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Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 vs. BMW 3-Series Reliability

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Results are for year ending December 31, 2015. 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 Make/Model Repair Trips Per 100 Cars Compared to all models for the same year    
2015 Audi A4 / S4 23
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  32 A4 / S4s, 8.0 months of data per A4 / S4, average 7600 miles
2015 BMW 3-Series / M3 26
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  80 3-Series / M3s, 7.5 months of data per 3-Series / M3, average 7400 miles

Includes 4-Series.

 

2014 Audi A4 / S4 19
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  61 A4 / S4s, 9.4 months of data per A4 / S4, average 14800 miles
2014 BMW 3-Series 39
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  95 3-Series, 10.0 months of data per 3-Series, average 16900 miles

Includes 4-Series.

 

2013 Audi A4 / S4 32
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  112 A4 / S4s, 9.7 months of data per A4 / S4, average 28400 miles

Refreshed for this model year.
2013 BMW 3-Series 2dr   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  13 3-Series 2drs, 10.0 months of data per 3-Series 2dr, average 20000 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2013 BMW 3-Series 4dr 36
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  73 3-Series 4drs, 8.6 months of data per 3-Series 4dr, average 27200 miles

 

2012 Audi A4 33
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  37 A4s, 9.9 months of data per A4, average 43500 miles
2012 Audi S4 41
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  56 S4s, 9.5 months of data per S4, average 38700 miles
2012 BMW 3-Series 2dr and wagon   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  21 3-Series 2dr and wagons, 9.3 months of data per 3-Series 2dr and wagon, average 35900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2012 BMW 3-Series sedan 67
100% 100% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  32 3-Series sedans, 8.4 months of data per 3-Series sedan, average 36200 miles

First year for F30 3-Series sedan.

 

2011 Audi A4 35
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  44 A4s, 9.3 months of data per A4, average 57200 miles

Multiple reports of excessive oil consumption for the 2.0T engine. Some engines rebuilt with updated piston rings.
2011 Audi S4 46
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  46 S4s, 9.7 months of data per S4, average 52500 miles

Multiple reports of excessive oil consumption for the 2.0T engine. Some engines rebuilt with updated piston rings.
2011 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  23 M3s, 9.7 months of data per M3, average 44900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2011 BMW 328 51
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  116 328s, 9.8 months of data per 328, average 46200 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Common problem with the water pump in the 335i.
2011 BMW 335 66
90% 90% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  43 335s, 8.9 months of data per 335, average 47300 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Common problem with the water pump in the 335i.

 

2010 Audi S4 57
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  64 S4s, 8.9 months of data per S4, average 56400 miles

Multiple reports of excessive oil consumption for the 2.0T engine. Some engines rebuilt with updated piston rings.
2010 Audi A4 58
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 A4s, 9.2 months of data per A4, average 64500 miles

Multiple reports of excessive oil consumption for the 2.0T engine. Some engines rebuilt with updated piston rings.
2010 BMW 328 73
100% 100% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  28 328s, 8.8 months of data per 328, average 56400 miles

Small sample size for the 335i could at least partly explain very high reported repair frequency.
2010 BMW 335   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  15 335s, 9.5 months of data per 335, average 55700 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2009 Audi A4 3.2 50
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  34 A4 3.2s, 9.1 months of data per A4 3.2, average 66400 miles

First model year of the B8 A4. Multiple reports of excessive oil consumption for the 2.0T engine. Some engines rebuilt with updated piston rings.
2009 Audi A4 2.0T 78
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  35 A4 2.0Ts, 8.8 months of data per A4 2.0T, average 70100 miles

First model year of the B8 A4. Multiple reports of excessive oil consumption for the 2.0T engine. Some engines rebuilt with updated piston rings.
2009 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  11 M3s, 9.6 months of data per M3, average 40100 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2009 BMW 335 36
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 335s, 10.2 months of data per 335, average 65300 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.
2009 BMW 328 59
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  44 328s, 9.7 months of data per 328, average 67300 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2008 Audi A4 74
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  43 A4s, 9.4 months of data per A4, average 82600 miles
2008 Audi S4 / RS4   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  12 S4 / RS4s, 7.8 months of data per S4 / RS4, average 69800 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2008 BMW M3 45
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 M3s, 10.2 months of data per M3, average 51800 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Non-M repair frequency spiking, possibly because CPO warranty ending.
2008 BMW 328 85
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 328s, 9.3 months of data per 328, average 77700 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Non-M repair frequency spiking, possibly because CPO warranty ending.
2008 BMW 335 89
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  37 335s, 10.2 months of data per 335, average 74200 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3. Non-M repair frequency spiking, possibly because CPO warranty ending.

 

2007 Audi S4 / RS4   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  18 S4 / RS4s, 9.9 months of data per S4 / RS4, average 69600 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2007 Audi A4 84
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  40 A4s, 9.7 months of data per A4, average 90100 miles
2007 BMW 328 81
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  58 328s, 9.2 months of data per 328, average 86600 miles
2007 BMW 335 88
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  48 335s, 9.6 months of data per 335, average 80900 miles

 

2006 Audi S4   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  10 S4s, 11.0 months of data per S4, average 93500 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2006 Audi A4 81
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  67 A4s, 9.0 months of data per A4, average 109100 miles

Includes 2005.5. First model year of the B7 A4.
2006 BMW 3-Series 2dr   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  21 3-Series 2drs, 9.2 months of data per 3-Series 2dr, average 74200 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2006 BMW 3-Series 4dr 81
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  73 3-Series 4drs, 8.3 months of data per 3-Series 4dr, average 99200 miles

First year for the E90 4-door.

 

2005 Audi A4   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  16 A4s, 9.8 months of data per A4, average 114700 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2005 Audi S4   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  18 S4s, 7.8 months of data per S4, average 85800 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2005 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  17 M3s, 9.8 months of data per M3, average 75700 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2005 BMW 3-Series 100
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  27 3-Series, 9.4 months of data per 3-Series, average 101500 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2004 Audi S4   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  13 S4s, 10.2 months of data per S4, average 84100 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2004 Audi A4   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  22 A4s, 10.3 months of data per A4, average 127800 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2004 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  15 M3s, 9.5 months of data per M3, average 97700 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2004 BMW 3-Series 113
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  60 3-Series, 9.0 months of data per 3-Series, average 114300 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2003 Audi A4 101
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  26 A4s, 8.7 months of data per A4, average 142400 miles
2003 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  16 M3s, 9.3 months of data per M3, average 90900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2003 BMW 3-Series 68
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  41 3-Series, 9.0 months of data per 3-Series, average 119000 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2002 Audi A4 102
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  30 A4s, 9.4 months of data per A4, average 153700 miles

First model year of the B6 A4, very high repair frequency. S4 still B5.
2002 BMW M3   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  12 M3s, 10.1 months of data per M3, average 92800 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2002 BMW 3-Series 106
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  40 3-Series, 8.8 months of data per 3-Series, average 122100 miles

Average odometer reading much lower for the M3.

 

2001 Audi A4 / S4   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  13 A4 / S4s, 7.4 months of data per A4 / S4, average 121500 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2001 BMW 3-Series 98
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  35 3-Series, 9.5 months of data per 3-Series, average 141600 miles

 

2000 BMW 3-Series   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  23 3-Series, 4.8 months of data per 3-Series, average 137400 miles

* Small sample, members only.

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Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 vs. BMW 3-Series Reliability Comparisons

You won't find Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 or BMW 3-Series reliability information like this anywhere else. Actual repair frequencies, not just vague dots, to make it clear how much the Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 and the BMW 3-Series truly differ in reliability.

These stats are promptly updated four times a year, to much more closely track Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 and BMW 3-Series reliability as the cars age. Others tell you how reliable the Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 and the BMW 3-Series were a year ago, when the cars were a year younger and had 12,000 fewer miles on them. Only TrueDelta tells you how reliable the Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 and the BMW 3-Series have been recently.

What People Are Saying about Reliability and the Audi A4 / S4 / RS4

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What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability and Durability of the Audi A4 / S4 / RS4

Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 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
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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.
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.
2006 4dr Sedan 255-horsepower 3.1L V6
6-speed manual AWD
So far, perfect
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.
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.
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
2002 4dr Sedan turbocharged 170hp 1.8L I4
5-speed manual AWD
120k miles + and counting, no major issues
Audi A4 / S4 / RS4 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.
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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.
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.
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.
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Not reliable, lots of dealer visits,
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 $10,000 to fix. I had to sell this car at a loss. What a waste!
2006 4dr Sedan turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Expensive to maintain, constant repairs. 2500$ service bill (excluding oil changes) avg. per year to keep road-worthy.
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
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.
2004 4dr Sedan turbocharged 170hp 1.8L I4
5-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Reputation for mechanical problems and expensive repairs
 

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.
2011 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
All things aside it boils down to reliability. I previously owned a 2009 335 (same color combo and options) and didnt have one issue. This one however: the water pump went last month @ under 50k miles, the fuel pump also went approx 2 months earlier, the VANOS bolts needed to be replaced, an oil leak after the dealer serviced the vehicle (and no they still charged me) and there was one more episode of limp at home mode which I don't recall. The plus side it's a cpo so the bulk cost nothing. The last few trips cost $50 plus tax a pop. I would not ever recommend anyone purchasing this car without the CPO warranty. example the water pump and labor hovers around a grand to replace. Wheels And Tires - the summer tires are especially prone to road damage. I replaced all 4 tires not due to wear but due to potholes and other hazards... To which any other normal car wouldnt have an issue...
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.
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.
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.
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.
2008 2dr Coupe 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
History is promising.
2008 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Historically, reliable
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
2009 4dr Sedan 414-horsepower 4.0L V8
6-speed manual RWD
More prone to breakdowns than the Japanese competition.
2009 4dr Sedan turbocharged 265hp 3.0L I6 Diesel
6-speed shiftable automatic RWD
Always a glitch or two.
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.
2008 4dr Wagon 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Average is not good enough for a $40K+ car.
2008 2dr Coupe 230-horsepower 3.0L I6
6-speed shiftable automatic AWD
Historically, these cars have had their share of electronic gremlins.
2008 2dr Coupe turbocharged 300hp 3.0L I6
6-speed manual RWD
not as reliable
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