[A8] A8 buyer advice

Martin Karo martin.karo at verizon.net
Sat Oct 6 15:50:52 PDT 2007

Mike, the big bugbear with '97 - '99 A8's is the transmission.**  A large number of them start "hunting" for gear when driven at moderate speeds, and the on-off power can drive you nuts in short order.  As far as I know nobody has come up with a good cheap fix for this behavior; a new improved throttle body or a new transmission seem to be the only sure cures.  Prices for the fix run from $500 for a DIY throttle body replacement (see Audipages for the procedure) to upwards of five grand for a rebuilt tranny replacement.  If the A8 you are looking at has not had the trans replaced, consider the cost in whatever you bid.  [Or, resign yourself to shifting the Tiptronic all the time by hand.]  Also, the timing belt MUST be replaced by 90k miles; if that has not been done, it is at least a $1500 job (do the water pump, thermostat and radiator hoses at the same time).  Paul has a pretty good buyer's checklist here:  http://www.audipages.com/usedA8.html

However, few things come close to the solid feel of an A8 hustling down the highway at speed, or clamboring up icy roads as if it were a dry summer day.  And the Audi seats are unmatched.  I would buy another A8 in a heartbeat.  I can't say that about my A8's predecessor, a 740i.

'98 A8Q 90k

** Before you blame Audi for a screwed-up trans, know that they bought this one from Porsche.  

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