10K Friday: 2008 Volkswagen GTi

Normally, the 10K Friday posts that I’ve done have been comparos of multiple different cars that are usually a stretch of the budget. Each one has highlights such as being more desirable, better looking, more functional or luxurious, or faster. But today I’m going to do something a little different – a comparo of only one car. That’s because the GTi is one of the best all-arounders ever made and I think we do our readership a disservice by not looking at the newer models more often. By the time that Volkswagen got to the Mk.4 chassis, many automotive journalists and enthusiasts alike began to dismiss the GTi as fat, tired and played out. Quality was poor, pricing was really high, and performance relative to some other models wasn’t as impressive as it once had been. The GTi was, in many ways, a victim of its own success. Every subsequent generation was compared to the original, a car which had such a mystique that it was effectively impossible to match. Mk.2 models had the stellar 2.0 16V and great looks; Mk.3 models sprouted the wonderful VR6. The Mk.4 models introduced turbocharging, more luxury and much improved interior quality, all-wheel drive, 6-speed transmissions and more technology than was probably recommendable. And while the Mk.4 was a success from a sales standpoint, the GTi was still a fringe car that was arguably too expensive for what you got.

Volkswagen took a huge step forward, though, when it progressed to the new Mk.5 chassis. Unlike the previous generations that had mostly been enjoyed strictly by the Volkswagen faithful, suddenly journalists were talking about how great the new GTi was. Interior quality was leagues better than it ever had been, with a slick design and high quality materials. The new 2.0T motor was great too – with more power than even some versions of the VR6 had previously offered. Weight was up by dynamically the new GTi was a better driver than it had been. It was a return to greatness, and instantly the new GTi was a popular choice for the performance minded practical enthusiast. Because of the success, there are many available in the market today that are coming down to a quite reasonable level:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen GTi on eBay

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10K Friday: BMW 3-series Showdown

Rightly so, I’ve been accused of comparing everything to BMWs – so for today’s 10K Friday, I thought why not compare BMWs to BMWs? Part of the reason I compare various cars I write up to the alternative BMW products is because for some time they have been considered the benchmark, and their popularity from new to the used classic market means that they set the pricing trends against which others can be judged. That’s especially true of the 3 series; for some time, the go-to performance product from Germany, increasingly many earlier generations of the 3 are being viewed as not only collectable, but indeed as investments. So, what does your $10,000 budget buy these days? I’ve rounded up five examples from the first five generations, covering nearly every configuration the small executive platform has been available in. Which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 BMW 320is on eBay

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10K Friday: S Car Go Row Row Row Your Own

Last week’s 10K Friday Colorful Carriers was a bit of a letdown; sure, the colors were great, but the only manual was the B6 V8 S4 Avant, and while it was a cool package there was no denying the trepidation with which I’d approach that particular package. To remedy that issue, this week I’m again focusing on some haulers capable of hauling; we’ve lost the color pallet but all of these Avants are turbocharged and manual, just the way most like it. So, this time around, which is the pick of the litter?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on Portland Craigslist

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10K Friday Colorful Carriers: Vibrant Wagon-off

Did someone say fast 5-doors? Amen! The bells on the Church of the Heavenly 5 Doors are ringing this Friday, and I’ve rounded up a unique quartet of very fast and very colorful wagons to consider, each around or below $10,000. We’ve got 5 turbos, 25 cylinders and 1,200 horsepower worth of people carriers here – which is the winner for you?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S4 Avant on Denver Craigslist

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10K Friday: Gimmie Five – Audi 5-pot-off

Today’s 10K Friday is something a bit unique; instead of a normal comparison between similarly valued cars, I’m going to chart the development of the venerable Audi inline-5. While, due to a dearth of examples, we won’t go back to the very early days of the I5 in the U.S., I’ve rounded up some of the more notable configurations that the engine appeared in the U.S.. Since, save some exceptions like the legendary Quattro and RS2, nearly every used Audi with this motor fits the under $10,000 limit (or comes close to it), that gives us the opportunity to see Audi’s continual technical changes to the inline-5. Though not as memorable as BMW’s inline-6 or Porsche’s flat-6, this motor was extremely important to the company nonetheless and was a character-defining attribute of Audis for nearly 20 years. So, let’s see how they kept it relevant from the 1970s into the 1990s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 4000CS quattro on Craigslist

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10K Friday Pearls of Wisdom: Audi Pearlescent White Metallic-off

For the best part of two decades, Audi’s signature color was one of its most expensive options. On some models, in fact, Pearlescent White Metallic was the only optional extra you could select. From the original Quattro to the top tier S8, Audi bathed its most expensive models in the multi-stage dynamic paint color. As with most used older Audis, they’re all fairly affordable and offer – generally each in their own way – good value for the initial investment they represent. If you want to maximize the amount of German car you get for your money, look no further. Today I’ve arranged to look at a series of them, ranging from nearly the beginning to the end of the run. Which is your favorite and why?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 quattro on Craigslist

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Wagon Week 10K Friday: Audimatic S For The People

It’s been a while since I wrote up a 10K Friday article; they take some time both in determining the thread, finding the car and then writing them all up. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of inspiration though, and Wagon Week was just that for me. While we’ve covered many of the most popular fast and practical wagons this week, again I’m going to do a bit of an unusual comparison to cover some unloved models that are potential deals: automatic Audi S Avants. So, in today’s comparison we have a B5 S4, a B6 S4, a C5 S4 and to compare values a C4 S6 (the only row-your-own here). Which is the right choice for a fast Audi wagon?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S4 Avant on Craigslist

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10K Friday “80s Classic” Edition: 924 Turbo v. 5000CS Quattro Avant v. Golf Rallye v. 535i v. 300CE

One thing I really love about writing up these 10K posts is a odd combinations pricing allows me to come up with. For today’s post, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of maximizing the budget, I decided to look at it from the perspective of what was a classic 1980s car that you could buy and maintain well under $10,000. Obviously, if you’re willing to shill out much more, there are countless classics you can jump in to turn-key; but under $10,000 means with almost certainty that the car you’ll be getting in to today will be at least in part a bit of a project. Is there anything wrong with that? No, I think there’s an inherent appeal to trying to save and resuscitate a car that was in part neglected or just needs attention. Certainly I’ve tried to do that several times with 1980s cars – with mixed results. Today, I grabbed one classic from the 1980s (give or take, we’ll see…) from each of the major manufacturers – which is the one you’d like to save?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo on eBay

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Coupe Week 10K Friday: CL600 v. 840Ci v. Corrado SLC v. TT quattro

Time for another 10K Friday roundup, and this time I’m focusing on Coupe Week for the theme. That results in a diverse selection to choose from; from a turbocharged 1.8 inline four right through a twin-turbo V12, we have front drive, all-wheel drive and two rear-drivers. Three are automatics with one manual and ten years separate the oldest to newest; yet these are all two-door cars that fit into the $10,000 budget price range. I wanted also to include a Porsche, but wanted to cover models that we hadn’t seen in other posts and the closest I could get in a 911 was in the mid-teens, so we’re down to four choices. Who wins this crazy competition?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Mercedes-Benz CL600 on eBay

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10K Friday Practical Performance Edition: R32 v. S4 v. 330xi v. E500 Estate v. Cayenne Turbo

Edit: Thanks to several readers for pointing out several details that prove this Cayenne is a Turbo, but not a Turbo S. Only 450 horsepower, then!

It’s been a few weeks since my last 10K Friday entry, and I wanted to get something together for the impending snow New England is once again expecting. To remind us of the terms of the comparison, I’m looking for themed cars around $10,000 (give or take, we’ll see later). I try to generally find the newest cars possible, figuring that for many these will be a daily driver. In this case, I was looking for performance all-wheel drive cars that offered year round practicality with a touch of sport. So lining up the best I could find from Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche gives us an interesting amount of diversity for your hard-earned dollars. Today we have two sedans, a hatchback, a wagon and a S.U.V. to contemplated; which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen R32 on eBay

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