Let’s face it: Audi is a powerhouse when it comes to perfecting the art of premium automobile engineering. Hailing from a land of mechanical perfectionists, Audi has dominated every single vehicle class it entered. With each new model, they produce there's a notable advancement in efficiency, top-notch tech, and mean-lean performance. Audi has perfected the art of developing acclaim holding engines that have brutalized the tracks for decades.
But all the glory doesn’t come without a few lemons. With their thirst to dominate all classes, they have dropped the ball a couple of times. From oil-hungry guzzlers to faulty fuel lines, Audi owners have suffered their fair share of let downs. Here are Audi’s most disappointing cars of the decade.
10 2018 Audi SQ5
The 2020 Audi SQ5 is quite the competent compact luxury crossover that admirably balances comfort and speed. While it doesn’t compete well in its class, it makes a worthy contender. We can’t say the same about the 2018 SQ5. Both the SQ5 and Q5 2018 line-up have issues with their rear wheel arch cover, which often gets loose and detaches.
The malfunction forced Audi to recall up to 205,000 models for the 2018-2019 SQ5 model line-up. When the detached cover trim gets loose, it could land on the road mid-cruise and hit a pedestrian or obstruct over vehicles, making it not only a malfunction but a potential safety hazard.
9 2012 Audi A7 Sportback 3.0
The 2012 Audi A7 Sportback is a phenomenal car; it’s based on the A6 sedan but with a much lower and firm stance that sacrifices its A6 comfort attributes for brutal speed and agility on the road. The A7 Sportback has striking good looks; it offers hatchback practicality with a unique pronounced attractive design.
The 2012 A7 has a couple of issues that have even led to a recall. Its front passenger airbag may not deploy properly in a collision due to a POD module disfunction. There’s also a malfunction with its fuel system delivery hoses that leaks and is a fire hazard in the presence of an ignition source. Owners have also filed reports of loud rattling engines, steering problems as well as electrical issues with this model.
8 2010 Audi A6
The 2010 Audi A6 is an unbelievably remarkable car, from its sleek exterior design to how well its packaged for a sublime ride experience. The A6 comes with an impressive motor and rivals the likes of the BMW 535i as well as the 2011 Infiniti M37. Like most German manufactured vehicles in its class, it gets all the right points in mechanics but scores poorly in electronics.
The A6 experiences a lot of problems with its fuel injector, significantly taking a toll on its fuel economy. Additionally, its previous models suffered from Tiptronic transmission failure, which is still evident in the 2010 model.
7 2015 Audi A8
The 2015 Audi A8 was a revelation in its class; it had more power in a handsome new package. Audi was clever to get the 2015 model out right in time for the new 2015 S-class, converting decade-old C-class loyals into die-hard Audi lovers. Regrettably, just like the A7, the A8 is a noisy car, owners filed complaints of rattling noises from the dash on rough terrain.
There were also clunky sounds from the struts, and the ride quality isn’t as joyous as you’d expect from an Audi. Audi also dropped the ball on this model with its outdated pre-loaded nav maps, which frankly, was a disappointment to its fans.
6 2014 Audi S4
Ask any car enthusiast; nothing breaks your heart more than negative feedback during startup. That’s what the 2014 S4 offers, and unfortunately, this will go down in the history books. There's an annoying rattle when you first crank the 2014 Audi S4, while it's harmless, it's quite heartbreaking considering its luxury car attributes.
On the road, there are pronounced engine vibrations, and it is known to buck on high speeds, something expected with a yard-built rather than a performance spec German sports car. Additionally, its suspension and drivetrain don’t sync well, taking a toll on the brakes that wear much quicker than other models from the manufacturer.
5 2011 Audi A5
It's hard to argue against the fact that the Audi A5 is one of the best turbo fours, it's uniquely attractive and is no doubt a spectacular piece of automotive engineering. Its most iconic feature, of course, is the gutsy high performance 4.2L V-8 generating 354hp. The A5 is your ideal show-stopper; it's an executive coupe that screams success. However, underneath all the flair, the A5 is an oil-hog, with a love for repair shops.
Owners have also complained of timing belt issues that, and according to experts is of low quality. Sadly, owning an A5 is much like living the Hollywood life, it's fast, it's amazing, but you’ll pay through your nose to maintain it.
4 2011 Audi Q7
There are three words that best define the 2014 Audi Q7; Practical, efficient, and expensive. It's big but still wieldy, a plus in the luxury SUV world. Initially, the Q7 came with a 3.6L or 4.2L V8; however, when it landed in the U.S, it dropped a lot of iron to stay in line with the new fuel economy standard with a 3L V6 making either 272hp or 333hp.
Underneath all it's luxury and efficiency, Audi dropped the ball with the Q7. The Q7 had two recalls, one in 2016 that affected 143,214 vehicles and another in 2018 with 5,987 units. The 2011 Q7 had fuel leak issues, with a fuel pump flange that often cracked, causing a leak that was considered a fire hazard.
3 2015 Audi A3
Audi is not popular for making small cars, perhaps the reason why the A3 falls in this list. The A3 is Audi’s smallest sedan with a platform that underpins the Volkswagen Golf. Don’t get fooled by its size; the A3 offers peppy acceleration and agility, great handling, and rock-solid build design.
However, just like the A5, the 2015 A3 had massive issues with oil consumption, it’s a big and expensive malfunction for any car owner. It also had an erratic transmission light that went on and off and, if ignored, leads to transmission failure.
2 2012 Audi Q5
The compact luxury SUV is a big thing in the motor industry today, and Audi banked big and is enjoying all the profits and popularity. The Q5 was part of that introduction, a burgeoning class of luxury crossovers, with a unique, stylish design and elegance to rival heavyweights such as the BMW X3, Lexus RX, and Mercedes GLK. Just like the A4, the Q5 comes with a hunger for oil; a problem pinpointed to a leak in the system, which isn’t good for any combustion engine.
The 2012 Audi Q5’s are notorious for stalling and practically dying in the middle of nowhere. If you are going to get the 2012 Q5 compact luxury SUV, pay for a towing service in advance.
1 2012-2015 Audi A4
It’s a hard fact to state, but Audi A4 is perhaps the most recalled vehicle by Audi made in the last decade, just like the Q5, the A4 has a thirst for oil and issues with leakage. Oil is precious to vehicles; however, its only good when it's within the confines of the motor, the moment it starts dripping, it’s a cause for concern.
Its oil leakage issues also extend to other issues, including brake, coolant pumps, clutch, electrical, and steering problems. If you are looking to buy a used 2012-2015 Audi A4, find out from its history if its oil leak issue was resolved.