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Audi A6

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  • I've been looking for some time for a used A6 and currently have my eyes on a 2000 Silver 2.8 w/ 35,000 miles. This is a "Certified" vehicle from an Audi dealer in Torrance, CA.

    Looking at various online forums, it appears as though people either love the cars or want to burn them and collect the insurance money to ease the pain of ownership. I worked at Audi dealerships in the early 80s and remember the days of the 5000 and the never-ending cycle of replacing window regulators and brake master cylinders...

    However, I hear things are largely much better these days. None-the-less, I would love to hear from owners of similar cars as far as their ownership experiences:

    If it's been great, I would like to know. Other questions:
    1. Common failures you have had or heard about
    2. Can it run on regular fuel without problem
    3. Typical oil consumption: I'm from the oil/filter every 3,000 miles school (and have a Honda with 256,000 miles to prove it) and am a little alarmed at Audi's recommended 7,500 change interval. My Honda still does not use oil in 3,000 miles before I change it. What should I expect?
    4. Does anyone know why some used cars make the Audi "Certified" program and some do not? What is the rejection criteria?

    Those are the major question areas. I love the style and comfort of this car but want to learn more before I plunge in.

    Please educate me before I do something that I may regret!
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,068
    If you go by the metric of term and monthly payments, according to my dealer Norhtland Audi, in Cincinnati, it is less money per month (36 - 39 month term) to lease a brand new audi a6 3.0 than it is to buy or lease a used one.

    My dealer is "so distressed" that his used car sales have plummeted, that he is not acquiring any new used cars unless they are being traded in. He no longer takes the off lease cars and keeps them, that is.

    My personal salesperson says, "unless you are paying 100% cash, acquiring a used one -- in today's market -- is both a false economy and an invitation for maintenance and repair bills that you just won't have with a brand new one.

    At 35,000 miles on a 2000 -- how are the tires, or better, when and at what cost will they need to be replaced. The Audi advantage expires at 50K and even though you will be protected from catastrophic expense with the Audi assured deal (which IS a good thing) over a 30 - 39 month "ownership" you will be paying less out of pocket.

    Furthermore: 3.0 engine vs 2.8, ESP and ABS +brake assist vs ABS alone, side curtain airbags, vs no side curtains; many "new and improved" features and functions -- much better and responsive engine, better economy and on and on and on. Even the tiptronic is better in the 03.

    I cannot afford a 2000 audi when faced with a 2003 for arguably less money.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Mark, I have no doubt that the dealer told you that new is cheaper than used, but on the face of it this makes no sense. If that were the case then there would be no market whatsoever for late model, used Audi's - no one would EVER buy a used one when they could save and buy new. It would also mean that Audi's do not depreciate which we all know is not the case.

    The price for used models is purely driven by supply and demand, and I would have no doubt that kawasaki2 could save quite a bit by buying a 2000 2.8 with 35,000 miles. That doesn't necessarily mean that this is the better buy, factoring in the improvements made to the car, some of which you list, since the 2000 model year. But if the price difference is wide enough, it might make sense to buy the certified used model, as the looks are pretty much the same. In fact I bet most casual observers would never notice the difference. He could drive it for a year or two with full warranty protection, and not take the big depreciation hit that the original owner undoubtedly took.

    Just another opinion...
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,068
    A used Audi -- say a 2001 -- is less money than a new one. I did not claim otherwise.

    My Porsche/Audi dealer leases over 80% of the cars he sells, the remaining ones are purchase in cash or financed.

    Using the metric of "cost per month" -- the deal is on the 2003 NOT on the 2001.

    Your points are all valid and I cannot contradict them.

    Today, March 2003 -- a used is more money that's all.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,068
    If a used MY 2000 is 50% of a new one which would be MSRP'd @ $42,000, or $21,000 and it is possible to find 0% financing for a used car for 36 months, the payments to own this car would be $583/mo.

