For some time, I’ve generally ignored the B7 RS4. This probably comes as a surprise, as being an Audi fan it should be a natural favorite of mine. They look good, offered uncompromising performance, and – while expensive when new – in predictable fashion they became much more affordable recently.
But it’s also an expensive car to maintain, and residual values from the first and second crop of owners has dropped down towards the point where third-tier owners are getting into them. The problem is that if you’re thinking about buying one of these long term, you may be better suited buying one before the typical scenario occurs with these cars – prices drop, people that can’t afford to maintain them well buy them, and when you finally get one it’s an uphill battle to try to keep it going.
Recent sales of great condition, lower-mileage RS4s have been trending upwards, with prime examples hitting betweem $35,000 and $45,000 over the past few months. So it’s tempting to consider one with a few more miles than average to save a few dollars. But is it worth it?
If the minor nomenclature differences between what constitutes a BMW with sport items, a Sport model, and a M-Sport model can be confusing, the ordering of model designation in Audi’s TT lineup is downright infuriating. Technically, I think the correct order for the model is as shown above – Audi TT Coupe 225 quattro ALMS Edition.
And here’s the trick. First you needed to differentiate if you ordered a Coupe or Roadster. In 2002, you could get a front-drive coupe with the 180 horsepower engine, and you could also get the 180 horsepower motor with optional Haldex quattro all-wheel drive. But if you selected a Roadster, you couldn’t get a 180 quattro. Now, if you went for the upgraded 225 horsepower motor, you automatically got quattro – there was no front-drive option. That makes the “quattro” moniker after any 225 model redundant. Even more redundant in this case is the “Coupe” moniker, because if you opted for the ALMS appearance package in the 2002 model year, the hardtop was your only choice. So if you referred to this as a TT ALMS – as many do – the rest would follow – you’ve got by default a 6-speed manual 225 horsepower quattro Coupe. For many, this makes the ALMS one of the most desirable 8N TTs, and the limited run of 1,000 examples in either Misano Red Pearl with Silver Gray Nappa leather or, as show here Avus Silver Pearl with contrasting Brilliant Red Leather tends to command a premium over other examples of the first-gen Golf-based model:
South America has been in the news quite a bit recently, if you haven’t been paying attention. But when you think about South America today, you’re probably thinking of the upcoming Olympics, perhaps the Zika virus, or if you’re well versed maybe the crumbling country of oil-rich Venezuela. Maybe you watched the Top Gear specials and you saw Argentina, Bolivia or Chile appear on your screen for the first time. One country you probably don’t consider is Paraguay. Paraguay sits alongside more famous Bolivia as one of the two land-locked countries in South America. It’s also one of the countries which attracts the least tourism in the West, a legacy of a government that adopted isolationist policies following its independence from Spain in 1811. It’s relatively tiny, too – with a large percentage of the 6 million inhabitants focused in a small area around the capital of Asunción. The top two exports Paraguay is known for are soybeans and frozen meat, and most of those go to neighboring giants Brazil and Chile, along with some to Europe. In short, it’s a religious, agrarian, isolationist country with no ports. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some with money. And those with money have bought cars in the style of the West. In fact, it might just be the best place to buy…an E30 M3 Convertible?
You could be forgiven for thinking that the VAG 1.8 liter turbocharged motor was the go-to motor for the company in the late ’90s and early 00s. It appeared nearly everywhere in the U.S.; the Golf, Jetta, GTi, GLi, Passat, Beetle, Audi A4 and Audi TT all received the forced-induction unit. And that was just in the U.S.; go to Europe, and you’d find many more models and even other companies with the venerable motor. You’d also be forgiven for thinking they were all the same – however, a pause for thought would tell you they couldn’t be. First off, there were the drive train configurations; the Golf-based variants have their engines mounted horizontally, while the Audi A4-based cars have them longitudinally. Then there is the output that was available from the factory; the 1.8T started with 150 horsepower and ended with 240 horsepower in the highest output TTs. Immediately, you’d think they had just turned up the boost, but in fact there were a host of changes to the 225 horsepower motors to help sustain the increased pressure. There are, in fact, no less than 13 distinct versions of the 1.8T from that generation. All shared the same basic structure; cast iron block, 20 valve head with a single turbocharger; but details including injection, computers and engine management and breather systems vary in between each of the models. The Audi TT was the only one to offer various engine outputs though; available in either 180 horsepower or 225 horsepower versions, the later of which was pared with a 6-speed manual and Haldex viscous-coupling all-wheel drive. Though heavy, they were nonetheless sprightly thanks to the turbocharged mill. I’ve said for some time now that I think these will eventually be more collectable as they were an important part of the development of the company, yet few remain in good shape. Were I going to get one, I’d opt for one of the 2002 special edition coupes; the ALMS edition, launched to celebrate the American Le Mans Series victory by Audi’s R8 race car. Available in two colors, Misano Red with Silver Nappa leather or Avus Silver Pearl with Brilliant Red Nappa leather, they were mostly an appearance package but also received special 18″ “Celebration” alloys and were limited to 500 examples: