Federally Fixed: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant

From time to time, we look at European-market cars. Considering the number that were brought here through ‘Grey Market’ channels, we actually get to sample the more original versions of these cars on a semi-regular basis. But that pool of Euro candidates dries up once you crest the 1986 model year. And for that, you can thank the ‘Fed’ and their kill-joy laws, right? Well, sort of. But left to their own devices, they likely would have never done anything. So why did the government get all antsy in the mid-80s to put an end to importation of what amounted to a pittance of cars? For that, you can thank Mercedes-Benz.

It turns out that Mercedes-Benz was more than anyone annoyed by the second-hand importation of its more powerful and prettier European-specification cars. To a lesser extent, BMW was also losing market share, and the two importers – who, it should be noted, paid a fair amount of money to the government in importation duties and taxes on the sale of their cars – claimed they had lost in the vicinity of 50% of their sales to the alternate European crowd. Now, in a true ‘Free Enterprise’ market, one would have looked upon these complaints and said “Well, Mercedes and BMW, produce better cars at a lower cost for your consumers and you’ll solve the problem!” But, of course, the United States is not a free enterprise market, and there are lots of regulations and rules which have been in put in place in part by high-paid lobbyists for certain industries. Mercedes-Benz and BMW had these lobbyists on their side, and the importers did not. As a result, in 1988, the Motor Vehicle Safety Compliance Act was passed. Also called the Imported Vehicle Safety Act of 1988, it’s what you know better as the ’25 Year Rule’, which basically excludes you from individually importing any car on your own unless it’s really old.…

2002 Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition

If the minor nomenclature differences between what constitutes a BMW with sport items, a Sport model, and a M-Sport model can be confusing, the ordering of model designation in Audi’s TT lineup is downright infuriating. Technically, I think the correct order for the model is as shown above – Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition.

Maybe.

And here’s the trick. First you needed to differentiate if you ordered a Coupe or Roadster. In 2002, you could get a front-drive coupe with the 180 horsepower engine, and you could also get the 180 horsepower motor with optional Haldex quattro all-wheel drive. But if you selected a Roadster, you couldn’t get a 180 quattro. Now, if you went for the upgraded 225 horsepower motor, you automatically got quattro – there was no front-drive option. That makes the “quattro” moniker after any 225 model redundant. Even more redundant in this case is the “Coupe” moniker, because if you opted for the ALMS appearance package in the 2002 model year, the hardtop was your only choice. So if you referred to this as a TT ALMS – as many do – the rest would follow – you’ve got by default a 6-speed manual 225 horsepower quattro Coupe. For many, this makes the ALMS one of the most desirable 8N TTs, and the limited run of 1,000 examples in either Misano Red Pearl with Silver Gray Nappa leather or, as show here Avus Silver Pearl with contrasting Brilliant Red Leather tends to command a premium over other examples of the first-gen Golf-based model:

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

Best in the World? 2008 Audi RS4 with 771 Miles

You’ve all seen it before – the ‘Lazy Listing’. Often times it’s as if the seller is only partially motivated (or not at all motivated) to sell the car. Information is missing, incorrect or not related to the car at hand. The presentation is sloppy, and so are the photos. Sometimes it’s a ‘feeler’, or an ad with an absurd price no one would contemplate paying.

Usually, as is the case here, it’s multiples of these items combined into one. And while generally speaking it’s easy to dismiss and look away from these auctions, today’s car is a special case that makes you sit up and take notice. That’s because in the past ten years this RS4 hasn’t traveled out of the break-in period, or likely its third tank of gas.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi RS4 on eBay

2001 Audi RS4 – REVISIT

After trying for a few months to shift this RS4 over $40,000 back in the Spring, this awesome original Avus Pearl Audi RS4 is back on the market at a discount. The seller’s highest auction bidding reached $26,000 but failed to hit the reserve. Now it’s back up for sale at $36,000. For our friends in the Great White North, this car offers a lot of future collectability but for U.S. fans, you’ll have to go through some Federalization work to get it here. The good news is that others have already done this, so it is possible to bring this Euro-only wunderwagon stateside. While $36,000 sounds like a lot, the hand-built, exclusive nature of the RS4 coupled with performance that is still not far from cutting edge the best part of two decades later seems like a deal. However, since no one has snapped this one up it would seem to indicate the lack of appreciation for the RS4 at this current time – surprising, since we’ve seen replica RS-inspired models in the U.S. come close to the asking price. Is it just that it hasn’t been brought to the U.S. yet?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi RS4 on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site February 3, 2016:

2001 Audi RS4

Although Audi had launched the idea of the super wagon with the RS2, by the late 1990s they didn’t have anything near as impressive. Sure, the S4 Avant was quick, but with 250 horsepower it was substantially less powerful than the 315 horsepower RS2 and the 322 horsepower S6 Plus. Something needed to be done to live up to the reputation of quattro GmbH, and that something involved Cosworth. Taking the basic twin turbocharged V6 from the B5 S4, Cosworth Technologies thoroughly rebuilt the motor. Now dubbed the ASJ (later AZR), the power went up 50% to 375 horsepower with an equally impressive 325 lb.ft of torque. To match the performance of the motor, quattro GmbH introduced new bodywork that channeled some of the trends set by the RS2; larger vents on the front bumper, wider sills, and larger brakes and wheels. The result was a package that lived up to the “RS” moniker with sub 5-second 0-60 runs, a 160 m.p.h. top speed, but also the brakes and grip to compete with contemporary sports cars. It may not have had the mystique of the RS2 without the name Porsche, but it was a package that was just as desirable then as it is today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi RS4 on eBay

What’s the R Value? 2001 Audi S4 Avant v. RS4 Avant

If you follow these pages, neither the names RS4 or Avant should be particularly new to you. Audi’s B5 generation fast wagon wasn’t the first to wear the RS badge, but it was the first fully quattro GmbH RS car. In the spirit of the RS2 built in conjunction with Porsche and the S6 plus which moved production in house to the quattro GmbH subsidiary, Audi utilized the VAG group acquisition of Cosworth to up the boost on the twin-turbocharged V6 to produce the best part of 400 horsepower. But while the RS2 and S6 plus had rather discrete changes outside to signify how special they were, the RS4 added vents, slats, big flares and giant wheels to back up the added performance. It was the change that launched a thousand dreams, as countless B5 S4 owners attempted to recreate the package that wasn’t brought to the U.S.. A few have made it here through back channels and we’ve written up previously the huge premium they command over regular S4s, but the newer generations of performance cars have dimmed the concentration on the older wonder Audis. Still, even today the RS4 is a pretty potent performance machine and getting closer to being legally importable to the U.S.. But of course our neighbors to the north have more lax importations laws, so RS4s are making their way into Canada as we speak. Additionally, really good examples of the regular S4 Avants are drying up as well. Today, I have an interesting comparison – a just imported, low mileage RS4 Avant versus a fully upgraded, low mileage S4 Avant – likely one of the nicest in the U.S.. What’s the difference in value today?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant on Autotrader Canada

2003 Audi S8

There are some car listings that just make me sad, and this S8 is one of them. I fear that I may be missing the bus on getting just the right S8, because while the prices continue the gentle depreciation slide they’ve been on over the past decade, that means that they’re ending up in less-than-careful hands. In many of the cars I’ve owned, I’ve wished that I was maybe one or two owners closer to the original sale, because I’ve spent so much effort trying to undo what the previous owner did or repair things they left undone. A simple oil leak can easily turn into a multi-thousand dollar repair in some cases if left unattended, and when you’re talking about an expensive, complicated car like the S8, there can be multitudes of possibilities for where you can run into trouble. But even excusing that mechanicals on a 12 year old car get old and need to be replaced, then there’s the physical wear – generally, the second and third owners of cars seem to care much less for their condition than the original owners did. Let’s take a look at the cost of ownership on this 2003 S8, and why I’m sad:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on eBay

2003 Audi S8

It is with a tinge of regret that I post nearly every S8, but especially the 2003 models. That’s because they’re one of my favorite cars, and with only 1,200 total examples imported to the U.S., they’re not exactly common. This is especially true when it came to the last year of the D2 S8; you had to select a no-cost “Limited Edition” package three special color combinations. The Brilliant Black is nice and Ming Blue is always pretty, but for my money no S8 matches the color combination of the third; the Avus Silver Pearl with Oxblood interior. Only 100 of these cars were made up and it feels as though I’ve let half of those slip through my hands:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S8 on Craigslist

Twin Turbo Terrors – Audi RS6 Roundup

The other day I wrote up two M5s, questioning whether the E34 was a smart decision when the E39 offered more performance and luxury at a lower price point. That’s not the end of the story, though, because the car that created a sensation and helped to once again redefine the category has dropped to historic lows in value. The Audi RS6 wasn’t the first car to offer a V8 in the mid-sized luxury segment, but as with the original Quattro they upped the game by offering not only a V8, but twin turbochargers and all-wheel drive to the mix. The result was a hunkered down Autobahn warrior with 450 horsepower on tap. It was immediately the top dog, and being turbocharged it was capable of even more outrageous levels of power. As with its AMG and M counterparts, it was also quite expensive as the newest piece of kit in 2003; at nearly $90,000, not many could afford the super sedan. But now a little over a decade on, the Audi RS6 has predictably gone through a few generations of ownership and has dropped substantially in value. In part, that’s because the Audis of this generation have some known faults and keeping the twin-turbocharged V8 running in top condition can be an expensive proposition. But if you want to go fast and have one seriously menacing luxury car on the road, it’s hard to argue that anything can do it better for less money today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

Audi S8 Roundup

In last week’s 10K Practical Performance Edition, a question arose of what was the best ‘Bahn burner for under $15,000. My immediate answer was the Audi S8. It might not be as powerful as the E39 M5 or a slew of Mercs that are available for around the same amount, but the combination of the all-aluminum engine and space frame gives the large executive a smaller feel on the road – and with 360 horsepower, it’s no slouch. It’s also got a great all-wheel drive system; quattro purists don’t love the electronic differentials, but truth told on the fly they work reasonably well and you don’t have to muss and fuss. This isn’t a rally car, anyway. But it is a great looker – the interior and exterior are a beautiful combination of style and presence that few others match. There just aren’t any awkward angles on the D2 in my mind. So, today I’ve rounded up a few examples with the help of our reader, John. Ranging from a first run 6-speed through a last of the D2 2003 model, which would be your color?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S8 on quattroworld