This is my third A4. My first experience with a German car was an A4 B5 2.4-litre V6 quattro with a 5-speed manual. The second was the A4 B6 1.8-litre S-line quattro with a 6-speed manual. After 10 years of ownership and 220,000 kilometres, repairs and servicing were starting to cost more than the car was worth, so it was sold. Bear in mind that these cars were bought as "weekend drives", because I use a truck for work through the week.
Purchased in 2016 with 35000km and only 3 years old, and having a preference for manual transmission (which are now virtually extinct) made this A4 a reasonably-priced, true old school driver's car. The handling and grip of the quattro is excellent in all weather, and while critics feel that Audi steering is typically "numb", it's smooth and it sits nice and flat around corners. Rolling on 19-inch wheels does make the ride a little harsh on some Australian roads, however.
Power is adequate from the 2.0-litre 155kW/350Nm turbo engine, with only slight lag from takeoff. Keeping the revs up, it moves along quite quickly when its needed, and the 6-speed manual and clutch feels smooth and precise. Fuel economy is 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres on country and highway, and I use 98RON fuel. Clean fuel and sooner synthetic oil changes are recommended, as carbon and sludge buildup can occur.
Another reason for the manual were complaints about the S-tronic transmission hesitancy, reliability and extra service cost. By now Audi should have rectified this.
Inside the car is comfortable, quiet, and well set out with a fairly easy to negotiate MMI infotainment system. The Bang and Olufsen sound system is excellent, while the seating is a little firm but supportive. Audi have always made improvements in the evolution of their cars but they do have foibles and some reliability issues. Servicing is slightly more expensive, as are repairs. Oil consumption (at least on pre-2011 models, as my MY13 model has no problem as a Series 2) and premature wear of suspension arm bushings are apparently inherent in its design, with my bushings replaced at 57000km.
Overall, it's a nice drive, and resale values drop significantly when purchased slightly second hand (45 per cent off in my case). So experiencing a European car can be affordable if you find the right one.