In my recent “Gimmie Five” 10K Friday, I charted some of the developments of the venerable Audi powerplant. Though the Eurovan would continue using I-5s in some applications, ostensibly 1997 would see the end of the line for the original configuration with the discontinuation of the S6 even if it’s returned in spirit in the new 07k turbocharged 5 seen in the TTRS and RS3. Those cars are the successors of the original small turbocharged Audis; the Quattro and the S2 coupe and Avant, and while we briefly got the 10V Quattro, none of the later small turbocharged variants came to the U.S.. For enthusiasts that were unwilling to wait for either the new models to launch or the European models to become legally eligible for importation, a popular pursuit has been to recreate the turbocharged package in the small chassis. Adding the turbocharged motor in 20V form instantly transformed the B3 and B4 into performance machines, and with plenty of tunability in the package it was possible to create a really serious package. That tuning has been taken to another level by an entire generation of new electronic fuel injection management which exploits the longevity and stout construction of the inline-5 and makes absolute monsters. Sure, it was impressive that Audi produced versions that managed the best part of 1,000 horsepower in certain tune in the 1980s – but that, of course, was a major manufacturer with near unlimited budget. What’s more impressive is that small tuning firms subsequently have been able not only to match but to exceed those power levels, with companies like 034 Motorsport and Dahlback Racing making 1,100 – 1,200 plus horsepower variants on their own. Even though the B3 chassis is fairly heavy, if you can turn up that boost to high levels you’ve got yourself a rocketship – and this S2 replica certainly has the right ingredients for that recipe:
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I always felt a bit sorry for the BMW Z3 Coupe. It was introduced at a time when an M version arrived alongside of it and not surprisingly, it was the Motorsports version that made the bigger splash in the market. Even that car was at first a bit misunderstood, with some critics deriding the looks but others shining on to the performance it offered. The M Coupe has reached air-cooled 911 levels of popularity at the moment and as such, the Z3 Coupe can only stand to benefit. This early production Z3 2.8 Coupe comes to us from our friends at Sun Valley Auto Club and looks quite attractive in silver over red leather, with the desirable manual gearbox. If the M Coupe is a little bit rich for your blood, try this lite version instead.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW Z3 2.8 Coupe at Sun Valley Auto Club
It might not be Motorsports Monday, but with the weekend just around the corner, it’s a great time to contemplate a track day car. This 1995 BMW M3 comes to us by way of our friends at Euro Werkz and represents the first year for the E36 M3 in the US market. This example has been worked over, with additions such as an adjustable suspension, floating brake rotors and four point roll bar. While it’s done up decidedly for competition, this M3 is also street legal. In addition, a Chevrolet pickup with trailer comes as a part of the package, in case you don’t want to drive the M3 to the track.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 Track Package at Euro Werkz
The excellent line of C4 Audis I’ve had the pleasure of writing up continues today! If you recall my last post about the 1995.5 S6 Avant, you’ll remember that I spoke about these cars having a bespoke feel. Here’s a great example of what I meant; what we have is a very desirable 1995 S6 Avant. Unlike the 1995.5, the 1995 model got the updates of the S4 to S6 like the bumpers, but retained the early driver-actuated differential lock rather than the ABS-system reliant electronic differential lock. But some of the differences were more subtle than just that; there were changes to the headrests, for example, though the Avants early on kept the open center headrests rather than the solid units found in later sedans and Avants. You’ll note, if you look carefully, that the 1995.5 in our other featured listing had the solid headrests. That would place this as an early 1995 S6, but some of the early cars carried over the forged Fuchs wheels associated with the S4, this car has the later Speedline-made Avus wheels in place. You’ll also note, again if you look carefully, that the early 1995 S6s retained the infrared central locking system (denoted by a button on the B-pillar) – a system later replaced by the radio frequency system found on newer models. Sure, these are all small items, but they’re interesting tidbits that once again make nearly each Avant a unique car – few are identical. This particular car was also specified in the classic color combination of double black; a classic color combination which gives this lovely example a sinister and standout presence:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 Avant on eBay
Like this past weekend’s 135i, a potential alternative to the M3 that I’ve considered quite a few times is the 335i. Upping the ante a notch, in 2011 BMW introduced the 335is; ostensibly, the spiritual successor to the ZHP package that the E46 had in the 330i. As they had with the 1M, BMW kept the N54 twin-turbo motor in the 335is instead of the usual N55 single turbo that was in the 135i and 335i. Tuned up to a reported 320 horsepower and 332 lb.ft of torque, the N54-equipped 335is also enjoyed a revised short-shift 6-speed gearbox and M-Sport styling outside, bringing it closer visually to the M3 – along with unique split 5-spoke wheels. While the 335is wasn’t much of a match for the high-revving V8 of the M3, in real world conditions it wasn’t much slower – and notably, with a healthy bump in torque over the S54, the 335is matched or bettered the reported E46 M3 acceleration numbers. Having just driven an E46 M3 this past weekend, the soundtrack is great but there’s a notable lack of grunt under 3,000 RPM – certainly to be expected, but when I get into even my considerably less powerful Passat, the fun of the turbo engagement at lower revolutions to provide a healthy kick in the pants – even at partial throttle – is something it’s hard to get out of a normally aspirated car without huge displacement. On top of a bit of extra grunt and some go-faster body kit, this particular 335is was optioned in one of the better blues BMW has offered in recent generations; LeMans Blue Metallic: