The Audi C5 chassis was a unique time when the American market got virtually all of the options that were available in other parts of the world. There were many different engine configurations; starting with 2.8 liters and working its way to 3 liters was the naturally aspirated V6 in either sedan or wagon form. Stepping up a notch got you twin turbos on the V6, which could be had with either a manual or automatic gearbox, again in either sedan or wagon form (albeit only in Allroad configuration). The Allroad introduced a concept pioneered by Volvo and Subaru and was hugely successful if hugely complicated, with an adjustable air suspension meeting a host of other electronic gizmos. V8s were optional as well, in the widened and lightened near-S-specification A6 4.2 sedan, or as we see here the full fat S6 Avant. Turn it up a notch further and you could twin turbocharge the V8 and get your 450 horsepower jollies in a RS6, though we only received the 4-door. Granted, we did miss out on some great TDi configurations and the V8s came as automatic only, but simply the option to have the 340 horsepower wagon was a novelty at the time. I, like most die-hard Audi fans, was both mystified and disappointed by the C5 S6 Avant. With no manual option and the much hotter RS6 only coming in a sedan, it felt like even with the plethora of options available that the top-of-the-heap Avant wasn’t really all that could be offered. Expensive and overshadowed by options cheaper that were nearly as quick but more gimmicky (and basically looked the same), they didn’t sell particularly well – but most were coveted by those that bought them, and when they do arrive to market they’re usually a far cry from the tired look most C5 Avants have assumed:
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Finding a modified B5 generation Audi S4 isn’t exactly a hard thing. Finding a good one, though, arguably is. The B5 generation brought Audi into a new scene of tunability and off the bat was a hugely popular platform. However, from salvage titles, high mileage, dubious modifications and poor condition to the big one – neglected maintenance – sorting through the plethora of “Stage X” S4s out there can leave one believing there just aren’t many top-tier examples left. But then you set your eyes on this retina-searing Imola Yellow sedan, and your faith in the platform is restored. With 44,650 miles on the clock, it’s one of the lower mileage B5s I’ve seen recently, but what really sets it apart besides the color are the RS4 body modifications. That, and 650 wheel horsepower:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi S4 on eBay
I’m not a very loyal person when it comes to vehicle brands. I went through my BMW phase, Volkswagen phase and Mercedes-Benz phase. Six years on with my 2006 MINI Cooper S, I find myself looking at other brands. The new MINIs are much too large for my taste. I still toy at times with the idea of a Porsche, but one car which has always captured my imagination was an Audi Avant. Particularly one with an S or RS badge. The RS2 Avant is a dream car of mine, but every time an S4 Avant comes up for sale, I take note. These fast five-doors were only offered here for a few years and sadly, you can’t even buy a bog standard Avant these days, let alone one with a manual gearbox. This 2004 S4 Avant for sale in Michigan is closing in on 100,000 miles but the owner has detailed out a rack of maintenance history, important for a rig that is, admittedly, a little bit more needy than the usual family car.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi S4 Avant on eBay
VAG’s decisions on who would be able to shift their own gears have always been a bit confusing, but the period of the 3.2 VR6 is really where this came to a head for U.S. customers. In 2004, Volkswagen brought their hottest Golf (finally!) to our market, featuring the singing VR6 in 6-speed manual only form with the R32. Great, but Audi offered the same platform in slinkier TT 3.2 Quattro form. However, fans of manual shifting were overlooked as Audi opted to bring the top TT here only with DSG. This carried over to the A3 model range, where you could get a 3.2 quattro but only with the DSG box. When it came to the next generation, VAG opted to change this formula. As it had been a fan favorite, you’d assume that the R32 would retain the same layout. But no, Volkswagen removed the manual option and the Mk.5 based R32 became DSG-only. So that would hold true in the bigger budget, typically more tech-heavy TT too, right? Wrong, as in the 2nd generation, Audi finally opted to allow buyers to select a manual in either Coupe or Roadster form: