In recent posts I covered both the importance of the B5 chassis and its development into nuclear-grade weaponry in the RS4. In the midst was the substantially more tame yet still quite exciting S4 Avant.
Audi brought the S4 Avant to the United States for the first time in 2001. It joined the sedan lineup and offered a follow-up to the large chassis S6 Avant from 1995. Instead of the traditional inline-5 motivation, though, Audi had developed a new 2.7 liter version of its V6. With a K03 turbocharger strapped to each side, the APB produced 250 horsepower at 5800 rpms and 258 lb.ft of torque at only 1850 revs. Like all the B5s, Audi’s new generation of ‘quattro’ used a T2 Torsen center differential and relied upon an electronic rear differential utilizing the ABS sensors. The B5 chassis used the same technology on the front differential as well and was capable of independently braking each front wheel to try to sort the car out through its dynamic stability program.
But the real fun was that it was available as an Avant and with a 6-speed manual. Just over 1,500 were claimed imported between 2001 and 2002’s model years, with about 600 of those being Tiptronic equipped. Light Silver Metallic was by far the most popular color ordered, and this particular Avant is one of 358 LSM manuals brought in for the 2001 model year:
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?
Last week’s 10K Friday Colorful Carriers was a bit of a letdown; sure, the colors were great, but the only manual was the B6 V8 S4 Avant, and while it was a cool package there was no denying the trepidation with which I’d approach that particular package. To remedy that issue, this week I’m again focusing on some haulers capable of hauling; we’ve lost the color pallet but all of these Avants are turbocharged and manual, just the way most like it. So, this time around, which is the pick of the litter?