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Category: Audi

Winter Beater: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant

Even though Fall has just crept into our lives, it’s not too early to start thinking about what this winter will look like. While my son has been convinced that global warming will mean that our New England outlook will be more like Florida’s forecast this year, the reality is that…well, it won’t. So why not consider a winter beater to survive the (lack of) roads around here?

Today’s 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant is, you’ll know if you follow these pages, quite a rare bird. Unfortunately, it’s seen better days in New England along its 272,000-mile journey, and consequently it’s rusty, crusty, and a bit worse for wear. But it’s got some neat engine upgrades that are keeping the ticker ticking – plus those knarly three-spoke wheels! So let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

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1990 Audi 200 Turbo

So synonymous with the Audi brand is the all-wheel drive moniker “quattro” that you’d be forgiven for assuming that the brand didn’t offer two-wheel drive vehicles in the same vein as Subaru. But before quattro fully gained traction, Audi’s bread and butter was the front-wheel-drive market and they produced some great examples. In part, that was because unlike most other modern platforms that copied the Mini’s transverse engine configuration, in the 1980s and forward to the Golf-based Audi built their platforms to accept the rearward heading drive shaft which necessitated a longitudinal engine configuration. While this pushed the engine weight farther forward than most other front-wheel drive packages, it also balanced power delivery and the driving experience in all of the non-quattro Audis in the 80s was remarkably sprite. Models like my favorite Coupe GT have gained a popular following as great drivers, but the large sedans – especially in turbo configuration – are less frequently seen. This is one of the last made – the 1990 Audi 200 Turbo:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Audi 200 Turbo on eBay

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2005 Audi A8L W12 quattro

About a year ago, I took a look at the top of the heap for Audis in the early 2000s – the A8 W12.

2009 Audi A8L W12 quattro

With a sticker price of roughly $120,000, they were about five times more expensive than an A4 1.8T quattro. For that, you got more room, more luxury, and more power – 450 horsepower, to be exact. Standard luxuries were also impressive; Audi’s MMI system, 16-way power front seats trimmed in Valcona leather upholstery and equipped with massage elements and ventilation, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, Bose surround sound, polished wood trim, powered rear side window shades, heated front and rear seats…essentially, this was a Swiss ski resort that could move pretty quickly – to the Swiss ski resort. Today’s car also had some pricey options; the $2k adaptive cruise control system, 20″ wheels, a solar sunroof, and a special interior and full leather upgrade.

Last year’s example came to market with 60k miles and a $68k asking price – pretty hard to justify in my mind. Today’s car? Well, let’s say it’s been well used, but it still looks good. What does the high-mileage discount equate to?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 Audi A8L W12 on eBay

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2003 Audi RS6

From the end of the C3 chassis we looked at the other day to the launch of the C5 was just a scant 7 years. The styling was evolutionary and instantly recognizable, but the C5 really broadened Audi’s offerings in the U.S. market. Building on the success of the A4, Audi launched not only the normal sedan and wagon offerings, but the return of the S6 and introduction of new 2.7T performance models, along with the Volvo-challenging Allroad.

The pinnacle of the C5 was, of course, the twin-turbocharged all-wheel drive version you see here built by Audi’s skunkworks, quattro GmbH. With assistance from VAG-owned Cosworth Engineering, the resulting BCY motor cranked out a peak 444 horsepower at 5,700 rpms and an impressive 415 lb.ft of torque between 1,950 rpms and 5,600 revs. The body, brakes, wheels and suspension were all upgraded by quattro GmbH too, with plenty of technology incorporated to transfer the power to the ground and keep the RS6 planted. Though it was saddled with an automatic transmission only and tipped the scales at a massive 4,050 lbs, the tenacious all-wheel drive, computer programming and massive power resulted in a 4.4 second 0-60 sprint, besting both the contemporary M5 and E55 AMG. The RS6 had 14.4″ front brakes, dynamic ride control, and meaty 255-section Pirelli P-Zeros to control that speed. Lowered ride height, flared sills and fenders and giant gaping intakes and exhaust along with signature honeycomb grills set the stage for how these cars have looked since.

The first RS model imported to the U.S., Audi expected to sell 860 at nearly $80,000 a pop. But they didn’t. They sold more, such was the demand, with an estimated 1,200 making the journey to North America. But as with basically all complicated, fast older German cars, they’re not worth what they were new, making them very tempting in the used marketplace. And there are a lot of used RS6s out there to choose from at any given time – currently, there are 10 available just on eBay. The thing is, you should avoid most of them. But not this one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

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2001 Audi S4 Avant

I’ve noticed an interesting trend over the past few months – vehicles shipped to a Latin American country and then restored. Perhaps this points to a larger issue in the US – specialized work on cars has become very expensive, and far fewer shops are undertaking projects for “average” enthusiasts. Today’s car, a US-spec S4 Avant, is claimed to have been shipped to Puerto Rico and restored. It sure looks good from what is shown, and it has a lot of modifications that should make it seriously quick. Is it worth a roll of the dice?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

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