Back in September 2021, I took a look at a very pricey and pretty rare Audi A8 – the W12 long-wheelbase model:
2009 Audi A8L W12 quattro
Well, if you wanted a more affordable version of this car, which stickered at an eye-watering (at least for Audi) $120,000 base price, you could get the still pretty punchy 4.2 model. These rang in some $50,000 less than the W12, but still offered 350 horsepower on tap, the same looks, and most of the same luxuries. You could opt in for some nice equipment, as well – including the Sport Package. It cost $4,000, but it gave you a lot of equipment…20″ Seven double-spoke alloy wheels with 275/35 R20 summer performance tires, adaptive air suspension, and a three spoke multifuction leather sport steering wheel with shift paddles. The $3,300 Premium Package added in parking assistance, window shades, and a power trunk functions, and this one was also ordered with four-zone climate control – on top of the plethora of standard features. For a bit under $80,000, then, you had a really impressive looking sedan with a boatload of space and luxury. What do these set you back today?
The 1984 Audi 4000S quattro is a bit of a unique beast. Though it appeared for all intents and purposes identical to the 4000S Limited Edition from the same year, underneath the two shared little in common. Indeed, when you lifted the covers much more of the quattro model was shared with its bigger brother, the exotic Quattro – the so-called ‘Ur-Quattro’ by fans. Herein lies part of where things get confusing in Audi history, since the actual development mules for the boxflared rally wonder utilized the 4000 (née 80). You could make a pretty convincing argument that the small sedan was the original, but that’s neither here or there at this point and is generally semantics (though, it’s occasionally nice to splash the waters of reality on enthusiast’s ill-informed fires of unshakable belief). Whoever was technically first, there’s no denying that the 4000/80 model brought the idea of permanent all-wheel drive to a much more affordable market of rally-bred enthusiasts who eagerly snapped up the roughly 4,500 examples of the first year model. Radical-looking changes came for the 1985 model year with a thorough refresh, and there are those who love both generations with equal aplomb. Admittedly, I’m a fan of the post-’85 models, sometimes referred to as the ‘sloped grill’ cars. But you don’t have to go far to find fans of the more square ’84 model. One reader of ours tasked me with the goal a few years back of keeping an eye out for a clean ’84. Easy, right? Not so fast!
To this point, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the E39 M5 referred to as the “first of the robot-builts”. Sound ridiculous? So does dismissing a car because it was produced in mass quantities. While the original run of 4- and 6-cylinder M-cars got the trend rolling, there are quite a few who’d argue that the recipe of the super-saloon was better achieved in the third generation M5 rather than the first two. It was still very understated, yet with nearly 400 horsepower and instant torque it was quite a bit faster than the prior generations had been. It retained the ability to demolish back roads, keep up with super cars, and bath its occupants in luxury. Despite not being assembled ‘by hand’, it was also the last of the “analogue” M5s, with limited computer intervention and interface. And, they only came as manuals. This certainly sounds like a recipe for success.
It was. BMW sold nearly 10,000 E39 M5s in North America – triple the combined total of the E28 and E34 models. So there should be a lot of really great examples out there to consider, and there are. Today’s car has moderate mileage and comes from early in the production run, but it still looks great and won’t cost you an arm and a leg – both of which you’ll need, since it doesn’t drive or shift itself:
I recently looked at a string of Corrados – from a crazy supercharged SLC to a G60 model, with a bit of European 16V thrown in for good measure.
But your best bet if you really want one of these in terms of driving experience and collectibility is probably a mostly stock VR6. If you’re willing to accept one with more miles, they really don’t need to break the bank, either. Let’s check out this 1992 model. ’92 was an interesting year for the Corrado in the US, as it was the last of the G60 and introduced the VR6. Both had BBS wheels, but the G60’s had a nice stepped lip, while the SLCs were more flush. Since they had different bolt patterns, they’re not interchangeable, but I’ve always thought the G60’s wheels looked a bit better than the ones we see here.
Go big or go home.
That’s all I can think when I see this E38, which was already…well, pretty big. But it’s somehow been made bigger by the addition of a supercharger, a 6-speed manual transmission conversion, and a bunch of other mods – including SSR wheels, a Brembo big brake kit, Bilstein suspension, and an iDrive retrofit. Why? Well, it was run in the One Lap of America competition, for one thing, but it’s also been to Germany and run around the Nürburgring. “Epic” is often misused in our culture today, but it somehow seems fairly fitting for this E38:
This E28 sold for $8,800 on March 23, 2022.
Back in September 2021, I took a look at a strange situation – what appeared to be an Agate Green Metallic M535i stuck in the midst of a buy-here, pay-here lot full of modern cars:
1986 BMW M535i
Well, the image above should tell you we have something similar again. Maybe this is a thing? Perhaps, though while this appears to be the same dealer, this time the car is not quite the same. It is a European-specification model, but while I wasn’t sure if that one was a real M535i last time around because there was no VIN supplied, we have a VIN on today’s car and it’s a DC31 model – meaning it’s not an M535i (which were DC51, 61, 71, or 81 in LHD). It is wearing the M Technic body kit and some pretty wild offset BBS RZs it appears, so let’s take a look at what you are getting:
If you were hoping to jump into the E46 M3 world…well, now’s not a super great time to do so. Top examples are fetching over $90,000, and even just “really nice” ones are in the $40-$50k range suddenly. If you want to have the M3 experience for less money; you need to narrow your focus to include one of two things – the much-hated and broadly misunderstood SMG, or a convertible.
Today’s car is obviously the latter of the two, but it’s got a manual gearbox. The fun doesn’t end there, as it’s one of my favorite color combinations – Oxford Green Metallic over Cinnamon leather upholstery. Someone even threw a set of the super-cool 19″ Fuchs-made Style 67s on it, and boy does it look good. Does it break the bank?
If I’m honest, while I really like the R8…were I going to spend $100k on an Audi, it would be something a bit older and that would stand out. Can anything stand out much more than this car?
That’s right, this is claimed to be a one-of-one Rubystone RS4 Avant, and for good measure it’s got only 25,000 miles. It also seems to be a bit upgraded with lowered suspension and AP Racing calipers. But while the RS4 Andrew looked at seemed to be a good deal, this one…well, it’ll cost you.
After a few of not-so-nice or fake R8s, I thought I’d take a look at one you might actually consider buying. Now, jumping into the R8 world is not particularly cheap, but relative to the 911 markets these are still fairly affordable for what is otherwise a borderline supercar. Take today’s 7-year-old example. It’s got stunning looks highlighted by the Somoa Orange Metallic paint – but it rings in under $100k. And though it looks a lot like the GT model I looked at in 2021, it’s also $40k cheaper but still has some neat options. So let’s take a peek:
Following the launch of the revised “Clipper” bodywork on the Cabriolet in 1988, Volkswagen divided the model into three different tiers. The base spec was just “Cabriolet”; move up a notch and you got you alloy wheels and sportier front seats with the “Best Seller” model. The top of the range was the “Boutique” model; these incorporated many of the details of the Wolfsburg models that came before. You got 14″ Avus (Snowflake) alloys, which if you ordered white as a body color were keyed to match and leather upholstery.
This changed late in the run, as Volkswagen boiled the Cabriolet lineup down to two models; the Cabriolet and the Cabriolet Classic. In their final model year, both were also badged as “Collector’s Edition”, which can get confusing. The difference between the two models was that the Classic was slightly higher specification; you got air conditioning, heated front seats, forged “La Castellet” wheels, and leather upholstery – though you could opt in the air conditioning on the base Cabriolet. Today’s car appears to be a nice Classic model that’s undergone a full interior placement: