S4 B5 - What are they like / Buyers guide

NateS2

Registered User
Hi Everyone,

I know there is already a thread about S4 B5 Buyers guide but all the links are dead unfortunately.
Anyway, I'm looking at getting an S4 Avant in the next couple of months and I'm just wondering what's people opinions of them are. (I except fairly positive as this is the B5 forum :thumbs up:)

How do they drive, or has anyone in the midlands/Yorkshire got one that I can look at / drive?

Generally just are they actually unreliable (for perspective I own a MK2 GTi and Golf V5 so I know what I'm in for)
How are they built? Seen some mixed feedback on this
And options to look out for, which years are "better". Obviously the earlier ones have lower tax and I'm 100% getting one with the carbon interior trim, but is there anything else anyone recommends?

Cheers!
 

S4 Muzza

oww! my giant blue head!
Great cars if you get a good one, money pits if you don’t. Actually they’re money pits either way

In terms of the which years are better, I’d say later. 1998 are all pre-facelift. I think 1999 you’ll find a mixture of pre-facelift and facelift. 2000/01 are all facelift. Personally I think the little improvements made a huge difference so I’d go for a facelift car, but I know some people who prefer the older models. With a facelift you’ll get things like one piece headlights, hidden washer jets, analogue clock, a nice scuttle panel to hide the battery etc. There are various other minor styling difference too, door handles, wings, indicators, boot lid, tail lights, wing mirrors to name a few. You’ll also get revised exhaust manifolds as the pfl ones were prone to rattling. Engine out job to fix.

I’m not aware of any difference in tax between earlier and later B5’s.

In terms or reliability, I’ve had 4 now and I’ve never been left stranded. I would add I’ve never bought a highly modified one, always stuck with close to standard and good history. My current car was owned by a lady for 17 years and had a full Audi service history. I’ve tastefully modified it and had it mapped by MRC and it’s been nothing but reliable for 3 years (maybe shouldn’t have said that…). It’s only a weekend car, however I did daily drive my first B5 S4 back in 2013. I was doing 70 miles a day 5 days a week and apart from the obvious fuel bill, the car was great.

For being 20 years old, I honestly don’t find the interior that bad, it’s certainly comfortable enough. However if you’re coming from a car with all the mod cons, you will 100% feel the difference. Carbon trim is a must for the interior as you say.

In terms of how they drive, I love it. It’s an old heavy car and there’s plenty on the road these days that will beat it. But they’re nice and torquey low down and fairly quick off the line. Obviously if you were looking at a K04 car it’s a different kettle of fish. For me the K03’s are just fine though.

There are a few hotspots for rust with the cars getting old - front wings, boot plinth, along the top of the front/rear windscreens and the rear turrets. Actually I’d give the whole underside a good check.

If you’ve got an itch to scratch, definitely go for it. But be warned, there’s something deeply addictive about B5’s! For me I’d be looking for one with as low a mileage as possible with solid history. At this stage, if you find a good one and look after it, you won’t be losing any money on it!
 

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NateS2

Registered User
Sorry for the delay getting back to this, really appreciate all the detail! Obviously its subjective and feel free not to answer but what would you say is fair price for one with history in good condition. You seem eBay specials that people ask upwards of 11/12 grand for and then you see some on forums which look mint and they go for 6 so its a bit of minefield (I suppose thats every old car but still)

Yours looks really good, love those wheels on it. I think I'm definitely going to go for it, just would like to test drive a couple that I know are sorted so I've at least got some idea of what they should feel like before taking the plunge on one
 

S4 Muzza

oww! my giant blue head!
Sorry for the delay getting back to this, really appreciate all the detail! Obviously its subjective and feel free not to answer but what would you say is fair price for one with history in good condition. You seem eBay specials that people ask upwards of 11/12 grand for and then you see some on forums which look mint and they go for 6 so its a bit of minefield (I suppose thats every old car but still)

Yours looks really good, love those wheels on it. I think I'm definitely going to go for it, just would like to test drive a couple that I know are sorted so I've at least got some idea of what they should feel like before taking the plunge on one

Its honestly so hard to say. For me, anything over £10k would need to be K04'd, modified with quality parts, in excellent condition, have respectable mileage and good history.
I reckon for nice OEM or tastefully modified example, again with good history and respectable miles, you'd be looking at maybe £7k or £8k.
Remember 'low mileage' on these is probably anything under 120k these days!
For a bog standard car, average condition, average miles, some history etc, you're probably looking at around £5k. With these cars its worth spending a little more on something thats been well looked after, it'll save you in the long run.

Not sure if i'm allowed to post links to other forums but here are 2 which sold within the last 8 months. These are exactly the kind of cars I'd be looking at if I was buying another one. Tastefully modified, low miles, good history and of course, the best colour!

 

NateS2

Registered User
Thanks again! I'm actually SRS and have seen that blue Avant, really nice. I suppose the key is being patient really, the ones on eBay at the minute are just silly prices, same as Autotrader.
 

S4 Muzza

oww! my giant blue head!
Thanks again! I'm actually SRS and have seen that blue Avant, really nice. I suppose the key is being patient really, the ones on eBay at the minute are just silly prices, same as Autotrader.
Yeah defo be patient, I waited around 6 months for the right car to pop up when I bought my current one back in 2018.

Just keep an eye on all the forums and usual sites!
 

NateS2

Registered User
How random are the selection of parts between pre/post facelift? The Nog "S444" car on SRS is, to me, a fully facelifted one. 1 piece headlights, hidden washer jets, curved door handles and new interior but has the old Audi sport badging which I prefer.

One I've recently seen for sale is T Reg so still 1999 like the other car, however this one looks like a pre-facelift externally and internally but has the new S4 badges? Also are the bumpers and grill supposed to be different because I've looked at these pictures for a good 10 minutes now and I cannot see any difference for the life of me
 

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S4 Muzza

oww! my giant blue head!
Both pre facelift and facelift cars have the old style badging. There were only a very few late 2001 models which came out with the ‘modern’ badging. The modern badges have been added to the car above, it didn’t come from factory like that.
The rear bumpers are different, the black plastic insert sticks out more on facelift cars. With regard to the front bumper, that’s one I’m honestly not sure about. If there are any differences they are subtle.
 
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