For U.S. Quattro fans, ’85 models are a bit special as they held numerous upgrades over the prior models. Like the rest of the Type 85/B2 lineup, those included revisions to the exterior, most notably the slanted grill and color matched spoiler, but also inside a new dashboard and revised seat fabric patterns. Like the ’84s, wheels were 8″ Ronals, and the more reliable fuse box was also carried over with the upgrades.
A few unique colors were offered on the ’85 up models, but since importation ended after one ’86 made it here, all colors are a bit special. Unique too was the headlight treatment, which had chrome aero bezels to match the grill. A total of only 73 of these upgraded 85s (plus the one 86) made it to the U.S., and they’ve pretty much always been the most sought of the scant 664 original Quattros sold here. This particular ’85 comes to market looking minty fresh in what appears to be Tornado Red.
Like the looks of the M2 CS but need four doors…and 180 horsepower more? That’s the recipe for BMW’s 2022 M5 CS, which sheds a claimed 230 lbs from the base M5 while upping horsepower to 627. To achieve the weight drop, the M5 CS utilizes carbon-fiber front seats, twin bucket rear seats in place of the standard bench, less sound insulation, and a carbon hood, front splitter, mirror caps, and rear valance. Also included in the $143,000 base price are forged 20″ wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, revised suspension tuning, and gold/bronze details. It all pulls together for a pretty slick package – if you can afford it. And today’s limited-edition one isn’t hitting the auction circuit anywhere close to sticker. Let’s take a look:
No, you’re not reading that incorrectly.
While US Volkswagen Sciroccos were sold as base or slightly upscale Wolfsburg Edition trim, in Europe there were up to five trim levels – the base CL, the slightly nicer GL and GT models (which got you fog lights, nicer upholstery, alloy wheels, and a five-speed manual gearbox), or the top-tier GLi and GTi models. Like the original GTi, this got you special trim, a higher-compression 1.6-liter engine with fuel injection, a close-ratio five-speed transmission, vented disc brakes, and front and rear anti-sway bars. We didn’t get a full-on performance model of the Scirocco until the 16V, so it’s neat to see one of these imported:
This 8N sold for $9,350 on November 10, 2021.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the VAG 1.8 liter turbocharged motor was the go-to motor for the company in the late 90s and early 00s. It appeared nearly everywhere in the U.S.; the Golf, Jetta, GTI, GLI, Passat, Beetle, Audi A4, and Audi TT all received the forced-induction unit. And that was just in the U.S.; go to Europe, and you’d find many more models (the A6 and Sharan) and even other companies (VAG’s Skoda and SEAT) with the venerable motor. They were used in race series like Formula Palmer as well. You’d also be forgiven for thinking they were all the same – however, a pause for thought would tell you they couldn’t be. First off, there were the drive train configurations; the Golf-based variants have their engines mounted transversely, while the Audi A4-based cars have them longitudinally. Then there is the output that was available from the factory; the 1.8T started with 150 horsepower in the early 1990s and ended with 240 horsepower in the highest output TT Sport. The natural assumption would be to think they had just turned up the boost, but in fact there were a host of changes to the higher horsepower motors to help sustain the increased pressure.
There are, in fact, no less than 13 distinct versions of the 1.8T from that generation. All shared the same basic structure; cast iron block, 20 valve head with a single turbocharger; but details including injection, crank, computers and engine management and breather systems vary in between each of the models. The Audi TT was the only one to offer various engine outputs here; available in either 180 horsepower or 225 horsepower versions, the later of which was pared with a 6-speed manual and Haldex viscous-coupling all-wheel drive. Though heavy, they were nonetheless sprightly thanks to the turbocharged mill. I’ve said for some time now that I think these will eventually be more collectable as they were an important part of the development of the company, yet few remain in good shape. Were I going to get one, I’d opt for one of the 2002 special edition coupes; the ALMS edition, launched to celebrate the American Le Mans Series victory by Audi’s R8 race car. Available in two colors, Misano Red with extended Silver Nappa leather or Avus Silver Pearl with Brilliant Red Nappa leather, they were mostly an appearance package but also received special 18″ ‘Celebration’ alloys and were limited to 500 examples each:
Tired of outrageous G-Wagen pricing but need a huge, powerful, and ostentatious SUV in your life? BMW has the answer for you…sort of. Their Alpina partnership has now extended to the X7, and the result is what we see here – the XB7. The Alpina-tuned 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 is up to 612 horsepower in these beasts, and of course they had their hand at reprogramming the transmission, fiddling with the suspension, installing their own trim, and popping on massive wheels. This one is a gorgeous color, too – Ametrin Metallic, an extra cost option. Full of electronics, a few optional extras, and grand in scale, I bet you assume that this one would be priced in line with the Gs on the market; but no, it’s a lot more affordable, surprisingly.
