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10K Friday Practical Performance Edition: R32 v. S4 v. 330xi v. E500 Estate v. Cayenne Turbo

Edit: Thanks to several readers for pointing out several details that prove this Cayenne is a Turbo, but not a Turbo S. Only 450 horsepower, then!

It’s been a few weeks since my last 10K Friday entry, and I wanted to get something together for the impending snow New England is once again expecting. To remind us of the terms of the comparison, I’m looking for themed cars around $10,000 (give or take, we’ll see later). I try to generally find the newest cars possible, figuring that for many these will be a daily driver. In this case, I was looking for performance all-wheel drive cars that offered year round practicality with a touch of sport. So lining up the best I could find from Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche gives us an interesting amount of diversity for your hard-earned dollars. Today we have two sedans, a hatchback, a wagon and a S.U.V. to contemplated; which is the winner?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Volkswagen R32 on eBay

Year: 2008
Model: R32
Engine: 3.2 liter narrow-angle VR6
Transmission: 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic
Mileage: 112,000 mi
Price: $10,995 Buy It Now




2 door


3.2L V6

Drive Line:

2 wheel drive


6-Speed DSG

Exterior Color:

Tornado Red



Interior Color:







Tornado Red Exterior

Black Leather Interior

All Wheel Drive

Cold Weather Package


Satellite Radio

Keyless Entry

Xenon Headlights

Folding Split Rear Seats

Keyless Entry


2008 Volkswagen R32, rare in Tornado Red on black leather interior. Production #262 out of total of 5000. Practically every factory option on this R32 including factory navigation. In good overall condition inside and outside but definitely not perfect. Lowered on FK coilovers and sits on BBS LM replica wheels. Everything works, no warnings, no check engine lights. Zero rust Southern car with clean Texas title.

We welcome out-of-state buyers. We highly recommend pre-purchase inspections for all out of state buyers, please contact us for a list of reputable centers around DFW to schedule the PPI.


FK Coilovers

Aftermarket wheels

Aftermarket exhaust (catalytic converters had NOT been removed)

Please Note: This vehicle is in good overall physical and mechanical condition but not perfect due to previous modifications, and therefore had been priced to sell AS IS.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach us at any time at: (214) 509-8446

Price includes all dealer/listing fees. Texas residents are subject to local tax, title and licensing fees.

I’ll start out with the negatives of the R32 from my perspective; they’re quite heavy, the Haldex viscous coupling all-wheel drive isn’t really as good as the dedicated all-wheel drive platforms from the others, I don’t think the Mk.5 Golf was particularly attractive, you could only get a 2-door and it only came in dual-clutch DSG form to the U.S.. However, get past those things and there’s a lot to like with the second R32; it’s quite quick, it can carry an amazing load and yet is still fairly compact, giving city dwellers a reasonable car. Out of the cars here, it’s probably the most fun in the twisties, ties the Audi for the best exhaust note, and can function as a family car in a pinch. This particular example has some arguably negative modifications; honestly, I could do without the cheap BBS replica wheels, crashy FK coil-over suspension and louder exhaust. But at the price of this car, you could unload those items for stock pieces relatively easily and come away with a fairly cheap R32 – much cheaper than most hit the market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi S4 on eBay

Year: 2004
Model: S4
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 131,719 mi
Price: $9,000 Buy It Now

Car is in good condition, no rust, small dent the size of a credit card on the drivers door.

Original owner was my brother in-law. He purchased it new and sold it to me in 2013.

Engine was rebuilt in 2012. Have the paperwork to support it. Car runs great.

Like the R32, the B6 S4 has some negatives. First, I don’t think it’s the best looking S4 made, and also like the R32 it’s quite heavy. Further, the B6 and B7 4.2 V8s have quickly become known as problematic; the shortened V8’s chain drive being located at the firewall, necessitating removal to replace wearing guides. However, there are some positives; that means, if you find one that’s in good shape, they’re fairly cheap for the package you get – about half the going rate of equivalent E46 M3s. This one has a bunch of desirables; the 6-speed manual transmission is probably chief amongst those, but the 340 horsepower kicking out of the motor isn’t too shabby and the color combination is classic black over black. The X-factor is what was entailed in the engine rebuild in 2012; if it’s the guides and this car has a clean bill of health, at $9,000 it’s a pretty stunning deal.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 330xi on eBay

Year: 2003
Model: 330xi
Engine: 3.0 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 91,000 mi
Price: $9,495 Buy It Now

Excellent condition, looks great, runs like new, needs nothing, completely optioned out for this year. The only reason i am selling this car is because i have purchased a new BMW. There are about 4 or 5 sap marks on the hood that are barely noticeable unless looking for. May or may not buff out, haven’t bothered to try. Buyer is responsible for pick up.



