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If yesterday’s mellow yellow 323Ci wasn’t the sunshine you’d like to see, how about something a bit more brilliant in design and presentation? I have to say the fascination with BMW wagons and their ensuing high prices sometimes perplexes me, as Audi offered a sporty, manual, all-wheel drive Avant that is great looking, reliable and long-lived and will make you feel pretty special. That’s especially so when it’s optioned in one of the more rare shades available on the B5; in this case, LY1B Brilliant Yellow. I’m sure there will be claims that, like Pelican Blue and Tropical Green, these Easter colors make the jelly bean shaped A4 a bit too festive, but personally I love the look of this Avant:
They have a reputation for being a bit heavy, underpowered and prone to understeer – all things that make track enthusiasts cringe. But let’s not forget that the B5 Audi A4 carried on a proud tradition of successful touring cars; it was entered into nearly every series and notably won a few championships – the ’95 and ’96 Italian Superturismo Championship and the ’96 British Touring Car Championship, besting the popular favorites BMW and Alfa-Romeo. Such was the continued dominance of the quattro drive system that in every successive championship the Audis were entered in, they were eventually banned from the series. But the resurgence of Audi to the forefront of Touring Cars proved to be a boost for sales of the popular B5 chassis, making it an instant favorite amongst fans who traveled to the track. While Audi changed priorities in the later ’90s from the BTCC and ITC, there were nonetheless several teams who ran examples of the A4, notably in the “World Challenge” sanctioned by SCCA. With liveries inspired by the classic A4 Super Touring, the more production-based A4 World Challenge gained mostly safety equipment and competed in the lower “Touring” class against the likes of the Acura Integra and BMW 325i, while after 2001 the S4 was introduced to run with the big boys. While not nearly as fast or special as the STW A4s which carry unique Audi Sport chassis numbers, an example of these lesser A4s captures the look at a fraction of the price:
For the best part of two decades, Audi’s signature color was one of its most expensive options. On some models, in fact, Pearlescent White Metallic was the only optional extra you could select. From the original Quattro to the top tier S8, Audi bathed its most expensive models in the multi-stage dynamic paint color. As with most used older Audis, they’re all fairly affordable and offer – generally each in their own way – good value for the initial investment they represent. If you want to maximize the amount of German car you get for your money, look no further. Today I’ve arranged to look at a series of them, ranging from nearly the beginning to the end of the run. Which is your favorite and why?