Defying the odds and most aspects of common sense, a group of fans out there still loves, maintains, and drives Audis from the 1980s and 1990s. Why is this so outrageous? Well, first off, there just aren’t many left. Audi never really broke many sales records here in the US. When we look at this car’s model year, Audi sold about 18,000 cars in total – helped in no small margin by the early launch of the A4. Between 1991 and 1994, Audi averaged only about 13,000 cars per a year. To give us some perspective on that, let’s look at Ford’s F-Series trucks. Even in the midst of pandemics, global parts and labor shortages, and inflation, Ford has managed to move between 45,000 and 84,000 F-Series trucks from showrooms each month of 2021. But that’s the Ford truck, you say, not a luxury car. Fair enough. Let’s look at the least popular Volkswagen on offer – the Passat sedan. Volkswagen is on track to sell more of those here this year than Audi sold total cars in 1995, and they’ve already outsold the ’91-94 years by a safe margin with two months to go.
The secondary part of the problem is Audi’s insistence that we don’t need parts for our 25+ year old cars. It’s not that Audi doesn’t make said parts – they do, and sell them through Audi Tradition. And judging by their recent partnership with Ken Block, Audi’s interested in showing off its historical cars here in America. But they refuse to sell you parts to fix them.
This means, of course, that enthusiasts are left to fend for themselves, creating groups of faithful fans that buy, trade, and sell parts amongst themselves, tricks and tips, and…of course…really good examples for sale that pop up. So let’s dive in to this late-production Magnolia S6 Avant:
I’ve looked at a few W12s previously, but they’ve all been the Volkswagen variant – the ill-fated Phaeton, which still amazes me:
2005 Volkswagen Phaeton W12
Well, Audi also had a run of W12s. This started with the D2 chassis in the early 2000s, but also continued on in what we see here – the D3. Luxury and power were pretty impressive; granted, it was not S65 AMG powerful, but the 6.0L W12 still chucked out 450 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. The D3 was also some 600lbs lighter than the Phaeton, so though it was a tad bigger it was also quicker by a fair margin. You got all the normal luxuries of the long-wheelbase A8 as well, and they bathed the interior in a sea of leather and electronic gizmos. Adaptive air suspension, 19″ wheels, adaptive cruise control, massaging, heated, and ventilated seats; it all added up to one slick – and expensive – package, as the W12 had a $120,000 base price. Not many were sold, so let’s take a look at this one for sale up in Canada:
The black A1 GTI sold for $11,500 on October 30, 2021.
While not the fastest or the prettiest car Volkswagen ever made, the GTI represents the ethos of VW’s 1980s philosophy of cheap, fun-to-drive, and eminently practical cars for consumers. As they did when new, the first generation GTI also represented a car which gave much faster cars a run for their money. True, the 90 horsepower under the hood won’t scare a supercar. But what this car lacks in straight-line performance it more than makes up for in value.
You see, over the past few years we’ve watched the fan-favorites and driver’s cars from the 1980s increasingly price themselves out of the range of most enthusiasts. The esoterics are also forged in unobtanium today, and while there was a period where you could snap up cheap 80s products in Europe and import them, they’re going away, too. Sure, the M3 and 911 led the charge, but today a clean 190E 2.3-16 or Quattro will set you back some serious bucks. And then when you do get one, you need to worry about collector insurance, expensive and hard-to-source parts and whether you bought in a bubble.
The solution is still the giant-killer GTI. Find a clean one, and you’ll have a car that can be driven at 10/10ths still today and generate plenty of smiles, yet is relatively cheap to buy and very cheap to run. You’ll get thumbs up just like the 911 driver will. Maybe even more, honestly, because when was the last time you saw an A1 cruising around? Today I have two possibilities, from wild to mild. Which would you choose?
Let’s say you really want an Audi R8 but you’re short….pretty much all of the $100k or more it’ll run you to buy an Audi R8:
2012 Audi R8 GT quattro Coupe
Well, someone created a potential solution. This enterprising person took a right-hand-drive Toyota MR2 – famed to be one of the best and cheapest mid-engine rides out there – and created their own. Sorta. Let’s take a look at this FrankenAudyota:
Volkswagen of America’s new “Fahrvergnügen” sales campaign in the early 1990s was, while a marketing ploy and a totally made up neologism, underscoring sporty changes at Volkswagen. The more serious 2.0 16V GTI I’ve already covered recently, but the same motor was available in the more fun-to-drive Passat here, too. Then there was the Corrado, which while it only had 8 valves sported a supercharger. You could that that G60 in the Passat in Europe, too.
Volkswagen’s popular smaller sedan had a healthy dose of upgrades though, too. In ’89, the Jetta GLI 16V had a special Wolfsburg Edition which had added the deeply bolstered Recaro Trophy seats and BBS RA alloys. These were color-matched to the Helios Blue Metallic paint outside. The seats and BBS wheels would carry over for the 1990 model year, but like the GTI the Jetta received the new 9A 2.0 16V and revised bumper/trim of all the A2s. Brakes were updated to 10.1? and dual tailpipes emerged from the new ‘big bumper’ A2 refresh. Central locking and a cassette player were standard, while you could opt for many power options including windows, mirror, anti-lock brakes, trip computer, cruise control and of course a sunroof.
Although the package was essentially quite similar to the GTI, I’ve never quite taken to the 2.0 GLI 16V in the same way. But it’s still very nice to see a clean example hit the market: