An Audi is more than a mere car, a simple utilitarian means to get from point A to point B as you go about your life. As a brand, Audi has achieved what other brands dream of: it’s an icon and a symbol.

Driving an Audi is a status symbol. It’s an outward demonstration of financial and career success. Buying one feels like a personal achievement.

Audi is practically synonymous with “luxury,” but it’s also a signifier of taste in cars. Its appeal is more than just bells and whistles, high-tech monitors and pricey leather seats. Audis are as impressive on the racetrack as they are in the company parking lot, built with considerable power worthy of the world’s most demanding competitions. Among luxury car brands, Audis set themselves apart as truly a “car lover’s car.”

It’s no wonder you’re considering buying an Audi. It can certainly be a car worth having, despite the monetary investment. But is an Audi really right for you? Here are four helpful tips if you’re thinking about buying your very first Audi.

1) Determine what you can afford to spend.

This applies to any car purchase, of course, but as you’re well aware, Audi’s aren’t exactly cheap. Start with your credit score. A low FICO score can mean high interest on your monthly car payments, and if you bite off more than you can chew by purchasing an Audi, late or missed payments will hurt your credit even more.

There’s a lot to love about the Audi experience, and if you’re a car lover, the investment can be worth it. With that said, don’t buy an Audi and expect it to appreciate in value anytime soon. All cars lose value the second you drive them off the lot. Your Audi isn’t a financial investment, it’s an expense. That expense can be well worth it, of course, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you won’t lose money. It’s a car, not real estate.

2) Determine the fair selling price of the Audi you want.

Don’t take the asking price as the selling price. Kelley Blue Book’s website is a great resource if you want an idea of how much you should be paying. You can always negotiate downward from the seller’s asking price. Having a high FICO credit score can give you an advantage.

3) If you’re buying used, know what kind of problems to look for.

Audis have a tendency to develop problems with their electrical systems, an issue that’s common with other luxury brands as well. Things like internal LCD displays, brake lights, and power windows can break or wear out. A warranty will help you mitigate these expenses.

Every car manufacturer has the occasional bad year or bad model, even high-end brands like Audi. If you’re buying a used model, look at recalls, reviews, and other information from that particular year.

4) If you’re buying from a private seller, ask the right questions.

In many cases, you can get a pretty good deal by skipping the headache of a used car dealership, and simply purchasing a used Audi directly from its previous owner. Unfortunately, there are always scammers out there. To avoid getting a bad deal, it’s good to ask few pertinent questions about the car you’re thinking of purchasing.

  • Is the seller the original owner? If not, who was? It’s always good to get an idea about your used car’s general history.
  • What’s their reason for selling their Audi? Audi’s are awfully nice cars, and it might seem odd that someone would want to sell theirs. Many people sell their old Audi when they decide to upgrade to a newer model. Other people may be selling because of financial hardships– in these cases, you can often get a particularly good bargain, as the owners are eager to sell.
  • What’s the car’s accident history? Ask if the car has been in any minor fender benders or other incidents.
  • Is the pink slip in the seller’s name? You don’t want to get caught up in a complicated legal issue because someone’s angry ex wife tried to sell their car.

Buying an Audi is exciting. Whether you’re going with the latest model, or buying a cost-effective but reliable used Audi from a dealership or private seller, this brand’s many sedans and SUVs are a great fit for drivers who appreciate fine craftsmanship and powerful engineering.