2002 Audi TT 225 Coupe ALMS Edition with 18,000 Miles

2002 Audi TT 225 Coupe ALMS Edition with 18,000 Miles

I watched this past weekend’s Le Mans with diminished interest compared to the past few years. The loss of the great champion Audi narrowed the likelihood of overall victory to a two-horse race. And within that duo was one horse who, if it didn’t have bad luck, would have no luck at all. To be honest, I was rooting for Toyota to finally come good on their promise of the (gasp) last 30 years of racing at Le Mans.

Of course, the curse of Toyota struck once again and with a vengeance, leaving Porsche to smirk in their pits until an equal fate befell them. It would have been Audi’s year, almost for certain, had some engineers not decided to push the limits of diesel technology.

It brought me back to the golden era of Audi’s dominance; the early R8 period, when the cars seemed unstoppable in endurance racing. So successful was the company in making the leap to Le Mans that they generated a special model just to celebrate; two alternate color options for the 2002 Audi TT 225 Coupe. All were laoded manual quattro coupes only in 225 horsepower form; the only choice you had was whether you wanted Misano Red Pearl Effect with Silver Gray Nappa leather interior or Avus Silver Pearl Effect with Brilliant Red leather. As like the rest of the S-Line models of this period, the TT also got a special set of “Celebration” alloy wheels inspired by the RS4 design. Lastly, you got a commemorative sticker and a membership to the Automobile Club de L’Oeust for a year.

While no performance gains were to be had, these smart looking 8Ns are still among the more favored examples of the first generation TT – and this one might be the best out there.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi TT 225 Coupe ALMS Edition on eBay

2004 Audi TT 225 quattro Roadster

2004 Audi TT 225 quattro Roadster

Like the Audi Cabriolet which preceded its introduction, the TT Roadster lives in a strange no man’s land; traditional Audi folks usually aren’t very interested in them, and those from outside of Camp VierRinge (who generally hate Audis to start with) really dislike the TT. Most decry its lack of sport car attributes and claim it’s just a poseur for hairdressers and trophy wives.

That’s a shame, really. The 8N chassis might not make for an M3 killer, but it was a serious step up from the Cabriolet if you enjoy canyon carving. First off, it came with more power – in any configuration. While the B4 had droned on with the reliable but not powerful or exciting 2.8 liter V6, the 8N got turbo power from one of two 1.8T motors initially. Later in the run, as with the R32 they added the 3.2 liter VR6, and yes – you could get that in convertible. Unfortunately in the first gen TTs, the big horsepower came at a cost – it was a bit nose heavy and only available with the admittedly trick but also complicated dual-clutch DSG box here. So, if you’re really in need of the 6-cylinder powerplant, your better bet is to look towards the second generation TT; better driving dynamics were mated with the option for a 6-speed manual there.

But all is not lost on the first gen, because the 225 quattro is the real gem of the lineup. And, it’s quite affordable, all things considered. Towards the end of the run, they were heavily optioned up and even available in some wild colors:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi TT 225 quattro Roadster on eBay

2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport

2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport

A couple of years ago I toyed with the idea of buying a B6 A4 for use as a daily driver. That’s pretty remarkable since I’m not a huge Audi fan (though I do love the D2 S8). I admire these cars for their restrained, modernist styling, which has stood the test of time pretty well. The problem was, I only wanted one particular trim level, the Ultrasport, and I couldn’t find one in my price range that I was happy with. The Ultrasport (“USP”) package was available as an $2,950 option on A4s produced between 2004 and 2005. It added Audi’s 1BE sport suspension, 18″ “Celebration” RS4-style rims and a bodykit that included revised front and rear lower valences, door blades aluminum trim, a special perforated leather steering wheel and a subtle decklid spoiler. The USP package made the plain A4 look a bit more like an S4, and for me that was the major attraction. But ultimately, I decided to go in a different direction. I bought my E34 BMW instead, and in nearly 30k miles of driving I have had nothing go wrong with it. I’m not sure I could say the same, had I bought the A4. Still, these cars continue to grab my attention. I think a well-chosen example could make a stylish commuter for those prepared to put up with the servicing costs associated with Audis of this era.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T Ultrasport on LA Craigslist

2002 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo S

2002 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo S

The New Beetle isn’t a car which often featured on these pages. In fact, I can only find three times since we’ve started this site that they’ve come up. Considering that we’ve written up about 1,200 M3s in that same time period, I guess our stance on the Golf-based image car is pretty clear. However, the bones of the New Beetle aren’t really all that bad; based on the Mk.4 chassis, there are plenty of parts available and they’re cheap to buy. They offer a pretty practical hatchback package with some additional style. And, in turbocharged 1.8T form, they even offered a sporty ride.

