2007 Audi RS4

rs4

In 2007, Audi fans had a giant reason to celebrate. No, they weren’t jumping for joy because their insurance company finally sent them their check for their B5 S4 that was stolen for the fourth time. Audi was bringing back the RS4. Even better, it was coming to North America. After taking a sabbatical in the B6 generation, the legendary RS4 was coming. 6-speed manual. 420-hp direct-injection V8. 8000 rpm redline. 58/42-percent front-to-rear weight distribution. Flared fenders. Honeycomb grille. This was it. Carbon-buildup be damned and yeah, it wasn’t the avant. This was it. Finally the AWD super-sedan was coming. Nine years later if you are still dreaming about the RS4 without the nearly $70,000 price tag, this example in Michigan might be right up your alley.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Audi RS4 on eBay

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Widened Wagon: 2001 Audi S4 Avant RS4-spec

After a string of quick Mercedes-Benz wagons, it’s time to take a look at the maker most associated with bonkers 5-doors. While Audi may have never imported any of their fastest wagons into the United States, since the 5000CS quattro Avant the maker has been intrinsically linked with speedy family rides. While we got some good ones in the former, the 200 20V quattro, and the C4 and C5 S6 Avants, the real speed was always in the “RS” line. With the exception of the S6 Plus, all of the top-tier models have carried the RS moniker and traditionally have been the engine blueprint many Audi fans have followed to get the best speed. If they’re really devoted, they take it to the next level and copy the look as well. The result can be very impressive, as shown in this RS4-spec 2001 S4 Avant:

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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Ultrasport Version 3.0: 2002 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant v. 2005 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant Ultrasport

A few weeks ago in my “Avant-off” article, I asked if the premium for the Titanium Package S-Line cars was justified. But comparing a B6 to a B7 can be tough, since there are a fair amount of differences in styling and performance. To equal the playing field more, today I have two nearly identical cars. In this case, it’s a normal A4 3.0 quattro Avant 6-speed against a very similar Ultrasport model. Just like the Titanium package, the Ultrasport package was mostly for looks; you got the Sport Package 1BE suspension, 18″ “Celebration” RS4-style wheels with summer high performance tires, perforated leather 3-spoke steering wheel and shift knob, aluminum interior trim and a quattro GmbH body kit. It was a $3,000 option on top of your already pricey A4 in 2004 and 2005, and came in 1.8T or 3.0 V6 configurations in either sedan or Avant. They’re relatively hard to find, so let’s look at the theoretical premium the package commands today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi A4 3.0 quattro Avant on Worcester Craigslist

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2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport

Here at GCFSB, there’s a running joke that ties in with the Saturday Night Live “Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult” skit featuring Christopher Walken. We’ve just gotta have more wagon around here, and I’m happy to oblige. Today’s oblation to the GCFSB Church of the Heavenly 5 Doors is an interesting blip on Audi’s Avant radar; the short-lived B6 Ultrasport package. Available in either 3.0 V6 or 1.8T configuration, the Ultrasport was introduced in 2004.5. It took the normal Sport Package A4 with either a 6-speed manual or 5-speed Tiptronic transmission in either sedan or Avant form and added the S4 door blades, a European rear bumper and a quattro GmbH designed front bumper cover. RS4 “Celebration” wheels were added, bumping the rolling stock from the standard Sport 17″ to 18″. Those wheels lay under the lowered fenderline, suspended by the 1BE sport suspension that was 20mm lower than standard and 30% stiffer. The package also included a stiffer 18mm rear sway bar and an upper stress bar in the engine bay, which held a standard version of each of the motors (220 horsepower with the 3.0 V6 or 170 horsepower in the 1.8T). Inside, the 2005 Ultrasport gained a 3-spoke S-line steering wheel and the only interior color offered was ebony, accented with perforated leather shift knob and aluminum trim. It was as close to a S4 Avant as you could get without actually opting for the V8:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant Ultrasport on Boston Craigslist

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Sprint-off: 2011 Audi S5 v. 2008 Audi RS4 Cabriolet

Blue is my favorite color. I know, this doesn’t really come as a surprise; I think I wax and wane all the time about the special blues that are available from different manufacturers. Whether it was my own Coupe GT’s original Oceanic Blue Metallic or my Passat’s Ink Blue Pearl Effect, there’s just something that’s very special about the glowing, bright and vibrant blues. Audi made a bold change to their blue around 2005; with the mid-year refresh to the B6 chassis, the new B7 discontinued the very popular purple-blue hue of Nogaro. Now, that color had been around in various forms since the RS2, and was closely associated with fast Audis – so it was a big deal. The new color, Sprint Blue Pearl Effect (LZ5F), was pretty and shiny but somehow changed the character of the fast Audis. Maybe it was time for a change, or maybe it was the wrong move – personally, I think a new RS7 in Nogaro would be pretty stunning. But the new hue was also a hit and offered a rare splash of color in Audi’s otherwise conservative grey/silver/black lineup. Today I have two of the faster Audis offered in this shade; about the same mileage, both 6-speed manuals, and both with the 4.2 V8, would you take the S5 Coupe or RS4 Cabriolet?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Audi S5 on Craigslist

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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

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Wagon Week: 2001 Audi RS4 with 3,300 Miles

If yesterday’s pristine S4 DTM Edition with low miles got you excited, then this is probably the type of car that you’d really like to see. Normally when we’ve done Wagon Weeks, I’ve written up some of the more notable fast Audi wagons; the RS2 and the S6 Plus, for example. But today I wanted to visit a few we don’t spend so much time on – hence the S6 Avant duo from earlier. What we have here, though, is even that much more special; what is probably the best condition, most original and lowest mile Audi RS4 outside of Audi’s possession. The RS4 was an instant hit, with quattro GmbH combining forces with Cosworth to tune the engine of the B5 up to a then-staggering 375 horsepower. With beefed up bodywork covering massive wheels and tires and run through a 6-speed manual transmission, the RS4 was good to its Sport Quattro and RS2 heritage, running to 60 m.p.h. in a smashing 4.9 seconds and easily bouncing off its self-imposed 155 m.p.h. limiter. As with the RS2 and the Sport Quattro, the limited run RS4 has been the subject of many replicas, but finding a mint condition original example reminds us of how perfect the formula was:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi RS4 on Classic Driver

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Feature Listing: 2008 Audi S4 DTM Edition

I think it’s wonderful that, as automobile enthusiasts, we’ve been able to live in the time period that revolutionized cars. For some, the muscle car era was the best; for others, the cars of the ’30s are the way to go. But while there may be some aspects of those generations of cars that are better, compare them to the high performance vehicles of today; they all start, stop, turn and run better than anything that has come before them. Not only are the limits of performance higher than they’ve ever been, but today’s cars are frankly better at being cars than older examples. Quite simply, it’s amazing considering the amount of electronics that are now carried on cars; get my iPhone cold or drop it, and it goes all haywire – yet sub freezing (as well as scorching) temperatures and pot holes are the norm for cars to soak up. Inside, cars are more quiet and luxurious than they ever have been, in general. If you never went past 1/4 throttle in a B7 S4, you’d have a refined, quiet luxury car. It’s even handsome, too, with a smooth face giving way to the lovely flared arches, a slight uptick in the tail helping to direct the air. But really setting cars apart over the past few years has been the amazing power they’ve been able to produce and their uncanny ability to transfer that power to the road. Go past that 1/4 pedal in this S4 and the experience changes; suddenly, you don’t have a sedate cruiser, you have a warp-speed sports car capable of carrying four shocked friends being forced back in their seats as the 4.2 liter all-aluminum 340 horsepower V8 heads towards the stratosphere, announcing through the 4 exhaust pipes that you’ve now broken every speed limit in the country and you still have three gears to go. Yet while there have been fast Audis in the past, “true” enthusiasts always complained they were heavy and no fun in the corners. To remedy that perceived fault, starting with the 25th Anniversary Edition and going forward, S4s received the same T3 Torsen setup as the RS4, now with a rearward power bias and capable of moving up to 100% of the power to the rear axle. If you think you know what all Audis drive like by reputation, you probably haven’t driven one of these cars. By the end of the B7 run, it was not a beefed up A4 anymore; it was in reality a slightly detuned RS4:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi S4 DTM Edition on Craigslist Cleveland

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2002 Audi S6 Avant 6-speed

The other day it seemed as though I switched sides, abandoning my preferred Audis for the dark star of Mercedes-Benz with the E55 AMG Estate. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the S6 Avant, but perhaps the lack of manual and the mere existence of the hotter and not-for-U.S. market RS6 Avant just takes the edge of the C5 for me. Plus, the transmissions in the Audis are notorious – correctly or incorrectly – for being a bit weak and expensive to replace. The solution? A 6-speed manual converted car, of course! And this particular example even steps up above that single massive advantage with a host of RS6 upgrades as well:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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