Looking for S4 advice

Breezey

Registered User
hi gents,

Looking to pickup an S4 in January and wanting advice on the common failures / things to lookout for. I will hopefully be able to afford an 8.5 but worse case it’ll be a B8. I’ve been majorly put off DSG in the past due to needing a mortgage to repair are hey as bad as they used to be? Not having ever owned one I’m curious as the manuals are so hard to come by!

Also has anyone got a link to factory options ? I’m abit of a fiend for looking at unusually speced cars. I’ve been looking for ADS / sports diff but they are rocking horse. Does full ADS assume sports diff? Also is the adjustable damper optional on top of all this ?


Thanks
 

jdp1962

Grumpy Old Man
From what I recall, B8.5 S4s are all DSG only. ADS, Sports Diff and adjustable dampers are all separate options. You can choose ADS and/or Sports Diff on their own, or together, but you have to have ADS in order to have adjustable dampers.
 

Breezey

Registered User
From what I recall, B8.5 S4s are all DSG only. ADS, Sports Diff and adjustable dampers are all separate options. You can choose ADS and/or Sports Diff on their own, or together, but you have to have ADS in order to have adjustable dampers.
Hmmmm wondered why I could never find any manual 8.5s that’ll be why then! They can’t be that unreliable if there’s no manual option then? Very much doubt I’m going to find the spec I want to be fair so might just have to choose one or the other. Appreciate your comments it’s certainly going to help me choosing the right one.
 

V6_Man

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You can always buy an OBD app (like Carista or similar) and run a quick scan on the car you are looking at. It will tell you whether there are any faults.

Carista will also tell you how many times the car has been ‘launched’ which should then give you an idea of how the car has been used and therefore tranny abused . The more the number of launches (e.g. 40+) and I’d stay away from that Car.


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Breezey

Registered User
Thanks gents ! I have VCDS but am abit of an amateur user! I’ll check out Carista that’s definitely a good idea to know how many have been launched.

Cheers Bristle I’ll take a look!

@JDP worth hunting for the sports diff ?
 

V6_Man

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Thanks gents ! I have VCDS but am abit of an amateur user! I’ll check out Carista that’s definitely a good idea to know how many have been launched.

Cheers Bristle I’ll take a look!

@JDP worth hunting for the sports diff ?

Running a scan with a VCDS is really easy. Should give you an idea of overall engine state and details on the errors if any.


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jdp1962

Grumpy Old Man
Thanks gents ! I have VCDS but am abit of an amateur user! I’ll check out Carista that’s definitely a good idea to know how many have been launched.

Cheers Bristle I’ll take a look!

@JDP worth hunting for the sports diff ?
I would definitely say it's worth looking for; I love it. That said, don't make it a deal breaker if you find an otherwise perfect car that doesn't have it.
 

Breezey

Registered User
So back to the elephant ? DSG ? Do I have to keep a spare £7k in the bank and god forbid do I ask about stage 2 on DSG
 

Bristle Hound

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So far, unless someone can say otherwise, the s-tronic GB issues were all on B8 S4's
I'm not aware of any B8.5 S4 s-tronic GB's going bang (he says with finger x-ed lol)
 

Breezey

Registered User
So far, unless someone can say otherwise, the s-tronic GB issues were all on B8 S4's
I'm not aware of any B8.5 S4 s-tronic GB's going bang (he says with finger x-ed lol)
What I wanted to hear !!! Anything else I need to lookout for ? I’ll be checking number of launches haha
 

V6_Man

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Depending on the mileage whether or not DSG oil has been replaced @38k.


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Dippy

Registered User
Sports diff was £620 to be be precise (I think the S4 and S5 option prices were the same).
Damper control was cheaper at £300 and to complete the set the dynamic steering was £375.
But as noted with any or all of those three options, ADS was mandatory at £220.

@Breezey - in 2014 (it felt like most of that year) I hunted for a used S5 sportback (I'd have accepted an S4 avant instead, but I prefer champagne to sparkling wine :)). But after a LOT of test drives, I decided that the car must have both ADS and damper control, plus I wanted a few other options too, so after many months of waiting for the right car to become available I gave up and ordered a new one. I doubt that the situation has changed - if you want sports diff then you may have a bit of hunting and/or waiting to do. I urge you to think carefully about what options to insist on.

If you have time, I suggest you get some test drives of B9s with and without sports diff. As long as the cars are similar otherwise I think it should be enough for you to tell the difference. I can easily tell the difference, as I did during my test drives, but then my driving style allows it. Before I decided on a B8, I test drove a few other makes including a Nissan GT-R. I did my usual cornering tests with that car and could make it lose traction, although in the case of that car it was due to its suspension and tyres and not the diff (it has a LSD). When I tested B8s with and without the sports diff, I could easily make the latter lose traction but the former was much harder. My previous B5 S4 didn't have an LSD which is also why I knew I had to have one on my next car.

So to answer your question from #7, really you need to ask yourself do you need a car with sports diff? I'd say that if you have driven a car without an LSD and disliked how it starts to break away when powering around corners, then you'll benefit from a B8 with sports diff. If not, you probably won't.

Back to your main question. Issues with DSG are such a focus that I tend to forget what other common problems there have been. When I was originally looking I think there were some cases of central locking problems, so check that it all works as expected. I think I also saw a few reports about premature wear of wheel bearings but only a few. Then there is the clutch on the manual. Its not the best and so if its a high mileage car make sure to test it. Finally there is engine oil. You may know about the debacle for the 2.0 TFSI, however I have seen a few reports of high consumption on the 3.0 TFSI too. Again it is rare, and I'm not sure how you can tell when looking at used cars other than to check the oil level - if its low then might be worth worrying about.

But I can't stop without going back to the DSG. I gather that you were bitten by this? For the B8 S4 by far the biggest number of problem reports have been with 2009/10 cars. But we know that Audi made two revisions to the DL501 gearbox. I believe that the first was in 2011. I am not sure when the second was, so I don't think its possible to suggest that there are no problems with the B8.5 'box, and indeed there have been reports on cars made as late as 2014, but a lot fewer than the B8s. The advice has to be to get as new a model as possible. But no matter what the age of the car, the service record is paramount. There is no doubt that the DL501 can suffer if not serviced properly. Audi demand an oil service every 38K miles and there is good reason to argue that this is too long. But if you find a used B8 or B8.5 which missed its s-tronic gearbox service then don't buy unless you have a rock-solid guarantee of warranty.
 

Breezey

Registered User
Sports diff was £620 to be be precise (I think the S4 and S5 option prices were the same).
Damper control was cheaper at £300 and to complete the set the dynamic steering was £375.
But as noted with any or all of those three options, ADS was mandatory at £220.

@Breezey - in 2014 (it felt like most of that year) I hunted for a used S5 sportback (I'd have accepted an S4 avant instead, but I prefer champagne to sparkling wine :)). But after a LOT of test drives, I decided that the car must have both ADS and damper control, plus I wanted a few other options too, so after many months of waiting for the right car to become available I gave up and ordered a new one. I doubt that the situation has changed - if you want sports diff then you may have a bit of hunting and/or waiting to do. I urge you to think carefully about what options to insist on.

If you have time, I suggest you get some test drives of B9s with and without sports diff. As long as the cars are similar otherwise I think it should be enough for you to tell the difference. I can easily tell the difference, as I did during my test drives, but then my driving style allows it. Before I decided on a B8, I test drove a few other makes including a Nissan GT-R. I did my usual cornering tests with that car and could make it lose traction, although in the case of that car it was due to its suspension and tyres and not the diff (it has a LSD). When I tested B8s with and without the sports diff, I could easily make the latter lose traction but the former was much harder. My previous B5 S4 didn't have an LSD which is also why I knew I had to have one on my next car.

So to answer your question from #7, really you need to ask yourself do you need a car with sports diff? I'd say that if you have driven a car without an LSD and disliked how it starts to break away when powering around corners, then you'll benefit from a B8 with sports diff. If not, you probably won't.

Back to your main question. Issues with DSG are such a focus that I tend to forget what other common problems there have been. When I was originally looking I think there were some cases of central locking problems, so check that it all works as expected. I think I also saw a few reports about premature wear of wheel bearings but only a few. Then there is the clutch on the manual. Its not the best and so if its a high mileage car make sure to test it. Finally there is engine oil. You may know about the debacle for the 2.0 TFSI, however I have seen a few reports of high consumption on the 3.0 TFSI too. Again it is rare, and I'm not sure how you can tell when looking at used cars other than to check the oil level - if its low then might be worth worrying about.

But I can't stop without going back to the DSG. I gather that you were bitten by this? For the B8 S4 by far the biggest number of problem reports have been with 2009/10 cars. But we know that Audi made two revisions to the DL501 gearbox. I believe that the first was in 2011. I am not sure when the second was, so I don't think its possible to suggest that there are no problems with the B8.5 'box, and indeed there have been reports on cars made as late as 2014, but a lot fewer than the B8s. The advice has to be to get as new a model as possible. But no matter what the age of the car, the service record is paramount. There is no doubt that the DL501 can suffer if not serviced properly. Audi demand an oil service every 38K miles and there is good reason to argue that this is too long. But if you find a used B8 or B8.5 which missed its s-tronic gearbox service then don't buy unless you have a rock-solid guarantee of warranty.
Wow legendary level reply there buddy thank you ! I haven’t been bitten by the DSG problems but it’s always put me off int he past I’ve been looking for parts for my A3 black edition and seen cars for breaking on eBay, got chatting to the guy why and DSG issues usually the case.

It’s going to be a buyers market for me, I’ve always spent a lot of time / months finding the right car and this one will define no different. I think I’m aware of most options and chosen the ones I want but not when it comes to ADS/damper/sports diff. I know it’s very tough to find cars with any of these let alone 2 or even all 3 so I will try and get some test drives in before settling!

I will certainly be giving the service history a very good look and taking the vcds with me (it’s saved me from buying a dog in the past).

I did hear about the oil consumption of the 2.0TFSI so I’ll just have to hope the owner is honest or if a dealer try and go on a longer drive or something. Is this linked to failures being abit of an oil burner ?
 

V6_Man

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Dippy

Registered User
LOL - Thanks for the complements - in spite of my subtle attack on the S4 (was it too subtle?)
I don't know about "legend" but I feel somewhat "ancient" these days.

BTW I made a mistake: "But after a LOT of test drives, I decided that the car must have both ADS and damper control,.." should have been "But after a LOT of test drives, I decided that the car must have both sports diff and damper control,.."

@Breezey - please don't worry too much about my comment on oil consumption for this engine. Over the years I have been following B8 threads on various forums, I have seen only a handful of reports about bad consumption. In contrast to the number of reports for the 2.0 engine I don't think it is a big issue on the 3.0. And in most cases I believe that changing the PCV is the solution.

Also if you have any questions about options please ask. When I ordered my car it was easier to list the options that I didn't want, rather than the ones I wanted. So yes it as ADS, sports diff, damper control and dynamic steering, but no, its not for sale :)
 

jdp1962

Grumpy Old Man

V6_Man

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Wrong car my backside. If I could have got the same discounts on an S5 SB that were being offered on the S4 saloon, I'd have chosen it.

But you didn’t Jeff because they do deals on cars worth doing the deals on, i.e. S4rrrrrssss


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Dippy

Registered User
Shall we declare what discounts we got? I don't want to upset the S4 owners more than I already have...:)
 
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