Brand Breakdown

The Complete Audi Buying Guide: Every Model, Explained

April 5, 2019 Buying Guides By Photo by Bryan Campbell
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Welcome to Brand Breakdown, a series of comprehensive yet easy-to-digest guides to your favorite companies, with insights and information you won’t find on the average About page.

We’re huge fans of Audi’s current and past products — the company blends high technology with solid performance and styling that is handsome if a bit reserved. Most famously, the brand is known for its near-ubiquitous all-wheel-drive. Here’s everything you need to know to understand, decipher and shop Audi’s current model lineup.

Audi History

Audi is a German luxury car manufacturer based in Ingolstadt and owned by Volkswagen. The Audi name dates back to 1910. VW consolidated multiple companies into the modern “Audi” in 1969. Audi made its name in motorsport with the four-wheel drive rally champion Audi Quattro in the early 1980s. Volkswagen has positioned Audi as its upmarket competitor for Mercedes and BMW.

How Audi Names its Cars

Audi follows a simple naming format, for the most part, employing letters and numbers. Base models have an “A” designation. Sportier luxury models get an “S.” The sportiest, pared-down “RennSport” models get an “RS.” Audi uses “Q” for its SUV line. The TT, R8, and E-Tron exist outside that nomenclature.

Audi pairs letters with numbers 3 through 8. Higher numbers can mean different things. It could mean a larger, more powerful car. It could mean a near identical car with a different body style. Whatever the distinction, it will be more expensive. Most Audi models offer Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige trim levels with added tech and luxury features.

Changes for 2019

The major Audi news for 2019, besides canceling the European vacation delivery option, is the company dropping the manual transmission entirely from the U.S. market for the first time.

Audi Terminology

Cabriolet: French for “convertible.” For Audi, a Cabriolet has a back seat.
e-tron: This is Audi’s electric performance sub-brand. Cars with an “e-tron” label employ either a hybrid or full-electric powertrain.
quattro: Audi’s trademark all-wheel-drive system. Audi spells it with a lowercase to distinguish quattro from the Audi Quattro model. Almost every Audi vehicle except the barest base models come equipped with it.
Sportback: This is Audi’s preferred term for the fastback body style with a continuous slope through the back end of the car. The exception is the A3 Sportback, which is a hatchback. Sportbacks cost significantly more than sedans.
TFSI Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection. This is VW engine technology. The engine is turbocharged. The engine also directly injects fuel into the combustion chamber. This makes the engines more powerful and more efficient.

Buying Guide

A3, S3, and RS 3

The A3 is the subcompact, entry-level Audi. It comes in three U.S. versions. A3 sedans and cabriolets come in either 184 hp FWD or 228 hp quattro AWD versions. The A3 Sportback e-tron uses a plug-in-hybrid generating a combined 204 hp.

Audi offers two sportier sedan variants. The S3 ($44,500) uses the same 2.0-liter turbo as the Golf R, generating 288 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. The RS 3 ($56,200) employs a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo producing 394 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. It featured in Gear Patrol’s list of best AWD cars.

Body Styles: Sedan, Sportback, Cabriolet


• A3 Sedan
• A3 Cabriolet
• A3 Sportback e-tron
• S3
• RS 3


• Turbocharged 1.4-liter TFSI inline-four PHEV (75 kW)
• Turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four
• Turbocharged 2.5-liter TFSI inline-five

Base MSRP: $32,500

Read our review of the Audi RS 3.

A4 and S4

The A4 is Audi’s compact vehicle offered as a sedan and more rugged “allroad” wagon. The A4 sedan uses slightly more powerful versions of the 2.0-liter I-4 (188 hp FWD, 248 hp AWD). It was one of the final Audi models to lose a manual transmission option or 2019. The allroad ($45,700), the Audi lineup’s only U.S. wagon, only uses the 248 hp AWD engine.

The A4 gets one sportier entry, the S4 sedan ($50,200). The S4 upgrades to a 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 349 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. Audi does make a stupendous 450 hp RS 4 Avant wagon, but won’t sell it to Americans.

Body Styles: Sedan, Wagon


• A4 Sedan
• A4 allroad Wagon
• S4


• Turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four
• Turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6

Base MSRP: $37,400

Read our review of the S4.

A5, S5, and RS 5

Audi’s A5 is essentially an A4 with a more expensive body style. The sportback, coupe and cabriolet each employ the same 248 hp 2.0-liter I-4 from the A4. The A5 was the other vehicle to lose its stick option for 2019.

S5 sportback, coupe and cabriolet versions ($52,400) use the same 349hp 3.0L V6 found in the S4. Even sportier RS 5 sportback and coupe models ($74,200) use a 2.9-liter biturbo V6 that offers 444 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. The RS 5 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. It has earned a “Ph.D. in performance.”

Body Style: Sportback, Coupe, Cabriolet


• A5 Sportback
• A5 Coupe
• A5 Cabriolet
• S5 Sportback
• S5 Coupe
• S5 Cabriolet
• RS 5 Sportback
• RS 5 Coupe


• Turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four
• Turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6
• Twin-Turbocharged 2.9-liter TFSI V6

Base MSRP: $44,200

Read our review of the RS 5.

A6 and S6

The A6 is Audi’s midsize luxury sedan that has been redesigned for the 2019 model year. It gets 335 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque from the 3.0-liter V6 engine. Critics deride the A6 as a boring car bought by German bankers. That reputation is not entirely fair. Nor is it entirely unfair.

The higher performance S6 version ($71,900) upgrades to a 4.0-liter V8 putting out 450 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. An RS 6 Avant wagon fit for incredibly awesome German bankers is not sold in the U.S.

Body Style: Sedan


• A6
• S6


• Turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6
• Turbocharged 4.0-liter TFSI V8

Base MSRP: $58,900

Read our review of the A6.

A7, S7, and RS7

The A7, also redesigned for 2019, is the Sportback version of the A6 that costs an additional $10,000. It uses the same 335 hp 3.0-liter V6 engine. The S7 ($81,200) upgrades to the same 450 hp 4.0-liter V8 as the S6, delivering “powerful performances that demand an encore.”

Audi also offers an even higher performance RS 7 ($113,900) version. A twin turbo setup supplements its 4.0-liter V8 to 605 hp and up to 553 lb-ft of torque. The RS 7 accelerates from 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds.

Body Style: Sportback


• A7
• S7
• RS 7


• Turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6
• Turbocharged 4.0-liter TFSI V8
• Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter TFSI V8

Base MSRP: $68,000

Read our review of the A7.


The A8 is Audi’s flagship full-sized luxury sedan. It uses the same 3.0-liter V6 with 335 hp as the A6. Audi terms the A8 “experience for the senses.” The A8 is loaded with luxury, driver assistance and advanced tech features. The A8 is only available with the long wheelbase in the U.S. It is a car to be driven in as much as driven. An available “Executive Rear Seat Comfort Package” includes a foot massager among other features.

Body Style: Sedan


• A8


• Turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6

Base MSRP: $83,800

Read our review of the A8.


The Q3 is the SUV equivalent of the A3. It’s a subcompact crossover, the smallest “Q” vehicle. Similar to the A3, the 2019 Q3 will have 184 hp and 228 hp variations of the 2.0-liter I-4 and be available in FWD and AWD. A 2018 redesign offered more sophisticated and aggressive design language and received better reviews. Rumors have some hotter Q3s making it to the U.S.

Body Style: SUV


• Q3


• Turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four

Base MSRP: TBA ($32,900 in 2018)

Read our overview of the Q3.

Q5 and SQ5

The Q5 is Audi’s compact luxury SUV. It’s the company’s best-selling vehicle in the U.S. market. It uses a 248 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque variant of the 2.0-liter I-4 engine. A 2018 redesign of the Q5 made a myriad of improvements on a new platform. For about $10,000 more, the SQ5 ($52,400) upgrades to the 349hp 3.0-liter V6 and an eight-speed transmission.

Body Style: SUV


• Q5
• SQ5


• Turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four
• Turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6

Base MSRP: $42,950

Read our review of the Q5.


The Q7 is Audi’s full-sized luxury crossover SUV. It was the first Audi SUV model launched in 2005. The base engine is the 248 hp 2.0L I-4. Buyers can also outfit any Q7 trim with a 329 hp 3.0-liter V6. It can offer up to 71.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded.

Body Style: SUV


• Q7


• Turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four
• Turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6

Base MSRP: $53,550

The Q7 is among the best cars to buy in 2019, according to Kelley Blue Book.


The Q8 is Audi’s SUV equivalent of the flagship A8 sedan. Introduced in the 2018 model year, it shares a platform, powertrain (335 hp 3.0-liter TFSI V6), and relative price point with the base model Porsche Cayenne. Buyers can add features such as four-wheel steering. The Q8 can accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds.

Body Style: SUV


• Q8


• Turbocharged 3.0-liter TFSI V6

Base MSRP: $67,400

Read our overview of the Q8.

Read our review of the Q8.


The e-tron is Audi’s premium all-electric SUV which goes into production this year. Audi is taking reservations but has yet to release key details such as range (it is expected to be between 200 and 220 miles per full charge). The e-tron will accelerate from 0-60 in 5.5 seconds and a top speed of 124 mph. It will have a five-mode adaptable air suspension.

Body Style: SUV


• e-tron


• Dual electric motors

Base MSRP: $74,800

Read our review of the e-tron.


The Audi TT is a two-door sports car. It comes in both coupe and convertible roadster form. It comes with all-wheel drive and the 228 hp 2.0-liter I-4 Turbo. There are two higher performance versions. The TTS ($53,800) has the 288 hp version of the 2.0-liter I-4 Turbo from the Golf R. The TT RS ($64,900) upgrades to the 400hp 2.5-liter I-5 Turbo found in the RS 3.

Body Style: Coupe, Roadster


• TT Coupe
• TT Roadster
• TT S Coupe
• TT RS Coupe


• Turbocharged 2.0-liter TFSI inline-four
• Turbocharged 2.5-liter TFSI inline-five

Base MSRP: $44,900

Read our review of the TT RS.

R8 and R8 Spyder

The R8 is Audi’s supercar. It uses a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter dual injection V10. The standard edition gets 532 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. The “plus” version produces 602 hp and 413 lb-ft of torque. The plus version can accelerate from 0-60 in just 3.2 seconds. Audi is also producing a limited run R8 RWS which will have the 532 hp V10 but reduced weight and rear-wheel drive. The R8 Spyder offers the same powertrains and an R8 Spyder, or convertible, ($177,100) for a steep premium.

Body Styles: Coupe, Roadster


• R8
• R8 Spyder


• 5.2-liter FSI V10

Base MSRP: $138,700

Read our overview of the R8.

Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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