10K Friday Family Truckster Edition: E500 Wagon v. 530xi Touring v. Passat 1.8T 4Motion Variant v. S6 v. Touareg v. Cayenne S

Family life – it’s a mixed blessing. I could never have imagined the unintended consequences expanding my family by 50%; in terms of space consumed, physics and logic told me that there was no way that the amount of space required with a small child would increase any more than…say, 50%. Yet, the reality of adding to my family is that the amount of space required for even what seems like the most miniscule trip increases disproportionately to the size of the package that arrives. Babies are a bit like those magic sponges in a capsule I got when I was a kid; once they hit air, they expand to 200-300% the size they were. So, long story short, when you have a family you likely need more space.

Over the past few years we’ve seen a general backing away from wagons towards the bane of most enthusiast’s existence, the S.U.V. and the “crossover” – many of which are really just tall wagons. So what are the options if you want to maintain an enthusiast’s lifestyle whilst still surviving the onslaught of baby-themed items? Well, for around $10,000 you can get some pretty diverse rides – so let’s see what’s the one you’d choose:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz E500 4Matic Wagon on eBay

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

Another week of wheels, this time some more rarities. I love the polished look of narrow Fuchs wheels on early 911s. MOMO 5-spoke wheels were some of the best in the early 1980s, and these would be a nice alternative to the normal ATS/Ronal “Penta” wheels that often adorn early 80s Benz models. How about those great Hartge wheels, seeing that we’ve had two Hartge cars this week? Rather have something a bit more stock? How about the Audi Coupe-spec 15″ Speedline wheels complete with track rubber? Or if you’re into Volkswagens, we have a nice set of the early Corrado “Sebring” wheels too – what’s your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Porsche Fuchs 15×5.5 5×130 Wheels on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: Tuner Accessories Roundup

Time for another parts roundup, and today I’m focusing on some aftermarket and rare parts. There are some really desirable pieces here, and some pretty horrible looks (I’m looking at you, Kamei). What’s your favorite, what would you like on your ride or what would you like to see?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Momo Porsche steering wheel on eBay

10K Friday Performance Edition: M3 v. 944 Turbo v. CLK500 v. S4 v. GTi

Well, I hope this will stir some interest, as I think this is a bit of an interesting comparison. What level of performance can you buy for $10,000 (give or take) these days? Surprisingly, there are a lot of options – and those options vary pretty seriously in their execution and packages; there’s a wagon and a sports car, two sedan-based coupes and a hatchback. Engines range from a 2 liter turbo to a V8, with a bit of everything in between. Yet, what appears to be a very strange comparison linked only by price is revealed to be much closer when you look at performance figures:

E36 M3: 240 hp, 0-60 6.0 seconds, 3,200 lbs
944 Turbo: 220 hp, 0-60 5.9 seconds, 2,900 lbs
CLK500: 302 hp, 0-60 5.7 seconds, 3,800 lbs
S4 Avant: 250 hp, 0-60 5.6 seconds, 3,700 lbs
GTi: 200 hp, 0-60 6.6 seconds, 3,200 lbs

The range is much closer than you’d expect – especially when you consider that these figures could easily be equaled in margin of error, driver skill and reaction time. In the twisties, the lower powered cars like the GTi catch up to the higher power CLK and S4. All are, in one way or another, practical choices. Some are destined (or already) classics, while others will likely fade away. So what would be your choice? Let’s start with an M3 we’ve already seen:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW M3 on eBay

Feature Listing: 2003 Audi RS6

Up until the early 2000s, Audi always did things a little differently than its countrymen. Critics and enthusiasts have sometimes criticized the designs for not being optimal, overly complicated or ill-timed. But get into a RS car – any RS car – and it’s hard not to be completely thrilled. Audi certainly pulled out the stops for it’s top of the line, quattro GmbH assembled super-sedans and avants; the great details abound. Subtly flared fenders, special bumpers, larger wheels and massive brakes, lowered ride height and signature twin exhaust became the blueprint for the RS4 and RS5 to follow and hinted at the new bar that Audi set, but under the hood lurked something special in the RS6. Like the S6 the power was derived from a V8, but in the RS6 two turbochargers boosted performance to 440 horsepower with torque to match. The power was seamless and unabated; more a freight train that never let up than a rush of power. This car is deceptively fast, so quiet and unassuming it really was the ultimate Q-ship of its time. I was lucky enough to push one of these cars to its limit when new around Le Circuit Mont Tremblant, and while it’s no lightweight sports car, the amount of speed and grip it generates is otherworldly, and it can easily keep up with many cars that should be quicker. Inside you were bathed in luxury; soft touch plastics, warm colors on the dashboard, excellent seats that managed to both be supportive and comfortable. There were small details too that helped to make the RS6 feel even more exclusive; the Alcantara headliner, alternating color piping on the leather, rich wood accents and carbon fiber details that were sprinkled in just the right proportions to make this car the ultimate Autobahn weapon:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 at Sun Valley Auto Club

1995 Audi RS2 Avant

In the high performance, exclusive world of Audi’s RS models, most enthusiasts believe they never got it quite as right as they did with the original model. Sure, the RS4s, RS6s, RS5s and TTRSs are impressive, fast and luxurious. They’ll all decimate the roads on the way to your destination, with little regard for supposedly faster marque’s badges. But there was something that was extra special and just a bit more magical about the original RS2; the first of the super wagons, the splashes of red and RS blue were like a poison dart frog – a warning to the rest of the big boys that this little wagon meant business. Packed with a special 311 horsepower Porsche-messaged version of the venerable 20 valve turbocharged inline-5, the RS2 was very special indeed. Power made it to the ground through all four wheels mated to a 6-speed manual transmission with Brembo brakes and Porsche wheels; the small chassis Audi could break 5 seconds in a 0-60 sprint and was good for over 160 m.p.h. making it one of the fastest road cars in the 1990s. About 3,000 of these cars were made, making them not quite as rare as one would expect given how infrequently we see them for sale – but there’s a stunning low mile example today on VW Vortex:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi RS2 Avant on VW Vortex

Wednesday Wheels Roundup

It’s a rainy day here in New England, so I spent some time finding my favorite wheels on Ebay. Most of these are period option or aftermarket wheels, but all of them are pretty cool. I especially love the BMW Ronal wheels, the ATS AMG wheels in nearly new shape and the amazing BBS magnesium Bugatti EB110 wheels. Which are your favorite?

Update: thanks to reader KevinR for correctly spotting the Mercedes-Benz wheels were Centra Type 31s. Thanks!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: ATS AMG 16×8 5×112 Wheels on eBay

1987 Audi 5000S Avant with 45,000 Miles

When it comes to memorable Audis from the 1980s, the 5000 undeservedly gets little attention. That’s especially true when you back out the turbo and quattro versions of Audi’s flagship sedan. But in many ways it was the success of the large Audi sedans that allowed for the more exotic Quattro development – and the 5000 was a revolutionary success. Compared with what was on offer from rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW at the time, the 5000 was downright futuristic and more modern in every way. It was an aerodynamic marvel, quiet and capable of returning excellent fuel economy. It was also hugely practical, too – especially when configured in hatchback Avant spec. Though the sloping rear glass dropped storage space a bit, it wasn’t much – and it’s amazing what can fit inside of these cars. Indeed, I used my 200 Avant to bring a complete 7A inline-5 home; the hatch actually assisted this since we could get the engine hoist over the car – something that would be impossible in most wagons. Still, most enthusiasts want the turbocharged quattro version, leaving the few front drivers that remain throwbacks to a time when a 120 horsepower large wagon was a reasonable option:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000S Avant on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: Audiacious Duo – 2001 S4 4.2 V8 and 2003 S8 6-speed

As I’ve talked about many times, the Audi/Volkswagen crowd is one of the most unique in the automotive enthusiast world. The home of polarizing taste, there are both VAG enthusiasts who do a great job modifying their cars and those who ruin them in the pursuit of the being unique. Today we seemingly have one of each; a questionably modified 2001 S4 and a slick looking 2003 S8. Which would be the ride you’d choose? Let’s start with the S4:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 4.2 V8 on craigslist

1987 Audi Coupe Quattro – REVISIT

The rare to see Audi Coupe Quattro that we featured a little over a week ago has popped back up on Ebay with some new, better photos and a better description. Included are shots of the underbody corrosion that will likely scare less devoted fans away. The custom interior and revised exterior will also polarize fans, but this remains one of the few true Coupe Quattros in the U.S.. Bidding as of writing is already fairly strong at $4,000 – about the cap of what I’d consider this car worth currently but some may wish to pay more for the exclusivity:

The below post originally appeared on our site July 4, 2014:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi Coupe Quattro on eBay