Here’s a V8 that can haul. Literally. For a short while, Mercedes-Benz offered the W211 E-Class estate in V8 form. Sure, with this generation E-class you could opt to have your E-class estate AMG tuned, but for those who simply wanted a V8 cruiser, the E500 estate was an option. This 2006 example for sale in Illinois has under 70,000 miles on the clock and comes equipped with 4Matic all-wheel drive, making this five-door not only a sleeper, but practical when the foul weather arrives. With V8 all-wheel drive estates like these, who needs the ubiquitous SUV?
All posts tagged Wagon
Long before “Dieselgate” and the unceremonious admission of Volkswagen about cheating on emissions testing, Volkswagen struggled with the image of diesel. The problem wasn’t as much air pollution – there was plenty of that – but it was that diesels were noisy and slow. How slow? Well, consider today’s 1980 Dasher Diesel Wagon, whose 1.5 inline-4 mill produced a twig-snapping 48 horsepower. Despite the relative light weight at only 2,500 lbs, the Dasher Diesel literally and figuratively lacked spark as it’s near 20-second 0-60 time proved. As gas prices fell and fuel injected gasoline engines became ever more efficient (and powerful), the gap between the fuel mileage to the diesels narrowed as the perceived benefit gulf of purchasing petrol widened. However, nearly 30 years before the introduction of the “Sport Wagon” TDi, you can still see the spiritual basis for Volkswagen’s popular 5-door diesel configuration.
The other day, a gentleman pulled up to me right after I parked my Passat. He rolled down the window and asked if I liked the car, then mentioned that it was lovely. I thanked him and said that I loved the car. Sure, even over a decade on B5.5 generation Passat Variants are a dime a dozen around the streets of New England. But while the B5.5 was by far the most popular choice for German wagons in the early 2000s, it wouldn’t be possible without the B1. Styled by Giugiaro, the new chassis completely redefined the platform for Volkswagen. It was followed by the niche but popular B2 (Quantum in the U.S.), then the odd-yet-cool B3, the more traditional B4 and finally the popular B5/5.5 chassis. With some sadness, the B6 would be the last wagon form of the Passat for U.S. customers, but it went out with a bang – being offered in 3.6 VR6 with 4Motion all-wheel drive. It was about as far from the original B1 as you could get, but the mission of each was the same and they were representative of their times. “We think you’ll agree Dasher is setting new standards for roomy wagons, with elegant appointments and fittings” touted the 1980 brochure, and it’s hard to argue that for some time the Passat was the best value not only in German wagons, but perhaps in family vehicles in total. While they were loved by their respective owner pools, they were also used, and each subsequent generation is steadily becoming more infrequent to see. B5s have already started to disappear while B4s rust away. B3s are downright rare, but not nearly as much as clean B2s. But a clean B1? I’d bet you could count the number of examples in this condition remaining on one hand:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Volkswagen Dasher Diesel Wagon on Cleveland Craigslist
We always want what we can’t have. And for the US car enthusiast, that’s a big list. Year in and year out, we are constantly teased by manufacturers who save their best wares for other markets while selling a lot of watered down offerings to appeal to the lowest common denominator in this particular market. Case in point, the Audi RS4 Avant. Sure, we got a taste of the RS4 formula by way of the B7 based RS4 sedan and RS4 cabriolet. This beastly pair packed a 4.2 liter V8 with 420 horsepower and an 8,000 RPM redline, mated solely to a 6-speed manual. Sadly, we did not see the B7 RS4 Avant stateside. Dial back to the B5 generation, and the RS4 was an Avant only model, much in the same way of its predecessor, the RS2 Avant. This RS4 Avant for sale in California is a two-owner car, its first owner being Jacques Villeneuve, one of the few racers to ever win both the CART Championship and Formula One Championship.
Click for details: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant on Craigslist Sacramento
I tend to think of Mercedes-Benz’s W123 and W124 as stately, comfortable luxobarges that will run forever but aren’t particularly special. Looking into this 300TD Turbo, those assumptions seem needlessly oversimplified. Did you know that when it came out, the W124 wagon had the lowest drag coefficient of any production car at the time? Neither did I. It also had the 80s double-edged sword of self-leveling suspension, notoriously present in the E28 M5 but almost always replaced in that application. It sounds like the Mercedes version is a little more stout, and this car’s SLS is functioning with zero leaks.
A slippery shell and Benz’s storied 3.0-liter turbodiesel (an engine that could easily outlive a human) combine for decent fuel economy, while the longroof provides great storage and – surprise! – two more seats. Video of two police dumbfounded by a Tesla’s rear-facing trunk seats recently went viral, but these awesome jump seats were popularized in the 80s by Volvo and Mercedes after being a phenomenon in 60s American wagons. The best part of the Benz’s sixth and seventh seats is they fold flat into the floor, giving leg room for the seats or a normal wagon floor when stowed. No SUV or awkward crossover necessary! With 122k miles and all electrical bits working (for now), this is a classy family-style ride. Paul featured this car back in August of this year when it sold for $12,500. Let’s see where this eighties estate winds up this time around.
Click for details: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 300TD on eBay
Whereas the C4 S6 Avant had been the only high performance wagon in the Audi line in 1995, when it came to the early 2000s Audi had gone hog wild with options. In the both the A4 and A6 lineup, you could get the then potent 3.0 V6 and it could be opted with a 6-speed manual in the small chassis. While long term that engine has proven quite problematic, at the time it offered 60 horsepower more than the V6 had only a generation earlier – a substantial bump. Then there was the much loved B5 S4 Avant, with its twin-turbocharged V6 which again could be mated to a 6-speed manual. That same setup was available in the large chassis Allroad as well, though more often than not the C5 was equipped with the 5-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox – the transmission that was the only option for the 3.0. If that wasn’t a stout enough lineup, Audi also launched a revised S6 in 2002. Borrowing some of the aluminum elements from the A6 4.2, the S6 featured flared lightweight fenders and hood, larger 17×8″ Avus wheels with a wider offset than the B5 chassis wheels (though visually there was no change), lower door blades, a revised grill and polished aluminum mirrors and roof rails which had become the signature of the S-series cars. All of these elements would later be incorporated into the B6 S4 Avant. With 340 horsepower, the C5 S6 was capable of sub-6 second runs to 60 m.p.h. and could cruise effortlessly at triple digit speeds. Though it didn’t look much different than the rest of the C5 Avant lineup, it was most certainly the Alpha in the Audi wagon lineup in 2002-2003: