Continuing in my theme of the ultimate Audi garage, this post is going to seem a little strange. That’s because if I was going to pick an Audi sedan to collect, the second generation S4 would be pretty low on the priority list. In fact, I’m not sure it would make the top five. Without a doubt the D2 S8, the B7 RS4, the C4 S4/6, the D11 V8 quattro 5-speed, and the 4000CS quattro would all make it higher on the list.
It’s not that the B5 S4 isn’t compelling, with the twin-turbocharged V6 cranking 250 horsepower through a 6-speed manual. Barring the RS4 listed above, a box-stock B5 S4 will outperform everything else on that list in virtually every test. It’s just that the B5 S4 is a lot more desirable when presented as an Avant. So why is this sedan here? A few reasons. First, it’s Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect, and that should get a pass every time. Beyond that, it’s pretty clean, it’s got the unusual but pretty light Silver leather interior, it’s all stock, and it’s a manual. But as an added bonus, it’s also no reserve:
The S4 Avant is no stranger to these pages, offering enthusiasts a “have-your-cake-and-throw-it-squarely-at-that-M3-owner’s-face-too” package which combined functionality and sport in a very discrete wrapper. Well, for the most part they were discrete; most were ordered in shades of gray because a fair amount of people ponying up new were conservative with everything but the money they were paying for this small executive wagon. Lightly optioned, an S4 Avant was north of $50,000 in 2004, a price today that would having you knocking on the A7 and S6’s base price. That sticker shock masks that the B6 and B7 represented a huge price increase over the B5 generation; out the door, the cost on average about 20% – 30% more only 3 years later – but then, they offered a full 90 horsepower advantage over the twin-turbocharged V6 with that awesome 4.2 V8, which of course could still be combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Subtle though the exterior colors may be, the performance on tap was anything but.
But some enterprising individuals chose the vivid colors which had become the signature of the model in B5 form. Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect was, of course, the go-to for all things fast Audi since it was originally called RS Blue on the original super Avant RS2. But a nearly equal amount were requested in Imola Yellow, a staggering, retina-burning banana-toned shade that seems initially out of character with a family wagon, yet raises the cool-bus level to 11. Though Nogaro was replaced in the B7 chassis refresh with Sprint Blue Pearl Effect, Imola carried over for the end of the V8s.
Today, I have one of each – so which is your style?
Circuit Paul Armagnac probably isn’t a name which is familiar with you. It’s not even a particularly famous race track, if I’m honest. But the city where that track is located will be suddenly make sense in the context of this post – Nogaro, France. It was the name of that small city in Southwestern France that was made famous when it replaced the moniker “RS Blue” in Audi’s go-faster lineup. The result was a color synonymous with speed, though few fans of the shade know the origination of the name. Blue was, of course, the racing color of France, so in a departure from the typical country-color orientation, Audi popped the obscure name onto its purpley-blue missiles starting with the B5.
That the tone had previously been assigned only to Audi’s skunkwork quattro GmbH (recently renamed Audi Sport) S6 Plus and RS2 was an indication of the sporting potential of the new S4. Power came from not one, but two KKK turbochargers feeding a 250 horsepower 2.7 liter V6. That power was delivered via a 6-speed manual transmission through all four wheels utilizing a center Torsen differential and rear electronic locking unit. Though the new S4 was neither the first fast Audi nor the first to wear the “S4” badge, it was a departure in that it was the company’s first attempt to really take on the M3 head-to-head. It was comfortable, quiet, and quick in all conditions, and while it may not have been a huge threat to BMWs on the track, in the real world the S4 was arguably a superior car:
I’ve recently done some comparisons on the sport editions of the B6 and B7 chassis Avants, asking whether packages like the B6 Ultrasport or B7 S-Line Titanium Package justified the premium they commanded over similar non-sport models. There’s another Avant that commands a serious premium in either B5 or B6 form, but in this case it’s not anything to do with being more or less sporty. Mechanically and physically, these specimen are identical to the other models in the run, but it is the color that stops people in their tracks, generates clicks and opens wallets – Nogaro Blue Pearl Effect. The lineage started with the RS2 and its signature shade “RS Blue” which was then continued with the S6 Plus and the B5 S4. It was the color of speed for an entire generation of wagon lovers, so what does that equate to today?
Did someone say fast 5-doors? Amen! The bells on the Church of the Heavenly 5 Doors are ringing this Friday, and I’ve rounded up a unique quartet of very fast and very colorful wagons to consider, each around or below $10,000. We’ve got 5 turbos, 25 cylinders and 1,200 horsepower worth of people carriers here – which is the winner for you?
Audi S4 Avants have a semi-mythological status amongst enthusiasts. Like the great Greek Titans, they were heroic, with greater than man attributes. However, as with the Greek Gods, they’re also inherently flawed, doomed to repeat the same failures over and over again. I can’t help but look at the S4 Avant and think it’s like Prometheus; a gift to inspire humanity, but one that you’ll pay for every day. Recently, a close family member bought a 2004 S4 Avant 6-speed – there will be an article coming on it soon. I was lucky enough to spend a few days behind the wheel; it had been a few years since I was able to drive a 6-speed V8 S4, and I had some interesting perspective. The previous opportunity I had was on track in a then-new 2004 6-speed sedan at Watkins Glen – the car felt heavy but capable, shifted nicely, had barely adequate brakes and was a freight train from hell on the straights. Fast forward a decade, and what does a used one feel like? Well, my instant thought was that it felt surprisingly like my old ’93 V8 quattro had; heavy and surprisingly slow to react to throttle inputs. The shifter felt clunky compared to my Passat, and the interior was positively claustrophobic compared to…well, even an A3, which itself feels far too small inside for it’s exterior size. There’s an immediate feeling of weight and girth that isn’t as noticeable in the B5/5.5 chassis. The dashboard isn’t as intuitive as it should be, visibility is remarkably poor, and for a 340 horsepower V8, below 5,000 RPMs it feels surprisingly slow. But then you get it moving, and on the fly it starts to make much more sense. Over bumps at speed that weight works to its advantage, smoothing out the ride and providing reassuring confidence that it’s planted. For such a low car riding on massive 18″ wheels, it’s amazingly comfortable. If the C4 and B5 S4/S6s felt a bit like slingshots with their turbo engagement, the B6 S4 feels like a battering ram, bullying everything out of the way. There’s no need to downshift on the highway in 6th gear; mat it at 80 m.p.h. and it won’t take you long to be over triple digits. And if you do downshift and that needle swings past the magical 5,000 RPM mark, the engine wakes up and comes alive, positively rocketing towards the redline. Of course, it comes with all-wheel drive and 5-door capability, so it’s no wonder that such a package has a magical feel to it; however, it’s still a flawed package – in my time with the S4 Avant (3 days), it failed to start twice – a still undiagnosed fault. I couldn’t help but think the entire time that I just wished it wouldn’t break (further) while in my stay. Still, like a freight train derailing, I can’t help but look when they’re presented in certain color combinations:
As I’ve talked about many times, the Audi/Volkswagen crowd is one of the most unique in the automotive enthusiast world. The home of polarizing taste, there are both VAG enthusiasts who do a great job modifying their cars and those who ruin them in the pursuit of the being unique. Today we seemingly have one of each; a questionably modified 2001 S4 and a slick looking 2003 S8. Which would be the ride you’d choose? Let’s start with the S4:
Last week’s 10K Friday BMW 540 faceoff generated a lot of interest in a single-model showdown with a twist, so I thought another V8 6-speed showdown would make some of you happy. In honor of 4WD week, this particular 10K Friday is going to feature one of our favorite sports sedans, the Audi S4. Available most recently only in sedan version, the S4 in previous generations was available in convertible and wagon form as well. While it’s difficult to find the wagons (and even the convertibles) under $10,000, today I managed to find two 6-speed S4 V8s ready to rumble. Which would you choose? Let’s start with the sedan:
Year: 2004 Model: S4 Engine: 4.2 liter V8 Transmission: 6-speed manual Mileage: 91,500 mi Price: $10,750 Buy It Now
Selling my 2004 Audi S4 6spd manual with 91,500 miles on it. Exterior color is silver with black leather interior. Navigation, power seats, power everything, etc. Car is immaculate. 35% window tints all around. Stasis 19″ rims with new tires in July. Blacked out front grille. Milltek full catback resonated exhaust. Recent service done, new alternator, new right control arms, brakes, suspension, clutch, all checked. Interior is flawless with no rips or tears. Only selling for lack of use in the city. Car has been garaged up until this year. SERIOUS BUYERS ONLY. Roof racks will be included with right price. Throw me an offer for consideration.
