If you follow these pages, it goes without saying that I’m a pretty strong Ingolstadt devotee. My first car was an Audi 4000CS quattro and since then I’ve owned an absurd 9 models along the way. But that doesn’t mean I buy everything from the company hook, line and sinker. Indeed, I’ve been less than impressed with many of the newer models. Sure, sometimes they look slick, go like stink or are really pretty inside. But would I want to own one? In most cases, no – outside of a few very select models, I don’t really desire to own much post ‘Y2K’.
One exception to that rule – and it’s literally and figuratively a huge exception – is the S8. Everything about this car was just spot on to me. In an age when increasingly the offerings from the competition were unattractive and overly complicated, the S8 was to me the last of the great original quattros. It was an analog offering in a digital age; simple, blunt force from a 360 horsepower V8 in front driving all the wheels with a luxurious driver-oriented cockpit. Sure, there were plenty of computers. Probably there are too many. But compared to the new luxo-suites? The D2 seems downright cart-like. And the proportions of the car were just perfect; lowered, menacing stance, huge yet delicate-appearing wheels, just the right amount of bling, yet an understated car which easily fades into the background. So even though I’m still probably a long way from ownership, I often find myself dreaming about being behind the wheel of one.
The pool of candidates that remain is beginning to dwindle; the newest of the D2 S8s are now 16 years old and parts are already getting hard to source. Getting into an enthusiast owned one is the way to go at this point, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’ll break the budget:
A few weeks ago I took a look at a 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo that was totally normal on outside, but then when you opened the doors things took a left turn. Judging by the comments, I wasn’t alone on this thought. Surprisingly, it sold for nearly $52,000, which I think is a premium for a 2002 Turbo, but it did have only 29,000 miles on it. Today, I came across another 996 Turbo, but as you might have noticed the unusual color is on the outside this time. This 2001 up for sale in New York is painted in Forest Green Metallic and shows nearly 65,000 miles. Problem is, it is much more expensive than the car from a few weeks ago.
Audi brought the S4 Avant to the United States for the first time in 2001. It joined the sedan lineup and offered a follow-up to the large chassis S6 Avant from 1995. This was actually the second S4 Avant, as Europeans had enjoyed the C4-based creation in the early 90s. Audi’s renaming convention therefore created a successor to the B4-based S2 Avant. Instead of the traditional inline-5 motivation, though, Audi had developed a new 2.7 liter version of its V6. With a K03 turbocharger strapped to each side, the APB produced 250 horsepower at 5800 rpms and 258 lb.ft of torque at only 1850 revs. Like all the B5s, Audi’s new generation of ‘quattro’ used a T2 Torsen center differential and relied upon an electronic rear differential utilizing the ABS sensors. The B5 chassis used the same technology on the front differential as well and was capable of independently braking each front wheel to try to sort the car out through its dynamic stability program.
But the real fun was that it was available as an Avant and with a 6-speed manual. Just over 1,500 were claimed imported between 2001 and 2002’s model years, with about 600 of those being Tiptronic equipped. LY9B Brilliant Black was the second most popular color ordered behind Light Silver Metallic, and this particular Avant is one of 183 Brilliant Black (out of 850 total) manuals brought in for the 2001 model year:
If I’m honest, neither the outrageous Passat W8 nor the overpriced A4 Avant from Sunday really thrilled in the same way as the 2.7T-swapped B6 Ultrasport build did. Granted, you could just about buy both the Audi and the Passat for the same price as that build, but if you’re going to take on a complicated older fast wagon, there must be some sort of reward for all the risk, right?
Well, not to be outdone, here’s a stellar BMW option. The standard 325xi Touring, while available with a 5-speed manual, isn’t nearly as exotic sounding or performing as the duo from the other day. The M54 2.5 liter inline-6 was about 100 horsepower down on the Passat W8 and they weighed pretty close to the same. BMW also chose to not equip any of the xi models with the M-Sport suspension, either. While the 3-series was substantially cheaper than either the A4 2.0T S-Line Titanium package or the Passat W8 4Motion, out of the box it also didn’t feel as special.
Of course, if you rip it apart and rebuild it with a S54 borrowed from a M3 and a 6-speed from a X3, the story changes a bit…
I swear I am not on some kind of mission to find every six-wheeled Mercedes-Benz SUV out there â€” either factory or homemade. Somehow I tend to bump into them out of no where and they are often too unique or interesting to pass up. Today’s vehicle, a 2001 ML320 6×4 up for sale in Central England, qualifies as awfully interesting. As the title states, this W163 is still only a four-wheel drive and not six-wheel drive but that doesn’t make it any less crazy to look at. It looks like they grabbed the fenders, or custom-made them, from the ML55 AMG to cover the massive tires on all three axles. Although that isn’t even the craziest thing they fabricated up to get this ML to look this way.
