1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

By 1996 and the launch of the new B5 chassis A4 model, Audi had decidedly lost the sport from its U.S. model lineup. There were only three models available from the brand in that year, and with the demise of the S6 all featured the venerable if relatively underpowered and underwhelming 12 valve V6. For the new A4, there was no “Sport” model – a little surprising considering the lengths that Audi went through to race the sedan in Touring Car competitions, where it was very successful. The Sport package, which had debuted in the B3 90 20V sedan and continued in the B4 V6 model for 1995, was reintroduced into the B5 model for the U.S. market in 1997 with the launch of the 1.8T 20V turbo model. As it had with previous generations, that included slightly more distinct wheels and Jacquard than the standard model, but the 1.8T at that point still only produced 150 horsepower and lugging the all-wheel drive A4 around meant the early 1.8Ts were anything but quick. With mid 8-second runs to 60 m.p.h., they weren’t much faster than the 4000 quattro had been a decade earlier. However changes and added sport came in 1998 to the A4 run when Audi moved the 5 valve technology into the V6 motor. Now in AHA 30 valve form, the output of the V6 bumped roughly 20 horsepower and 20 lb. ft or torque up and was a closer match to the European competition, and acceleration and especially highway feel were finally befitting a “sport” designation. Audi also gave these sport models the same 3-spoke sport steering wheel the 1.8T model had received, as well as introducing a new wheel design. The 7-spoke “Swing” wheels would begin the differentiation between the sport equipped models and the standard A4s and while they were the same 16″ size as the non-sport wheels, the design somehow looked considerably more special.…

Double Take: Audi A6 3.0T quattro Avant

Last week I wrote up a 2007 A6 3.2 quattro Avant S-Line, the end of a dying breed of luxury wagons from German manufacturers. But before they fully dismissed the large wagon from U.S. shores, Audi went out with a bang when it refreshed the A6 in 2009. Minor updates to styling once again brought the A6 in line with the new design language from Audi, but the real change was under the skin. As they had with the previous models, in an attempt to save some weight from the large Audis the company utilized aluminum throughout; the 3.0Ts featured aluminum hood and fenders like the previous generation S6 had. Additionally, just like the 3.2 had been, the new 3.0T was an aluminum block; the decrease in displacement was more than made up for with a literal boost from the supercharger. With a full 20% power increase to 300 horsepower and 310 lb.ft of torque at a low 2,500 rpm, the new 3.0T was a much better performer than the 3.2 FSi V6 had been and was, briefly, a defacto S-Avant that was missing from the lineup. On top of that, the new supercharged layout meant power increases are much easier to attain; as Chris Harris demonstrated with his stunning S4 v. RS4 comparison. Audi also moved away from its “S-Line” designations towards the new strata of Premium, Premium Plus ($1,400), and Prestige ($3,200) levels which added levels of electronic wizardry and small detail difference. That was on top of the raised base price, now $60,200 in 2010. If you though the 3.2 was rare, the 3.0T is downright hard to find even though they’re nearly new.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Audi A6 3.0T quattro Avant on Cargurus

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

Motorsports Monday: 2000 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

They have a reputation for being a bit heavy, underpowered and prone to understeer – all things that make track enthusiasts cringe. But let’s not forget that the B5 Audi A4 carried on a proud tradition of successful touring cars; it was entered into nearly every series and notably won a few championships – the ’95 and ’96 Italian Superturismo Championship and the ’96 British Touring Car Championship, besting the popular favorites BMW and Alfa-Romeo. Such was the continued dominance of the quattro drive system that in every successive championship the Audis were entered in, they were eventually banned from the series. But the resurgence of Audi to the forefront of Touring Cars proved to be a boost for sales of the popular B5 chassis, making it an instant favorite amongst fans who traveled to the track. While Audi changed priorities in the later ’90s from the BTCC and ITC, there were nonetheless several teams who ran examples of the A4, notably in the “World Challenge” sanctioned by SCCA. With liveries inspired by the classic A4 Super Touring, the more production-based A4 World Challenge gained mostly safety equipment and competed in the lower “Touring” class against the likes of the Acura Integra and BMW 325i, while after 2001 the S4 was introduced to run with the big boys. While not nearly as fast or special as the STW A4s which carry unique Audi Sport chassis numbers, an example of these lesser A4s captures the look at a fraction of the price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay

10K Friday Pearls of Wisdom: Audi Pearlescent White Metallic-off

For the best part of two decades, Audi’s signature color was one of its most expensive options. On some models, in fact, Pearlescent White Metallic was the only optional extra you could select. From the original Quattro to the top tier S8, Audi bathed its most expensive models in the multi-stage dynamic paint color. As with most used older Audis, they’re all fairly affordable and offer – generally each in their own way – good value for the initial investment they represent. If you want to maximize the amount of German car you get for your money, look no further. Today I’ve arranged to look at a series of them, ranging from nearly the beginning to the end of the run. Which is your favorite and why?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Audi 200 quattro on Craigslist

Tuner Tuesday Axis Power: BMW Skyline v. Supra Power

This isn’t the first time I’ve written up sacrilegiously swapped cars, so it’s probably no surprise to see two Japanese-powered BMWs pop up. And in each of their own ways, neither is on the surface, at least, a car we’d typically cover. But before you judge a book by its cover, are either of these cars executed well enough to be a neat package?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 325is on eBay

Wagon Week: 2000 Volkswagen Passat 2.8 GLX 4Motion Variant

While “Wagon Week” is one of our favorite features, I’ve tried to look at cars this go around that are slightly different than the normal candidates we examine. As such, while typically I look at the infamous W8 version of the Passat and it’s headline grabbing, innovative engine or the lighter weight 1.8T 5-speed, my preferred configuration, this time we’re looking at what was a popular platform – the GLX 4Motion. Equipped with a silky smooth 30V V6, as it was with the B2 generation underneath the B5 Passat was effectively an Audi A4 and shared the same all-wheel drive technology with updated 4-link suspension. That gave the Passat a refined and capable drivetrain and composed suspension setup that made it feel more upscale than the B3 and B4 generation had been. For enthusiasts, unfortunately if you wanted the all-wheel drive option coupled to a manual, you’d need to select an Audi over the more budget-friendly Passat or wait until the introduction of the 1.8T 4Motion later in the B5.5 model run. But many selected the package none-the-less, a capable and competent upscale cruiser that punched north of its price point and was a value luxury car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Volkswagen Passat 2.8 GLX 4Motion Variant on eBay

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

Feature Listing: 2001 Audi S4 Avant

For some time, the B5 S4 was dismissed by a fair amount of enthusiasts as a heavy, complicated car. Truth told, the B5 seemed a bit of a let down initially compared to the already gone and instantly legendary C4 S4/S6 with the venerable inline-5 power plant. But Audi had a new range of motors when it came to the B5, and the inline-5 did not really fit under the more compact hood in the lineup. Replacing the single turbo 5-pot was a new 2.7 liter V6 with not one but two turbochargers. Despite that, performance seemed a bit tame; 250 horsepower was nothing to sneeze at, but it was only a bit more than the outgoing M3, after all. However, the B5 had a few trump cards over its competition. Of course, the major one was that quattro all-wheel drive continued to be the high-performance platform for Audi. In this guise, the lockable options were completely removed from the driver, instead having the computer’s brain work electronically locking differentials coupled with electronic stability. While the combination of these things didn’t sound like an enthusiast’s dream, out of the box the S4 was a quite competent performer. Of course, the big bonus with turbocharging was that there was a tremendous amount of performance potential on tap with some upgrades. Free up the exhaust and turn up the boost, and these Teutonic turbocharged wonders went from tame to terror. There was one other major trump card the B5 had over the competition; as with the last of the run C4 S6s, Audi finally allowed their fast wagons to come over to these shores. They were an instant hit amongst the Audi faithful, and brought many more customers over to the four rings from other marques as well. Arguably the most popular were the two wild color options; the ever popular purple-blue Norgaro Blue and the retina-searing shade of Imola Yellow.…

2001 Audi A4 2.8 quattro

In the world of post A4 Audis, you’d be forgiven for thinking you went back to the old Westerns with tumbleweeds rolling across the screen when it comes to color selection. There are several different shades of grey or silver, a few whites, some blacks, and then occasionally a blue will pop up. Some really daring folks chose bright red or dark green, but unless you get into a “S” model, you’re not likely to see an unusual color. That’s unfortunate, because Audi actually offered you many very cool options in the B5 A4 throughout its run. However, if you lament the cool colors went away, it should be no surprise; very, very few people bought them. And given the A4s propensity for being discarded, they’re in most cases even more sparse than when new. Yet these special color cars tended to be bought by people who took good care of them, and usually come to market in fairly pristine shape – so I bet you can guess why this A4 is here today. A non sport package V6 tiptronic wouldn’t usually make the list, but a lower mile India Red Pearl Effect with Ecru/Onyx interior in very good overall condition? You bet:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay