Audi builds cars that are beautiful to look at, comfortable to sit in, and good fun to drive.
New Audis are a bargain compared to Mercedes and BMW, and used ones are a steal—provided you know what to look for.
1. Audi TT (1st-generation, 2002-2006)
There’s a lot to like about the TT: Not only does it offer the handling and driving excitement you’d expect from an Audi sports car, but its unique “Bauhaus” styling makes it one of the coolest-looking Audis ever made.
Audi toned down the curves and contours with the second-generation car, so it’s the first-gen version, sold from 2000 to 2006, that we think is the most desirable. Headroom is limited in the coupes, so convertibles are a better bet for tall folks. Prices for older TTs are ridiculously cheap: You’ll have no problem finding one in the $8,000-to-$15,000 range, though be aware that older Audis can require a fair amount of your mechanic’s attention.
Find great deals on Audi TTs for sale here.
2. Audi RS4
RS designates Audi’s highest level of performance. Unfortunately, not many RS models made it to the United States—but we did get some of the best, including the award-winning RS4. With a 420-hp 4.2-liter V8 under the hood and uniquely tuned all-wheel drive, the RS4 grips and goes in such a way as to seemingly defy the laws of physics. With four doors and a reasonably roomy back seat, the RS4 is about as practical a performance car as you’re going to find—and if you’d rather feel the wind in your hair, Audi also made a convertible version. You can pick up an RS4 sedan for $35,000 or less, and convertibles are only slightly more expensive.
Find great deals on Audi RS4s for sale here.
3. Audi S4
If you can’t find an RS4 you like, may we suggest the next best thing: The Audi S4. Older (B7-generation) cars offered the same 4.2-liter V8 as the RS4, tuned for 340 horsepower, and Audi offered a convertible as well as a wagon version called the S4 Avant. You’ll find plenty of these cars in the $10,000-to-$20,000 range; as with other older Audis, make sure you set aside some money for service and repairs. Up your budget to $20,000 to $30,000 and you can get one of the newer B8 cars, which are powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. If you love to drive in the curves, look for a B8-series car with the Sport Rear Differential (which is accompanied by an active-damping suspension). This option greatly improves handling balance, making the S4 less prone to understeer than other all-wheel-drive Audis.
Find great deals on Audi S4s for sale here.
4. Audi Coupe (1980-1989)
Audi built a series of cool two-door coupes in the 1980s. These cars were long, low, and fashionably angular, and presented quite a contrast to both the boxy American land yachts and thrifty Japanese compacts so popular at the time. Most had exotic longitudinally mounted five-cylinder engines powering the front wheels. Handsome and good fun to drive, the Audi coupe makes a unique collector’s car. Just as you won’t see many on the road, you won’t see many for sale, but you should be able to pick one up for $4,000 to $8,000.
Find great deals on Audi Coupes for sale here.
5. Audi A4 Avant
One could argue that Audi was largely responsible for making station wagons cool again. They did it with the Audi A4, a car that is handsome, practical, and great fun to drive. From a styling perspective, we’re rather fond of the B5 and B6 generation cars (1995-2005), which have a cool boxy look, but later model A4 Avants benefit from the newer 2.0-liter turbocharged engine—though there’s nothing wrong with the 1.8T four-cylinder and 3.2-liter V6 used in older A4s. Look for well-cared-for low-mileage examples; you should find plenty under $20,000, and if you’re mechanically inclined and willing to put in some TLC, you’ll find A4 Avants in the $5,000-to-$10,000 range.
Find more affordable Audi A4s for sale here.
6. Audi RS6
This is a rare bird: Audi only sold the RS6 in North America in 2003 and 2004. The RS6 had a twin-turbocharged version of the 4.2 liter V8 that produced 450 horsepower, enough for a 4.6 second 0-60 run. Audi used the 5-speed automatic from the W12-powered A8, claiming it was the only transmission they had at the time that could handle that much power. As with Audi’s other RS models, this one is a rocketship on a twisty mountain road. RS6s don’t come up for sale very often, but when they do, you can expect to see them in the $18,000 – $25,000 range.
Find more affordable Audi RS6s for sale here.
7. Audi Q7
Audi is well known for their Quattro all-wheel-drive system, so when the company announced that they were going to build their first SUV, anticipation was high. The Q7 did not disappoint, delivering sure-footed handling and an upscale no-nonsense interior with plenty of space. Today, those first Q7s are not only good SUVs, but good buys as well. We found plenty of nice ones with moderate mileage selling in the $12,000 to $20,000 range.
Find more affordable Audi Q7s for sale here.
8. Audi A8 W12
Audi’s flagship A8 sedan is a lovely car, big, luxurious and light—it was one of the first vehicles to employ an aluminum body in order to save weight. But if you’re an Audi fan, you’ll want the one with the W12 engine. Audi packed 12 cylinders into the length of a V6 engine by using a unique “W” arrangement with four banks of cylinders and two cylinder heads. (Warning: Looking at this engine with the valve covers removed may make your head explode.) The W12 is quiet, compact and powerful—and as an added bonus, it sounds cool as all get-out when you start it up. There aren’t a lot of these cars around, and we’ve seen them priced from $25,000 up to $60,000.
Find more affordable Audi A8s for sale here.
9. Volkswagen Phaeton
Wait a second—what the heck is a Volkswagen doing on a list of awesome Audis? The Phaeton was a close relative of the A8, offering the same V8 and W12 engines and rivaling the Audi-branded car it in terms of space, luxury and electronic goodies. Volkswagen priced these cars between $80,000 and $105,000, and few buyers could imagine paying that much for a VW. Volkswagen couldn’t give them away—but now they’re selling for giveaway prices, usually $8,500 or less (and we’ve seen a few under $5,000). These cars are complicated and somewhat trouble-prone, which means they are best suited to those with some mechanical acumen. For the right owner, though, the Volkswagen Phaeton may well be the ultimate bargain Audi.
Find more affordable Volkswagen Phaetons for sale here.
10. Audi R8 Coupe
With R8s trading in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, one might think we’re pushing the boundaries of the word “affordable”—but when you consider that a new R8 goes for around $165,000, the used models are a real bargain. And they’re also great cars: Whether you go for the 4.2-liter V8 or the 5.2-liter V10, these are proper supercars that can light up any curvy road, and they are comfortable and well-engineered enough to use as daily drivers—something we wouldn’t attempt with a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Few people use them that way, so you should have an easy time finding a good low-mileage example with a five-figure price tag.
Find more affordable Audi R8s for sale here.