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S4, A6, 335i, Lexus...Reliability etc...

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Old 06-08-2014, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default S4, A6, 335i, Lexus...Reliability etc...

Hello all, been lurking here off and on for years. Our second baby is on the way and as a result the need for a larger vehicle will be a requirement within a year, if not sooner. I've got a daily driver that I bought for a lengthy commute that didn't materialize and while it's a good car I hate driving it. My weekend car is a 2004 Z06 and my wife's got a 2013 GMC Terrain.

I'd like to find a sedan, I'm 6ft 6 and believe it or not I fit pretty well in the A4 platform. Lots of head/leg room while still feeling driver oriented.

I'm looking at several potential vehicles, all of which would be CPO, not new. Reliability with any of the German's is a concern of mine. Fairly or unfairly, my friends' experiences with Audi over the last 14 or so years hasn't been great so I tend to judge them through that prism. Now everyone with new cars from VW/Audi that I know has not had problems.

I'd say the A6 and S4 are tops on my list but I am also interest in Lexus new F Sport offerings as well as the F30 3 series. The problem I have with the 3 series is the E90 feels like its more solid and is much more quiet inside. I know a couple folks with an F30 and while interior materials are nicer than in my other friends' E90 the car overall is noisier inside and doesn't feel as connected to the road (sport package would help that based on my limited test drive with the M Sport package).

I've been lusting after the S4 since it's debut several years ago. The refresh for 2013 really looks great.

If I went A6 I would go 3.0T so similar drivetrain to the S4 but no manual trans with the A6. I think with the S4 I'd go manual trans for sure.

Any thoughts or comments on reliability of this platform and drivetrain? I don't want to misjudge a company based on outdated information because from what I can tell Audi/VW seems to have really turned things around.
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:17 PM   #2
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15,000 miles on my '13 and no problems so far except lots of squeaks and rattles
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:08 AM   #3
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15,000 miles on my '13 and no problems so far except lots of squeaks and rattles
Not to barge in uninvited, but what do you mean "lots of squeaks and rattles"? Are you just talking about noise in general, or specific items on the car getting jarred loose? I am in the market soon and would hope that after 15,000 the car isn't squeaking and rattling in a serious way. That's pretty much a deal breaker if they are that poorly designed. I have never had a car that squeaked or rattled with only 15,000 miles on it. Just curious! Thanks.
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:41 AM   #4
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Hmm.. interesting..39k on my '11 and NO squeeks or rattles. (and am using H&R OEM sport springs)
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:11 AM   #5
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Over the last 7 yrs I have leased or owned an '07 335i, an '07 IS 250, an '08 Rx 350, and '10,'11, and '14 S4s. The 2010 had the most problems ONLY because it came from the factory with bad T stat and Water pump. In comparison with the 335i and IS 250, I can say it hadvmore problems than those 2 cars. Bought the RX 350 used but have had zero LESS issues with that one(50K miles). Only had the '14 S4 for less than a yr and no problems in 4k miles. Also bought the 2011 used 3 weeks ago so no real issues with that one yet. I think that based on your stature, you will probably find the A6 to be a better fit for your size. I understand the desire for a MT car since all the cars that I drive have been MTs. and the A6 is actually a real AT not a manumatic as on the S4. Drove a loaner A7 3.0t for a day. Bored to death. Nice car, no wow factor.

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Old 06-09-2014, 06:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by DecadenceFTW View Post
Not to barge in uninvited, but what do you mean "lots of squeaks and rattles"? Are you just talking about noise in general, or specific items on the car getting jarred loose? I am in the market soon and would hope that after 15,000 the car isn't squeaking and rattling in a serious way. That's pretty much a deal breaker if they are that poorly designed. I have never had a car that squeaked or rattled with only 15,000 miles on it. Just curious! Thanks.
I get regular rattles from the dash bezel, both door panels (passenger side is worse) and the deck under the rear window. I had the dealer fix the passenger door twice for two different things. There's a comprehensive thread around here somewhere that talks about rattle mitigation for just about every part of the car. I do admit it's annoying and disappointing, but most of the time I just can't hear it over the music.

The dealer will normally address rattles but my dash bezel is the one from Ocarbon and although it rattles exactly like the factory one, they won't touch it. The rear deck actually got better when I put my sub woofer in, and seems to have gone away completely after last week's window tinting.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:47 AM   #7
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I can't speak for the new Audi's at high mileage, but really who can? The wife has a 2001 A4 with just under 200k miles. It still looks and drives like new with tight steering and no rattles. It uses absolutely no oil and has had only a few repairs. The steering rack was replaced a few years ago and this Spring the alternator went out. Everything still works just fine and it still has the original clutch. She has been so happy with it that we are buying a new S4 for European Delivery this October.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:23 AM   #8
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I can't speak for the new Audi's at high mileage, but really who can? The wife has a 2001 A4 with just under 200k miles. It still looks and drives like new with tight steering and no rattles. It uses absolutely no oil and has had only a few repairs. The steering rack was replaced a few years ago and this Spring the alternator went out. Everything still works just fine and it still has the original clutch. She has been so happy with it that we are buying a new S4 for European Delivery this October.
I think you meant to say it has "absolutely no oil leaks"?
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:57 AM   #9
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I also can't relate to the rattle comments. My 2011 S4 is nearing 4 years old with 25K miles on it and I don't have ANY rattles at all. Not even a squeak inside.

Reliability was a big concern of mine, but I am a believer now. I have just done normal maintenance on the car. I haven't had anything repaired...even under warranty.

Great car...and love the 6 speed manual!
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Old 06-09-2014, 08:42 AM   #10
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I had reliability concerns before buying my 13 S4 because my 01 S4 had too many problems. Looks like after some initial waterpump and diff leak issues got resolved, B8 platform reliability is good for a German car. I had no issues except a couple minor ones on delivery and a funny-feeling MT which Audi claims is normal.

I think Lexus will be most reliable out of the cars you consider, but in my opinion it is not as much fun to drive as S4 or 335i.
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Old 06-09-2014, 10:47 AM   #11
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I had reliability concerns before buying my 13 S4 because my 01 S4 had too many problems. Looks like after some initial waterpump and diff leak issues got resolved, B8 platform reliability is good for a German car. I had no issues except a couple minor ones on delivery and a funny-feeling MT which Audi claims is normal.

I think Lexus will be most reliable out of the cars you consider, but in my opinion it is not as much fun to drive as S4 or 335i.
Yeah Lexus is going to be much more sterile in comparison.
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Old 06-09-2014, 01:08 PM   #12
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I've had 3 VWs (Jetta and 2 GTIs), an Audi Q5 and now the S4. Never really had an issue with any of the cars. The most miles I've put on any of them is 85,000 miles though to be honest. I did think my Q5 was starting to eat oil at 28,000 miles, but that was the 2.0t engine, not the 3.0 V6.

Make sure you drive the cars to see what you like. I'm sure the Lexus has better overall reliability numbers, but I've driven plenty of Japanese cars and they just don't do it for me. I'll trade an occasional repairable issue with a great sould over 0 problems but little soul to the car. But everyone has their own opinions. Good luck!
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:40 PM   #13
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I had reliability concerns before buying my 13 S4 because my 01 S4 had too many problems. Looks like after some initial waterpump and diff leak issues got resolved, B8 platform reliability is good for a German car. I had no issues except a couple minor ones on delivery and a funny-feeling MT which Audi claims is normal.

I think Lexus will be most reliable out of the cars you consider, but in my opinion it is not as much fun to drive as S4 or 335i.
Yeah tough to say given the new F Sport packages. Lexus powertrains aren't as good though. Yeah they might make similar numbers on paper but bloodyhell the 335i (which I have a lot of experience with) just delivers power all day any spot on the tach. Just a great drivetrain. While I've only driven the 3.0T once I remember a similar thought process...but first drive in a car like that is always a bit foggy because I was hyped big time to drive the S4.


A good friend of mine also has an F30 328i and honestly that 2.0 is impressive. Makes good torque and power through about 5,500 or maybe even 6,000 rpm. Taking it to lunch again weds so I'll get a refresher
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:19 AM   #14
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Yeah tough to say given the new F Sport packages. Lexus powertrains aren't as good though. Yeah they might make similar numbers on paper but bloodyhell the 335i (which I have a lot of experience with) just delivers power all day any spot on the tach. Just a great drivetrain. While I've only driven the 3.0T once I remember a similar thought process...but first drive in a car like that is always a bit foggy because I was hyped big time to drive the S4.


A good friend of mine also has an F30 328i and honestly that 2.0 is impressive. Makes good torque and power through about 5,500 or maybe even 6,000 rpm. Taking it to lunch again weds so I'll get a refresher
I really don't think a 328i is a good comparison to the S4. Maybe to the a4. A couple of months a go C&D did a comparison between a 2 yr old S5(basically a 2 dr S4) and a new 435i. S5 beat the 435i in almost every category especially the performance aspects. I have to agree that the 335i did have really good power across the rpm band. BUT IMHO, the S4 is similar. . I have found that the 335i was better in highway gas mileage by 3-4 mpg..
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:37 AM   #15
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If it matters, and it kind of does to me, you will see much fewer S4s on the road compared to 3 or 4 series Bimmers.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:25 AM   #16
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When I was deciding between the 335i xDrive, the IS350, and the S4 I found they were dramatically different cars.

The IS was almost bereft of feeling -- really overengineered and kept me feeling like I wanted to be closer to the road.

The 335i was fine, though I didn't love the cabin environment. Part of it is my height (6'3), and the other part was it was just flat out simple. Like the opposite of the IS. It did push hard though throughout the band...

The S4 just felt right. Good for my height, snug in how the seats fit me, outstanding power, and just techy enough to boot. I was sold as soon as I drove it.

It also should be noted that I owned an X5 in the past and had a dogsh*t experience with little ticky tack repairs...I was predisposed to staying away from the BMW. I think they're a little more temperamental than the Audis. Neither one comes without its little nuances, but having owned a 2004 S4 I kind of knew what to expect...
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:31 AM   #17
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Agreed. I think the S4 is a perfect combination of luxury and performance with some cool technology to boot. Personally I think the newer generation IS350 (incl. F Sport) is way overrated and too much $$. Interior is over the top and too gimmicky looking to me. Lexus really needs to add more power to that engine in the IS series. Can't believe it's still the same powerplant.

I don't like the 3 or 4 series because they are just too bland interior wise, so-so externally. No one will disagree about BMW's well balanced 50/50 weight and "feel" of the cars but again, Audi's IMO have just the right amount of everything. Because I wasn't looking for a stick shift this time around I was really enamored with the S-Tronic 7-speed. Nice, quick and smooth shifts.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:46 AM   #18
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If it matters, and it kind of does to me, you will see much fewer S4s on the road compared to 3 or 4 series Bimmers.
Unfortunately, there are lots of A4s around, and most people cannot tell and S4 from an A4.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:47 AM   #19
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That's ok, its definitely a "driver's" car.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:40 AM   #20
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Unfortunately, there are lots of A4s around, and most people cannot tell and S4 from an A4.
That's one of the things I actually like about it!
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:40 AM
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