Update 11/20/18: This Audi TT 180 Coupe quattro sold for $6,290.
In its first model year, the Audi TT was only available in one configuration – 180 horsepower Coupe. You could choose between quattro and FrontTrak drivetrains, but otherwise it was fairly limited. As a result, most outside of the Audi rings just referred henceforth to every single TT they saw as just that – a TT. But the naming convention was actually more complicated than that, as Audi steadily introduced more models and configurations for the small Golf-based sporty car. For 2001 came the Roadster model and the turned-up ‘225’ version of the TT which had…you guessed it! 225 horsepower from a massaged version of the transversely-mounted 1.8T. That remained the order of the day for a further two model years until the introduction of the 3.2 model. Although the 180 model continued right through the 2005 model year, this 2002 represents the end of the availability of the lower-horsepower motor with quattro all-wheel drive.
A few weeks ago I checked out a hilariously ostentatious 2014 Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG that literally could do almost everything. As head-shaking as the GL63 is, that thing just gets lost in the sea of all the super SUVs out there with 500 horsepower and 325 wide tires that get used, abused and discarded to the Buy-Here, Pay-Here lots of the world right as the warranty runs out. We can say that about a lot of these SUVs all the way back to one of the first super-SUVs to start this power war: the ML55 AMG. It has been a few years since I’ve taken a look at one, but the short of it is AMG borrowed the M113 5.4 V8 from the W210 E55 and somehow squeezed it into the short snout of the W163. They added some different bumpers and them some 285 wide tires to keep this thing from flipping over. It did 60 mph in under 6 seconds and was generally pretty stout outside of the common issues that plagued all W163s. Over 15 years later, these are becoming relatively rare thanks to just a few thousand ever made and well, the W163 not exactly being the most well-built machine ever. This 2002 up for sale in Florida seemed to dodge a life of abuse thanks to the just 16,300 miles on the odometer. Is it time to maybe think about snagging one of these?
Update 9/27/18: This G-Wagen sold for $17,366.89
Few things in this world are undefeated. The internet is one of them, taxes, death and then the ultimate final boss, mother nature. You can hide or try to fight it all you want, but the world very rarely has mercy on vehicles. Today’s vehicle, a 2002 Mercedes-Benz G500, was spared no mercy. Granted, this G-Wagen lives in the harsh climate of Quebec, Canada, but what this poor W463 turned into will make anyone scratch their head as to what happened. This brick on wheels has an extreme amount of rust to the point where there are holes the size of your fist in the body panels. These Gs have somewhere of a propensity to rust in some common areas, but I don’t understand how this G500 got this bad. As what it did for the value? I suppose not much.
I promise that this post wasn’t by design, but rather is completely a coincidence that it follows hot on the heels of the neat supercharged E34 540i 6-speed from yesterday. How do you possibly trump that potent hot rod? Well, starting with a M5 is probably a good bet.
If the E34 was a potent athlete, the E39 comes across as a consummate professional. It was immediately the new benchmark for sports sedans once again, and when BMW finally did make the call to bring a M5 to market they produced what many consider to be the definitive driver’s car in super sedan form. Whatever you had from the period, the M5 was just plain better. With 394 horsepower kicking out of is snorting S62 V8 and mated solely to a 6-speed manual transmission, it was hard to conceive how that package could possibly be improved upon.
That didn’t dissuade Steve Dinan, though. His S2 package fixed a car that wasn’t broken according to Car and Driver. Power was up to a massive 470 yet the car was still naturally aspirated. Bigger, better intake was met with bigger, better exhaust, and the whole package was kept up with bigger, better suspension and slowed down with bigger, better brakes. It was…well, bigger and better. 0-60 was dispatched in a tick over four seconds and it would do a standing quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds. These numbers won’t scare a Dodge Demon, granted, but are still really respectable today.
Of course, if “respectable” isn’t quite enough for you and you really need to surprise that Demon driver…
A little over a month ago I checked out a 2002 Mercedes-Benz E320 with an amazing 18,200 miles on it. I personally wasn’t so amazed by it because it was an average as a car gets. Yes, it was clean, but it didn’t have many options at all and actually had a few issues. Today, I have another W210 E-Class with low miles, but this one is the V8 E430. This E-Class with a little under 48,000 miles checks in from Costa Mesa, California but again, I’m not blown away with it for some reason. Maybe it’s just the terrible color again?
Typically, our ‘Roll the Dice’ features have been cars that are a bit of a gamble; little history is disclosed, there are no photos to show the car’s condition or no description, something’s odd about the example, it’s got a million miles…you get the point. Today’s S6 Avant is a bit of a different gamble, though.
To be fair, jumping in to any 15-odd year old German car today is somewhat of a leap into the unknown. You’re entering territory where the complicated electronics begin to fail, oil seeps from every joint of the motor and rattles permeate the body structure. Often, you’re left chasing the ghosts of deferred maintenance. Add up the number of things that could potentially go wrong on an older car and then cross reference the part costs, and you’ll quickly see the problem.
So what does that look like when we consider today’s S6 Avant? Well, if the seller is to be believed, in the past year they’ve spent $14,079 fixing this Audi. The last nice S6 Avant that I looked at sold for $13,000. You don’t have to be a math wiz to figure out that’s a bad deal. And that last nice S6 Avant was in much better condition than today’s model with only 50,000 miles on the clock.
So if you’re getting in to today’s car, you’re rolling the dice a bit that the $14,000 “invested” in this one has resolved all the problems. But there are positives, because the seller has opted for a no reserve auction format, and…oh yeah, it’s supercharged.
How much performance is enough? If we set aside the small percentage of drivers actually capable of exploiting any of the world’s supercars I’d imagine that bar was eclipsed long ago. I ask this mainly because my first thought upon seeing this 2002 Porsche 911 GT2 was, “why would you spend more?” Newer, more refined, more utility (maybe?): I can understand these aspects of upgrading. I also understand that in some cases it is the combination of performance and refinement that really drives prices higher. But I don’t know, this feels like a reality check of sorts.
Of course this GT2 isn’t exactly what we’d call inexpensive and if you can afford a toy like this, then the cost isn’t really that big a deal when it comes to searching out even more performance. If your goal is raw performance though, then for this money what else is out there that’s better?
Fairly often I feature special cars that have low miles on them. That’s to be expected because sometimes when people buy a car that isn’t run-of-the-mill, they don’t use it as a daily driver and try to keep the miles low. In turn, that theoretically should keep the value high when it comes to sell or maybe just to have the satisfaction of having a low mileage car. What I don’t see too often are cars that are ordinary in every way and meant to be used and thrown away that have really low miles on them. You can see where I’m going with this.
What I have today is a 2002 Mercedes-Benz E320 up for sale in Virginia with just 18,200 miles on it. This W210 is as bland and disposable as modern Mercedes come and this car doesn’t even have any special options or unique features. In fact, this E320 doesn’t even have heated seats. It’s painted in a bland color with a bland interior that blends in with the crowd with the best of them. You’d think the 18,200 miles would mean this car is pristine, but thanks to some typical W210 problems, time waits for no one. Not even cars that sit in garages for 15 years.
Audi’s interesting sales plan of S-cars in the early 2000s was, for U.S. fans, both good and disappointing at the same time. Mega models like the RS4 continued to be withheld from this side of the Atlantic just as the S2, RS2 and S6 Plus had been. The new generation of V8 powered S cars had yet to arrive, too; movies teased us of the slithering, nitrous oxide-boosted battering ram S8, and though the C5 chassis now sported the V8 in 2000, we had yet to see the S6.
But there were bright points. The B5 S4 was available as a sedan or Avant here, for the first time, in 2001 the flagship S8 arrived and after a wait until 2002, the S6 arrived in Avant form. And, only in Avant form, and only in automatic. You could complain about that for sure, but then the introduction at long last of an RS model – the twin-turbocharged RS6 – assuaged the loss of the regular S6 sedan for nearly everyone.
Once in a while, though, a S6 sedan pops up on this side of the Atlantic:
Last week I checked out a 2011 Mercedes-Benz E550 Coupe and broke down how even though Mercedes calls it an E-Class Coupe, it was about 80% W204 C-Class and 20% W212 E-Class. This isn’t a new thing as Mercedes has been doing this for a few generations now and today we have another example of this in a 2002 CLK55 AMG up for sale in South Carolina. This W208 looks like a W210 E-Class cosmetically, but under that metal is actually the chassis of the W202 C-Class. Inside, you have a small handful of parts from the W203 C-Class and many more parts unique just to the CLK55 and not from the brother of this car, the W210 E55 AMG. Once again, buyers of this car probably had no idea of all this and probably didn’t care all that much either. C’est la vie.