All posts tagged 2001

2001 Audi S4 Avant

I remember a time not that long ago when everyone basically swore off the B5 as being too complicated, too prone to failure, and without enough pizazz. The funny thing was that these judgements were all levied in comparison to the B5’s replacement, the B6. Sure, the BBK 4.2 V8 stuck under the hood was a sonorous revelation of sorts. Gone was the timing belt and the “you’re going to have to replace them at some point” not one, but two turbos stuck in back of the motor that basically necessitated dropping the engine for replacement. The BBK brought nearly 100 more lag-free horses to the party, too, and better-looking interior bits with the promise of more build quality.

What happened?

Well, the reality is that Audi just punted the ball down field. The transition between B5 and B6 marked the real death toll in the long-term Audi for many, as complicated electronic systems really began to outweigh lifetime engineering designs. I love Audis. I really, really do. But it seems like every single system on every single Audi produced after 2002 is so unnecessarily complicated that I can’t imagine how anyone with even a minuscule amount of sense could look at the design and say “Yup, that’ll never go wrong”. They’re engineer’s wet dreams. In the case of the BBK, in addition to eating starters and prodigious amounts of expensive synthetic oil, there is the notorious timing chain guide issue. Since Audi opted to move the timing devices from the front to the back of the motor to fit into the snug B6 engine compartment, pulling the engine apart means taking it out. Finally get it out of the car and pop the covers off, and it looks like a Swiss clock underneath. And there’s one more secret about the B6 4.2 – sure, it’s fast and it feels shouty. But it’s not really that fast for having a 340 horsepower V8 because it weighs two tons unladen. And, turning them up a notch is pretty difficult – you’re basically limited to slapping a supercharger on the motor. As a result, quite a few have turned back a page on history and view the B5 in a much better light today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

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2001 Audi TT 225 quattro

1I went to college in London in 2000, about the same time that the first generation TT started to appear on British roads. Because my dorms were in a posh part of town, there were always a few of these parked nearby. The car’s styling struck me as extraordinary. It captured something of the millennial zeitgeist: a minimalist, Bauhaus-esque design that artfully blended lines and curves on the outside, with a bespoke-feeling cockpit on the inside featuring splashes of brushed aluminum and baseball-glove stitching on the leather seats. Back then, I had ambitions to become a lawyer, and this was the perfect car, I thought, for a young single man about town. The perfect yuppie’s car.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi TT 225 quattro on Albany Craigslist

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2001 Audi S8

1Astute readers will have noticed that I don’t tend to write up many Audis. To be honest, I’m really more of a Mercedes/BMW guy and there aren’t that many cars from Ingolstadt that get me going. However, there are a few exceptions. I’ve always thought very highly of the B6 platform S4, the B7 RS4 and the D2 S8, the car that famously had a starring role in Ronin alongside an E34 M5. It should come as no surprise that I’m a fan of this generation S8: I like conservatively styled uber-sedans that conceal their power beneath restrained exteriors. Costing nearly $100k new depending on how they were specced, these cars now show up on the used market for between $5 and $15k depending on condition and miles. Of course, these were technologically advanced cars for their day with lots of expensive-to-replace components. So if you’re in the market for a bit of late 90s German stealthiness, condition and maintenance history matter the most.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on Columbus Craigslist

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2001 Mercedes-Benz S500 Guard


The last report I saw had 97% of the world’s governments owning a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. By process of elimination of car manufacturing countries, you can probably figure out which countries don’t need the services of the S-Class. Statistically, this means that some governments with less than stable political climates have been subject to attacks on politicians riding in the S-Class with some ending up OK while others ending tragically. A big part of that has to do with armoring.

In 1980, Anastasio Somoza, then President of Nicaragua, was attacked by a Sandinista commando team while riding in an armored W116. Two machine guns, two AK-47 assault rifles, two automatic pistols, and a RPG-7 rocket launcher with four anti-tank grenades and two rockets were used to bombard the car. One rocket even hit the upper part of the windshield and blew the roof off. Amazingly the car still ran but sadly, no one inside survived. In 1995, then Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze was attacked while riding in an armored W140 by a group yielding AK47s and was hit twice by RPGs. One hit the hood, the other hit the grill. Two body guards in the front seats didn’t survive but Shevardnadze? Riding in the rear of the car, he survived. In 2008, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s motorcade which included a model similar today’s featured car, an armored W220, was hit twice in the windows by gunfire. No surprise – if a rocket couldn’t get through, neither did the bullets.

That record of survival alone is worthy of us taking a look at this 2001 S500 Guard for sale in Los Angeles.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz S500 Guard on eBay

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2001 BMW 740i Sport

1I don’t think BMW has produced an attractive 7-series since the E38, offered between 1994 and 2001. Sure, later versions of BMW’s flagship sedan are more impressive in other ways: larger, more powerful and more technologically advanced. But they aren’t what I would call classically beautiful. The E38 on the other hand, with its conservative, angular styling, graceful proportions and purposeful stance, is an extraordinarily handsome car. Because of depreciation, you can pick one up for relative pennies these days. For example, I wrote up an early model 740iL a few months ago advertised for just $3,800. But a car that cheap is bound to have expensive repair needs lurking beneath the surface. In truth, if you want a nice E38 that is mechanically sound, you have to spend a bit of money up front to save on potentially exorbitant costs further down the road.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 740i Sport on Bimmerforums

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