On 6/10/03 I took delivery of a 2004 Audi A8 (USA model).
In the 6 weeks since I purchased this car, I have had nothing but trouble
and disappointment with this vehicle. I am posting this in the hope that my
experiences will be of cautionary value to potential buyers of this model.
I will not comment in this article on the actual design and operation of the
vehicle, although I plan to review some of its more troubling idiosyncrasies
in a future post. I shall confine my comments to the rich history of actual
defects to date in my $75,000+ lemon.
1. As delivered there was a noisy rattle on the driver's side when driving
over any kind of uneven pavement. Dealer made an attempt to repair and
reported it cured. Unfortunately, this was untrue.
2. On 6/18/03 I parked in daylight with the headlight control set on
After withdrawing key and opening driver door an alarm sounded and
headlights remained on. This in daylight. 20 minutes later when I returned
to the car, they were still on. I tried several times to see what issue
might be (no warning or other message given). After restarting the vehicle
and turning the headlamps "off" and then back on to Automatic, the problem
cleared itself up.
This has reoccurred at random intervals but I have been unable to
demonstrate it to anyone at the selling dealership.
3. On 7/2/03 This morning I (as usual) opened the trunk with the remote
control (I keep the trunk "locked" with the key to prevent valet access
etc.) and placed some items inside.
When I arrived at my destination, I was unable to re-open the trunk using
the remote. The green LED on the remote did light up indicating that it was
transmitting and the remote did function to open the doors, lock them etc.,
but repeated efforts to open the trunk gave no result.
I had to use the key to open it and remove my briefcase. I re-locked the
trunk using the key.
On returning to the car, I had to open the trunk with the key to replace the
item in the trunk as the trunk would still not open using the remote. I
drove to the next stop and the result was unchanged. The remote would not
operate the trunk release. However, after re-starting the car the second
time, I drove to my dealer. When I arrived there the trunk was operating
correctly. I have driven a bit further and opened the trunk several times
but have been unable to duplicate this problem. I asked the dealer service
department to check any trouble codes etc., but they claimed they could not
locate any problems.
4. 7/8/03: While driving two warning signals activated simultaneously and
remained on, one for the suspension, the other for a headlight problem. Took
car to dealer. After a 3 hour wait they informed me that the issue was a
defective sensor in the headlamp circuit and that there would be a 10-day
delay while the required part was obtained.
The dealer DID manage to cure the rattle (see item #1 above) which was found
to be a fuse-panel cover that fit poorly and was rattling. Apparently an "S"
hook is attached to it which is used to operate the sunroof in case the
electric motor does not function. This hook was placed in the glove box as
it was in some way part of the problem. The part was ordered, again with a
lengthy delay for delivery.
5. On the way home from dealer, the tire pressure warning light went on. The
tire-pressure indicator was showing left (driver) side rear tire at 33 lbs
(all others shown at 44). This was untrue, examination with an accurate
gauge showed 44 lbs on this tire.
Later the entire tire-pressure monitoring system simply failed, giving
repeated "warnings" while driving. The dealer deactivated it pending an
opportunity to service it which was scheduled for 7/17/03.
6. 7/17/03: I took time off from work etc. and brought the vehicle to
Prestige Imports for service on the 5 issues outstanding. They were:
(a) The headlamp level sensor failure
(b) The warning on the suspension system
(c) The failure of the tire pressure monitoring system
(d) The rattle on the driver's side
7. 7/18/03: I received a call informing me that the car was ready, all
defects resolved etc. I drove to the dealer and picked up my vehicle. I
drove home, maybe 10 miles. Before getting out of the car I decided to view
the tire pressures one more time to determine if system was still
operational. It has failed again and is now not operational.
8. 7/21/03: This morning I got in the vehicle to deliver it to back to
Prestige Imports for second attempt to repair the tire-pressure monitoring
system. Immediately upon startup the windshield and headlamp washer system
came on, full blast, and emptied the entire (full) reservoir onto the car. I
had no means of stopping it. I turned the car off and re-started the car in
hopes that this would possibly re-set the system, but the washers and wipers
continued to operate until the reservoir was completely depleted. The wipers
remained on and could not be stopped by operating the controls. On the drive
to Prestige Imports the wipers shut off briefly twice but immediately
So again, I am back to driving a loaner car and have a new (and this time
safety-related) "concern" about the reliability and safety of this vehicle.
Had this happened to me on the Interstate etc., I could have been blinded by
the spray (not to mention the potential for damage to the interior if the
sunroof had been open!). In the past week, this car has been in the sop for
4 full days. Since I dropped it off on 7/21/03, I have not even had a phone
call from the dealer informing me of the status of my A8. My repeated emails
to the "Audi Advocate" requesting a contact with senior management at Audi
of America have failed to produce any result. The salesman who sold me this
car does not answer calls placed from my home phone although if I call from
a number he does not recognize he answers at once.I am now a pariah because
I own this lemon and expect Audi to make good on it.
I will post further information on the 2004 A8 and its reliability issues as
Miami Beach, Florida