V10 also has issues with the intake manifold.

The R8 has problems with the Magnetic Ride suspension as well. Owners complain that the damper fails at a low mileage, and it’s quite costly to replace.

8. Audi RS4

Grey Audi RS4 parked on the side of the road
Source: Alexandre Prevot / Flickr

Your partner, kids, and dogs will praise Audi's comfort and practicality. While sitting behind the wheel, you will be in awe of the RS4's blistering yet accessible performance and agility. A practical and fast wagon could be a dream car for many enthusiasts worldwide. However, the Audi RS4 has a few niggles that can become annoying.

Owners reported that the V6s used in the Audi RS4 are known for issues with stuck thermostats. These engines also have problems with faulty camshaft sensors, which could end up destroying the engine. And the last worrying issue is gearbox oil leaks. While they’re not common, every owner should be aware of them.

7. Audi Q7

Black Audi Q7 on asphalt
Source: John Dickinson / Flickr

This second- generation full-size SUV became a massive success for Audi, especially in markets that enjoy luxury vehicles like the Q7. It offers an outstanding interior, a modern infotainment system, and a spacious seven-seat arrangement.

Moreover, the Q7 is one of the most reliable luxury SUVs. In the What Car? reliability study, this seven-seat SUV scored an overall reliability rating of 96.6%. According to data, only 13% of the Q7s have developed any faults. Comparable models like the BMW X5 and the Land Rover Discovery have 22% and 38% fault rates, respectively.

Even though the Audi Q7 offers better reliability ratings than other SUVs in this class, the Q7 has problems with ignition coil packs, worn cv boots or purge valves, timing chains, and fuel pumps.

6. Audi e-Tron

Metallic blue Audi E-Tron 55 quattro
Source: Rutger van der Maar / Flickr

Audi has stated numerous times that electric cars are the future of the company. However, its first electric SUV is a mixed bag. While it demonstrates how to implement new technologies into luxury electric SUVs, it doesn’t have the finesse or efficiency of other rivals in this price range.

Additionally, the Audi e-Tron has a questionable reliability rating. Since its launch in 2018, the e-Tron has been recalled numerous times for various reasons. It was recalled in Europe because the nuts on the eccentric bolt of the rear-axle spring-link control arm were prone to breaking due to corrosion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a recall for the e-Tron because the brake pressure unit would rust over time, affecting braking assistance, speed indication, anti-lock braking, and electronic stability control.

However, the most worrying problem with the Audi e-Tron is that moisture can enter the high voltage system of the vehicle through a faulty seal on the charging socket, causing a short circuit.

5. Audi Q5

Brown Audi Q5 with tinted windows
Source: Nhadatvideo / Flickr

For several years, luxurious crossovers like the Audi Q5 were global bestsellers, outselling more traditional models. The second-generation Q5 has everything buyers want – a smooth ride, a classy cabin, and the best build quality available. Few rivals can match this combination.

With that said, in this competitive segment, the Audi Q5 has one flaw – a below average level of reliability. RepairPal rates the latest generation of the Q5 as having a reliability rating of 3.0 out of 5.0, or 11th out of 14 in the category of luxury crossovers.

The Q5 received this relatively low rating because of its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine’s problems with the timing chain and tensioner, excessive oil consumption, and leaky fuel pump flanges. Expect these troubles in vehicles with a higher mileage.

4. Audi TT

Grey Audi TT RS
Source: Alexandre Prevot / Flickr

Sporty vehicles like the Audi TT offer excitement and impressive performance without sacrificing yearly savings.

After three successful generations, Audi's sports coupe has everything you may want from such a vehicle: distinctive looks, the latest gadgets, an extensive range of engines, and high reliability.

iSeeCars analysts analyzed over 11.8 million used cars sold in 2020 to pinpoint vehicles still being driven with (or over) 150,000 miles on the odometer. In the sports cars category, 4.3% of the Audi TT cars had a mileage of 150,000 (or more), which is 2% more than the other affordable sports car – the Ford Mustang.

With such a high percentage of cars with a lot of miles on the clock, the TT seems like a reliable Audi. However, there are some things to take into account when it comes to maintenance. Perhaps most importantly, we’d advise you to ignore the manufacturer's cam-belt changing recommendations.

TT owners and Audi specialists insist it should be changed every 60,000 miles, despite Audi's recommendation of 80,000 miles. Also, the water pump has a lifespan of only around 60,000 miles as well.

3. Audi A6

Black Audi A6 C8
Source: Kārlis Dambrāns / Flickr

To defeat the famous 5-series BMW, Audi decided to build a car that is not so similar to its BMW counterpart. Audi concentrated on comfort, a radical interior layout, luxury feel, and performance.

Audi also invested in reliability. In the What Car? reliability study, the previous generation A6 was named one of the least reliable luxury cars. However, the new A6 has shown a huge improvement, scoring a reliability rating of 85.3%.

With that said, it does have weak points – the latest generation of the A6 is known for its wonky fuel pumps and faulty coil packs. Also, owners report problems with the mild-hybrid systems and 48-volt batteries.

2. Audi A4

Grey Audi A4 3.0 TDI quattro in a showroom
Source: Rutger van der Maar / Flickr

The A4 sedan and wagon excel in many areas, such as perceived quality, mechanical refinement, and great performance. However, its real-world economy and yawn-inducing handling slightly spoil the overall impression.

In the J.D Power vehicle dependability study, the A4 scored a reliability rating of 82 out of 100. This is a great result that puts the German sedan right next to dependable cars like the Kia Stinger, Lexus IS, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Like most modern Audis, the A4 has issues with the thermostat housing and transmission pan leaks. According to the What Car? reliability study, the vehicle battery is the biggest issue with the A4, followed by non-engine electronics.

1. Audi A3

Grey Audi A4 two-door parked on the side of the road
Source: RL GNZLZ / Flickr

For seven years, the third-generation A3 was an ideal compact hatchback (or small sedan) in the new and used vehicle market.

This premium hatchback featured efficient engines, an impressively balanced chassis, a classy interior, and the latest gadgets. Also, it’s the most reliable Audi you can buy.

The A3 got an impressive 93.6% reliability rating in the What Car? reliability study, outclassing the Volvo V40, Ford Focus, and even the Honda Civic.

While the A3 offers better reliability than other Audis, it does have few widely known problems. For example, the turbocharged petrol engines tend to have issues with engine oil consumption. If you want to keep future maintenance costs low, keep an eye on the oil level.

You should also take care of the Haldex pump (if your A3 has the Quattro system), water pump, wheel bearings, and suspension mounts.

Is it difficult to maintain an Audi?

Red Audi A3 parked in a repair shop
Source: Fabio Aro / Flickr

Audis are not challenging to maintain but neither are they cheap: quality parts are pricey and complex. The manufacturer is also known for requiring the use of special tools, making vehicle maintenance more complicated and, of course, more expensive.

3 things you must do when owning a used Audi

  • Never skip an engine oil change. Depending on the usage of your vehicle, change the engine oil every 8,000-12,000 miles. This is a cheap and reliable way to improve longevity.
  • Use quality parts. There’s a wide choice of spare parts but be cautious and use components made with quality in mind. For example, Continental, Lemforder, Corteco, TRW, and Meistersatz produce high-quality parts.
  • Entrust your car to a professional. Search for an experienced mechanic or workshop that specializes in Audi vehicles.

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Aivaras Grigelevičius

Article by

Aivaras Grigelevičius

Aivaras has been excited about cars since he was a little kid. Later, this passion for drivable objects (and everything that surrounds them) grew into work as an automotive journalist. Since then, Aivaras has written for several different magazines, covering anything with an accelerator pedal. He has a soft spot for cars with an Alfa Romeo badge.