In popular silver over black, this car has some things going for it. While I’m not a huge fan of the VMR wheel look I know many are, and this car has some expensive Stasis 19″ wheels on it with newer tires. Additionally there’s the great-sounding Milltek exhaust and some maintenance to both the motor and suspension. For under $11,000 this car offers a lot of performance and style, though silver over black probably wouldn’t be my first choice for these sedans. You know what would be my first choice? Nogaro Blue, of course.
What a great color – it just suits the design of the S4 really well and the car looks like it was made to be blue. This particular model has some light modifications; the grill and wheels have been painted black. I’m usually not a huge fan of this, but I think the grill at least works. However, those great BBS CHs would need to return to at least graphite color if I were to own this car. I love the silver-grey with black piped leather, though I have always found the black top on a blue car combo – regardless of make – not a pretty combination. No problem, just drive it only with the top down! As these models were made by quattro GmbH they’re a bit more special than the run-of-the-mill S4, and while this model has high miles it sure looks great.
Year: 2006 Model: S4 Convertible Engine: 4.2 liter V8 Transmission: 6-speed manual Mileage: 160,395 mi Price: $9,000 Buy It Now
2006 Audi S4 Cabriolet
V8 – 340 HP, 302 TQ
Miles – 160,395
Mechanical – The car has a full service history, and has had every major Audi specified service performed at Mohegan Lake Audi.
Head Job was done roughly 30,000 miles ago. It has new Pads and rotors. We have installed a brand new set of Pirelli P6 all-season tires. A full compression test was done, and a coolant pressure test was done as well by us. The car passed all tests perfectly. It does not leak any fluids, and has NO check engine lights or stored codes. This car is a rare example of a true highway driven car that was maintained properly and vigorously.
The car also has a built-in Passport radar/laser detector w/ front and rear laser diffuser/jammers.
As you can see in the images, this car is immaculate. The exterior of the car is in excellent condition, no rock chips, scratches, dents….NOTHING. The interior of the car has normal wear and tear, but is also in amazing condition. The factory wheels have been powder coated gloss black, and the factory grill has been painted black as well. The convertible top is in great condition and is fully functional. The car also recently passed NYS emissions tests.
Please contact George or Mario @ 914-654-1010 with any questions.
There’s no doubt that 160,000 miles on one of these cars gives me a little pause, but despite that I think the convertible is aggressively priced with some recent maintenance, and it’d be the one I’d choose if it were my money. It just looks very, very special in comparison to the stealthy if boring silver, and as I’ve said many times, if you’re going to be shouty about driving one of these cars you might as well be bright and shouty. I say pop the $2,000 in savings into a high-yeild account for repairs down the road and get the topless quattro.
‘Tis the season for Nog of the Egg variety, but I’m a much bigger fan of the Nogaro kind myself – and I expect most of you are, too. Fast Audis switched to signature blue with the RS2 and “RS Blue” hue – continued with the S6 plus until it switched to the nearly identical Nogaro Blue seen here on the B5 chassis. Like Porsche’s Guards Red or Mercedes’ Silver Arrows, the blue Audis have defined several generations of the top performance. Today’s S4 Avant is one of the best packages Nogaro appeared on, in my opinion. The throaty V8, chiseled looks, wagon utility and sporty 6 speed drive rank high amongst the best packaged Audis ever:
Year: 2004 Model: S4 Avant Engine: 4.2 liter V8 Transmission: 6-speed manual Mileage: 97,200 mi Price: $16,300 Buy It Now
I’m an Audi fan. This was my 3rd S4 (2 B5 sedans) and it has been replaced by a 2010 B8 S4 sedan. It’s my 9th audi. This was my daily driver from Jan 2012 until about 2months ago. I bought the car with 79k miles on it from a friend. He had purchased the car to convert to an RS4 replica (widebody panels, rs4 engine, etc) but decided against the project. He drove the car about 2kmiles over the year or so he owned it. The car was garaged when he owned it. The car has always been garaged (both day and night) since I’ve owned it.
The car had a fender resprayed due to a minor accident (previous to my friend owning it). The paint repair looks good (see pictures below). Repair was done Jan/2006.
No check engine lights. Everything works on the car. The car has been VERY reliable and has never failed to perform.
Interior: Black leather with Nogaro alcantara inserts
6speed manual transmission
Premium Package (Sunroof/Homelink/Autodimming Mirrors/Autodimming rear view mirror with compass/Memory seat for driver/Light sensor
Premium Audio Package (XM) – this has now been changed to Sirius
Technical specs and option details can be found here:
I fixed a few common things after purchase. I had removed the valve covers, had them stripped and powdercoated in the factory color. The stock covers were painted and it was prone to flake. At that time I also changed the auxiliary radiators (another common weak spot over 80-100k miles). One had a small leak and the other was precautionary. Spark Plugs were replaced. Coolant was entirely flushed. The rear cargo strap was also replaced. The shifter surround was replaced due to some small scratches. Cabin and air filters were changed annually.
Car has had Castrol German/Belgium Synthetic (5w-40) every 5k miles with an OEM filter.
The car was just extensively detailed (clean, scrub, paint correction where needed, polish, wax).
The car has a couple small blemishes (it is 9 years old). There is a small door ding on the drivers side rear door crease. I’ve had a PDR person try to get it out but you can still see it a bit in just the right light. Additionally, the rear bumper has 4 small marks where someone was kind enough to use their license plate screws to enhance the bumper. There is a small (~3” scratch in the left rear quarter panel). There are also the associated road/rock chips but overall the car presents itself incredibly. Nogaro is a phenomenal color in person and pictures!!
The audio system has been upgraded to the factory audi navigation system (RNS-E). It has Bluetooth, Sirius, Nav, traffic, ability to play media via dual SD slots, and will play DVDs.
The car is hardwired for a V1 radar detector (or any detector that uses a standard phone jack for a plug).
The factory cat-back system was replaced with a labree resonated system. Nice deep sound with no drone.
Audi all-weather mats were added as was a cargo mat in the rear area.
A perforated leather RS4 ebrake handle cover was added.
The stock shift knob was also upgraded and the boot replaced.
Stock wheels. The wheels do have some scratches from the previous owners.
The aforementioned tires are Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS in the stock size. There is approximately 60% of the tread remaining (mounted at 86k miles)
The car is located in the northern Virginia, DC suburbs near Dulles airport. Title is in hand. Email me at email@example.com for more information.
$16,300 for car with navigation system and labree exhaust. $15,500 with stock exhaust and stock stereo.
As these cars go, this one is about spot on in every category; Nogaro over Nogaro, miles are right, it’s a 6 speed, relatively unmodded, and it has the original Avus wheels. That’s all win, folks. Additionally the owner has replaced some common wear items and this ride seems ready to go. At $16,000, I think it’s pretty much spot on for the market – and makes me wonder why anyone would pass this up for an SUV!
I’m wondering if I’d rather have a higher mile B5 in my favorite color, or a lower mile B6 as prices continue to sag slightly on the later V8 cars. Despite the slight drop off in these cars’ prices, the Nogaro Blue B6s still seem to carry a premium as do Avant versions – put them together, and you have the pricest of the B6 chassis cars on the market. Today’s example is no exception, with a strong $16,000 asking price on a claimed 1 of 1 2004 Nogaro/Nogaro S4 Avant:
Year: 2004 Model: S4 Avant Engine: 4.2 liter V8 Transmission: 5-speed automatic Mileage: 109,375 mi Price: $15,875 Buy It Now
2004 AUDI S4 S-4 SPORT AVANT WAGON B6 NOGARO BLUE QUATTRO ULTRA RARE 1 OF 1! WOW
In the questions of the car, the seller is asked about the 1 of 1 claim, which they insist is verified by Audi of America. I’m assuming the 1 of 1 means it’s the only Nogaro Blue with Nogaro Blue interior tiptronic equipped avant sold in the U.S. in 2004. Does that make it worth a premium? Well, last week’s S4 faceoff seemed to indicate that most of you don’t want the automatic. As I stated in the write up though, these tiptronic cars aren’t a bad drive at all and retain most of the fun of the S4 while making a stop and go commute a little easier on the leg muscles.
For relatively top dollar, I’d really want to see a rich service history – were this a $10,000 example, I’d be willing to overlook some flaws but not at top dollar. The exhaust and “K&N” sticker on the intake lead me to believe it was probably owned by an enthusiast, though that isn’t necessarily an indication that it was properly maintained or treated well. I think the asking price is a little high; provided the correct documentation, with 110k I’d like to see this car in the $12,000 to $14,000 range. Despite this, it’s a lot of car for Kia Soul money (even if the Kia does come with a warranty) and if it were actually true that it was 1 of 1, it might just be your only option if you like the combination.
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