For fans of the GTI, the 4th generation offered a few “greatest hits” editions for the model. The first to launch was the 2001 “25th Anniversary Edition”, built to commemorate a quarter century of hot Volkswagen hatches – in Europe, at least. Since the GTI wasn’t launched in the U.S. until 1983, a “18th” anniversary wouldn’t have made much sense here. However, what was basically the 25th Anniversary Edition was brought here in 2002. The “337” Edition ran in 2002 with Votex bodywork and great BBS RC wheels, along with a cozy set of Recaro seats. Only 1,250 were sold out fairly quickly, so in 2003 Volkswagen continued the greatest hits parade with the release of the nearly identical 20th Anniversary Edition. Each was numbered and a total of 4,200 were made, each now available in three colors and with OZ-made Aristo wheels in place of the BBSs as well as different interior fabric over the same Recaro seats. They were popular new and have remained the Mk.4 to get outside of the R for the past 15 years:
Once in a while, a truly special package comes along and is seemingly gone in the blink of an eye. The TT RS was that package for Audi, marrying the fantastic 8J chassis with the outrageous 2.5 liter turbocharged inline-5 and a 6-speed manual. With 360 horsepower on tap driving all wheels and a sticker price below $60,000, it was Audi’s answer to the BMW 1M, and it was a good one. Though the driving experience perhaps wasn’t as “pure” as the Munich monster, the TT RS was a potent alternative that was on par with the competition, if not better. It was a Porsche killer at a fraction of the price.
But it was short lived, only being available for the 2012 and 2013 model years. On its way out, around 30 of the RSs were handed over to Audi Exclusive. Painted special Nimbus Grey Pearl Effect and optioned with the bi-color leather interior, they were also heavily optioned with the Titanium Exhaust package treatment which came with the titanium exhaust, black optics grill and titanium “Rotor” wheels. A special “RS” shift knob was also present, and the total package (which included the Tech Package, as well) upped the sticker price to over $70,000. Today you can have a basically new one for a seeming steal at some $20,000 less:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 Audi TT RS Exclusive on eBay
A generation ago, 350 horsepower was pretty impressive. In some packages, it still is, but in the top-tier luxury sports cars executives expect 350 plus horsepower from the base models. As you travel up the ladder to the really impressive models that will get everyone to look, it’s now a staggering 550 horsepower that is the benchmark. When considering what were supercars back in the 1970s, the proverb seems to be that a brand-new stock Camry or Accord would out accelerate them. But when we considering this RS7 and the cars like it, they will outpace lightly used supercars. In this case, this RS7 has been further augmented by an APR tune. Though the stage level isn’t indicated, even lowly stage one is good for 674 horsepower with even more torque. The results? how about an 11 second quarter mile and 0-60 in 2.9 seconds? Forget supercars, this 4,000 lb Audi will stick with super bikes in a straight line:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2014 Audi RS7 Exclusive on eBay
Why does the Audi S4 not get more attention on Motorsports Monday? Well, for most the generally heavy platform coupled with the forward bias of the relatively heavy motor doesn’t equal track excitement. Motivation has never been a problem with Audi’s fastest small chassis cars, but braking and turning aren’t where the excel – especially compared to the competition from Munich and Stuttgart. However, a recent ride in my stripped-out and stiffened-up Audi left me the best part of an inch shorter and thinking. Going to the track is such a great time, but there must be a better balance between the 95% of the time that the car isn’t at the track to the 5% it is – if you’re lucky. And while in all out track performance, it’s hard to argue with the E36 chassis as the best value going, the B5 S4 is a compelling alternative to have plenty of fun in between – and, year round:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Audi S4 on eBay
There was performance revolution that occurred rather quietly in the mid 2000s. You could argue that it was more evolutionary than revolutionary, but giant leaps in performance were seemingly the norm with every single release of a new model. The Audi S8 had 360 horsepower, and that was a lot – until the M5 had 400. Then the S8 had 450, and the M5 countered with 500 – and Mercedes-Benz was right there, too, with its supercharged V8s. These were power figures normally associated with supercars only a generation before. Heck, by the mid 2000s even the lowly Golf GTi had equivalent power to weight ratios with Porsche 911s from the 1980s. Speaking of Porsches, they had gone absolutely bonkers with their power levels. The last 930 had roughly 330 horsepower – still considered quite a lot in the late 80s – and weighed roughly 3,000 lbs. Sure, the subsequent generations got heavier and more complex as they bathed their occupants in every increasing levels of luxury. But then, the power increased too. By the time we got to the 3.6 Turbo S, power was 380. The 993 added a turbo for quicker spool up and went to even heavier all-wheel drive, yet with 400-450 horsepower, they were anything but slow. Power didn’t change much with the 996 at 410-450 horsepower depending on tune, but delivery was refined even more and they were even faster than the previous generation. The 997 kicked it up another notch, now with 470 to over 500 horsepower on tap – the best part of double the original 930, yet with daily driver tractability, modern convenience and all-wheel drive comfort and security. The 911 Turbo was no longer a widow-maker, but a precise surgical instrument of speed wrapped in a velvet glove with a sugary sweet coating for ease of use.
Another interesting trend was that through its transformation, all of the sudden people really started to appreciate the older cars more. The more complicated the 911 became – and it must in the market, you could argue – the more that people longed for the early days. That was especially true when it came to the changeover to the 996. The softening of the once impenetrable 911 Turbo fortress defenses to allow mere mortals to approach the limits of the car pushed many way; it didn’t help that the 996 wasn’t the prettiest thing to come out of Stuttgart, either. That meant that values started dropping and today these 911 Turbos are nothing short of a miraculous deal. For about the same money as a loaded Camry costs you can get into a thoroughbred rocketship. But if it were my money, I’d eye the successor to the 996; for a slight increase in purchase price, you get better performance, more features and most importantly a better looking exterior: