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Looking to own an D3 A8...need advice

Audi A8 This full sized Audi A8 sedan offers interior luxury and spaciousness comparable to any car in the full sized luxury sedan class

Looking to own an D3 A8...need advice

Old 11-17-2008, 09:07 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
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Default Looking to own an D3 A8...need advice

Hi all,

This is my first post so be gentle...

I am in the market for a car and was considering an Audi, particularly the 2004 A8. The specs look good (haven't test drove one but will be doing so this weekend), and the 04s in particular are priced just right (between 20-25k). I have looked over the forums and done a ton of research over the last few days, but I still have a few questions:

Ive been reading alot about quality/reliability issues with the 2004 A8s specifically. I have also read that some production runs produced better quality. Is there something I can look for in the VIN to determine if the car is the earlier or later run? Should I avoid the 2004 all together?

It seems that things such as spark plug maintenance and belt changes occur much earlier on an Audi, in the 55k mile range (and I assume repeated around 100k or so miles), vs other cars (such as Honda's) which have the first major plug/belt maintenance at around 100k miles. What other maintenance windows will I be looking at and what are the typical costs? I guess I am looking for average yearly cost of ownership here.

I have read alot about certain parts that must be changed fairly early on i.e. water pump, timing belt, ect. What parts should I require to have already been replaced before I purchase a used A8?

I have read about electronic issues with the A8. I also understand some of it has to do with MMI software updates. How can I check what version of MMI the A8 I am inspecting is using, as well as what the latest version is out there (or I should say most recent stable version)? And should I expect these updates free with a warranty plan offered from the dealer?

Finally, I have read a bit about warranty plans. It seems it is a must with this car (please correct me if I am over-assuming). What is an average cost of such plan, with what benefits offered (so I can know what to ask for and what to accept/reject). And what things would normally be covered (powertrain, electrical gremlins)?

I am very excited about possibly owning one of these cars, but wary of what I have read as far as service history on this vehicle.

If you have time, please answer one or two of the questions, I would greatly appreciate it!

BTW I live in the DC/Baltimore area so any owner around there who has personal experience with local dealers/mechanics please chime in!
Old 11-18-2008, 02:49 AM
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Like i have noted in the sticky, i recommend replacing the belt/water pump etc at 80k. The reason for this is excessive timing belt breaks, water pump and thermostat failures etc. In fact most of the major maintenance should just be taken care of at this point because its easier to do it all at once.

The 2004 was the first model D3, so of course its gonna have the electrical and mechanical flaws built into it. Such flaws are listed in the sticky. Software updates are only required if you have a problem with the MMI, such as sticking of the screen when scrolling or malfunctioning scrolling applications. There are many glitches with the original programming, the dealer almost always has a fix for it. If you're not under factory warrany you can bet your life that you are going to pay for the re-flashes.

There are aftermarket warranties that cover such re-flashes, when shopping for aftermarket warranties, (when it comes to the A8) make sure you get the maximum coverage you can possibly get, just because of the complexity of these vehicles. This goes for any high end vehicle.
Old 11-20-2008, 05:58 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 20
Default 04 a8

I can only tell you I've had mine for over 2 years now and I'm a happy camper. I did have the trunk relese replaced and I'm currently haveing a problem with the keyfob or security system. Every time I lock it the panic alarm goes off, even after I replaced the battery at the dealers suggestion. Small price to pay for such a great car though... I did insist the dealer throw in an extended warranty when I bought it (you should too), I belive the price was $1400 at that time, but I'm sure that was his price. If you get one with 19' wheels be prepared to own two sets of expensive tires. This is not a cheap car to own or drive, but man-o-man what a drivers car it is! Also, Auditech79 is pretty knowledgable and you can take his advise to the bank. I hope this helps, Ron
Old 12-01-2008, 02:52 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 6
Default Don't buy a 2004

I've had my A8 for just over two years and have had nothing but problems. Just out of warranty I needed a new radiator and fans, belts and other work ($4,000) now my suspension is stuck bottomed out, I have a broken armrest, inoperable cd player...the list goes on! This is, by far, the most poorly engineered and least reliable car I have ever owned.

Even when everything is working, which isn't too often, the ride really isn't that great. Do yourself a favor, go drive an '06 Infiniti M.

If you do decide to go ahead an purchase an '04 A8 definitely get an extended warranty. I got the best and most expensive one available ($2,800) but the warranty company went out of business! They warrantied far too many A8's no doubt.
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