Emerging from the sales slump brought on by the recession and actual fake news, Audi solidified its position in the small executive luxury market with its brand new A4 model in 1996. While in truth the car heavily borrowed from the evolution of the B3/4 series and started life with the same flaccid 12 valve V6 that had replaced the sonorous 7A inline-5 for 1993, the A4 was exactly the model Audi needed to redefine its image.
And redefine it did, going from near zero to hero in just a year’s time.
Car and Driver immediately named the A4 one of its “10 Best” cars, a position it would repeat in 1997 and 1998. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the perennial favorite as the BMW 3-series was for the magazine, but still, that it was mentioned in the same breath was impressive. New sheetmetal was smooth and tight, full of great angles and well-placed curves. The bumper covers were finally integrated well again – something the U.S. specification B4 had inexplicably failed miserably at. Inside was evolution rather than revolution, but the cabin looked and felt upscale and modern. And the market responded to this instant hit; consider, in 1994 Audi sold 12,575 cars in total. In 1996, some 15,288 of just the A4 models were sold. That was before the many variations and improvements Audi rolled out in the B5, too.
Seemingly every year new changes offered refreshment and redesign to the A4. In late 1995 and 1996, you could only get one specification – the 2.8 either with or without quattro. But ’97 saw the introduction of the 1.8T, while ’98 gave us the Avant and more potent 30V V6. Okay, it didn’t pack a knockout punch, but new wheels and a sport package, along with a subtle refresh to the tail lights, gave the model a more sporty look:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay
Model: A4 2.8 quattro
Engine: 2.8 liter V6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 59,000 mi
Price: $5,000 Buy It Now
Up for sale is a 1999 AUDI A4 sedan with Quattro. This car is all original and in excellent condition. I am the second owner. This car has low mileage, 59000 miles, and has always been garaged. The car has no mechanical problems whatsoever. No check engine light, new battery, new tires, and it drives excellently. This car has all available options, with Quattro 4 wheel drive, 2.8 V6 motor, and a 5 speed manual transmission. The car is completely stock with no modifications whatsoever. This car was always serviced, always cared for, and ALWAYS GARAGED. This car has no rust, no body work, original paint with that sheen that you only see on always garaged cars. This is the nicest first generation A4 that you will find. The driver’s seat has a small rip in the leather but that is the only flaw. The car has 59000 documented miles. It runs perfectly with no issues WHATSOEVER. The air conditioning blows COLD. It also has a new battery and new tires.
I live right outside Manhattan and encourage serious buyers to come and see and to test drive.
The addition of 18 valves to the party broadened the torque curve and yeilded a total of 18 more horsepower. Wheels with the sport package were Ronal-made 16″, 7 spoke “Swing” designs that worked really well. While the offset was unchanged from the outgoing 5-spoke, the illusion of the lip made the A4 look more aggressive. Outside of the taillights, there were few changes until after the 2000 model year, when new headlights arrived and again a shift in wheels to the later Speedline design.
Though Audi sold 32,137 A4s in 1999 alone, finding pre-2000 A4s in great condition with lower mileage is somewhat rare. The 30Vs have mostly been spared the ignominious fate of many of the 1.8Ts which were heavily modified. This one looks good in Aluminum Silver Metallic but has typical splits in the seats, which aren’t shown. The seller claims they’re leather, but I’d bet they’re the leatherette seats that often come apart at the seams. In general, the actual leather seats in B5s often hold up pretty well.
eBay claims there is an undisclosed title issue, which it lists was an accident in 2013. Since the car wasn’t totaled at that point, indeed it must have been pretty minor – getting to 80% value in a crash on one of these today isn’t very hard at all. The paint match on the left front, where the accident supposedly was, looks pretty good and the headlights match. The only thing that looks out of place is the quattro badge on the grill, which has been placed in the wrong quadrant. Pricing in $5,000 – significantly less than the 90 quattro of the other day. These A4s don’t have quite the longevity reputation of the B3 chassis, but still they’re capable of many more miles than are on the clock here. Things to look for are age wear on the expensive to replace 4-link front suspension; miles may be low, but there’s no getting over the near 20 year old rubber there. Expect to drop about $1,500 replacing it all, and the V6s can (and often do) leak oil, so look for a pan gasket replacement and probably valve cover seals as well. Otherwise, this should be a low-maintenance, good looking and nicely appointed commuter for someone who doesn’t mind not standing out from the crowd.