Upgraded Harmon Kardon Premium Sound System (HK Sound)

Auxilary Input

Heated Seats (Cold Weather Package)

Ice cold A/C works great

Power Seats, Windows, Locks, Sunroof (Premium Package)

17 inch alloy wheels (exclusive for bmw 330, Premium Wheels)

3 door universal garage door opener

E46 Facelift : Upgraded led angel eye halo projector xenon headlights ($550 value)

35% tinted windows (not too dark)

recently all fluids changed from engine to rear end as well as other preventitive maintenance

Okay, I bet I’m sounding like a broken record here, but…I don’t think the E46 sedan is the best looking 3-series sedan. It’s a bit droopy, the rear clip doesn’t look quite right to me, and it seems to always be presented in rather uninspired colors. I suppose it’s funny that I think the E46 M3 is so great, but the 330 sedan looks so forgettable to me. Nevertheless, it’s a nice driving package with the classic inline-6 under the hood, in this case mated to a 5-speed manual. Believe it or not, finding manual xis to fit this comparison is more challenging than it probably should be; a fair amount are either too expensive or automatic. In any event, the condition of this car looks good and the headlight upgrade is innocuous enough. It would be nice to known what some of the preventative maintenance was, but overall this car is presented fairly well at a little under $10,000.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz E500 4Matic Estate on eBay

Year: 2004
Model: E500 4Matic Estate
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 120,746 mi
Price: $9,900 Buy It Now

2004 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 5.0L Wagon 4 Matic

2004 Mercedes E 500 Wagon 4MATIC (AWD) a very RARE 5.0 LT V8 Engine silver/Charcoal very well maintained and CLEAN CARFAX. It is a luxury station wagon with German engineering and numerous safety features.The back seats folds flat and you will have spacious cargo room.This is very clean wagon and well kept and very clean interior.With V8 engine very powerfull and peppy in its class.Four brand new tires ,books and both keys.For more inquiries please text or call AL at 214-850-3120.

Good luck

Not to further sound like a broken record, I actually think that the W211 was a serious improvement in looks over the W210. You weren’t expecting that, were you? Even more incredulous, I think the W211 is better looking than the cars that replaced it, the W212 with either face. This isn’t the first time that one of these E500s has popped up here, either – it may be the third, actually – but that’s a testament to the value you get from this basically top of the range, one generation old E-class estate. The 300 horsepower V8 may not be as potent as the S4, but it’s pokier than the BMW and you get acres of carrying space in the rear. Mileage is fairly reasonable and the condition looks good overall, though the photos of the interior are lacking in detail. My only complaint is the window tint, which looks far too dark and pronounced. At $9,900, it’s the newest and cheapest luxury wagon you can buy.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S on eBay

Year: 2004
Model: Cayenne Turbo S
Engine: 4.5 liter twin-turbocharged V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Mileage: 89,000 mi
Price: $12,995 Buy It Now


Fully loaded Turbo model in great condition, priced to sell at Connecticut’s highest volume pre-owned auto dealer! This 2004 Porsche Cayenne features a powerful Twin-turbocharged 4.5L V8 Engine, Automatic Transmission, All Wheel Drive, GPS Navigation System, Heated Leather Seats, Power Moonroof, Dual Zone Climate Control, Power Windows/Locks/Mirrors, Dual Memory Seats, CD Player, Cruise Control, Alloy Wheels, Remote Keyless Entry, and more. Another unbeatable value at A Better Way Wholesale Autos — call or visit us today!

Yes, it’s a Cayenne. Yes, it’s ugly. Yes, it’s over my self-imposed budget. And like the E500, it’s not the first time one’s appeared here. But bear with me for a moment, because this isn’t just any Cayenne. This isn’t even just any Cayenne Turbo. This is a full-blood Cayenne Turbo S, with 521 horsepower. That makes it – by far – the most powerful of this group (by almost 200 horsepower). It’s also the fastest, at 5.0 seconds to 60 m.p.h.. It’s also the only one that can really tow a load. Additionally, it’s the only with with a low-range gearbox – with proper tires, it really can function as an off-roader. And amazingly, it’s also the one with the lowest mileage of the group. So factor those things in, and I think the $2,000 premium justifies it’s inclusion into this group. Now, that said, would I want this super S.U.V.? I don’t think so; fears of massive implosion would keep me from ever being really happy behind the wheel. But it terms of sheer lunacy for your money, the Cayenne Turbo S is pretty hard to beat.

So who’s the winner? To me, my vote in this group goes to the S4 this round. It’s the cheapest, the second quickest, can carry a family of 4 (as long as they’re not too tall) plus luggage (as long as it’s not too much), has the legendary quattro drivetrain mated to the classic 6-speed manual with a sonorous V8 under the hood. I would question if those chain guides were replaced with the engine build; but even factoring repair down the road into the equation, it is still one heck of a performance package on a budget. Which would you choose?



  1. JCHouston
    JCHouston February 6, 2015

    A cousin of mine finally sold their Cayenne Turbo and claimed that it was a total POS. Any commenters on that subject?

    And, to stay on topic, out of the selection, I’d choose the Merc.

  2. cdnpaul
    cdnpaul February 6, 2015

    I’m leaning towards the Merc as well as my wife has been wanting a Merc wagon since Mr. & Mrs. Smith and this would be a lot cheaper than buying her a new A3 wagon when they come out later this year. I do need to do some research on reliability of these though.

  3. Brad
    Brad February 6, 2015

    Do not like interior of VW. Where are the fun interiors of yesteryear with special touches in the fabrics, like logos or whatever, etc? This is morose, a sea of monochrome. Do not like aftermarket wheels. I bet the stock ones were more attractive?

    At least the S4’s interior is not post-modern, as they are now, over-full of technology and shark-jumped at the expense of beautiful aesthetics — which once demanded beautiful woods de rigueur.

    I too think this BMW looks way better as a coupe, especially in a beautiful blue shade with a light interior.

    I too like this MB rather than ones before and after. I like this one for its wagon, engine. Don’t like operating room colors. Mom’s going to need to start taking “dolls” as she drives this every day, she’ll be so morose.

    Not sure about the Porsche. Again, morose colors. Seems like it’d be a fun drive?

  4. Bob
    Bob February 6, 2015

    Fo me it’s be the golf with the DSG, just a shame about the comedy suspension.

  5. Aaron
    Aaron February 7, 2015

    Pretty sure the Cayenne is a normal Turbo, not an S. The script on the rear isnt centered properly. Either that or it had some bad repair work on the rear tailgate.

  6. Howard S
    Howard S February 7, 2015

    The VW looks cartoonish with the suspension slammed and I am not fan of the DSG tranny so that’s out for me. The BMW also does nothing for me especially without the sport package. I am a big Audi fan and I love the S4, my guess is it’s been rode hard and put away wet, given the mods and the need for an engine rebuild so soon. Still, those S4’s are really fun cars and I would consider it. I love the Merc wagon. It’s the best of the lot for my money. As I have commented on this blog before, I like wagons, especially AWD wagons, they’re the anti SUV. Forget the Porsche. It’s already had 5 owners, the accident report says it was hit in the front and rear, damage to front and rear and sides, and disabled. The later model wheels look out of place, the maintenance alone would eat you out of house and home. I also agree with Aaron, I don’t think it’s a Turbo S. I’ll check in at Porsche and know for sure soon. The 5 owners and ridiculous maintenance to keep it on the road makes it silly to own.

  7. Howard S
    Howard S February 7, 2015

    Confirmed… Aaron is correct, the Cayenne is NOT a Turbo S its a base Turbo, sticker was $97k and change.

  8. Carter
    Carter February 7, 2015

    Great catch Howard and Aaron, thanks for the correction!

  9. Hotshoe
    Hotshoe February 8, 2015

    Cayenne Turbo S production started in model year 2006. Asking $13k or best offer is far below normal asking price for a Turbo S. Also the “Turbo S” interior script is missing below NAV screen.

  10. Hotshoe
    Hotshoe February 8, 2015

    Cayenne Turbo S production started in model year 2006. Asking $13k or best offer is far below normal asking price for a Turbo S. Also the “Turbo S” interior script is missing below NAV screen.

  11. Carter
    Carter February 8, 2015

    More good catches, thanks Hotshoe.

  12. Carter
    Carter February 18, 2015

    S4 sold at best offer below $9,000.
    E500 sold for $9,900.

Comments are closed.