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daytonaer
daytonaer HalfDork
12/14/15 3:36 p.m.

My local dream car dealer recently listed a v8 6speed audi S5 with just out of warranty mileage and age for new base model focus money. With glorious bright red leather interior. There is probably wiggle room on the price.

I have spent a day trying to research the reliability. Most forums for this car are not DIY friendly, nor does it seem people put miles on these cars and document their adventures.

I have wanted one of these since the concept rolled out. They look stunning, sound amazing, and are unique. My emotions are strong, but the logic does not add up.

Limited research shows they are plauged with electrical gremilns (fixed under warranty to what evidence I found), those things seemed to be ECM's, window motor ECM's, speaker amp's. All of which seemed to cost over a grand a pop for the dealer to fix. I doubt I would ever be able to trouble shoot a failed window ECM with my free harborfreight multimeter. I do not have a local dealer to bankrupt me.

Mechanical(s) seem a little out of touch as well, I found comments about wheel bearing hubs dying with low mileage, high pressure fuel pumps dying with low mileage (direct injection, believe has 2 pumps?), carbon build up (intakes I assume), funky intake valve failures.

I thought I talked myself out of it due to the alleged unreliability and unrealistic repair bills, yet I can't shake the dream.

It doesn't help that press reviews of the v8 all seem to say "buy one now," and "last of the great v8's"...

If anyone knows of resources to DIY the unavoidable electronic module failures I might just have to buy one. My plan for the alleged carbon build up problems would be to keep the engine under load and near redline always, and the wheel bearings are hub units which just bolt in..

Why do the pretty girls always make you suffer?

sesto elemento
sesto elemento Dork
12/14/15 4:12 p.m.

like jumbo shrimp

92dxman
92dxman Dork
12/14/15 4:14 p.m.

I'd be scared of one of those with a v8..

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
12/14/15 4:28 p.m.

Never get an Audi out of warrantee.

Klayfish
Klayfish UltraDork
12/14/15 4:32 p.m.

Audi reliability... Thanks for the laugh, I needed it today.

codrus
codrus Dork
12/14/15 4:45 p.m.

The biggest concern on the V8s is that the timing chain is at the back of the motor, against the firewall, and there are a number of people who've had the tensioners on it fail. Jalopnik would have you believe that every car they made will do it at 60K miles - that's overstating the case, yes it is a somewhat common problem, but a lot of cars have gone 150K miles without issues.

I had a B6 S4 Avant for 8 years (recently upgraded to a new S6). The motor is glorious, the car is handsome, and the interior is very nice. Lots of electronic gadgets to break -- are you going to care about them, or not?

Consumables are fairly expensive, big wheels with big tires, enormous rotors, etc. If you're going to DIY it, you'll need to make an up-front investment in some new tools. A VCDS scanner is almost essential (http://www.ross-tech.com), you'll also want the Bentley manual and Audi likes to use some unusual fasteners compared to the usual domestic or Japanese cars. A lot more Torx and hex key bolts, and a few weirdos that look like 12-point hex keys, but are actual "triple squares" (12 90 degree points).

The front end of an Audi is very crowded, motor, transmission, center diff, front diff, front axles are basically right there. Most engine services more significant than a plug change involve putting the car into the "service position", which basically means taking the front off. That's actually not as bad as it sounds because it's designed to come apart quickly that way. The bumper cover comes off, then there are a half-dozen fasteners and the radiator will slide/hinge forwards about 6 inches, giving access to the front of the motor. It comes off completely with a bit more work, but that requires draining/refilling the radiator.

DIY resources for Audis do exist, but yeah, they're less common than for Miatas/etc. I never found something I wanted to do on the S4 that didn't have a writeup, but then I wasn't doing anything all that elaborate to it. Brakes, oil, plugs, general maintenance kinds of things are easy.

java230
java230 Reader
12/14/15 5:06 p.m.

Audiworld has had good tech write ups on anything I have needed, but mine is an older car. Audizine has a lot of traffic, not sure there is much S5 related yet (ok i checked, 15k thread, 530k posts in B8 A5/S5/RS5). I too love the S5....

The Hoff
The Hoff UltraDork
12/14/15 6:57 p.m.

Your gut says walk away. Listen to it.

sesto elemento
sesto elemento Dork
12/14/15 6:59 p.m.

Like asking "will these people be good room mates".

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 PowerDork
12/14/15 7:34 p.m.

We enjoyed my wife's '01 A6 2.7T from new to 100k miles. It was very much trouble-free for that time, but I don't have any inclination to own a used one. I do think that Audi makes some of the most beautiful cars on the road.

dculberson
dculberson UberDork
12/15/15 10:35 a.m.

Sounds like a car to get from Carmax and get their extended warranty on it. Doug Demuro's Range Rover style!

thewheelman
thewheelman New Reader
12/15/15 11:57 a.m.

Everything I've read is that you'd be better off waiting for a little bit and getting one of the newer cars with the supercharged V6.

We just purchased a 2013 A6 3.0T for my wife (out of warranty - YOLO). The 3.0T in the A6 impresses me to no end; I can't imagine what it's like in the smaller/lighter S5 (it also makes more power in S5 trim). The 3.0T looks to be a very reliable engine from my research.

If you do go with the V8, get a warranty like others have said. One engine-out service, and it will have paid for itself.

KyAllroad
KyAllroad SuperDork
12/15/15 12:17 p.m.

I'd get it. If I could spring for the extra $2,200 for an extended warrantee that covers all the big expensive bits out another 100K miles. DIYing brakes is one thing but if the timing chain lets go in that beast it's game over unless you are a master tech.

All that said, powerful German sedans are the best way to cover big ground in a hurry known to man. Do your drive habits include wide open interstates? Speeding tickets are your biggest threat. OTOH if you commute through stop and go city traffic most of the time, just let this one go. You'll be frustrated too much of the time.

Harvey
Harvey Dork
12/15/15 12:48 p.m.

I love these things. A friend bought the V8 version and let me take it out. It's a super highway cruiser, just eats up the miles. Reminded me of my E39 540i, but the interior is way way nicer. Not sure I would buy one with a lot of mileage or that I would buy one if I was going to use it for anything other than occasional driving for all the aforementioned maintenance reasons.

codrus
codrus Dork
12/15/15 12:56 p.m.
thewheelman wrote: Everything I've read is that you'd be better off waiting for a little bit and getting one of the newer cars with the supercharged V6.

The supercharged V6 makes more power and is faster, but the naturally aspirated V8 sounds better and is more fun.

yupididit
yupididit HalfDork
12/16/15 12:14 p.m.

About 5 people in my building DD Audi S5's. And boy are they nice!

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/16/15 1:06 p.m.

The Audi 5 is a beautiful car. I seem to commute through "Audi central" (central NJ) so I see a ton of them. A5, S5, RS5... about half are 'verts...

I think one would be great to own, but at this point in my life I'm not sure I'd want to do a lot of DIY work on one. Granted, I said the same thing about my Caravan and I've done more maintenance projects on that than I wanted to.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse HalfDork
12/16/15 1:45 p.m.

Good god..... Walk, no, RUN, no, SPRINT away from this garbage. Anything VW is trash and should be driven into the ocean to dissolve or be driven at top speed (assuming it will make it there) into the VAG corporate plant. Mechanically appalling.

Harvey
Harvey Dork
12/16/15 1:58 p.m.

Buy it! Do it!

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler UltraDork
12/16/15 2:21 p.m.

VAG cars seem to bring out the extremes in car enthusiasts, don't they?

I can see the temptation. It's almost beautiful enough for me to violate my personal "No German cars out of warranty" rule. I think it all comes down to how comfortable you are with doing your own maintenance, and how much you are willing to roll the dice on something major going wrong.

Contradiction
Contradiction Reader
12/16/15 3:03 p.m.

Love these cars too but even as a VW owner I am too scared of owning something with four rings on the grille that is out of warranty. That being said if you really want one I would go the Doug Demuro Carmax route and get an extended warranty on it.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse HalfDork
12/16/15 3:57 p.m.
Contradiction wrote: Love these cars too but even as a VW owner I am too scared of owning something with four rings on the grille that is out of warranty. That being said if you really want one I would go the Doug Demuro Carmax route and get an extended warranty on it.

^this is an actual viable route. Just don't get your heart set on owning it. I could see the warranty folks walking away from it and paying you off. I wonder if those auto warranty companies have a "do not insure" list? Might be worth a chuckle to see if they'll cover yugos, saabs, and pintos.

KyAllroad
KyAllroad SuperDork
12/16/15 4:14 p.m.
Trackmouse wrote:
Contradiction wrote: Love these cars too but even as a VW owner I am too scared of owning something with four rings on the grille that is out of warranty. That being said if you really want one I would go the Doug Demuro Carmax route and get an extended warranty on it.

^this is an actual viable route. Just don't get your heart set on owning it. I could see the warranty folks walking away from it and paying you off. I wonder if those auto warranty companies have a "do not insure" list? Might be worth a chuckle to see if they'll cover yugos, saabs, and pintos.

Yes, they do offer coverage on these cars. (See my post above). They still call me occasionally and try to sell me one for cars I don't even own anymore. They charge for it (last quote was about $3,200 to platinum level cover the 2001 Allroad out another 5 years and additional 100,000 miles!!). They did decline to cover the Phaeton however

flatlander937
flatlander937 Reader
12/16/15 6:10 p.m.
Trackmouse wrote:
Contradiction wrote: Love these cars too but even as a VW owner I am too scared of owning something with four rings on the grille that is out of warranty. That being said if you really want one I would go the Doug Demuro Carmax route and get an extended warranty on it.

^this is an actual viable route. Just don't get your heart set on owning it. I could see the warranty folks walking away from it and paying you off. I wonder if those auto warranty companies have a "do not insure" list? Might be worth a chuckle to see if they'll cover yugos, saabs, and pintos.

I don't know about old POS cars... But as far as covering newer turds its hilarious what they'll cover.

I have a customer now with an 06 Chrysler Pacifica, head gaskets blew. All the crankcase oil went to the cooling system and spun a few bearings as well.

I put a $2000 junkyard engine in it for about 26hrs of labor(at $115/hr), plus the teardown they required to verify(they made me pull both heads off and pull the pan and a few bearing halves for an inspector to verify at about 7hrs of diag/teardown time, plus another ~$150 in misc gaskets/fluids/etc.. Then the CEL was on(was on in the first place but not bothering to diag with milkshake in the coolant jug) for a large EVAP leak.. Fuel pump is cracked because a semi hard vapor line shrunk and pulled at the fitting sideways... Common on these. So put a fuel pump in it... Another 2.7hr(which is easy to do and takes nowhere near that time, but that's what the book says) and almost $300 for the pump.

So they dumped all that into a car that has a $2700 private party value. Hahaha!

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
12/16/15 6:15 p.m.

Here in PDX and IIRC generally, I see many many new to 4-5 year old Audi's (most are base lease looking A4 2.0T variants) and then it drops way way off. I wonder where they go? Because they are not in junk yards either. Mexico? That makes no sense.. Back to Germany... Poof! they disappear. Old Beemers, Volvos, and Mercs are everywhere along with independent shops to service them. I'll never own one off Warranty therefore I will never own one and I vote no even though that S5 is a bitchen car.

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