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 model years, with about 600 of those being Tiptronic equipped. This is one of a claimed 80 Imola Yellow 6-speed manual Avants imported for the model year, and for good measure it’s got quite a few upgrades:
It hasn’t been all that long since I looked at a 7A-powered 90 or, for that matter, a very clean Coupe Quattro:
1990 Audi Coupe Quattro
However, today’s car – while broadly similar to that Coupe above, is definitely worth a closer look. That’s because it has a scant 27,000 miles on the clock. How is that even possible?
The TT Roadster sold for $8,145 and the Coupe sold for $8,100.
Currently, almost no one has time to even consider the 8N chassis Audi TT. It’s old, with the last of the first generation produced 15 years ago and its replacement – the 8J – has also fully completed a production cycle. It doesn’t have the super wiz-bang computers, million horsepower engines, or cut-your-hand-on-the-front-end styling of the new models. A fair amount lay in a state of disrepair; crashed, thrashed and trashed to a point where they’re nearly given away – quite seriously, there’s one near me for $1,500. But find a good one, and I think now is the prime time to grab a clean TT that will be a future collectable – and BaT recently has sold a few low mileage examples at or over $20,000. Today’s duo of quattros aren’t nearly as clean or low mileage, but they’re also a lot cheaper. Which would you take?
So were I going to go through the effort to import a car from Germany, I’d probably be looking for an interesting ride that isn’t frequently seen here. Of course, I have a tremendous amount of love for the V8 quattro I just mentioned in my last posting, and Europe got some pretty cool options that never came here. Today I want to take a look at two unique – and very rare – D11s that are on offer in Germany. Despite being the proverbial hen’s tooth, they don’t need to break the bank, either:
I’ve owned Audis of all sorts, but the B3/4 chassis has so far eluded me. It’s not that I haven’t come close, though. My first experience with a B3 was at one of my first jobs. One of the delivery men had bought a brand-new 1990 Coupe Quattro. It was a mess, though it was only 6 years old at that point. I offered to clean it for him, and thus was born my first drive with the 7A. It started up and sounded just like my 4000CS quattro, and if I’m brutally honest, below 3,000 rpms you couldn’t tell any difference between the two in performance. But keep your foot buried in the loud pedal and the DOHC 2.3 inline-5 began to sing, eagerly heading for the redline at every prodding. The fit, finish and luxury of the Coupe made me envious of the time; though my Audi was only four years older, it might as well have been five times that. Such was the jump from the B2 to the B3. Soon after I met another Audi fanatic who had a string of Lago Coupes I would often drool over.
My later encounter came much closer to actual ownership. I met a friend in England during grad school and we quickly bonded over Audis. It turned out that back in his hometown in Canada, he, too, had an Audi waiting. It was a graphite 1990 90 quattro 20V. And, after some time, he asked me if I wanted to buy it. When I got home I pursued this prospect since I had sold the 4000 to leave for England. Long story short, when the photos arrived of the car, it was quite a bit more crusty underneath than I was hoping. His price was reasonable, but then for about the same ask a 1993 4.2 V8 quattro came up for sale locally, and the rest was history for me.
The B3 20V has never left my thoughts, though I haven’t gotten any closer to owning one. The Coupe and its 90 quattro 20V brother each have their devoted fanbase, yet they’re remarkably different cars both in how they look and who wants to own each. Both are fairly rare, with around 1,500 Coupes and roughly 1,000 90s imported with the 7A originally – and, in all honesty, probably only a fraction of that number remain today. This week a clean example of Pearlescent White Metallic 90 popped up, and it’s worth a look:
The last few C4 Avants we’ve looked at have been of the European flavor, so let’s head back to what was available to us. The S6 Avant launched with the host of C4 changes for the ’95 model year – smoothed out bumpers, color-coded trim, and sometimes (but not always) new cast Speedline Avus 16″ wheels. That model was again almost immediately replaced with the ‘95.5’ model, with a revised transaxle, closed headrests, the move from infrared remote locking, and the big one – the rear differential lock switched to electronic function, meaning it was utilizing the brakes rather than the manual differential lock that had existed for low-speed engagement since the end of the Type 44 production.
Regardless of how you feel about those minor changes, all of the C4 S6 Avants are pretty highly sought. A nice Magnolia example just traded on Bring a Trailer for $19,000 even though it likely had over 200,000 miles. Today let’s look at a more stock example with lower mileage:
While it feel like most modern Audis have swapped to automatic-only configuration, there were some bright spots. The R8 and TT soldiered on for some time with manual options, as did the A3 and A4. The B8 A4 we see here comes from the year before the model’s refresh, but it carries some desirable options. By the time of the B8, engine options had diminished to the 2.0T rated at 211 horsepower, but you could have FrontTrak, quattro, or quattro Avant options in that time. The Avant couldn’t be had with a manual, but the sedan could, and there were several trim packages that dress up the appearance of the A4 as well. Today’s example has the 18″ Sport Package, which gave you (wait for it) 18″ wheels, sport suspension, and front sport seats, and it’s got the manual transmission option ticked.
Back when I bought my first Audi, there were two five doors available in the US; the A6 Avant and the S6 Avant. Other markets had more options, its true, but it’s also not like the cup overfloweth. Today? The story has changed. Right now, Audi markets 15 different five door models. FIFTEEN. How is that possible? Well, you’ve got seemingly infinite variants of just a few chassis underpinnings, that’s how. There’s the Q3, Q5, the ‘slinkier’ Q5 Sportback, then the S versions of both of those, the Q7 and SQ7, the Q8, SQ8, and RS Q8, the e-tron, the e-tron Sportback, both A4 and A6 allroads, and finally, the RS6 Avant. Wow, how times have changed!
Today I’m going to look at two of Audi’s most expensive products outside of the R8. Both share a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, an 8-speed automatic, around 600 horsepower, sub-4-second 0-60 times, ‘track-tuned’ ability, and $110,000 plus starting prices. But what if you just can’t wait to get down to your dealership?
As I mentioned in the last listing, Europe got some really interesting options in the C4 S4/S6 that I’d probably be looking at were I importing one. On top of that, most of the C4 range is relatively cheap compared to both other vintage Audis and the prices they achieve in the US market. For reference, here’s the last example:
1995 Audi S6 Avant Euro-Spec
Now before you get all excited and say that I forgot a very important addition symbol on the end of the title here, this one isn’t a Plus. But, it sure looks like it is! Finished in RS Blue over matching Alcantara, what we have here is a right-hand drive S6 Avant 20V Turbo with a few nice upgrades. We’re still a year away from being legally able to import late C4s like this, but what will it cost?
From the dated underpinnings of the Type 44 chassis, Audi emerged in 1988 with an all-new 4-cam aluminum engine that could be mated to an automatic transmission. Now, to most enthusiasts that probably sounds like a bad idea. But when it came to selling car – especially expensive luxury cars – the overwhelming majority of buyers wanted the car to do most of the heavy lifting. Audi’s response was the next generation of quattro drivetrains with a series of clutches in the center differential that helped to transfer power and allowed the car to be mated to an automatic transmission. That transmission – the ZF 4HP24A – was a derivative of the 4HP24, the same automatic found in the V12-equipped BMW 750 and 850s. Like the Mercedes-Benz, Audi employed Bosch ABS and a locking rear differential. But unlike other Audis with their manual- or electronic-locking rear differential, the V8 quattro used a Torsen rear differential with helical gears which would automatically split torque in up to a 3:1 ratio to the wheel with grip. Coupled with a more rearward weight bias with the shorter V8 and the gutsy torque on offer throughout the rev range, though much of the car was borrowed from the rest of the lineup it took on an entirely different character. That was matched with new, updated bodywork outside and a wider stance with flared arches. The effect? Magical. And, complicated.
But the V8 quattro wasn’t only about its unique new form of all-wheel drive. The moniker obviously indicated there had been a change in motivation, too, and indeed the V8 launched a new all-aluminum 4 cam, 32 valve V8 displacing 3.6 liters dubbed the PT. Rated at 240 horsepower and 254 lb.ft of torque, it was the most powerful Audi for sale in the late 1980s and brought the brand to a luxury level it had previously not competed at. In the U.S., these mega-Audis were met with mixed success. The 1990 launch of the V8 resulted in reasonably good sales; Audi sold 2,823 between late 1989 and the end of 1990 which represented over 10% of their yearly sales. Values in the used market plummeted after timing belt fiascos on early cars and the general recession of the early 90s, along with the ’92 launch of the turbocharged, manual and later Avant-equipped S4/S6 twins. Today, it’s a bit of a treat to see a clean V8 quattro, and this looks to be one of the better examples out there for sale: