I've owned Audis for nearly 20 years so I feel somewhat qualified to
comment. Others have extolled the Audi virtues and I won't bother repeating
them except to say if you're set on the 3.0 you ought to get quattro - it's
a nice feature and one of the most reliable parts of an Audi. Now for the
downside. First, as you realize, maintenance and repairs are fairly
expensive. Most parts - either OEM or aftermarket - come from Europe where
the euro is soaring against the dollar and there are relatively few
independent mechanics who work on Audis although that has improved in the
last decade or so. Brake pads wear out fairly quickly and when you replace
them you usually wind up replacing the rotors since the design does not
allow for much machining. When you replace the pads, consider an aftermarket
pad which will offer equivalent or better performance and reduced dust. My
A4 owners manual recommends a timing belt change at 90,000 miles but that
interval is now reduced to between 60,000 and 70,000 miles by most accounts.
TB failure is a VERY expensive disaster but replacing it and the other
components that are recommended at the same time (water pump, thermostat,
tensioners, serpentine belt) will cost you typically between $800 and $1000.
The 2.8 and I suspect the 3.0 are prone to oil leaks from the cam seals and
the valve cover gaskets after about 50,000 miles. This repair runs around
$400. I also had to replace a radiator for close to $600 at 65,000 miles and
a temperature sensor ($200) around 55,000 miles. Earlier, warranty repairs
included a clutch throwout bearing and the ventilation fan motor at 22,000
miles. Fortunately, I have so far - knck on wood - escaped the widespread
control arm problem and my A4 was too early a model to have suffered from
the coil failure problem that has now been rectified.
To sum up, my A4 is enjoyable to drive, a pleasure to look at but a bit too
prone to costly maintenance and out of the ordinary failures. For now, I'm
keeping it but I expect it will be my last Audi for awhile.