Buying review Audi A8 (D3) 2002-2010 Common Issues Engines Inspection

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Hello everyone, welcome at the buying review of the Audi A8. This is the second generation Audi A8, known as D3 as model code or type 4E.

Prices for these uber luxury sedan are dropping fast, it’s time to see if this is a smart choice to buy as a car. We will check reliability, we will check engine choices, and we explain the models that are most desirable.

Pure from an ecstatic point of view, the facelift from 2006 is looking still quite up to date. It’s around this time when Audi started with their trademark LED lights. 

This car is like a business jet on wheels, Audi offers plenty of engine choices for this car, plenty of diesels and petrol powered units are available. We will go more into depth about the engines a little bit later.

Let’s focus on the positive and some of the negatives of this car;


  • Image
  • Space
  • Beautiful interior
  • Very comfortable
  • Absolute best of motoring engineering for 10% of the original purchasing price

Attention points

  • The reason these cars can now be had for a relative small amount of money is caused repairs on the car can potentially be very costly. Potential money pits. So make sure you buy a car with a good service history
  • The air suspension is an attention point. If the car does not stand leveled the suspension might be leaky. The air compressor is often next in line to repair. Pricey to fix.


  • Audi uses the ZF transmission, these are quite reliable and according to Audi maintenance free. But to make sure the transmission will continue to operate without any trouble, it is a good idea to flush the gearbox from time to time.
  • Audi uses the name multitronic for their gearboxes, in the past their nickname was multitrauma. These gearboxes work a little different then normal, some like it, some hate it. So test drive the car to see if it fits you.


  • The MMI navigation screen does sometimes not fold smoothly, improved parts are available for this system.
  • The MMI system buttons of the system could get sticky in the area around the cupholder.
  • There was an option to have the A8 with a fingerscan option. With this option you could start the car and adjust the seats. The profile that matches the fingerprint can only be erased by an Audi dealer. Keep that in mind before driving home from the dealership.
  • Check if all LED-lights on the back of the car work properly
  • The electronical trunk lit had problems with the hinges. This caused the trunk not to close well, causing the electric motor to burn out..
  • The electric headrest of the car will sometimes falter.
  • The electronic park brake will sometimes not release.


  • Wear and tear of the piezo injectors is not limited to the early models years 3.0 liter TDI. Diesel specialists will tell you this problem has nothing to do with design errors but normal wear and tear of precision parts like these injectors. You can recognize troubles when starting the car, just before starting the car you can hear a metal to metal sound, after which the engine starts immediately. As long as there are no real complaints like a stuck engine, white smoke, shaking car during stationary run, flickering dashboard lights, barely anyone will change these injectors.
  • Distribution chains/ chain tensioners of the V6 motoren are still weaker parts of the engine, the 3.0 TDI, 2.8 en 3.2 FSI V6 are the engines to check carefully. The stretching of the chain usually first appears as a rattling sound with a could start and / or error codes in the engine management system. Repairs are costly but necessary to prevent fatal engine damage.
  • The swirl flaps of the TDI engines can get stuck, this will result in engine management errors.
  • The facelift A8 with the FSI engines has a potential problem with carbon buildup after refueling with cheap fuel. These engines prefer premium fuels with a higher octane number, so if you can do that.
  • Last but not least, the 4.0 liter TDI is a rare engine, this makes repairs and parts harder to get.

When you do lots of miles, the diesels are the best pick. For such a large car they are quite fuel efficient, offer good performance and the cabin is well insulated from diesel sounds. If you are a petrol head go for the v6 FSI or V8 audi engines. The W12 is also available and actually are two v6 engines glued together at the crankshaft. Beautiful engineering, quite reliable but of course expensive to run. 

Hope this review was useful for you to make your choice about this particular car and what to look out for when buying such a car. If you want more of these reviews subscribe to my channel. See you guys in the next video.

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