2000 Audi S4

Fans, I have to apologize. I’ll happily admit that there are huge gaps in our daily lineup of cars. When I think of the numerous models that we skip over on a daily basis I genuinely feel a tinge of regret. First off, we really don’t feature much from before 1980 often, and even then it’s limited generally to the more expensive cars that survive such as Porsches or Mercedes-Benz models. Then there are plenty of obscure models we just overlook in our searches. I mean, when was the last time that we wrote up an Audi A3, for example? I’ll save you some time – nearly two years ago was the last time an A3 came across our pages. Or an Audi A2? I’m not sure one has ever popped up here, despite them being a very interesting and cutting-edge car. We rarely look at BMW Isettas or Mercedes-Benz SUVs – actually, come to think of it, pretty much any SUV despite their massive popularity and the reality that quite a few of them are nice trucks (and by trucks I mean cars). How about Porsche 914s, Karmann Ghias and pretty much any newer Volkswagen that isn’t a Passat wagon (sorry about that)? There simply isn’t enough time and space to cover all the models that are out there. As such, we often focus on the cars that interest us, and I’ll admit that since there are only a few writers here that means that we see a lot of the same things day in and day out. So, I’m sorry. But I promise, we do try to vary it up as much as we can!

In that vein, I want to look at a very nice Audi S4 today. The S4 itself is no stranger in any of its several generations on these pages, but often we either focus on the C4 generation or the B5, B6 and B7 Avants. The sedan gets scarcely any coverage here probably because the Avant is such a popular choice. But today’s sedan is pretty special, first because it’s one of the hot B5 colors of Imola Yellow, and second because it’s a low mileage, nearly perfect original model. Is it worth a high asking price?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi S4 on eBay

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4 Turbos, 10 Doors and 12 Speeds – Double Take: 2001 S4 Avants

With recent looks at both B7 and C4 S-cars, it was time to take a look at the middle child of the run – the much loved B5. For some time these were considered too heavy and complicated for long-term enjoyment, but a resurgence of interest in the model has been driven by a very active aftermarket that supports them. In the U.S., the most loved models are the 6-speed Avants and we have two to consider here today for a double dose of forced induction family fun. Which would be the 5-door you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

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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

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1997 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

We look at a lot of infrequently seen cars on these pages, but sometimes one really stands out to me, and that was the case with this 1997 Audi A4. Now, rarity is not on the side of the Audi A4, even in its least sold configuration. In its launch year of 1996, Audi shifted more A4s than it sold cars in total in each model year of 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994. In fact, the only reason the company didn’t sell more 1996 A4s than 1995 total cars was because a few 1996 models were sold at the end of 1995, upping the overall sales for that year. It was a wildly popular model though underneath there were overall few changes to what you could buy in the 1995 90 quattro. Even the look was a scaled down version of the 1993/4 ASF (A8) concept. But that didn’t matter – it was great looking, sporty and compact with a quality feel and still held the trump card for all-wheel drive in the small market. Unlike earlier models where the front-drive version of the chassis outsold the quattro versions, the A4 was also the first to really sell with a majority of all-wheel drive; about 80% (16,333 out of 20,671) of those that were sold in 1997 were so equipped. That would make a FrontTrak model much more rare than what we’re seeing here, so why claim this car isn’t often seen? Well, it’s just not. Think about the last time you saw a really clean pre-facelift A4. I’ll wait. Sure, there are a handful out there, but as with earlier Audis the residuals dropped and most were neglected. The A4, in addition to being a sales success, also brought Audi fully into the disposable luxury class. People that had previously bought Audis generally treasured them, especially so of the quattros. But with the A4, in many ways the small executive just became a German Camry. It was a nice Camry and that name has such a negative connotation it’s not fair to associate with, but moving into a more mainstream sales bracket also diluted the enthusiastic ownership of the brand.

On top of that, 1997 launched a new direction for the A4 which was the introduction of the 1.8T turbocharged power plant. While not a potent mill out of the box, enthusiasts (especially those downstream of initial purchase) welcomed the return of turbos to Audi and the ensuing modifications began. The result of all of this was that while the A4 was popular, it was no longer the heirloom quality automobile that models like the 4000 had been. It became, in many ways, just another car, and ultimately these factors contribute to the result of a model which isn’t often seen in the wild any more:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

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2001.5 Audi S4 Avant

I’ve recently done some comparisons on the sport editions of the B6 and B7 chassis Avants, asking whether packages like the B6 Ultrasport or B7 S-Line Titanium Package justified the premium they commanded over similar non-sport models. There’s another Avant that commands a serious premium in either B5 or B6 form, but in this case it’s not anything to do with being more or less sporty. Mechanically and physically, these specimen are identical to the other models in the run, but it is the color that stops people in their tracks, generates clicks and opens wallets – Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect. The lineage started with the RS2 and its signature shade “RS Blue” which was then continued with the S6 Plus and the B5 S4. It was the color of speed for an entire generation of wagon lovers, so what does that equate to today?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001.5 Audi S5 Avant on eBay

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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

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Motorsports Monday: 2000 Audi S4

Why does the Audi S4 not get more attention on Motorsports Monday? Well, for most the generally heavy platform coupled with the forward bias of the relatively heavy motor doesn’t equal track excitement. Motivation has never been a problem with Audi’s fastest small chassis cars, but braking and turning aren’t where the excel – especially compared to the competition from Munich and Stuttgart. However, a recent ride in my stripped-out and stiffened-up Audi left me the best part of an inch shorter and thinking. Going to the track is such a great time, but there must be a better balance between the 95% of the time that the car isn’t at the track to the 5% it is – if you’re lucky. And while in all out track performance, it’s hard to argue with the E36 chassis as the best value going, the B5 S4 is a compelling alternative to have plenty of fun in between – and, year round:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi S4 on eBay

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Noggy-off – 2001.5 v 2004 Audi S4 Avant

Audi established a new bar for fast wagons with the RS2 Avant, and the signature color of that model was termed “RS Blue”. Immediately, the vibrant hue was recognizable as the warning sign to other drivers that more lurked under the hood than most normal grocery getters. Audi would continue this trend and signature color with the new quattro GmbH-made S6 Plus a few years later. But in 2001, Audi made the exclusive color a bit more pedestrian by offering it on the B5 S4. Now termed “Nogaro Blue Pearl”, it developed an immediate fan following since then – as now – for most, purchasing either a RS2 or S6 Plus isn’t in the cards. Audi continued the shade on to the B6 platform, where it continued to be the defacto shade of speed until it was discontinued in the B7 chassis. While Audi has recently brought the color back into its lineup, for many the older cars still have a distinctive draw and Nogaro cars typically demand a premium. For some, that premium is heightened even more when the interior was opted with the Nogaro colored Alcantara. Add in Avant and 6-speed to the option list on these cars, and the collective Audi fanboy community draws a sharp breath as lips are bitten and pants decidedly tighten. As a treat, we have two examples to consider – which is more Nogtastic?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001.5 Audi S4 Avant on Washington DC Craigslist

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2003 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-speed

There’s always been a fascination for me with the W8 Passat. Not only did Volkswagen take the B5 and B5.5 models upscale by offering the Audi-based chassis, but they pioneered the new engine configurations that would be the top-tier mills in the Passat. Truth told, the “W” configuration had been around for a few years before it finally entered into the mid-sized sedan and wagon. It was first floated in the Bugatti EB116 16/4, but really came into the minds of enthusiasts with the Volkswagen W12 Nardo concept. Now in appropriately named W12 configuration and powering all four wheels, the 600 horsepower mid-engined Volkswagen captured headlines with its 200 m.p.h. 24 hour run and Italdesign-penned Group C for the road looks. While the Nardo was the prototype for what would become the Veyron after some heavy revisions, the W12 would be an exotic engine only powering the most elite of the VAG range. However, Volkswagen also launched a smaller version of the engine for 2001 in the Passat. It was the first introduction to U.S. customers of the W configuration that would later appear in Bentleys, the D3 Audi A8L and the Phaeton. There was something unique about the Passat’s package, though. First, you could option the mid-ranger in long-roof 5-door configuration. More importantly for enthusiasts, you could select a manual 6-speed, too. The combination of these items coupled with the stratospheric price tag of the model meant very few sold. But briefly, until the new S4 launched in 2004, this was the most powerful manual VAG product you could buy in the U.S.:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen Passat W8 4Motion Variant 6-speed on eBay

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1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

By 1996 and the launch of the new B5 chassis A4 model, Audi had decidedly lost the sport from its U.S. model lineup. There were only three models available from the brand in that year, and with the demise of the S6 all featured the venerable if relatively underpowered and underwhelming 12 valve V6. For the new A4, there was no “Sport” model – a little surprising considering the lengths that Audi went through to race the sedan in Touring Car competitions, where it was very successful. The Sport package, which had debuted in the B3 90 20V sedan and continued in the B4 V6 model for 1995, was reintroduced into the B5 model for the U.S. market in 1997 with the launch of the 1.8T 20V turbo model. As it had with previous generations, that included slightly more distinct wheels and Jacquard than the standard model, but the 1.8T at that point still only produced 150 horsepower and lugging the all-wheel drive A4 around meant the early 1.8Ts were anything but quick. With mid 8-second runs to 60 m.p.h., they weren’t much faster than the 4000 quattro had been a decade earlier. However changes and added sport came in 1998 to the A4 run when Audi moved the 5 valve technology into the V6 motor. Now in AHA 30 valve form, the output of the V6 bumped roughly 20 horsepower and 20 lb. ft or torque up and was a closer match to the European competition, and acceleration and especially highway feel were finally befitting a “sport” designation. Audi also gave these sport models the same 3-spoke sport steering wheel the 1.8T model had received, as well as introducing a new wheel design. The 7-spoke “Swing” wheels would begin the differentiation between the sport equipped models and the standard A4s and while they were the same 16″ size as the non-sport wheels, the design somehow looked considerably more special. Audi also began offering the 1BE sport suspension in the B5 model, with a slightly lower ride height and stiffer springs giving the A4 a more menacing presence. Audi further offered some more unique interiors and exteriors to help set their A4 apart; the “Cool Shades” had debuted with the 1.8T and were carried on to the V6 model in 1998. Along with some revised tail lights, the ’98 V6 model could be made very special indeed, with unique interiors as well:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

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