RS-spec: 1995 Audi S2 Avant

While in the U.S. the S6 Avant got all of the Audi accolades in 1995, in Europe several fast Audi wagons had been offered for some time. First of the new 20 valve turbo generation was the 200 Avant, just like in the U.S.; after that, though, the lines diverged. With the start of the C4, Audi offered the S4 in two configurations, sedan which was shared with the U.S. market, and Avant form which never came here. Additionally, there were two engine configurations; you could also get the 4.2 V8 and a 6-speed manual in your S4. When it came to the renamed S6, Audi upped those options with the addition of an automatic and the hotter “S6 Plus” version of the V8 wagon. But there was also another wagon available; the B4 based S2 Avant. The S2 came in three variants; the Coupe which many are familiar with, the quite rare sedan version, and the slightly less familiar Avant which didn’t come to the U.S.. I say slightly less familiar, because the S2 Avant was the notable base for one of the greatest wagons the world has ever seen – the iconic Porsche-built RS2. The RS2 was a fitting replacement for the equally iconic Sport Quattro, but the RS2 offered better road manners, more versatility and if anything was a bit quicker overall. It should be no surprise that, like the Sport Quattro, the limited run RS2 spawned a series of imitators who mimicked everything from the motor to the outside styling:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi S2 Avant on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday Dinan 5-off: 2008 M5 S2 5.8 6-speed v. 2001 540i 6-speed

I know that, amongst the authors that grace these pages, I seem to do a lot of comparisons of cars, some of which are extremely unlikely comparisons. One of our readers termed my picks a “Cheese and Chalk” competition; in many ways, he was right. After all, how can you really compare cars that are in completely different demographic categories? To be fair to me, I don’t always do such, but in that case that’s the appeal of the “10K Friday” series – taking a fixed budget and looking at the wild variety of cars that’s available simply because they’re similarly priced. However, I also like to compare similar vehicles and that’s the case today. I have two rare examples of Dinan-modded BMW 5-series. On the surface, they’re quite similar – both grey metallic, both with light grey interiors, both with normally aspirated motors, both have silver multi-spoke wheels with polished lips, and both have 6-speeds. But the level with which Dinan has breathed on them is quite different; consequently, one has double the power of the other, more technology and more complexity. That model also has one tenth the mileage of the other, and unsurprisingly is on offer at ten times the price making these seemingly very similar 5s very different. Which is the winner in your mind?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M5 Dinan S2 5.8 on eBay

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Coupe Week: 1995 Audi S2

For many people, the third generation Audi Coupe wasn’t quite the match for the car that it replaced. Launched in 1988, even Audi would seem to agree; it continued to produced the original Quattro through 1991, alongside its seeming replacement. While the looks of that replacement – the 20V turbocharged S2 – were considerably more sedate than the Quattro, it was nonetheless a handsome car. Though the iconic flares and chunky styling was replaced by a more rounded look, there were many advantages to the newer cars. First off, they were considerably safer with a stiffer structure and passive safety systems to protect drivers and passengers (anyone else remember the seatbelt pretensioning “PROCON-10” system?). Additionally, the smoother styling meant the car was much quieter at speed than the Quattro ever had been. The drivetrain was nearly identical to the end of run “RR” Quattros, right down to the new Torsen differential in the rear with electronic lock. And unlike its predecessor, and though few people remember, there were three versions of the S2 available; the oft-emulated Coupe, the highly desirable Avant, and the quite rare sedan of which only around 300 were produced. But as this is Coupe Week, we’re taking a look at one of the 2-door variants, of course!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S2 at Classic Park

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1990 Porsche 944S2 Cabriolet

When it comes to Porsche exclusivity for your dollar, you would be hard pressed to find a better value than the 944S2 Cabriolet. Less than 2,000 examples made it stateside for one model year, 1990. As of late, values have been creeping up, following the trend of the front-engine, water-cooled set. Boxster a bit too mainstream for your tastes? Here’s a good way to stand out with this fully documented 944S2 Cabriolet for sale in Connecticut.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Porsche 944S2 Cabriolet on eBay

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Ersatz S2: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro S2 Replica – REVISIT

About this time last year, a clean “Ersatz” S2 replica popped up on Quattroworld. With a tremendous amount of work completed, a collection of rare parts and very good condition, it was understandable why the asking price was a high $18,000. However, after 10 months and 3,000 miles, the new owner has chosen to list the car for sale. Condition is about the same as last year but it doesn’t appear that the new owner has sorted the air condition issue. As I said in the original article below and illustrated in my recent 20V Turbo 10K edition, I feel the market for these replica S2s is really about to fall apart. While it won’t be easy to import an original car, it will be possible and substantially cheaper than the asking price. Given the option, as clean as this car is I’d still sport for a real one for less money. How about you?

The below post originally appeared on our site November 22, 2013:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro S2 Replica on eBay

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10K Friday 20V Turbo Edition: S6 v. 200 20V v. S2 v. S2 Avant v. S4 v. 200 20V Avant

Most of my 10K posts have been a balance between finding examples of cars that just squeak under the 10K limit (sometimes, a little liberally) but aren’t complete wrecks. Typically, they’re examples of cars that you just don’t often think of as being cheap or don’t typically see fitting into a budget. But, it’s always a bit of a compromise – seldom are they exactly the cars that I’d buy. More often than not, when it comes to these comparisons I’d spend a little bit extra to get a better example of the car I wrote up than the budget one. Any number of enthusiasts will tell you why; a higher priced but better maintained car is almost always a more sound investment than a lower priced, questionable history example. There are, however, some cars that fall in general well below our self-imposed 10K cap. Most notably, when comparing packages and what one gets for a moderate investment, it’s hard to argue with the early 1990s Audis. Though Audis reputation was, in many ways, in the toilet at this point of history, arguably this is when they reached their zenith of design, performance and build quality. Certainly, newer Audis are more quiet, faster and have gorgeous interiors – however, they also have a reputation for being overly complicated, expensive to fix and often on the IR list with dashboards lit up as if we were a few months closer to Christmas.

But in the mid to late 1980s, Audi spent millions of dollars developing their turbo technology and the inline-5 motor into a world-beating engine. They raced several different race series with this flexible platform, dominating with their quattro technology. Simultaneously, Audi developed two new chassis to hold the 20V power plant – the B3/4 90 chassis and the C4 100 both would receive versions of the 20V Turbo, along with the last run of Quattros in the form of the RR. Both of these chassis were painstakingly designed to not only take on the competition from Munich and Stuttgart, but indeed to best them. This was a time when Audi was alone at offering all-wheel drive turbocharged performance sedans, coupes and wagons in the luxury market – something we’ve since come to associate with most major manufacturers. Despite the innovation, good looks, notorious long-lived reliability and performance potential of these cars, though, most of them remain the most affordable of their contemporaries. I’ve lined up a group of most of the 20V applications here – which would be your choice? Let’s start with the S6:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Audi S6 on audifans

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10K Friday Super Drop-Top Edition: Cabriolet v. TT v. S4 v. Cabriolet v. Beetle v. Eos v. S2 v. Boxster v. M Roadster v. M3 v. 500SL v. CLK55 AMG

Okay, hang on folks, this is a long one – what’s the most class, speed and style that you can get for $10,000 these days in German motoring? I’ve lined up some of the examples of just how much you can buy – which is your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi Cabriolet on eBay

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1991 Porsche 944S2

Another great alternative to the E30 market remains the stellar Porsche 944S2. With nearly identical performance numbers to the E30 M3, for the most part these hidden gems remain considerably more affordable. They look great, have great boxflared fenders, are generally considered extremely well built, make you feel very special and are even reasonably practical as a daily driver. They’re also fairly rare – production numbers are below what the E30 M3 numbers are, with around a reported 3,600 imported to the U.S.. Also like the E30 M3, many fell by the wayside or were turned into track cars – but despite the similar trajectory of their history, the S2 remains a solid performance bargain. Check out this Cobalt Blue example with color matched interior:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Porsche 944S2 on eBay

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1989 Porsche 944S2

Pining over visions of just-out-of-budget E30 M3s? I recently covered a low mileage 1988 944 Turbo S, a phenomenal alternative to the E30 that’s – if anything – better built, more capable and faster. In my mind, thought the iconic M3 screams boy racer meets Park Avenue, the 944 – especially in Turbo/S2 guise – looks just as much the part. They’re also quite a bit cheaper right now, but likely not for long – Turbo values have steadily been on the rise, especially for good examples. And while there are plenty of enthusiasts who have daily driven 944 Turbos, you have to admit that they’re the best part of 30 year old technology that you’ll have to sink some money into. For everyday driving, a better option for most people would be to look at the slightly less complicated and only slightly less powerful twin-cam version of the 944; the magnificent 944S2:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944S2 on eBay

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1989 Porsche 944S2

Although the appeal of the budget speed of the 944 Turbo is certainly large, the actual driving experience around town can sometime be a bit lacking and the expense of 25 year old turbocharged technology can be a turnoff. Luckily, Porsche offered its own solution with the 944S2. Well covered on these pages, the S2 offers early Turbo levels of performance from its 3.0 16V motor, with no turbo lag. I’ve said it was perhaps the best all-arounder Porsche has ever built, and I think overall that’s a realistic look at the S2; if all-out speed wasn’t your goal, the S2 offers practicality, lower ownership costs and enough power to take advantage of one of the best handling chassis ever made. Take a look at this 1989 example:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1989 Porsche 944S2 on eBay

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