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:
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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
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: