We are 107,000+ car owners sharing real-world car information.

Join Us

Audi A4 vs. BMW 3-Series Reliability by Model Generation

Results are for year ending September 30, 2016. Only successfully completed repairs are currently included in the analysis. Routine maintenance, most wear items, recalls, and problems fixed with just a reflash or warning light reset are not included.
Year and Model Percent of Average  
2013 - 2016 Audi A4 / S4
35.1428571429% Best 99% Worst
See problems for this generation
2012 - 2016 BMW 3-Series
56.2857142857% Best 136% Worst
See problems for this generation
2009 - 2012 Audi A4 / S4
46% Best 118% Worst
See problems for this generation
2006 - 2011 BMW 3-Series
56.2857142857% Best 136% Worst
See problems for this generation
2006 - 2008 Audi A4 / S4
63.1428571429% Best 148% Worst
See problems for this generation
2000 - 2005 BMW 3-Series
48.8571428571% Best 123% Worst
See problems for this generation
2002 - 2005 Audi A4
67.7142857143% Best 156% Worst
See problems for this generation

Return to top


TrueDelta Reviews the Reliability And Durability of the Audi A4

Audi A4 Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearComment
2017 I could easily list a few more reasons to buy the new Audi A4 (and will still discuss these): extremely secure handling, a polished ride, top safety scores. Why not to buy one? Well, an A4 isn't cheap--the moderately equipped tested car listed for $47,900--but a similarly configured Lexus IS costs a little more (2WD, AWD) and European competitors can cost considerably more. The key reason some people will buy a Lexus IS rather than an Audi A4 is that Audis, while far more reliable than in the past, and generally good bets for their first four-to-six years, still don't promise to be largely problem free for ten-plus years the way Lexus cars do. Leasing? Then there's little reason not to opt for the Audi. full 2017 Audi A4 review
 

What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability And Durability of the Audi A4

Audi A4 Reliability And Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2013 4dr Sedan turbocharged 211hp 2.0L I4
8-speed shiftable CVT FWD
This Car is like a bad Girlfriend, Very Exciting, take her places, give her status, give her lots of money, Lots. And give her love, lots of Love ... and she just won't love you back. Two complete engine failures due to rings. And this car was maintained meticulously with 5w-30w Synthetic Oil . Complete engine Replacement at 89,000 miles due to piston ring failure in Cyl. #4. $9,000 Complete engine Replacement AGAIN at 116,000 due to Piston Ring Failure in Cyl. #2. This is a 2013 car. 3 years old. 2.0 Turbo Engine A new Audi crate engine is about $7,200 just for the engine. Then of course there is dealer labor and add ons. Just now quoted at $3,700 labor. You do the math. Here is the double cool part. A factory engine in a factory car has a 50,000 mile warranty. A factory engine installed by the Audi technician at an Audi Dealership, 12,000 mile warranty. If I was racing this car on the track I could accept those kinds of engine failure numbers. But I'm an "old guy" just doing average city and freeway driving. It appears I am not alone, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/9815860/German-cars-lose-out-in-reliability-survey.html Warranty Direct underwriters did the engine failure rate survey by Brand
X
full 2013 Audi A4 review
2010 4dr Wagon turbocharged 211hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
65,000 miles and not a single problem other than routine oil changes and tires. My BMW 335i is always in the shop and is a maintenance nightmare. full 2010 Audi A4 review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual AWD
This car is bullet-proof. End of story. The B7 A4 is the evolution of B6/B7 platform and most of the kinks are ironed out in the final years. No worries here. full 2006 Audi A4 review
2006 4dr Sedan 255-horsepower 3.1L V6
6-speed manual AWD
So far, perfect full 2006 Audi A4 review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Like that I can drive an Audi for 6+ years/100k+ miles and still feel safe. full 2006 Audi A4 review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Dont walk; Run from any 4 cylinder Audi. There are many better alternatives. The engine block is solid; Everything attached to it is waiting to fail, usually with collateral damage. 5,000 USD has been spent over years 2013-2015 for service with a Audi/VW ASE INDI shop charging conservativly (due to the frequency I was forced to visit). Many interior trim pieces, while soft to the touch, are begining to seperate and fail. Sunroof rattles all the time. Power seats worked in some directions. Handy under storage seat bins were a nice addition. Timing belt service requies removal on the entire front clip, headlamps, crash bar, radiator, etc. The 2.0 also employs a timing chain on the rear of the engine driven by the exhaust camshaft (itself driven by the timing belt), which drives the intake camshaft and houses a variable valve timing unit. The chain and tensioner assy. are prone to failure after 110k and should be replaced along with the high pressure pump's cam follower. This 15-20$ follower is the achilees tendon of the entire cam-tower & pistons, I've seen the black protective coating worn away within 5k miles on my car. After the black surface coating is worn away, the cam lob begins shave the metal surface of the cam follower, dropping the metal shards into the oil flow. Fuel also mixes with the oil commonly at this pump due to seal failure inside the pump housing. Oil change intervals should not exceed 5k miles for this engine. Evap emissions system is effectively useless as the manufactorer has shipped/contiues to ship known sub-par components (leak-check pump & assy.), which causes intermittent MIL warnings and continued, pending OBD codes.Eventually, after 10-15k miles the vacuum's check control pump fails completely and requires replacement or a constant check engine lamp and lowered MPG's/hp. The faulty system will not pass an emissions inspection until replaced with a new, less broken unit from the dealer. full 2006 Audi A4 review
2005 2dr Convertible 220-horsepower 3.0L V6
5-speed shiftable automatic AWD
so far so good, but I have only had the car less than a month, too soon to tell full 2005 Audi A4 review
2002 4dr Sedan turbocharged 170hp 1.8L I4
5-speed manual AWD
120k miles + and counting, no major issues full 2002 Audi A4 review
2002 4dr Sedan turbocharged 170hp 1.8L I4
5-speed manual FWD
I bought this car new and it now has well over 250,000 miles. The car is completely stock and I believe that has helped to keep the engine running well as it seems the stock ECU is throttled way back so it is a bit under powered. It has begun to use a small amount (about one quart) of oil between 10,000 mile synthetic oil changes. No signs of turbo problems, yet. All repais and maintenance have been done in my own garage. There is a large list of repairs I've had to deal with. After 14 years, I can recall 3 times the car left me stranded. The first fuel pump failed before 100k miles, the second fuel pump failed at approx 210K miles. The left front axle shaft fell off (my own stupidity) once after I failed to properly torque the axle shaft bolts to the transmission flange. The clutch was replaced at 220K miles. Numerous sensors, check valves, and the entire crankcase breather system has been replaced. 2 left front wheel bearings, new radiator and 2 valve cover gaskets. Too many other mundane items to list. It seems there is always some part failing and throwing another Check Engine code. Overall, I really enjoy driving it and find the driving dynamics excellent. It still has the all the original suspension parts including shock/struts. I am very suprised at how the well the drive train/suspension has help up. The interior has held up well too. The exterior paint seems to have withstood all these years and it cleans up nicely. Many friends/coworkers can't believe it's 14 years old. full 2002 Audi A4 review
Audi A4 Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2013 4dr Sedan turbocharged 211hp 2.0L I4
8-speed shiftable CVT FWD
This Car is like a bad Girlfriend, Very Exciting, take her places, give her status, give her lots of money,Lots. And give herlove, lots of Love ... and she just won't love you back. Two complete engine failures due to rings. And this car was maintained meticulously with 5w-30w Synthetic Oil. Complete engine Replacement at 89,000 miles due to piston ring failure in Cyl. #4. $9,000 Complete engine Replacement AGAIN at 116,000 due to Piston Ring Failure in Cyl. #2. This is a 2013 car. 3 years old. 2.0 Turbo Engine A new Audi crate engine is about $7,200 just for the engine. Then of course there is dealer labor and add ons. Just now quoted at $3,700 for labor. You do the math. If I was racing this car on the track I could accept those kinds of engine failure numbers. But I'm an "old guy" just doing average city and freeway driving. It appears, I'm not alone http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/9815860/German-cars-lose-out-in-reliability-survey.html Warranty Direct underwriters did the survey of engine failure by brand.
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
full 2013 Audi A4 review
2012 4dr Sedan supercharged 333hp 3.0L V6
7-speed automated manual AWD
Thermostat failed at 36,000 miles. Appears to be a common issue based on what I've read. full 2012 Audi A4 review
2010 4dr Sedan turbocharged 211hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Very expensive to fix and not with the same history of reliability as Benz. full 2010 Audi A4 review
2007 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
My second A4 is better than the last, but I am glad I leased instead of buying. Reliability is just not world class. full 2007 Audi A4 review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Not reliable, lots of dealer visits, full 2006 Audi A4 review
2006 4dr Sedan 340-horsepower 4.2L V8
6-speed manual AWD
Do not buy one of these used unless the timing chain pre-tensioners have been replaced. There are a lot of complaints of these breaking at 100,000 miles. Mine went at 99,100 miles and the dealer quoted me $10,000 to fix. I had to sell this car at a loss. What a waste! full 2006 Audi A4 review
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Expensive to maintain, constant repairs. 2500$ service bill (excluding oil changes) avg. per year to keep road-worthy. full 2006 Audi A4 review
2006 4dr Wagon turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual AWD
I had a lot of unexpected problems with the vehicle. Perhaps it was my luck, but I certainly wouldn't have purchased the car if I knew how much I was going to spend on repairs. Turbo failure, oil filter housing failure, PCV assembly failure, rear brake failure, rear spring cracked in half, to name a few. I only had this car for 35,000km! full 2006 Audi A4 review
2005 4dr Sedan turbocharged 170hp 1.8L I4
5-speed shiftable automatic AWD
In the shop 10 times during last seven months. Towed 4 times because not drivable full 2005 Audi A4 review
2005 4dr Sedan 340-horsepower 4.2L V8
6-speed manual AWD
The two cars I looked at were low mileage 2005s, CPO, and both had full service history, of which there was a lot. Both cars noted cooling issues and problems with the steering system repaired under warranty. Also numerous electrical problems. full 2005 Audi A4 review
 

TrueDelta Reviews the Reliability And Durability of the BMW 3-Series

BMW 3-Series Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearComment
2016 For anyone planning to keep the car well beyond the warranty period, "reliability" might also constitute a "why not." The tweaks made for 2016 appear to have introduced some rattles and minor electrical issues. I wouldn't worry too much about these. BMWs tend to be about average for the first four years, and reasonably reliable for up to six. Longer than that, though, and expensive repairs can happen. (Our latest reliability stats for the 3 Series.) This noted, the same can be said about every competitor save the Lexus IS and perhaps the Infiniti Q50 (which doesn't yet have much of a track record, and which initially suffered from software issues). We don't have data on the XE, but Jaguars aren't renowned for their reliability. With this, I'm out of "why nots." A champion in the premium compact sedan all-around, the BMW 3 Series lacks glaring weaknesses. full 2016 BMW 3-Series review
 

What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability And Durability of the BMW 3-Series

BMW 3-Series Reliability And Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2012 4dr Sedan turbocharged 240hp 2.0L I4
8-speed shiftable automatic RWD
I traded in a 2005 BMW with 92,000 miles on it, if the realiability of the old one is any indication to the experience I hope to have with the 2012, then I have little to nothing to worry about. full 2012 BMW 3-Series review
2009 0 My car has been very reliable. I got a cerfited pre owned so all things a free at dealer. If you are buying one, then get a cpo one. well worth it. full 2009 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
History is promising. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Historically, reliable full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Hardtop conv. turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Have owned this car for 5 years; have had two replacement high pressure fuel pumps; replaced steering rack; new turbo gaskets (both turbos); replaced articulating hard top cables - all in the first 3 years and all under warranty! Nothing has gone wrong in the past two years so perhaps this was relatively new model growing pains. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Hardtop conv. turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Have owned this car for 5 years; have had two replacement high pressure fuel pumps; replaced steering rack; new turbo gaskets (both turbos); replaced articulating hard top cables - all in the first 3 years and all under warranty! Nothing has gone wrong in the past two years so perhaps this was relatively new model growing pains. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
The car has a BETTER THAN AVERAGE frequency of repair record with Consumer Reports. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe 414-horsepower 4.0L V8
7-speed automated manual RWD
Not yet tested to a full extent on my M3 under review, bust as previous BMW owner I enjoyed minimal component failures after many years of ownership. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2007 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
No problems after 3 years full 2007 BMW 3-Series review
2007 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Tried & true technology full 2007 BMW 3-Series review
BMW 3-Series Reliability And Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2011 2dr Hardtop conv. 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Glovebox won't open. full 2011 BMW 3-Series review
2010 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
I'm a little nervous about repair costs and frequency. I keep reading about 4-figure repair bills, but there are others who say they've done well with just normal maintenance. Consumer Reports gives the 2010 328i a lot of red dots which is a goo full 2010 BMW 3-Series review
2010 4dr Sedan 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Small things keep breaking or failing. The engine and drivetrain are solid though. full 2010 BMW 3-Series review
2009 4dr Sedan 414-horsepower 4.0L V8
6-speed manual RWD
More prone to breakdowns than the Japanese competition. full 2009 BMW 3-Series review
2009 4dr Sedan turbocharged 265hp 3.0L I6 Diesel
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Always a glitch or two. full 2009 BMW 3-Series review
2009 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Fuel pump, oil cooler, and run flat tire issues on the 335i turned me off. Will likely be covered by warranty, but met multiple people who had week long+ repairs for these issues. After warranty, 1,200+ for each of these issues is apparently common. full 2009 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Historically, these cars have had their share of electronic gremlins. full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
not as reliable full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 4dr Wagon 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Poorer reputation than Lexus based on internet research. Stock run flat tires have short life and rough ride. Lack of spare limits options full 2008 BMW 3-Series review
2008 2dr Coupe 414-horsepower 4.0L V8
6-speed manual RWD
I have never had major problems with my BMW's, but I have never kept them out of warranty either. M cars are ridiculously expensive to repair. The only car company where the coolant is designed to outlast the radiator. When they break, they brea full 2008 BMW 3-Series review