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It is with a slight bit of envy that Iâ€™ve noticed that each Jetta Sportwagen I pass in the Bay Area has the little TDI emblem on the back. It is the mark of the modern young suburban professional family that is environmentally friendly but doesnâ€™t quite have the cash or ostentatiousness to buy a Tesla. When the Sportwagen TDI first came out, there were waitlists here and even today they hold their value remarkably well, with low-mileage examples demanding anywhere from the high teens to the mid-$20ks. To find one for cheaper than that, youâ€™re usually looking at high-mileage commuters or dealing with rebuilt titles, but every once in a while you can find a middle-grounder like todayâ€™s 2009 model that wonâ€™t break the bank.
With 80k miles, DSG, and a 4-year warranty this silver Sportwagen is a great all-around commuter or roadtripper for a nice price.
When they launched the original Quattro, Audi redefined how performance could be packaged. With supercar performance but day to day practicality, the Quattro established a niche that made Audi unique amongst not only German manufacturers, but indeed the automotive world. Since then, however, the idea of all-wheel drive and turbocharged platforms have spread not only to sister companies Porsche and Volkswagen, but indeed to Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Porsche, Opel and even outside Germany to Japan. So Audi once again redefined its packaging; in the case of the TT, they brought expensive styling to the masses, and in the case of the R8, they brought supercar performance and packaging to a 911 budget. But it’s not just Audi that has raised its game; tuning firms are held to much higher standards then they were in the 1980s. Go back and look at some early Callaway turbo setups, for example, and you’ll see what was cutting edge in the 1980s – levels of fit and finish that just aren’t acceptable today, along with driving characteristics not suitable to most owners. Computerized engine management has transformed what is possible in the tuning world to the point where today’s packages often retain OEM-levels of driveability with otherworldly performance on tap. Two great examples of this can be found in HPA’s turbocharged Audi TT and Heffner’s twin-turbocharged Audi R8:
2014 will reportedly introduce to the U.S. a car that many Volkswagen fans have been eagerly awaiting – the Golf “GTD” TDi. Basically a GTi with the turbo diesel in place of the 2.0T, the GTD looks great, drives wonderfully and gets some fantastic mileage. But go back a few years and we basically already had the prototype here; the short lived 2010 Jetta TDi Cup Edition. What you got for your hard earned bucks was a basically a Jetta GLi with it’s heart yanked out and replaced by the thrifty and torque-laden turbo diesel. But this wasn’t just a styling exercise for Volkswagen – they had actively engaged in racing the Jetta TDi in the “TDi Cup” to help promote the TDi brand, so this car has some racing heritage as well. Only 1,500 were produced in black, white, blue, or today’s Salsa Red:
I have several times bemoaned the fact that, until recently, Volkswagen opted to not bring the 4-door Golf R32 to the United States. However, what they did offer for fans of utility was the Audi A3 3.2 quattro. It was a very expensive luxury counterpoint to the Golf R32 that we often feature, and with effectively the same running gear performance was nearly identical. They’re fairly rare to come by, even in comparison to the pretty rare Golf R32 – most likely due to the hefty premium that Audi charged which put the 3.2 A3 squarely in line with even more commodious options like the A4 2.0T quattro Avant. Once in a while they do pop up for sale though, as a stealthy silver one has today – just in time for the inclement weather in New England:
The “Hot Hatch”. While Volkswagen may have started the trend with the original GTi, by the 4th edition of the Golf it seemed they had…