Introduced in 2002, the Turbo S turned that package up a notch with help from the GTI. Underneath, the AWP-code 1.8T was rated at 180 horsepower at 11.6 lbs of boost, and had matching 173 lb.ft of torque. The transversely-mounted power was channeled through the same 6-speed manual you’d find in VW’s hot hatch and no automatic was available. Volkswagen outfit these cars with standard stability control and loaded them up with Monsoon sound, sunroof, active aerodynamics, leather, aluminum trim, power accessories and keyless entry. They also got special white and black gauges inside and a more pronounced twin-tip exhaust, along with fog lights integrated into new bumper covers. To help manage the speed, Volkswagen’s 1BE lower and stiffer suspension package was fit, along with BBS-made “Delta X” 17″ wheels with 225-45-17 tires. The package was pricey, at nearly $24,000 in 2002 – a not unsubstantial amount, considering that money would get you into the much nicer chassis of the Passat in wagon form at the same time. Unlike the pastel-toned entry colors of the New Beetle, the Turbo S was only available in Black, Silver, Platinum or Red with a total of 5,000 produced. Volkswagen hoped that these sporty changes would re-character the model which had primarily appealed in only one sexual demographic.…

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T

Tuner Tuesday: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T

In a very small subset of enthusiasts, early Audi chassis are nearly as legendary as the BMW E30. Robust, well built and refined, Audi over-engineered most of its small chassis starting with the B2 because it was the platform that launched the legendary turbocharged Quattro. While the normally aspirated versions lacked the punch of their bigger brothers and the acceleration curves could be somewhat laughable, they still offered plenty of entertainment when driven hard. I have a video of my Coupe GT at Watkins Glen – heading up the long uphill straight, we’re shouting out numbers as they barely increase from 95-100 before flinging the car with nary a touch of the brakes into the bus stop, maniacal laughs abounding as we leap the turtles.

Clearly, though rare the small Audis are always prime for more power, and converting those earlier cars to turbocharged Quattro specs – or later RS2 replicas – has been popular since they were sold new. Today’s example, though, has different and more modern motivation than the familiar inline-5 under the hood – but they don’t get much better than this presentation and build:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi Sport 90 quattro 1.8T on Motorgeek

2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

Time does funny things to how you view cars. In 2001, I couldn’t have been less excited to see an A4 1.8T, especially in Tiptronic form. It was the car that finally made Audi solvent, granted – and as an Audi enthusiast, that should have made me happy. But it also brought a group of Johnny-come-latelys to the brand, steering BMW 3-Series buyers away from their tried and trusted steeds. I don’t know why this should have bothered me, but it did.

As a result, I sort of swore off the A4 for a long time. It was too heavy, too underpowered, too round. The 1.8T, even rated at an upgraded 170 horsepower later in the run, felt pretty underwhelming to drive even compared to the glacier-slow inline-5s I grew up with. The seats and interior felt cheap even though they looked more modern than the E36 and certainly more so than the B4 and B3 generation. In short, the A4 felt like a gimmick, and while the market bought it, I didn’t.

Fast forward now 21 years since the launch of the B5, and I have a much greater appreciation for the model. It’s on the verge of being vintage in some states (or already may be, depending on your local laws) which is about as boggling to the mind as considering a billionaire a “populist”. The popularity of the A4 led it to be the first “disposable” Audi, so finding a clean and lower mile A4 has become difficult. But they’re out there if you look, and even the ‘lowly’ 1.8T model has its appeal:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant on eBay

2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLi

2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLi

While the GTi, and more recently “R” models, have enjoyed the Volkswagen performance limelight, in the background has been an equally fun and nearly as capable sedan. Since the A1 chassis, Volkswagen has offered the same underpinnings with slightly different style in the betrunken Jetta (clever, that), and just like the GTi there have been some special models along the way. For example, the Wolfsburg Limited Edition “Helios” GLi was one of my favorite 80s VWs, with the beautiful blue color matched on the BBS RA alloys and uniquely striped Recaro seats. While the Mk.3 model lost the GLi in favor of the upscale GLX VR6 models, the GLi made a triumphant return in the Mk.4. As with the Golf, it was available with either VR6 or 1.8T turbocharged powerplants, and in fact the Jetta got an undercover screamer in a 24V version of the VR6 not offered in the Golf. Today, though, we’re taking a look at the equivalent of the 20th Anniversary Edition GTi in the Jetta lineup:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLi on eBay

Ultrasport Faceoff: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro v. 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

Ultrasport Faceoff: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro v. 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant

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I see B6 platform A4s all the time in DC, often driven by young people in their mid to late twenties. I tend to assume that many of them are hand-me-downs from wealthy parents who live in the affluent suburbs. When equipped with all-wheel drive, these cars make for competent year-round daily drivers ideal for the mid-Atlantic climate, and they still give off that expensive, German vibe even though by now they are relatively inexpensive to buy. But while the overall design remains attractive, I think the standard models can look a bit plain. If, like me, you prefer the sportier looks of the S4, but don’t want to deal with the possibility of the $8k timing chain job that afflicts the 4.2 V8 motor, the next best thing is a regular A4 equipped with the Ultrasport package. Available as a factory option, this added S4-style door blades, revised front and rear bumpers, sports suspension and 18″ multispoke “celebration” RS4-style wheels. So equipped, the ordinary looking A4 is instantly transformed into a sportier, more aggressively styled car. The USP package was available on both sedan and wagon models, and for today’s post I’ve written up one of each.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro Ultrasport on Craigslist

Deja Blue: 2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T GLS Variant

Deja Blue: 2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T GLS Variant

Oh boy. It’s a Passat, it’s a B5/5.5 generation, and it’s a wagon so automatically you know I’m interested. And, above and beyond that, it’s a whole lot like my car – a 2002 GLS in Ink Blue Pearl, 1.8T and with a 5-speed drivetrain. So, out come the production numbers! For the U.S., Ink Blue is a pretty rare color – in total, 1022 Passats were sold here in that color. 695 of those were sold in 2002. 485 of those were GLS trim, and now we start getting into the rare part. Only 131 were wagons, and only 49 of those were manuals. 38 of those were 1.8T, in 3 different color interior options and 2 different fabrics. The most common was gray cloth, with 14 sold. I have one of the 6 gray leather cars. There were 9 sold with black cloth and a further 5 with black leather. But I was pretty surprised to see the beige option numbers – only 3 sold with cloth and 1 with leather. This, then, is a 1 of 1 car – the sole 2002 Passat 1.8T GLS Variant with Beige leather sold that year:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T GLS Variant on eBay

Two For T: 2001 and 2002 Audi TT 225 quattros

Two For T: 2001 and 2002 Audi TT 225 quattros

I’ll get this out of the way off the bat; not everyone likes the Audi TT, and yes, it’s not really a sports car. But excusing that it’s not a 911 although it’s similarly shaped, is it really that much of a pretender? Tight body curves that were really avant garde in the late 1990s reveal a beautifully crafted interior with lots of special details to let you know you were in a premium product. Under the hood, in its most potent form the 1.8T was quite capable as well, with 225 horsepower resulting in mid-6 sec 0-60 runs in stock form and punchy delivery. And while the Haldex-driven but “quattro” branded all-wheel drive wasn’t as slick as Audi’s other all-wheel drive systems, it works just fine in most conditions. So let’s take a look at two nice examples of these budget sports coupes:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT 225 quattro on eBay

Avant Time: 2004 A4 1.8T quattro Avant v. 2008 A4 2.0T quattro Avant S-Line Titanium

Avant Time: 2004 A4 1.8T quattro Avant v. 2008 A4 2.0T quattro Avant S-Line Titanium

The Audi A4 Avant needs no introduction on these pages; an enthusiast favorite especially for those with families, the small wagon is a sharp looking, sporty package with plenty of practicality. Though not as numerous as the European market, there are plenty of configurations older models could be specified in too – from torquey and smooth 2.8 through 3.2 V6 models, to the whoosh-wonderful turbocharged 1.8T and 2.0T variants, there was also always the monster V6 twin turbo or V8 S4. Today we’re looking at two of the smallest engines, but that doesn’t make them less desirable. Indeed, for some Avant enthusiasts, the second of this duo – the S-Line Titanium package – might just be the best overall package Audi offered here. How does it compare to its father?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant on Hartford Craigslist

2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport

2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport

As with the BMW E46 ZHP package, Audi introduced the “Ultrasport” package in the 2004 B6 chassis. Effectively, this was as close to an S4 as you could get without actually buying a S4. You had to select the Sport Package to upgrade to the Ultrasport obviously, so the 1BE suspension upgrades, sway and stress bars carried over. However, the Ultrasport package upped the ante with 18″ quattro GmbH “Celebration” RS4 style wheels, front and rear bumpers also designed by quattro GmbH, door blades borrowed from the S4, a special perforated leather 3-spoke steering wheel and aluminum interior trim. While for many the more desirable package is the Avant – and that’s what we usually feature, the Ultrasport was also available in sedan form in either 3.0 V6 or 1.8T configuration:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Ultrasport on Providence Craigslist

Millennial Green: 2000 Audi A4 1.8T quattro, 2001 Audi Allroad 2.7T and 2001 Audi S8

Millennial Green: 2000 Audi A4 1.8T quattro, 2001 Audi Allroad 2.7T and 2001 Audi S8

Following up on Paul’s Goodwood Green Pearl Effect RS4 and the Aquafresh duo of Ruf and Eurovan from yesterday, I wanted to take a look at some of the more rare greens from Audi in the early 2000s. Greens have all but disappeared from the color pallet over at VAG, but they featured some fetching shades a decade and a half ago. However, unlike the ubiquitous Emerald Mica or Cactus Green Pearl Effect that seemed everywhere in the mid-1990s, these shades are seldom seen in the wild. Which is your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi A4 1.8T quattro on eBay

2000 Audi TT Neiman Marcus Edition

2000 Audi TT Neiman Marcus Edition

It’s hard to fathom, but it’s been a full 20 years since the launch of the TT Concept design in 1995. I remember thinking that, along with the Aluminum Space Frame concept car from the year prior, it was going to be fairly unlikely that we would ever receive a production version of the slinky coupe. Styling was inspired by pre-war Auto Union record setting race cars, and inside was a revolution that hinted at some of the stellar interiors that Audis would henceforth be equipped with. It was pretty shocking, then, in 1998 when Audi announced that you’d be able to buy nearly the identical car to the show version. Initially available pre-mass production through the Neiman Marcus catalog in Christmas of that year, the first 100 Audi TTs were all identical. They were 180 horsepower front drive 5-speeds all colored Nimbus Grey with Moccasin Red baseball leather interiors and chrome 6-spoke wheels. Mostly an appearance package with no performance changes, they were nonetheless immediately collectible and in hot demand as the first of a new generation of Audis that hinted at a paradigm shift in the company:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi TT Neiman Marcus Edition on eBay

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

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It’s been a while since we’ve seen the kind of Syncro Westy that can command the better part of a hundred thousand dollars. We’ve seen some nicely restored and modified examples, but even then they’ve struggled to break $40k. Well, folks, we caught a big one. Let’s see if we can haul it aboard.

Inside out and top to bottom, this Westy is mega. Starting with the mechanicals, there’s no Subaru imposter or rebuilt wasserboxer here – it’s a like-new, $35k 1.8T conversion putting out a very healthy 255hp with custom cooling and exhaust systems. Underneath you also get new suspension and a big brake kit, along with a rebuilt front differential and Porsche 930 axles. I especially like the dual fuel tanks for removing any range anxiety when you’re way out in the woods.

From there, we’re just looking at a no-holds-barred interior and exterior. Inside, there’s an entertainment system with a back-up camera surrounded by a custom houndstooth interior. It has everything a Westy lover dreams about, from the solar system connected to twin auxiliary batteries to an on-board air compressor and front-mounted Warn winch, though I’m rather confused as to why they put the Hella lights in a position where they’re blocked by the winch.

This van goes well beyond what is necessary to live the Van Life. It’s an exercise in how far you can go and how many dream-boxes you can check, but the resulting price tag is similarly fantastical.

Click for details: 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Syncro on eBay