Avoid These Used Audi S4 Models for Excessive Oil Consumption, Consumer Reports Says

While some of the newer versions of the Audi S4 have proven reliable, not all the older ones can say the same. Some have seen some pretty severe issues, like timing chains and excessive oil consumption. 

According to Consumer Reports, there are quite a few vehicles that owners say have burned off too much oil in the engine. Excessive loss of oil this way could be caused by several things, like a dirty PCV valve. Sometimes, the solution can be costly, so choose an alternative that’s similar to the one you’re thinking about buying to avoid possible repair bills.

What does the list tell us?

An Audi S4 model in yellow gold at the 86th Geneva International Motorshow
An Audi S4 model | Gerlach Delissen/Corbis via Getty Images

Cars of all ages have burned oil at some time or other. However, when you notice the engine is losing quite a bit of oil at a rapid rate, you can be assured that there’s a significant problem that needs to be addressed. Consumer Reports has identified a few models that have dealt with excessive oil consumption. 

Consumer Reports lists several SUVs that burn too much oil. There are also quite a few that fall in the 2010 to 2013 model years as well. You’ll see Acura’s MDX, which offers a tremendous 3.7-liter V6 engine, but 10-20% of MDX owners complained that their SUV was constantly losing oil between engine maintenance trips. 

Another Audi culprit is the Q5, one of the luxury brand’s SUV offerings. Those that purchased a Q5 2010 to 2015 model say that it drives and rides well. However, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the 3.0-liter V6 engines both have seen excessive oil consumption. Audi did release a technical service bulletin for it, but its reliability is still low. 

Sedans aren’t immune to the problem either. The Subaru Impreza comes with standard all-wheel drive, has top-performing marks, and good safety ratings. However, the 2012 and 2013 models have issues with their 2.0-liter flat-four engine as owners say that it tends to burn oil too much. 

The good and bad about the Audi S4

One of the more popular models used car buyers take a second look at is the Audi S4, mainly because of its sportier styling and performance. While some models are fine, the 2010 to 2012 models saw oil consumption problems, with its 3.0-liter engine option being the biggest culprit. 

A TSB release was helpful, but since it happened sometime after warranties on the vehicle expired, not all of the affected models likely got fixed. So, if you choose to buy the S4, you will need to make sure the repair is done before spending your hard-earned money on it. 

However, the S4 isn’t a model that everyone recommends. Even if you get one with the 4.2-liter V8 engine, you’re still not any better off. That engine option has its issues with the timing chain. However, the 2012 model is known as one of the best sports cars you can get on the used market today for under $20,000, so it does have that going for it. 

What can you get instead of the Audi S4?


The 2012 Audi S4 Is One of the Best Used Sports Cars You Can Buy Under $20,000

While we can’t recommend the Audi S4, we can certainly support finding a reasonable alternative. According to the Consumer Reports list, the best choice is a 2010 to 2013 model of the Lexus ES. Valued at around $16,000 to $17,000, you can get plenty of luxury features along with a comfortable ride. 

If you’re looking for trunk space, you won’t be disappointed. The Lexus ES 350 has enough room for three large suitcases and two duffel bags, while the ES 300h holds one less duffel bag. With the ES 350, you will get a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower paired with a six-speed transmission. The hybrid version offers a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine matched with an electric motor and a continuously variable automatic transmission. 

When it comes down to it, skip the Audi S4 from the 2010 to 2012 model years and turn to the same versions of the Lexus ES instead. You’ll not only get an impressive luxury vehicle, but you’ll also get one that you can trust won’t burn oil like the S4.