Introduced to the United States market in 1970, Audi has long enjoyed a reputation for making exciting, sporty cars that win rally races and make daily driving fun. That lineage manifests itself across the Audi lineup today, with critics consistently praising Audi vehicles for their handling and overall driving experience – even the SUVs. New Audis are a bargain compared to Mercedes and BMW, and used ones are a steal—provided you know what to look for. Now let us review the Least Expensive Audi Model and budget luxury cars to buy.
least expensive audi model
1. Audi TT (1st-generation, 2002-2006)
There’s a lot to like about the TT: Not only does it offer the handling and driving excitement you’d expect from an Audi sports car, but its unique “Bauhaus” styling makes it one of the coolest-looking Audis ever made.
Audi toned down the curves and contours with the second-generation car, so it’s the first-gen version, sold from 2000 to 2006, that we think is the most desirable. Headroom is limited in the coupes, so convertibles are a better bet for tall folks. Prices for older TTs are ridiculously cheap: You’ll have no problem finding one in the $8,000-to-$15,000 range, though be aware that older Audis can require a fair amount of your mechanic’s attention.
2. Audi RS4
RS designates Audi’s highest level of performance. Unfortunately, not many RS models made it to the United States—but we did get some of the best, including the award-winning RS4. With a 420-hp 4.2-liter V8 under the hood and uniquely tuned all-wheel drive, the RS4 grips and goes in such a way as to seemingly defy the laws of physics. With four doors and a reasonably roomy back seat, the RS4 is about as practical a performance car as you’re going to find—and if you’d rather feel the wind in your hair, Audi also made a convertible version. You can pick up an RS4 sedan for $35,000 or less, and convertibles are only slightly more expensive.
Find great deals on Audi RS4s for sale here.
budget luxury cars
3. Audi S4
If you can’t find an RS4 you like, may we suggest the next best thing: The Audi S4. Older (B7-generation) cars offered the same 4.2-liter V8 as the RS4, tuned for 340 horsepower, and Audi offered a convertible as well as a wagon version called the S4 Avant. You’ll find plenty of these cars in the $10,000-to-$20,000 range; as with other older Audis, make sure you set aside some money for service and repairs. Up your budget to $20,000 to $30,000 and you can get one of the newer B8 cars, which are powered by a supercharged 3.0-liter V6. If you love to drive in the curves, look for a B8-series car with the Sport Rear Differential (which is accompanied by an active-damping suspension). This option greatly improves handling balance, making the S4 less prone to understeer than other all-wheel-drive Audis.
Find great deals on Audi S4s for sale here.
4. Audi Coupe (1980-1989)
Audi built a series of cool two-door coupes in the 1980s. These cars were long, low, and fashionably angular, and presented quite a contrast to both the boxy American land yachts and thrifty Japanese compacts so popular at the time. Most had exotic longitudinally mounted five-cylinder engines powering the front wheels. Handsome and good fun to drive, the Audi coupe makes a unique collector’s car. Just as you won’t see many on the road, you won’t see many for sale, but you should be able to pick one up for $4,000 to $8,000.
Find great deals on Audi Coupes for sale here.
5. Audi A4 Avant
One could argue that Audi was largely responsible for making station wagons cool again. They did it with the Audi A4, a car that is handsome, practical, and great fun to drive. From a styling perspective, we’re rather fond of the B5 and B6 generation cars (1995-2005), which have a cool boxy look, but later model A4 Avants benefit from the newer 2.0-liter turbocharged engine—though there’s nothing wrong with the 1.8T four-cylinder and 3.2-liter V6 used in older A4s. Look for well-cared-for low-mileage examples; you should find plenty under $20,000, and if you’re mechanically inclined and willing to put in some TLC, you’ll find A4 Avants in the $5,000-to-$10,000 range.
Find more affordable Audi A4s for sale here.
6. Audi RS6
This is a rare bird: Audi only sold the RS6 in North America in 2003 and 2004. The RS6 had a twin-turbocharged version of the 4.2 liter V8 that produced 450 horsepower, enough for a 4.6 second 0-60 run. Audi used the 5-speed automatic from the W12-powered A8, claiming it was the only transmission they had at the time that could handle that much power. As with Audi’s other RS models, this one is a rocketship on a twisty mountain road. RS6s don’t come up for sale very often, but when they do, you can expect to see them in the $18,000 – $25,000 range.
Find more affordable Audi RS6s for sale here.
7. Audi Q7
Audi is well known for their Quattro all-wheel-drive system, so when the company announced that they were going to build their first SUV, anticipation was high. The Q7 did not disappoint, delivering sure-footed handling and an upscale no-nonsense interior with plenty of space. Today, those first Q7s are not only good SUVs, but good buys as well. We found plenty of nice ones with moderate mileage selling in the $12,000 to $20,000 range.
Find more affordable Audi Q7s for sale here.
8. Audi A8 W12
Audi’s flagship A8 sedan is a lovely car, big, luxurious and light—it was one of the first vehicles to employ an aluminum body in order to save weight. But if you’re an Audi fan, you’ll want the one with the W12 engine. Audi packed 12 cylinders into the length of a V6 engine by using a unique “W” arrangement with four banks of cylinders and two cylinder heads. (Warning: Looking at this engine with the valve covers removed may make your head explode.) The W12 is quiet, compact and powerful—and as an added bonus, it sounds cool as all get-out when you start it up. There aren’t a lot of these cars around, and we’ve seen them priced from $25,000 up to $60,000.
Find more affordable Audi A8s for sale here.
9. Volkswagen Phaeton
Wait a second—what the heck is a Volkswagen doing on a list of awesome Audis? The Phaeton was a close relative of the A8, offering the same V8 and W12 engines and rivaling the Audi-branded car it in terms of space, luxury and electronic goodies. Volkswagen priced these cars between $80,000 and $105,000, and few buyers could imagine paying that much for a VW. Volkswagen couldn’t give them away—but now they’re selling for giveaway prices, usually $8,500 or less (and we’ve seen a few under $5,000). These cars are complicated and somewhat trouble-prone, which means they are best suited to those with some mechanical acumen. For the right owner, though, the Volkswagen Phaeton may well be the ultimate bargain Audi.
Find more affordable Volkswagen Phaetons for sale here.
10. Audi R8 Coupe
With R8s trading in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, one might think we’re pushing the boundaries of the word “affordable”—but when you consider that a new R8 goes for around $165,000, the used models are a real bargain. And they’re also great cars: Whether you go for the 4.2-liter V8 or the 5.2-liter V10, these are proper supercars that can light up any curvy road, and they are comfortable and well-engineered enough to use as daily drivers—something we wouldn’t attempt with a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Few people use them that way, so you should have an easy time finding a good low-mileage example with a five-figure price tag.
Online car buying site reviews
Autotrader has millions of vehicles to choose from. The Car Research and Review section of the site helps car buyers calculate how much they can afford to spend on a car. The site is also full of helpful educational resources to inform users on every aspect of buying and selling a car, including finding the right insurance, tips for getting a car sold and comparison photos. In addition to buying vehicles, you can also sell or trade in your car on the site.Read more about Autotrader.com
The prices on CarMax are non-negotiable, meaning there’s no need to haggle. The site exclusively offers used vehicles. However, there are a moderate amount of cars with very low mileage. CarMax spends an average of 12 hours prepping each vehicle for purchase — each car must pass a 125-point inspection and undergo a thorough cleaning before being put up for sale.Read more about Carmax
CarsDirect has both new and used cars for sale. The site is able to provide auto financing for those with poor credit, no credit and any other level of credit. Leasing and refinancing are additional options. Because this site works with a high number of diverse dealerships nationwide, a wide range of cars are available to customers.Read more about CarsDirect
CarFax is well known for providing comprehensive vehicle history reports that detail all previous damage and ownership history. It works with over 28,000 dealerships nationwide to sell a variety of used cars. You can sign up for alerts on recalls and necessary maintenance reminders to make sure your car is in tip-top shape. The accompanying mobile app receives strong reviews from users.Read more about Carfax
Cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles are available on this classic bidding site. You can either bid on a vehicle or, if available, buy at the set price. You can also look at satisfaction ratings to see if a seller has a history of satisfied customers and is legitimate. Daily deals on car parts and other accessories also provide opportunities for savings.Read more about eBay Motors
Edmunds has a wealth of resources to guide consumers on their car-buying journeys, including user forums, latest news in the auto industry and informative articles. You can read professional reviews of cars, including pros, cons and what’s new in recent models. The True Market Value for each car helps you know if you’re getting a good deal.
