Premium compact car; Built in Germany
  • 2-door convertible
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $4,500 – $41,500*

2002 Audi A4 4-door sedan

2002 Audi A4 4-door wagon

2003 Audi A4 cabriolet

2004 Audi A4 interior

2004 Audi S4 4-door sedan

  • Acceleration
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Ride
  • Steering/handling
  • All-wheel drive
  • Interior materials

An A4 matches or beats most any class rival for refinement, performance, features and variety of body styles. BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo offer all-wheel-drive models, but no competitor matches Audi’s impressive CVT.


Audi’s least-expensive and top-selling model, the near-luxury A4, earned a full redesign for 2002. Slightly larger inside and out, the new A4 sedan and Avant wagon introduced an optional continuously-variable transmission (CVT).

The redesigned 1.8T sedan had a turbocharged 1.8-liter, 170-horsepower four-cylinder engine. The 3.0 model used a 3.0-liter V6 rated at 220 horsepower–a gain of 30 hp. Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive was standard on S4 models and available on other models in place of front-wheel drive. Quattro A4s used a manual transmission or a conventional five-speed automatic.

Audi’s new CVT furnished variable (not fixed) drive ratios without using conventional gears, and also had six preset “manual-shift” ratios that could be accessed via a separate shift gate or by steering-wheel buttons. CVT was available only on front-drive sedans with the 3.0-liter V6.

Antilock braking, an antiskid system and curtain and front side airbags were standard. Sedans and wagons also had head-protecting curtain side airbags, and rear torso airbags were optional. Options included a navigation system and rear obstacle warning. An available Sport package included a firmer suspension with performance tires on 17-inch wheels.

Rivals included the BMW 3-Series, Lexus IS 300, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Yearly Updates

2003 A4/S4
Audi added a Cabriolet (convertible) body style to its A4 lineup for 2003. Cabriolets got their own exterior styling and interior trim, with a power folding top that contained a heated glass rear window. Convertibles included front side airbags that provided head and torso protection. Small support bars behind the convertible’s rear seats pop up automatically to protect occupants in an impending rollover. Sedans and convertibles came with standard front-wheel drive. Wagons had quattro all-wheel drive as standard equipment. Audi’s CVT was standard on convertibles and the 3.0 front-drive sedan, and available for the 1.8T front-drive sedan. All models could have GM’s OnStar assistance system with extra-cost e-mail service. New options included 17-inch all-season tires to replace the usual 16s, a power driver’s seat for 1.8T models, and steering-wheel audio/climate controls for the 3.0 series. Leather seats were now standard in 3.0 models, and optional for 1.8T versions. Full leather upholstery was available for V6 models.
2004 A4/S4
High-performance S4 models returned for 2004, using the new A4 design. Initially offered in sedan and Avant wagon body styles, the S4 used a 340-horsepower, 4.2-liter V8 engine and a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The sport suspension included 18-inch wheels. An S4 Cabriolet joined the group in midseason. Availability of all-wheel drive expanded this year. Quattro was standard on Avants, optional for sedans, and newly available for the 3.0 Cabriolet. For quattro models, a new six-speed manual transmission replaced the previous five-speed unit. CVT was standard on convertibles and front-drive 3.0 sedans, and available for the front-drive 1.8T sedan.
2005 A4/S4
Early ’05 models carried over unchanged. The A4 got freshened styling and new engines for “2005.5.” The 1.8 turbo grew to 2.0 liters while the V6 went from 3.0 liters to 3.2. The S4 kept its 4.2-liter V8.
2006 A4/S4
No significant changes were made to the A4/S4 in 2006.
2007 A4/S4
S4s got revised front and rear styling for 2007.
2008 A4/S4
The 2008 Audi A4 was largely unchanged, pending a redesign due in calendar 2008 as a 2009 model. New for 2008 was an RS 4 Cabriolet.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

In 1.8T models, a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine produced 170 horsepower. A 3.0-liter V6 that makes 220 horsepower went into 3.0 models. Four-cylinder models could have a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, or Audi’s continuously variable transmission (CVT). Choices for the V6 were similar, but with a six-speed manual gearbox rather than the five-speed. For 2002 only, Audi continued to offer previous-generation S4 models with a 250-horsepower turbocharged V6 engine. For “2005.5,” the 1.8-liter turbo was replaced by a 2.0-liter version with 200 hp, and the 3.0-liter V6 was replaced by a 3.2-liter with 220 hp. The turbo four was offered with 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic; front-drive models could have a CVT automatic. The V6 came only with the 6-speed automatic. Quattro all-wheel drive was available on all models except the Cabriolet, which was added for 2003 and initially came only with front-wheel drive. High-performance S4 models returned for 2004 with a 340-hp, 4.2-liter V8 engine and six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive.

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/109
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 166
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
CVT automatic
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
CVT automatic
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/182
Engine HP 220
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 221
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
CVT automatic
Turbocharged dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.7/163
Engine HP 250
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/191
Engine HP 255
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 243
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic


dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.2/255
Engine HP 340
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 302
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic

Road Test

About 80 percent of A4’s are sold with quattro all-wheel drive. With the four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, these models can feel slightly underpowered. Manual-transmission quattro 1.8Ts are lively enough, and manual-gearbox V6 quattros are satisfyingly quick.

The lighter front-drive models feel spry with any transmission, though CVT versions are lazy away from a stop. A test 1.8T CVT sedan did 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds. With the V6 and CVT, Audi pegged the sedan at 6.9 seconds. A V6 CVT Cabriolet reached 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. The seamless CVT acts much like a conventional automatic, but requires the use of manual mode for best overall performance.

Manual transmissions have precise shifters, and the S4 editions perform strongly at all speeds.

Fuel economy varies with the powertrain: A test manual-transmission 1.8T sedan averaged 24.8 mpg, versus 21.5 for the Avant wagon. Audi claimed the CVT is 10 percent more fuel-efficient than conventional automatic transmission. A test CVT 1.8T sedan averaged 20.9 mpg, including gas-eating performance tests. Manual-transmission V6 quattro sedans averaged 18.3 to 21 mpg, depending on driving conditions. Cabriolets have managed 19.8 to 20.7 mpg, but an S4 Avant with manual shift could only squeeze out 15.9 mpg. Audi recommends premium fuel for all models.

Audi’s standard suspension furnishes firm control, with good bump absorption on most any surface. The stiffer Sport Package setup with low-profile 17-inch tires is somewhat less forgiving on broken pavement. An S4 isn’t harsh, but yields a relatively stiff ride with some float over high-speed dips. Try before you buy.

All models are a joy to drive quickly, and those with a Sport Package shine on challenging roads. All the more so with an S4. Audi’s quattro gives an all-weather advantage over the A4’s two-wheel-drive rivals.

Steering is nicely weighted and direct. Brakes are very capable, with outstanding pedal modulation. Convertibles show impressively little body quivering on bumps.

Engine sounds tend to be pleasant. Each purrs at cruise, while the V6 and V8 snarl nicely under full throttle. Low-profile 17-inch tires are noisy, as are the S4’s 18-inchers, but road rumble is otherwise muted. So, what wind rush there is gets noticed.

Top-up, the Cabrio’s wind noise is exceptionally low; top-down, you get little buffeting, helped by the optional wind-deflector screen.

A4 models boast clearly marked controls and well-lit gauges. However, the dual-zone automatic climate system is overly complex with awkwardly low controls. The front center armrest blocks use of the hand-brake lever and console cupholder.

Sophisticated cabin materials and design are class benchmarks. Convertible tops are fully automatic, and power up or down in 24 seconds.

Firm, comfortable front seats deliver ample head and leg room, though the wide central console cuts into knee space enough to annoy taller drivers. Special Recaro sport buckets in S4 models have pronounced side bolsters.

Two adults are the comfortable limit in back, on a supportive, nicely contoured seat. Rear head and leg room are not vast, but comparable to similarly-sized competitors. Convertibles are more cramped.

Visibility is good all around. If installed, the rear-obstacle-warning system is a rare nicety in the near-luxury class.

Sedans have a roomy trunk, but a rather small opening that precludes loading large objects. Split-folding rear seatbacks compensate somewhat, and strut-type lid hinges don’t eat into luggage space.

When it’s down, the convertible’s top cuts into already small trunk space.

Convertible seatbacks do not fold, though there is a ski pass-through.


Model Tested: 2002 Audi A4 1.8T sedan w/automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 7
Steering/Handling - 7
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 8
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 5

Total: 56


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.5 180.0 70.0 54.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
10.2 18.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
37.9 36.3 41.3 32.4
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.3 179.0 69.5 56.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.4 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 37.2 41.3 34.2
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
104.3 179.0 69.5 56.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
60.6 17.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 37.2 41.3 34.2
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The ABS (anti-lock brakes) may activate unnecessarily under normal to light application due to cracks in tone wheels. (1996-05)
Coolant leak
Description: The oil cooler is prone to turning during oil filter removal, which causes damage to the coolant lines resulting in a coolant leak. (2002)
Hard starting
Description: Engine may crank, but not start. The cause may be carbon buildup in combustion chambers and/or valves requiring extensive cleaning. (1998-99)
Electrical problem
Description: Water leaks into wiring harness near the A-pillar causing assorted problems such as the remote will not lock/unlock the door, the windows won’t work, the interior lights may stay on occasionally, and the door ajar warning may glow even though the doors are shut. (2002)
Description: The throttle body control valve tends to sludge up on the 1.8L turbo engine causing a very low or uneven idle. (2002)

Recall History

2003-04 A4/S4 Cabriolet
Description: Xenon headlamp coating on certain cars could degrade over time, affecting the driver’s field of view.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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