The Audi S8 is, at its heart, just about the opposite of beige. Beige is neutral, calming, blends into its surroundings to the point where it becomes less a color and more a sickly feeling. None of those ideas represent the D2. It is beautifully sculpted and built, exhilarating to drive and listen to, distinctive in its presence. Yet, in many ways, it’s also a car not befitting the brilliant Solar Orange I just looked at. So perhaps the Melange Metallic of this 2001 is the perfect tone?
There’s something else odd about beige S8s. Amazingly, several of the best I’ve seen in recent years have been draped in blah. The Canvas Beige Metallic 2002 with a scant 13,000 miles was certainly one of, if not the best, used D2s on the market recently. I believe it’s the same car that recently sold on Bring A Trailer for $25,200 with 23,000 miles. Since there were only five imported in that color combination, the odds of there being another seem improbably low. Then there was the ’01 in Melange I looked at back in 2016. With 54,000 miles on the clock it looked near perfect. Well, here’s another Melange Metallic 2001 with 55,600 miles:
Here we have a Zanzibar Red 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe. I have seen Zanzibar in the flesh only once. It’s quite rare, but I think it’s a wonderful color. The German version of its name is Orangerot perleffekt. It’s a somewhat complicated combination though does describe the color pretty well. As the name implies the color is an orange-red blend that has the added effect of pearlescent metallic that Porsche has utilized with a few different colors and especially in the ’90s. I suppose it’s kind of like if we took the old Blood Orange/Tangerine from the ’70s and then gave it some sparkle to somewhat diminish its overall showiness. On a 996TT it looks pretty electric!
I was scrolling through the Excellence Magazine classifieds and it seemed mostly typical. A lot doesn’t stand out and there was a lot that I had seen previously. I started to notice that there were a number of interesting cars available from Bologna, Italy. That seemed a little random. The cars were nice, but for the most part they weren’t really standing out to me given the high prices being asked. And suddenly I saw this one and stopped dead.
Ok, so the high price hasn’t changed, but I’d bet it’s near impossible to look through a list of Porsches and not take especial notice of this 2001 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe. The color is listed as paint-to-sample Gelb Orange – meaning yellow-orange or perhaps amber orange. As far as I know it isn’t one of Porsche’s official offerings. I have never seen nor heard of it. It’s not quite Signal Orange nor Signal Yellow. The orange hue is a bit deeper than we see with Signal Yellow, but not quite as pronounced as Signal Orange. It sits almost squarely between the two.
Signal Yellow is my favorite Porsche color. It looks amazing on just about any 911 from any period. While it’s not fair to judge based off of a single car, I might actually like this one better.
It seems appropriate to follow yesterday’s S8 with this model. In just a few years, Audi went from only one S model with very limited production imported in the C4 S6 to three models. Top of the range was the S8, but it shared its running gear and sonorous V8 in a slightly detuned state with the new C5 S6. For Audi enthusiasts, though, big news came with the launch of the new S4.
It was unrelated to the first S4 because of Audi’s renaming strategy in 1995. That meant that the new S4 was based on the small chassis B5, and U.S. enthusiasts finally got a taste of Audi’s M3 competitor. Performance came in the form of a new 2.7 twin-turbocharged V6 30V and was mated to either a 5-speed Tiptronic transmission like its bigger siblings or a 6-speed manual. Like other B5s, the S4 made use of the 4th generation of quattro technology driving all four wheels. This utilized a Torsen center differential with open front and rear differentials, both of which employed the ABS sensors to electronically ‘lock up’ the slipping wheels when a speed differentiation was detected. Like other S models, some light revisions to the bodywork and more pronounced exhaust were present, along with polished mirrors and 17″ Avus-design wheels. Most notable was the large front bumper cover with 6 gaping grill covers which hid the twin intercoolers for the motor. With 250 horsepower and 295 lb.ft of torque, you had an all-weather 155 mph warrior. And, it was available as an Avant:
After looking at my favorite Pullman ever, I thought I’d circle back and check out another one of my favorite Pullmans that is still for sale. This W220 has a new price of $46,888, which is a $13,000 reduction from the price a year ago. Find it here.
Finally. After so many times looking at aftermarket limousine conversions (with questionable build quality) on Mercedes I finally found a real factory Pullman. This is a 2001 S500 Pullman six seater with the AMG Advanced Mobile Media System. And here this whole time you thought AMG was just good at making cars that burn tires. This is a fully mobile office computers, desks, live televisions, DVD players and 43 kbps internet service. Well, maybe stick to your smartphones for the internet service. But this car is a great example how well a limo can be done with the right materials and planning. Lets check it out.