While BMW and Mercedes have long been considered the biggest players in the executive motoring world, the cars made by fellow German firm Audi are now flying out of showrooms just as quickly. With depreciation hitting a car hardest as it leaves the forecourt though, it makes sense that three-quarters of motorists are now choosing to buy their vehicles pre-owned - but before entering the second-hand market to find your ideal Audi, you may want to consider the following points...
The star of the range
Audi's UK presence has been expanding at some pace in the last few years, with certain models driving the growth. At the top of this list is its flagship saloon, the A4, which has timeless looks and a reputation for reliability. So, if you're looking for something which will hold its value for longer, it may be the perfect option.
There are a range of engine types available, but the 2.0TDI option is the best all-rounder. It offers great efficiency (around 53mpg) and the road tax is only £125 per year. This engine is also available in Audi's other vehicles, so keep an eye out for it even if you're more interested in the smaller A3 hatchback or perhaps the sporty TT. The newer TFSI engined cars are now becoming available in increasing number so if you are looking for an almost new Audi you may be lucky enough to get a car that combines great performance and excellent mpg.
While Audi has a reputation for business-friendly saloons, it makes a great soft-top too. The TT is perhaps the most popular of its cabriolet models but there are a few things to look out for if you're aiming for one of these. Don't be fooled by the TT's elegant looks - it's actually heavier than it looks so always test drive your choice to ensure that the suspension is in good shape.
The operation of canvas roofs should also be checked thoroughly and again test drive the car with the roof both up and down.
How well has it been looked after?
This is a question you will be asking yourself what ever car you are buying, however the German vehicles are famously robust so you can expect relatively few issues to arise.
Audi's vehicles don't tend to rust too easily, so bubble patches and orange spots should be few and far between. However, without accusing anyone of not being able to parallel park, it's strangely common to find kerb scuffs on Audi alloys, so don't judge too harshly in this area - cosmetic marking can be fixed after all.
Mileage and target markets
It's important to remember which type of car you're buying. Audi's target audience is made up of executives - a group of people who are likely to be using their vehicles to travel up and down the UK to meet clients and attend events. As such, mileage counts will inevitably be higher than you might find on similar cars from other manufacturers. Audi's market, however, also contains older, more careful drivers, so there's every chance that the car you're looking at has been driven sensibly during its lifetime.
Check the electrics
Audi produces meticulously engineered cars which run on complex electrical systems. Be sure to check the little things like electric window switches, headlamps and brake lights - these parts sometimes stay on when they're not supposed to. They are normally simple to fix so are not of major concern and an independent dealer can offer a service, mot or repairs at a fraction of the cost of a franchise.
Audi produces a huge range of great cars so you should find something that you fancy and the good news is that they will all stand the test of time. Generally they are understated, elegant and go about their business in an accomplished and polished way, with no noise or fuss. If this is what you want, then a used Audi is for you. Finally, finance, if you are tempted to get a slightly newer or more expensive model than you have available cash to purchase, ask about dealer finance. It is often better to buy your car on finance from a dealer than borrow the money elsewhere as the car will act as security rather than your house.