A good friend of mine rolled up for a visit yesterday in her B8 Audi S4. So much attention has been focused on the launch of the turbocharged M3/M4 that it’s easy to forget that the S4 is still a very good choice in the sport sedan market. If you believe that all Audis drive the same with terminal understeer, you haven’t been behind the wheel of the most recent generations from the four rings, whose clever computers, suspension and differentials have left them turning as well as they go. And they look as good as they go too, with signature top-tier interiors and lovely details. Audi recently offered a brief run of classic Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect on the S4 too, with a special edition that bathed the S4 in the purpley-blue. Today I have two such colored examples to look at – which is the one you’d nog off to?
I’ll spare readers my usual rant about how I don’t like SUVs. But what I don’t like even more than SUVs is when their popularity precludes me from buying a car in the US that I normally would want, such as the Audi S4 Avant. Audi hasn’t offered a non-Allroad style Avant since 2012, which is a shame, given how attractive the B8 A4 Avant was. At least the US got a few years production sent over here, though. This 2010 A4 Avant 2.0T finished in Deep Sea Blue Pearl has got me pining for the days of when Audi understood its traditional customer. The all-wheel drive Avant driving customer.
When Audi launched the A4 Avant with the B5 series, it was a bit of a trump card for the small wagon enthusiast. True, the Volkswagen Passat had been available in 5-door form for a few generations, and it VR6 form it was quite entertaining. However, quality of the pre-B5 chassis Passats wasn’t the best, and all-wheel drive had only been available with the Quantum for a few short years in the late 1980s. Audi had offered its unique large Avant platform in both 5000/200 and S6 form, but they were pretty expensive relative to the small cars the company offered. The A4 Avant continued on for through the B7 chassis we saw yesterday; a serious improvement in looks over the rather plain looking B6. When the B8 launched, initially I thought “There goes Audi again, following the formula of making everything bigger”. The B8 was a LOT bigger than the original A4 had been; in fact, park one next to an original A6, and the B8 A4 is dimensionally it was only slightly smaller. There was one key difference, though. Sure, the A4 had been stretched in every direction – but most importantly, you’d find that the wheel base was now the best part of a foot longer than the early Audi platforms. Visually that shortened the notoriously long overhangs of the Audis and offered more legroom to the occupants. Anyone who has ever been in the back of a B5 A4 would certainly appreciate that. Amazingly, too, the new A4 was lighter, and thanks to revised suspension geometry, new and more advanced computers and a torque-laden 2.0 turbo motor, it felt and drove considerably better than any of the previous generations had, too. It even looked really good in my mind. It was an instant success as previous generations had been, making one wonder even more why it went away:
While Ruf and AMG grab most of the big tuner headlines from Germany, Alpina quietly and competently produced some of the wildest and best executed BMWs ever made. Simply put, Alpina made already good BMWs better – and arguably still do today. One of the most interesting aspects of the company is the close working relationship they have with the factory; a partnership which results in truly special treatment. Take the Alpina B8 for example; any normal tuner might have simply enlarged the inline-6 under the hood of the already potent M3. Or, in the tradition of the 1980s Alpinas, they could have turbocharged the engine. But instead Alpina asked BMW to make them a special V8. And, somewhat surprisingly, BMW did – a new block was designed for Alpina since the normal 4.0 couldn’t be bored out. The result was a 4.6 liter motor which was fit to the B8 4.6 and B10 as well. The motor was so large in the E36 that a special oil pan had to be designed, and neatly a German camera maker had to be employed to design and build a special oil pump to run it. Yet in true Alpina tradition, the fit and finish was factory and accompanied a host of suspension, interior and aerodynamic tweaks. Capped off by special Alpina paint, these B8s are truly special E36s. While the B8 4.6 is the headline grabber, Alpina built a short run of 5…or perhaps 6….4 liter models that were sold in Japan:
As depreciation continues to work its wonderful magic, there are a number of excellent cars falling into the sub $30k range which is the cap of what I consider to be reasonable at this point in my life. If you’ve got $30k to spend on a car then then the field is wide open, E90 M3s, 987 Caymans and the B8 S5 are all options. At that price point they’re most likely not the garage queen you dream of but clean, mechanically solid examples with relatively low miles are out there. I think this particular car is one of those examples, and with just under 70k on the clock it looks to have been well cared for. I guess that’s what starting life as a corporate fleet vehicle in California will do for a car.
The Audi S4, now in its 6th iteration, has been a perennial performance favorite of those who like the understated looks coupled with all-weather performance. And since the original, the S4 has offered a unique tuning platform; while the B6 and B7 were difficult to extract extra performance out of, the other generations have offered forced induction out of the box that allows for generous tuning potential for a real sleeper supercar slayer. 1,000 horsepower isn’t unheard of out of the legendary inline-5, but power numbers exceeding 400 seem to be almost commonplace for the C4 and B5 S4s. So when Audi launched the supercharged V6 model in 2009, the return to a smaller displacement forced induction powerplant immediately had me thinking that it wouldn’t be long until tuned versions appeared. The trick in buying a S4, though, is and always has been managing to find an unmodified one that is well cared for but also affordable. After all, for under $10,000 you can run out and grab any one of the first three generations – however, the less you spend up front, the more likely you’ll be dishing out of pocket in the future it seems. But as we get towards the newer generation of B8 you can get a car that is still quite new for a substantial discount over the original purchase price without (generally) the fears of abuse, neglect and immediate repairs that need to be undertaken. Compare this 2010 B8 S4 to a brand new 2015 model, and you’ll notice slight changes with the facelift; more attractive lights and some other minor changes, for example. However, with only 55,000 maintained miles on the clock, if you can get past the un-refreshed looks of the early B8 you’ve got a car that is nearly identical to new ones at the dealer but is only about 50% of the price:
Audi’s decision to launch a convertible S4 was interesting to me for a few reasons. First, the concept of a really fast 4-seat convertible is sort of odd to me; I can understand why a roadster would have its appeal, but even then really fast ones are sort of odd. It’s just not very pleasant getting buffeted by the wind at 130 m.p.h. and chopping the roof off tends to make the offending car all bendy. In order to combat that, manufacturers add support and strengthening in the floor – but that makes the car heavier and not handle as well. So, your very fast coupe – or in the case of the S4, sedan – is now a slower, more-ill handling car that musses your hair. On top of that, the idea of Audi’s strength – all wheel drive and adverse conditions – failed to mesh with the intention of most convertibles – sun and fair weather. But the S4 cabriolet pointed towards a future in the S range: Audi’s crack unit quattro GmbH produced them, because they were the only 2-door variant of the S4 at that time. Of course, more recently we’ve seen the introduction of the coupe version of the B chassis, the “A5” and accompanying S5 – but first, Audi went all high performance and made a RS variant of the B7 A4. Great! Then they offered it as a ultra-exclusive, $85,000 2-door, 4 seat convertible. Huh? I mean, the concept of paying 85 large for a trumped up Audi A4 is staggering in and of itself, but then why do it? You already had a S4 convertible. You were about to introduce a new lineup of the “5” series, along with convertibles there – including the replacements for the RS4 – the RS5 coupe and cabriolet.…
Auto show season is in full swing, and for the first time in my life I can’t remember being this unenthusiastic about the current lineup of new vehicles. The cars I came across at my local show that I could envision driving daily numbered less than ten. Sure, some may call me old fashioned, but styling across the board seems contrived these days and the amount of technology jammed into cars these days is too much for my tastes. However, there are some bright spots. One of my favorite new cars of recent memory is the Audi A5. This coupe embraces good clean design. Kick it up a notch for the S5 and you’ve got brawn under the hood to match the beauty. Add a wild color you say? Well, this Glut Orange S5 is sure to polarize opinions, but I love it.
While we typically focus on older iron, there are some new cars that have come out which are prime enthusiast candidates now coming to the used market. One of the most impressive of these has to be the Audi B8 S4. While Audi fans mourned the loss of the great 4.2 V8 and RS4 models, the reality is that the B8 S4 was a return towards the origins of the model; forced induction, lighter weight, and a slightly more subdued exterior look. There were added benefits with the B8 chassis too; the most modern electronics and Audi’s increasing reliance on racing to sell the brand has resulted in vehicle dynamics that result in – out of the box – probably the best handling sedan Audi has ever offered here, with the possible exception of the RS4. While most of these electronic nannies are disliked by enthusiasts, the reality is that for 99% of drivers it will make them faster and safer. The major problem with the S4, in my mind, is that far too many of them are specified in black, silver or white; if you’re going to get one of these very special cars, why not get it in a very special color, like today’s rare Imola Yellow 2011:
Engine: 3.0 liter supercharged V6
Transmission: 7-speed DSG automatic
Mileage: 15,766 mi
Price: $42,950 Buy It Now
2011 Audi S4 3.0L V6 Supercharged Quattro – S-Tronic – Prestige Package – Navigation – Heated Seats – Sports Rear Diff – Rare Options – LOADED!
Very Rare Special Order “Imola Yellow”
Local Scottsdale, AZ Car – Only 15,766 Original Miles – Clean Carfax and Autocheck History Reports
Audi Care Pre Paid Maintenance All Included – Under Full Factory Warranty to 9/12/2016 or 50k Miles
Here is an absolutely gorgeous 2011 Audi S4 that has been well cared for and ready for its new owner.
I love me some Alpina craziness, and today we bring you one of the rarest Alpinas out there. Rarity does not necessarily mean revolutionary, as Alpina took the tried-and-true path of taking the top engine a manufacturer produces and shoving it in unlikely places. Young, contextually-limited folks like myself might have trouble seeing the magic in this car, as E12s look extremely similar to the succeeding E28 and Alpina produced a relative plethora of juiced-up E28s. Step back nearly 10 years before the 286/256hp M5 and Alpina was taking the 240hp 3.2l I6 from the last iteration of the (now-misnomered) 3.0CSL and putting it in the first-gen 5-series. Supersaloon like the M5 but on the opposite end of the styling spectrum, this B8 sears Alpina styling on your corneas like a kid staring at the sun too long. I love it.
Model: B8 3.2 E12
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 118,000 km (~ 73,300 mi)
Price: €36,850 (~ $48,623)
The ad in English:
One of the most notable cars of the 70s, admired today due to its rarity, is proudly offered by us. It is in extraordinary cosmetic and mechanical condition, with a tendency to identify with Note 1.
The vehicle’s manufacturer status was converted, as was usual of Alpina, from a BMW 528 to a B8 3.2 in the early 80s. The suspension, engine and transmission, brakes and interior were then chosen by the customer. (As you may know, ALPINA offered each component separately. You could build your own ALPINA individually, then so with far more customization than today).
Apart from the like new condition, the performance of this unique piece, even for today’s standards, is surprising! Please do not forget, we are talking about nearly 40 years of “old” sports sedan that has 240 horsepower under the hood, and with a real Vmax of just such a 240 km/h.