All posts in Audi

Widened Wagon: 2001 Audi S4 Avant RS4-spec

After a string of quick Mercedes-Benz wagons, it’s time to take a look at the maker most associated with bonkers 5-doors. While Audi may have never imported any of their fastest wagons into the United States, since the 5000CS quattro Avant the maker has been intrinsically linked with speedy family rides. While we got some good ones in the former, the 200 20V quattro, and the C4 and C5 S6 Avants, the real speed was always in the “RS” line. With the exception of the S6 Plus, all of the top-tier models have carried the RS moniker and traditionally have been the engine blueprint many Audi fans have followed to get the best speed. If they’re really devoted, they take it to the next level and copy the look as well. The result can be very impressive, as shown in this RS4-spec 2001 S4 Avant:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

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2016 Audi S8 Plus

I have to say that as much of an Audi fanatic as I am, I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with the brand. Perhaps it is their departure from their 1980s and 1990s “screw you, we’re going to build the car WE want to make rather than the car YOU want to buy” manufacturing, but the reality is that early model did not work for sales. Instead, Audi has been forced to go more mainstream in the U.S., and as a result I find myself paying significantly less attention to the new models. I used to wait with eager anticipation for the next upgrade, and I remember literally uttering “whoa” when I first heard about the C4 S6 Plus. Manufactured by quattro GmbH, the turned up V8 produced over 320 horsepower and was mated through a 6-speed manual to all four wheels. Of course, it was also available as an Avant, and so it pretty much made my day for the next decade. I still love the C4 S6 Plus more than any other period Audi, including the RS2.

So, you’d think I would have been ear to the rail when last year Audi launched a Plus version of the S8. But I completely missed it. I wasn’t paying attention. I mean, the regular S8 was already pretty bonkers and can outrun Audi’s own supercar R8. A 4,700 lb sedan is now capable of running 0-60 in under 4 seconds, unrestricted can push 190 mph – yet it’s not just brute force, as with giant tires and ceramic brakes they can out turn and out stop most great 1990s sports cars. So why did Audi need a Plus? There’s a market for these super-sedans, that’s why, and in the midst of the horsepower war between the four manufactures, the S8 Plus is Audi’s “Big Stick”. Horsepower is up 85 (!!!) to 605 and 0-60 crumbles in 3.3 seconds. Insanity? Well, better not look at the sticker price on these fully loaded missiles from Ingolstadt, then…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2016 Audi S8 Plus on eBay

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1990 Audi Coupe quattro

Nomenclature has been something Audi fans have struggled with, but to be fair the naming scheme from Ingolstadt hasn’t always been particularly straightforward. For example, though ubiquitous as the Coupe GT, there was actually a trim and performance difference between B2 front drive Coupes and Coupe GTs. Similarly, though U.S. fans often fair to recognize it, the B3 Coupe quattro was actually the second Coupe quattro; Europeans enjoyed the option of having a non-turbocharged, non-flared version of the B2 platform which few but the most dedicated U.S. Audi Coupe fans are aware of. Then there’s the name – properly, a capitalized Quattro refers to the aforementioned legend – the model that launched the branding of Audi’s all-wheel drive system. Every subsequent model that followed properly has a lowercase “q” if it sported the optional all-wheel drive. That even goes for models that were only offered in all-wheel drive, such as the V8 quattro. So confusing is the naming scheme that fans have taken to using “Ur” to refer to the Quattro (though proper capitalization would take care of the problem) for not only the original model, but the C4 S4/S6 and I’ve even been seeing it used for TTs, A4s and a few others. But the B3 and B4 Coupe wasn’t just offered in all-wheel drive; there were a long line of optional engines in the Coupe in both two and four wheel drive. However it only came to the U.S. in one configuration – the under appreciated 7A inline-5 20V motor pushing all four wheels. The B3 ran the second generation of quattro, with the center differential controlled by a Torsen unit and the rear open with an optional, speed limited locking unit. It upped the safety and electronic options to respond to market demands. They were heavy with electronic features including power seats, and passengers enjoyed the confusing safety net known as PROCON-10 – essentially, a series of cables which pre-tensioned seatbelts in the event of a crash. Though the production run of U.S. Coupes was brief at only 2 years and roughly 1700 units, there were many changes over that time. The motor changed ISV valves and computers as well as swapping from a tubular header to a cast iron unit. Shortly into production, airbags became standard on both the Coupe and sedan models. A rear swaybar was added, along with changes to the hydraulic system. All of these went relatively unseen to consumers, making the only notable change the addition of a glass sunroof to 1991 models. For the most part, these cars came fully loaded with the only options being Pearlescent White Metallic paint and power heated seats, unlike the sedan which despite being fewer in number has much more variety in options. This 1990 example was basically as expensive as a B3 got here:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe quattro on eBay

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Drop-top Double Take: 1996 and 1997 Audi Cabriolets

Every semester at the culmination of my teaching experience with the college students who have selected my course rather innocently, I let them in on my super-secret double agent identity as your author here. Having suffered through a few too many of my lectures already, most treat the news with about the same amount of enthusiasm and interest as they do when I tell them about the Sudanese Kush Pharaohs – which is to say, none (seriously, it’s a very interesting topic. Egypt basically denies they existed!). But occasionally I get a student who is much more interested in my double-life than in my lecture notes. One such student passed through was perhaps as unexpected to me as I was to him. He nonchalantly aced the class with seeming little difficulty, but upon seeing my announcement regarding German Cars For Sale Blog, he excitedly emailed me about his shared love of Audis. He revealed that he owned a ’97 Cabriolet, which proves two things: first, smart people buy Audis, and second, Audis turn up where you least expect them. And the Cabriolet might be the least expected Audi Audi made – coming from a manufacturer renowned for turbocharged inline-5, manual all-wheel drive coupes, sedans and wagons came a front-wheel drive, automatic only (in the U.S.) V6 2-door convertible. Expensive, a bit slow and soft compared to the competition, the Cabriolet sold slowly with only around 1,000 units moved per a year during its availability here with a total of 5,439 imported through 1998. I think a fair amount of fans view the B4 Cabriolet as the least interesting of the Audi lineup in the 1990s, but to me it’s always been a very pretty and underrated car. In particular, the rear 3/4 view is very attractive and the shape changed little with its progeny. But the unusual nature of the Cabriolet has generally meant that it’s been a pretty big bargain in the used convertible market for the past few years – if you can find a good one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Audi Cabriolet on eBay

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Stretch Your Dollar: 2003 Audi A8L

While they’re no longer the largest, fastest or most luxurious executive sport sedans on the market, the D2 Audi A8/S8 does still offer enthusiasts a substantial package for a very unsubstantial amount of money. While I’ve spent a lot of time previously covering my favorite S8 models, the normal A8 and stretched A8L tone down the sport but also come to the market at an even more budget-friendly price. To maximize your value, look towards the A8L models. These were expensive sedans back in the early 2000s, though today’s prices really dwarf the MSRP of $67,200 for the lang model. They came mostly loaded, but there were still some options that you could select such as the 18″ 5-spoke wheels shown on this 2003 example. With low miles, in a classic silver/black color combination that channels the original ASF concept that signaled the A8’s then futuristic shape and design, and in fantastic one owner shape, they don’t get much nicer than this:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi A8L on eBay

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