It’s no secret that Volkswagen and Audi struggled with reliability in the early 2000s, but now it appears that the issues have stuck around for a while. The 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine used in millions of VW group vehicles is once again being blamed for major reliability issues, many of which require a full engine overhaul. Consumer Reports now names the 2.0-equipped Audi A4 in its list of vehicles most likely to need an engine rebuild, topping the controversial list along with the 2008 Ford Super Duty pickup truck we covered yesterday.
The cars in question are model years 2009 and 2010. CR’s research found that the problems develop at higher mileage, typically between 107,000 and 153,000 miles, which likely covers most A4s from those years still on the road today.
Consumer Reports’ detailed reliability page for the A4 is a rainbow of yellows and reds in the engine section, with complaints ranging from somewhat benign-sounding oil consumption problems to serious issues like failed rod bearings and cylinder replacements.
The A4 also lands at third-worst on other independent studies, such as the Long Term Quality Index. The 2005-2012 A4 joins the 1996-1999 Acura TL and CL, as well as the 2002-2008 BMW 7 Series at the bottom of the quality ratings there.
If all of this is starting to sound like class-action lawsuit territory to you—good eye. The 2.0 TFSI engine was blamed for so many issues that a settlement was issued to owners unlucky enough to own an Audi with one under the hood. The successful lawsuit covered 2009-2011 Audi A4s, the 2010-2011 A5, and the 2011 Q5 for a total of 126,000 vehicles. VW and Audi denied any wrongdoing but agreed to settle anyway.
If you already own an A4 from the affected years, you’re likely well aware of the problems by now. If you’re considering buying one, Consumer Reports has some recommendations for alternatives that won’t have you in the shop so often. The 2008-2010 Lexus ES and Infiniti G are named as alternatives without major engine problems, as are Acura TLs from 2009 and 2010.
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