- User forums: If you have a question for the world out there, you can post it in the Edmunds user forums. You can also see if anyone else has a similar question.
- Expert-ranked cars by category: If you already know what type of car you want, like a mid-sized sedan or a crossover, then you can look at Edmunds’ expert rankings for each category to get an idea of the best models.
- Compare prices: You can see what people like you paid for similar cars in your area, helping to ensure you get a good deal on your car.
- News and resources: Stay up to date on all things auto-related by reading the latest news and combing through Edmunds’ informative resources.
- Companion app: Edmunds’ companion app provides most of the functionality available on the website. One neat feature is the Edmunds Suggested Price, which can help you haggle with the dealer.
CarSoup offers both new and used vehicles. Multiple search options and filters make finding the perfect car easier than ever. The site uses referral tools to connect individual sellers to local dealerships. Informative articles and research tools also help consumers broaden their knowledge on all subjects automobile related. Last of all, their accompanying app serves as a helpful resource to search for cars wherever you may be.
- Price calculator: CarSoup’s Price Your Car Calculator lets you put in the basic details of your car and get a general estimate of how much your car is worth.
- More than just cars: CarSoup also sells RVs, campers, boats, ATVs, trucks, snowmobiles and motorcycles.
- Referral tool for sellers: CarSoup’s referral tool helps individual sellers find local dealerships that want to sell their car.
- Online resources: CarSoup has a wealth of other resources to help you in your car search, including financing for those with poor credit, car donation options and vehicle history reports.
- My Garage feature: CarSoup’s My Garage feature lets you save all the vehicles you have an eye on. Just go to your garage to compare the vehicles you’ve saved.
Enterprise Car Sales lets customers buy, sell and trade new and used vehicles online. Customers can search for nearby vehicles, use car buying calculators and obtain financing through Enterprise.
- Online vehicle inventory: Select from over 250 makes and models of cars, trucks, SUVs and vans.
- Limited powertrain warranty: All vehicles come with a 12-month or 12,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. The company also provides a full year of roadside assistance when you purchase a new or used vehicle.
- Shipping: Enterprise fees start at $199 for local auto shipping and $499 for long-distance transportation services.
- Return policy: You can return a vehicle with seven days or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first, for any reason.
Bring-A-Trailer is an online car auction platform for buyers and sellers. Customers first submit their vehicles for approval and are paired with an auction specialist. Buyers are responsible for arranging and paying for shipping.
- Online vehicle inventory: Browse live auctions to find classic and collector cars, luxury vehicles and motorcycles. Available makes include Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin and Porsche.
- Auction costs: Buyers pay a 5% commission fee on top of the final sale. It costs between $99 and $349 for sellers to submit a vehicle to the auction, depending on whether you want to include professional photos.
- Registration: Buyers must register in order to place a bid on an auction through Bring-A-Trailer.
- Shipping: Buyers are responsible for arranging and paying for shipping.
Autotempest is a third-part online aggregator that also provides tools to compare quotes and calculators to estimate trade-in values. It does not facilitate transactions but directs buyers to sites such as Carvana, TrueCar, Detroit Trading, eBay and craigslist.
- Online vehicle inventory: Find used cars priced from less than $1,000 to $20,000. Specialty vehicles, including classic and vintage cars, are also available.
- Research tools: Access free tools to compare quotes for cars, insurance and shipping. Through a calculator function, you can also estimate the value of your trade-in vehicle.
- Additional products: Autotempest sells merchandise, such as shirts and mugs, through its web store.
- Customer service: Users can ask questions or file complaints through an online form.
Hemmings is an online marketplace to sell, buy and trade classic vehicles. Find cars for sale, parts, services and real estate.
- Online vehicle inventory: Find muscle cars, imports, American classics and more. Some of the oldest vehicles available for purchase were made in the 1880s.
- Car auctions: Place bids online for exotics, classics, muscle cars, performance cars, trucks, SUVs, resto-mods and motorcycles.
- Additional services: In addition to classic cars and car parts, the company sells gifts, clothing, books and magazines. Hemmings publications are available through a subscription in the United States and Canada.
- Customer service: Hemmings customer service is available online and over the phone, Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Time).