Tuner Tuesday: 2000 Audi S4 RS4-spec

Finding a modified B5 generation Audi S4 isn’t exactly a hard thing. Finding a good one, though, arguably is. The B5 generation brought Audi into a new scene of tunability and off the bat was a hugely popular platform. However, from salvage titles, high mileage, dubious modifications and poor condition to the big one – neglected maintenance – sorting through the plethora of “Stage X” S4s out there can leave one believing there just aren’t many top-tier examples left. But then you set your eyes on this retina-searing Imola Yellow sedan, and your faith in the platform is restored. With 44,650 miles on the clock, it’s one of the lower mileage B5s I’ve seen recently, but what really sets it apart besides the color are the RS4 body modifications. That, and 650 wheel horsepower:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi S4 on eBay

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1992 Audi 80 quattro

For U.S. customers, 1992 rather quietly signaled the end of an era for fans of the small chassis. Starting in the early 1980s, Audi had offered their offbeat 5-cylinder motor in models like the 4000 5+5 and Coupe models, but it was really the rally success of the Quattro that put the 5-pot on the map. But the turbocharged variant was quiet expensive, so fans of Audi’s WRC campaign rejoiced in 1984 when the all-wheel drive platform became much more affordable in 4000 quattro form. In Europe, there were several variants and power plants available in 80 and 90 form, but U.S. customers only got the relatively high-spec 4000S/CS quattro. Audi revised the model lineup with the B3 model run, introducing the lower-spec 80 and the more luxurious (and later, more powerful) 90. When the 90 went to the DOHC 7A 20V inline-5, the 80 remained with the 10V 2.3 liter NG which had first appeared in the Special Build Coupe GT model. Though not hugely powerful and feeling slightly overwhelmed by the 80 quattro’s mass, it was a very smooth and fun to drive package capable of huge odometer readings. The package remained available until 1992, when life of the 80 ended in the U.S. as it was not upgraded to B4 specification. As with all Audis from the period, it sold in small numbers: Audi reported only 640 sold in 1992, with not many more sold in the years before it. As the book closed on the inline-5 with a whimper rather than a bang, it’s relatively infrequent to spot one of these late 80s:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Audi 80 quattro on eBay

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1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

I’ve had the good fortune to own some pretty interesting cars in my lifetime, but one of the most complex automotive relationships I had was with my late 1993 V8 quattro. It was a car that I had lusted after since they were effectively new. There was just something about the shape, the way it sat and the mystique. Coming from a 4000 quattro, in many ways the step up to a V8 was the ultimate out of the box Audi in the early 1990s. It drove like the 4000 in the tight bits, but was so much better on the highway. Plus, it had what the 4000 lacked – power, thanks to the 4 cam all-aluminum V8. Even the automatic didn’t bother me all that much overall. But, at the same time as I enjoyed automotive bliss in the theoretical ownership of this V8 quattro, the reality of day-to-day ownership was quite different. If Alfa Romeo built a German car, it would be the V8 quattro. First, it was hugely complicated. There were computers controlling everything, and in the great manner in which Audi and Volkswagen developed their late 1980s computer technology, it worked great until it didn’t, at which point the car would be thoroughly incapacitated. One day, during a rain storm, the “convenience controller” failed, opening all of the windows AND the sunroof and not allowing me to close them. Needless to say, it was less than convenient. Second, it hemorrhaged fluids. We’re not talking a little bit, either – full on “Oh, I’m sorry, did you want me to keep that $20 a liter worth of hydraulic fluid IN me?” hemorrhaging. Oil, coolant, transmission fluid…you name it, if you could put it in, it would instantly come out. It tried to kill me, too. Not just once, either. See, that fluid loss resulted in a buildup of oil gunk. Where does the oil gunk build up, you ask? On the throttle. This normally isn’t a problem, unless once in a while you opened the throttle. Then, it became a problem, as the throttle wouldn’t close. Again, not a problem so much on a 4000 quattro with all 115 stampeding horses, but in the ’93 V8 quattro, there were 2.5 times that amount – 276 horsepower with even more torque launching my 3,900 pound missile down route 195. Leaks presented themselves in other odd ways, too – like, for example, when I got a self-imposed flat tire at a winter driving school. Out came the tools to jack the car up, no problem. However, when I went to retrieve the spare, a sad sight awaited me – the trunk had leaked into the spare tire well apparently, resulting in the space saver spare being thoroughly embedded in 10 inches of tire well shaped ice cube. In story generation alone, the V8 quattro was by far the Professor Emeritus of my car history. Thirdly, no one knew what it was when you went to get a part. Allow me to present a theoretical trip to the parts counter – even at an Audi dealer…

Parts Guy: Hi, what kind of car?
Me: Audi
PG: What model?
Me: V8
PG: No, not what engine, what model.
Me: V8
PG: They made a model named V8?
Me: Yes
PG: (turns to other Parts Guy) You ever hear of an Audi V8?
OPG: He probably means A8.
Me: No, the A8 is the model that replaced the V8.
(both look confused)
PG: Okay, what year?
Me: 1993
PG: Audi made cars in 1993?
Me: Yes. Not many.
PG: Okay, the computer tells me that your car doesn’t exist.
Me: It’s outside. Would you like to see it?
PG: No, maybe I can cross reference the part. What do you need?
Me: The transmission control unit.
PG: ………………
PG: ……….. (turns to other PG and looks confused)
Other PG: Ah, you should probably just go to the dealer.

Fourth, when eventually you convinced someone who supplied parts for your non-existent car that it really was real, inevitably the part would be expensive. Really, really expensive. And, on backorder, or no longer available. It made repairs length and always have at least one comma in the price estimate. That estimate was almost always below what it actually cost to get it running again, and when it did run again, inevitably there would be something still wrong that would need to be fixed on the next trip to the mechanic.

Yet, more than any car I’ve previously owned, it’s the one I’d want back.

It was that good. So when one of the 72 5-speed cars pops up for sale, it’s always time to take notice. The officially imported 5-speed cars were all 3.6 PT engine cars, meaning a bit less motivation than the later 4.2 motor. However, they’re lighter and they’re the only Torsen center/Torsen rear differential car Audi brought to the U.S.. This is a rare opportunity to own one of the few remaining:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed on Burlington Craigslist

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1995.5 Audi S6 Avant

Certain cars have a few known issues or subjective desires when considering their value. Talk about a 500E and the wiring harness comes up. Mention a 996 non-turbo and instantly people start shouting “IMS” even if they don’t know what it means or what it does. And every time I mention anything about an E46 M3 the first question is instantly SMG related. Those are certainly all important and relevant factors in determining the value of their respective models. But when it comes to the S6 Avant, for me the first question when determining value is “Does it run?”. And the answer, which is almost invariably yes, almost certainly affirms the value. As with their 200 20V quattro grandfather I looked at last night, the S6 Avant has a cult following and of the few hundred that were imported most are well used by this point. But they were well built cars that shrug off improbably high mileage such that the expectation when looking at one is that the odometer probably reads north of 200,000. Properly maintained and modified, they are a package without peer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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1991 Audi 200 quattro

Seeing a clean C3 or D11 Audi these days is always cause for celebration, and draws and interesting comparison to the contemporary M5 I featured yesterday. While if you want to get into one of the BMWs you need to look at a lesser example or one with quite high miles (and the potential for accompanying big-ticket repairs) to get it affordable, when it comes to the Audis the same budget buys you one of the best examples on the market. The early 1990s was, for many, the height of Audi’s build quality and design language, though admittedly part of that mystique is surrounded by their near disappearance from the market. Those that were sold are notoriously long lived, and while 250,000 miles on a S38 is enough to make any wallet shudder at the thought of future repair bills, for the 3B and later AAN motor – indeed, for any of Audi’s offbeat inline-5s – that amount of mileage is almost expected. The result, when you look at a nicely preserved example like today’s 1991 200, is almost to feel like the 162,000 miles covered are low. With some tasteful upgrades and in far above average condition, this 200 – one of only around 1,000 sold here – is a great reminder of why these older Audis have gained such a cult following:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 quattro on eBay

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1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V

Sometimes, where a car is sold or turns up for sale is baffling to me. Sometime in 1991, a person walked into an Audi dealer in Florida. Now, considering that Audi only sold 12,283 cars in 1991 that in and of itself was something of a minor miracle. 1991 was the worst year in Audi’s sales history outside of 1970 when the brand was reintroduced. To put it in an even bigger prospective, Audi sold more 100 models in 1971 than it sold total cars in 1991 – by nearly 50%. So, this person had walked by the Mercedes-Benz and BMW dealers – in Florida, mind you – and popped into an Audi dealer. Then, they selected a 90 quattro 20V. Now, starting in 1990 Audi had upped the game with the 7A 20V motor in the 90 quattro, and in terms of horsepower it was at least on par with Mercedes-Benz and BMW. But it was heavy and slower than the competition thanks to the all-wheel drive quattro drivetrain, so these 90s – and the rest of the quattros sold – were mostly relegated to Northern and Mid-Western states. And the buyer paid a steep price in 1991; around $27,000 before options. What was even crazier was that they then opted for the sport package and heated sport seats, as well as Pearlescant White Metallic paint. In short, this was the absolute most expensive Audi 90 you could buy in 1991. Yet, here it is, with low miles and in essentially perfect condition thanks to being stuck in Florida its entire life:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 90 quattro 20V on Orlando Craigslist

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Double Take: 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro

For some time, the B3 Audi Coupe quattro enjoyed a coveted place in the lineup, and many enthusiasts still consider them the high point of Audi design. However, in the market place their star has fallen slightly as newer and faster cars have become more affordable. While for some time a solid example would have cost you well north of $6,000, these low production all-wheel drive hatchbacks seem to have fallen on harder times recently. They have a reputation for being slow compared to the competition – the result of being relatively heavy rather than lacking in the motor department. The 7A inline-5 20V motor is a true gem of a motor, and on the fly these Coupes are quite entertaining to drive. Of course, as with most of the Audi quattros, turbo conversions are popular and the possibilities are near limitless. The B3 chassis also upped the electronic quotient for the driver compared to the relatively simple B2s. Electronic fuel injection, electronically locking (and automatically disengaging) rear differential, a Torsen center differential, electric seats and automatic climate control moved the B3 upscale from the B2, along with added safety features. However, this past year the first of these Coupes turned 25 years old – an age that qualifies them as being antique in some states. Audi only sold a reported 1,730 of these Coupes between 1990 and 1991 model years, and the best (and probably optimistic) estimates put only about 75% of those still on the road today. So, today instead of looking at two modded examples, here are two clean drivers that could be an affordable and unique classic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi Coupe quattro on Washington D.C. Craigslist

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1995.5 Audi S6 Avant

Why does Audi no longer offer this package? They’ve got the technology, certainly, with a stellar inline-5 in the new 2.5 liter turbocharged unit featured in the RS3 (and previously in the TT RS). They even still offer a manual in the S4, and though the company refuses to bring it here in anything other than allroad form they still make an Avant version. So why not combine them? They’d make an instant fan favorite, as all of the S4 and S6 Avants have been highly sought both when new and as second or third hand used cars. In the likely absence of that ever occurring, today’s example is a great representation of what many consider to be the highlight of the both Audi’s engineering and the most desirable package outside of perhaps the original Quattro:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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C5 Avant-off: Allroad 2.7T 6-speed v. S6

We’ve recently had a good string of Audi Avants up here, including a rare converted 6-speed S6 Avant. Oddly, as several people noted we’ve seen a fair amount of these converted V8 cars come up for sale quickly after the conversion. Economically, that doesn’t make much sense; if selling was your goal, replacement with a used automatic would likely be a better route than going through the expensive swap. What’s even more perplexing is that the similar 01E-equipped allroad V6 2.7T (and its running mate B5 S4 Avant 6-speed) are highly sought and loved cars. So I brought two together today in rare color combinations; if you were going to pick a C5 Avant, which is the one you’d go for?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi Allroad quattro on Craigslist

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1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed

In 1989, Audi was in a state of crisis in the U.S.. The 60 Minutes farce had caused them serious market share from the European import scene. Audi had always been a bit fringe with its expensive and seemingly underpowered turbocharged all-wheel drive executive sedans. Aside from that, the major competition had stepped up their game; BMW launched the quite attractive and popular E32 the year before, and upstarts Infinity from Nissan with their Q45 and Lexus from Toyota with what would become the standard – the LS400 – were entering the marketplace. While the BMW remained with its standard inline-6 rear-drive configuration in most E32s sold, the Japanese duo upped the game with powerful quad-cam aluminum V8s under the hood. In the case of the Lexus, Toyota steered towards refinement with adequate power – Nissan, on the other hand, pushed the performance level with a reported 280 horsepower cap on the 4.5 liter VH54DE engine which today many report as underrated by at least 30 horsepower. Audi had its work cutout to claw back market share against these new cars, and to answer it released an updated version of the venerable Type 44/C3 chassis. Now, truth told the Audi 100 (5000 U.S.) really was the basis for the design of most of the large executive sedans that followed – but five years after its introduction, being the first was no longer enough. Audi upped the game by introducing what effectively was two Volkswagen 16Vs mated to each other in the same way that the 944 engine was effectively half of a 928 V8. The new V8 was all-aluminum and featured double-overhead cams. It was small – twice the displacement of the Volkswagen 16V engine at the time at 3.6 liters, but produced about the same power as the 4.0 liter Lexus motor. New too was the transmission in the now named “V8 quattro”, with a 4-speed automatic gearbox coupled to all four wheels through a rear Torsen differential and a multi-plate clutch center differential. The automatic was necessary to compete with the crowd that was buying these large executive sedans, as was the upgraded interior with a new dashboard, more sound deadening and more electronics. Of course, if you still wanted to shift gears yourself, Audi offered what many consider to be one of the best on-the-fly all-wheel drive setups ever to make it to the road; the 5-speed V8 quattro featured a center and rear Torsen differential. Less than 100 made it to U.S. shores in 3.6 form only, making these complicated executive sedans sought out by Audi enthusiasts across the country:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi V8 quattro 5-speed on motorgeek

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