    The current "deals" on A6's "nicely equipped" (MSRP as noted above) w/$0.00 down is (in Ohio where the tax is part of the total monthly payment) $619/mo.

    At the end of the 36 months if you buy, you theoretically have the car and no more payments and the car may be worth $8 or $9K.

    At the end of the 36 months if you lease, you have no car, no asset, nothing.

    During the lease, I submit -- (and this is where the dealer is finding his customers are opting NOT for used cars that are 50% off the price of a new car, but for the new cars) the costs due to wear and tear, the 100% Audi Advantage (which is NOT the same as Audi Certified) and the fact that EVERYTHING in the new car, was NEW -- that the new car cost less to "use" for the 36 months than the used car.

    Many people, from the dealer's perspective again, do not keep cars more than "about" 3 years.

    Many people like the "advantages of the new car."

    Many people have found that a 6 year old car has lost so much value and the expense of maintenance so high beyond a certain point (warranty or no) makes them unattractive.

    My agreement with these notions ebbs and flows. The monthly number argument, today, basically says "unless you are paying cash or can get a (late model) used car for 0% interest, the new car will have a lower payment."

    This today situation is almost unique in our economic and financial history. New cars are flying off the lots due to "rate" deals that are not offered on used cars.

    For the forseeable future (a few more months?) unless you are in a cash situation, the new lease makes monthly payment sense.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Mark, I see your point about the benefits of leasing a new Audi, particularly if the dealers are offering subsidized deals to get them off of their lots. Right now we very well may be in a temporary period where leasing a new model makes a lot of sense, assuming of course that you can afford the monthly payments.

    I don't know how accurate your numbers are, but assuming that they are indeed reflective of what the "real world" deals and values are today, it's still cheaper - if cost alone is being considered - to buy the used one. As you note, you own the used one outright after making the 36 payments, and at that point it's worth $8,000 - $9,000. Factoring in the difference (savings) in the monthly payments, you are more than $10,000 ahead after the three years are up. Again, the numbers could well be different, but assuming your figures are "real world" values, you are essentially paying $22,284 ($619 x 36) to drive the new one for 3 years vs about $12,000 to drive the used one for 3 years ($21,000 less the $9,000 remaining value). This is almost a 50% savings, not an insignificant amount for a "person on a budget" who still wants to drive a nice, late model German sedan.

    I guess the most important thing to do if you are in this situation (deciding whether to lease a new one or buy used) is to do your homework and run the exact numbers carefully each time. You may find that all things considered, including the likely benefits of a new car warranty, added safety features, new car smell, etc leasing the new one is worth the extra cost. But temporary great leasing deals notwithstanding, at the end of the day the market will always guarantee an appropriate discount for buying used, because the market is the sum of hundreds of buying/leasing decisions that are made each week. And the more Audi and its dealers "flood" the market with subsidized new car lease deals, the more downward pressure is exerted on the prices of used models - creating "bargains" that many people on a budget can't resist.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,068
    You will not be able to finance a used car at 0% interest, so the out of pocket cost will actually be higher. Cash 100% up front, somewhat different, but I guess one could argue alternate uses for the cash.

    $8 or 9K -- according to my dealer is "possible" but only if the car after 36 months is "very clean," does not need work or tires, etc -- possible but generally not seen that way. So real "trade in value" probably 4 figures less.

    All your points are true, however.

    I just cannot make the USED CAR buy thing work with NEW CAR incentives (plus the other already stated advantages) that are out there today and likely to be there for months to come.

    On a cash out of pocket basis, however, the used car will require more money out of pocket than the used one. Now it is true that there should be some residual value in 2006 on the 2000 or 2001 car, but every day that passes it decriments and it is NOT the same as cash.

    Lease or rent depreciating assests and buy appreciating assets -- that is what my money guys (not my car guys) tell me.

    Cars are tools of the trade for me and I like having late model ones. The compelling reasons to lease NOW and during the Carter years the compelling reasons THEN to "buy in today's dollars and pay back in tomorrow's dollars" -- underscore this upsidedown situation.

    I still advocate doing what YOU feel comfortable doing.

    Thus far -- for me -- its lease a new one every 24 to 36 months and live with increased peace of mind.

    To each his own.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,237
    write car expenses off against a business look at vehicles differently than mere mortals.

    The issue becomes cash flow -- what has to be paid out each month to drive X? Hey, it's a business expense, so comes off the bottom line -- for car fans, this is money very well spent.

    In the other world (I'd hate to say real, because there are so many in that situation), your vehicle costs you what you pay for it, minus what you are able to get when you sell it, minus maintainence (I'm stunned that Mark didn't hold forth on this, this time), minus opportunity cost of the money tied up, etc.

    We plebeians who work for salary (or worse yet, wages) need not apply.
  • px260px260 Posts: 42
    To me, the forever debt of leasing cars one after another does not make economical sense. Just buy a car, maintain it, and keep it forever is the way to go. I envy those who drive a 80's Toyota with 250k miles on the motor. The word "VALUE" just screams out at you. Think of the opportunity cost they have saved over the years.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,068
    Your convictions, too, have much merit. In my case, I have NOT desired a 250K auto, which does not make either one of us "correct."

    The costs, the RATIONALIZED costs, I admit, have made such a practice (keeping the car beyond 50,000 miles) both emotionally and financially unaffordable in my circumstances.

    As I age, I do find myself becoming somewhat more attached to cars than I ever thought possible.

    And, most of us who drive Audis, truth be told, put value pretty far down on their lists (despite our protestations to the contrary).

    My Honda driving friends think we European and American car drivers are nuts. We're still friends though.

    My BMW driving friends think Audis are "weenies cars" (I am in IT) and show them little respect and much disdain. We're still friends, too.

    Cars are -- even for us left brained folk -- not rational.

    Our attempts to rationalize and legitimize what we do with them (including funding them) are neither rational nor legitimate if attempted to be broadly applied.

    This is an Audi lovers board (mostly) and it seems to be a new Audi lovers board. But, if you have an Audi with 250,000 miles on it -- as far as I'm concerned -- you're still welcome here anytime.
  • px260px260 Posts: 42
    I don't really care if one drives a certain make vs. another. If one prefers a FORD, so be it, who cares? If one can afford a Royce, fine. It is your choice. I don't quite understand why people stereotype cars and their drivers. I do believe a lot of these value minded persons are the ones with a bigger bank account.
  • mariobgoodemariobgoode Posts: 114
    I'm beginning to see the wisdom of Mark's practice. I can also deduct my lease payments from my gross income, so a lease is something that looks attractive to me. My accountant agrees with me on this point. I have had the sad experience of keeping an old Audi for 10 years, and the uncertainties of repair and high cost of maintenance after the Audi Advantage freebies eventually got to me. I'm therefore leaning strongly towards leasing my next Audi. I've seen the light (T-I-C).
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,068
    I tried to talk him into an Audi quattro. He got a Passat 4motion "wagon" (I don't think they call them avants).

    He did the 0 money down, 36 months thing and says a predicable cost is "better" than taking the chance on the viscissitudes of running without a warranty.

    No one, apparently, likes uncertainty. And, I keep tellin' y'all "Audis are breathtakingly expensive to repair when the money is yours" (as opposed to being baked in to the monthly lease payment as it is with new fully Audi Advantaged cars every 24 to 48 months or 50,000 miles whichever comes first.)

    My receptionist "bought" a used car -- an oldsmobile something or other. She put $1000 down and makes payments that exceed the cost of leasing a new Jetta which could have been $0 down (the payment statement assumes the payment differential due to the cap cost reduction on the used car -- that is the payments on the Jetta would have been $249 and for the Olds they were factored to be about $255 a month -- but for a different term, see below.)

    The first thing to go was the Power Steering -- she got that fixed (15% discount). Next the passenger side power window. She had the window raised and just keeps it up, didn't fix it. Next to go was the A/C. Since the driver's side window works she keeps it open to try to stay cool.

    Then she needed a tire, which really required 2.

    She was, financially speaking, paying [more than] the price of driving a very nice Jetta GL (or Honda or deal du jour) -- uh, except she had no A/C two old tires and god knows what next that would need fixing.

    Plus, because she was buying the used Olds, her payments were virtually the same per month as the new Jetta would have been. Except the Jetta would have been 39 months and the Olds was 60 months.

    She hates that car and really has no recourse.

    If this anecdote was 1 of a total of 1, it would not bear repeating. The fact that this story is more of the rule rather than the exception makes the entire prospect of keeping my car out of warranty a rather scary thing to contemplate.

    But this is ONLY one story, mine, in the naked city.
  • jdbtensaijdbtensai Posts: 122
    there is a nice a6 2.7t at the beverly hills audi. you might want to look at that too.
  • sacojimdsacojimd Posts: 1
    Is there a 98 A6 in my future?

    I drove one yesterday... it drove great... But I have some questions....

    I'll be having a mechanic look it over, but(1) the cruise control didn't seem to work, and (2) when I put the headlights on there was a "popping" sound near the light switch. Common/easily remedied? Or a deal killer?

    Also it needs 4 new tires which is no biggie in the grand scheme... but if the answers to the above are favorable, I'd be interested in what the preferred tires are. (It has ContiSport (?) on it now.)

    It's the A6 or a 96 Mercedes C220.

    Thanks in advance.

    Jim
  • marleybarrmarleybarr Posts: 334
    Anyone know why Audi doesn't install daytime driving lights on any of their US spec cars?

    Maybe Audi doesn't feel it is a necessary safety idea?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,068
    I love Audis, love my Audis, found each one an improvment over the last.

    I have no reason to believe that a 98 A6 is an invitation for trouble.

    But -- Audis (and this applies to the Mercedes too, and indeed every European car) are very expensive to maintain and repair when the money comes out of your own pocket.

    Audi Assured would be more than nice -- it would be prudent.
  • timcartimcar Posts: 363
    I have no specific information concerning the issue of the popping sound when you turn on the lights. '98 was the first year of production for the current C5 platform and possibly the most problematic. Since the electronics on this car are complex, I'd probably pass unless I knew for certain that this popping sound couldn't possibly indicate a serious problem. As Mark suggested, I'd preferably want a decent warranty before buying this car. My first car was a beat-up '67 Volvo 144. I must have spent 8 times more getting the car fixed during the three years I owned it than I had buying it.

    Even given all this, I think the '98 A6 is a MUCH nicer car than a '96 C220. Had a '98 A6 as a dealer loaner recently and it was still tight and drove very well without any apparent problems. So there are evidently some decent examples in the marketplace.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,068
    Tim said, "My first car was a beat-up '67 Volvo 144. I must have spent 8 times more getting the car fixed during the three years I owned it than I had buying it."

    So many of the people that "buy" used cars [Audis and others] will rail on and on about how much money they spent on their used cars.

    Now I don't know how much 8 times as much is -- but suffice it to say, that it is stories like these coupled with the "uncertain" opportunity cost of a used vehicle that keeps bringing me back to the "logic" of a permanent lease and always having a young car.

    If our friend buys this used '98 A6 and it costs 8 times what he buys it for to keep it running, he will probably not be an Audi owner for long, let alone forever.

    Again, go for the new or the Audi assured -- after all we buy "insrance" not because we plan to have a claim, but IN CASE we have a claim.
  • px260px260 Posts: 42
    Audi's are nice, I love the looks of them, but will never have the nerve to own one. I think these cars are for leasing, as Mark rightfully suggested. To own an used Audi is like asking for troubles (unless you are a mechanic and have all the right tools). If you have the means to lease, go for it, if not, go for something that you know will start every time you turn that key and will never keep you stranded on the side of the road - not a very good feeling and situation for most folks.
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