Looking for a performance car? This isn’t it. It’s also about as far from a classic Audi as you could get in the U.S. market; there was no turbo, no inline-5, no manual and no quattro drivetrain. But the B4 Audi Cabriolet was ironically the last 1980s holdover for the company, and it survived until somewhat amazingly 1998 here, with the basic chassis construction from 1985. To the end, it remained a competent and handsome convertible, a conservative alternative to the more expensive Mercedes-Benz drop-tops and the flashier BMWs. The Cabriolet really only came in one configuration here, with the 2.8 liter V6 linked to the 4-speed automatic driving the front wheels. On the fly, this was a fine setup and certainly potent enough to rustle your hair, though it was far from lighting it on fire. Pricing at the end of the run was surprisingly high at $34,600 base price. Added to that were the packages many came with for the 1998 model year; Premium Package added a power roof, burled walnut wood trim; Kodiac leather seat upholstery, remote locking and alarm. To make it more palatable to most of the country, the “All Weather Package” added heated front seats, heated windshield washer nozzles, and heated door locks. Also optional for the end of the run were the Votex Speedline Competition 16″ 6-spoke alloy wheels and even high backed sport seats; both (especially the latter) are very rare. Of course, the Cabriolet is rare full stop, with only 5,439 sold here between 1994 and 1998, or roughly 1,000 per a model year. This ’95 is one of 1,087 and might be one of the best left:
Tag: Pearlesent White Metallic
By 1996 and the launch of the new B5 chassis A4 model, Audi had decidedly lost the sport from its U.S. model lineup. There were only three models available from the brand in that year, and with the demise of the S6 all featured the venerable if relatively underpowered and underwhelming 12 valve V6. For the new A4, there was no “Sport” model – a little surprising considering the lengths that Audi went through to race the sedan in Touring Car competitions, where it was very successful. The Sport package, which had debuted in the B3 90 20V sedan and continued in the B4 V6 model for 1995, was reintroduced into the B5 model for the U.S. market in 1997 with the launch of the 1.8T 20V turbo model. As it had with previous generations, that included slightly more distinct wheels and Jacquard than the standard model, but the 1.8T at that point still only produced 150 horsepower and lugging the all-wheel drive A4 around meant the early 1.8Ts were anything but quick. With mid 8-second runs to 60 m.p.h., they weren’t much faster than the 4000 quattro had been a decade earlier. However changes and added sport came in 1998 to the A4 run when Audi moved the 5 valve technology into the V6 motor. Now in AHA 30 valve form, the output of the V6 bumped roughly 20 horsepower and 20 lb. ft or torque up and was a closer match to the European competition, and acceleration and especially highway feel were finally befitting a “sport” designation. Audi also gave these sport models the same 3-spoke sport steering wheel the 1.8T model had received, as well as introducing a new wheel design. The 7-spoke “Swing” wheels would begin the differentiation between the sport equipped models and the standard A4s and while they were the same 16″ size as the non-sport wheels, the design somehow looked considerably more special. Audi also began offering the 1BE sport suspension in the B5 model, with a slightly lower ride height and stiffer springs giving the A4 a more menacing presence. Audi further offered some more unique interiors and exteriors to help set their A4 apart; the “Cool Shades” had debuted with the 1.8T and were carried on to the V6 model in 1998. Along with some revised tail lights, the ’98 V6 model could be made very special indeed, with unique interiors as well:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi A4 2.8 quattro on eBay
We’ve recently had a good string of Audi Avants up here, including a rare converted 6-speed S6 Avant. Oddly, as several people noted we’ve seen a fair amount of these converted V8 cars come up for sale quickly after the conversion. Economically, that doesn’t make much sense; if selling was your goal, replacement with a used automatic would likely be a better route than going through the expensive swap. What’s even more perplexing is that the similar 01E-equipped allroad V6 2.7T (and its running mate B5 S4 Avant 6-speed) are highly sought and loved cars. So I brought two together today in rare color combinations; if you were going to pick a C5 Avant, which is the one you’d go for?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi Allroad quattro on Craigslist
I’ve started a few discussions about the Audi C4 and the relative lack of good examples that pop up. This is especially true when they’re compared to the models that the S4 originally competed in the marketplace against; the M5 and the 500E. While neither are generally spring chickens when it comes to the used car markets, it’s not very hard to find an excellent example of virtually any day. The same can’t be said for the original S4. The 1992 Audi S4 is arguably the hardest to come by, and for some enthusiasts it’s the most desirable. Sales numbers and enthusiast’s accounts of how many ’92s were sold seem to vary; the general number of ’92s imported is often claimed at 250, but Audi’s sales numbers from 1992 claim some 907 Turbo models were sold (though, that number could include leftover 200 20V and 200 Turbo models). While the later S6 and A6, externally, weren’t visually much different, the earlier S4 stood apart from the regular 100 with ellipsoid headlamps and the then-massive 16×8 Fuchs forged alloys. 1992 models sported the lower, closer to European-spec suspension and a rear sway bar, but there were other, smaller changes – ’92s had steel sunroofs, for example, and “quattro” script rear defrosters that disappeared in ’93. Then there were really small changes; like the V8 quattro, ’92s had the “high intensity” wash system for the windshield – dropped in ’93, along with the S4 badge on the right of the trunk. In ’93, it would move to the left, and “quattro” was added to the right to fall in line with other models. 1992 models were still R12 air conditioned, so upgrading to R134 is common. The seller is correct that ’92s interiors had Elm wood trim, where later models would switch to carbon fiber, then Walnut. ’92s also had a trip computer with digital boost gauge and an ABS-disable switch, which also would be removed from the lineup in 1993. Finding a clean example of these ’92s, then, for some enthusiasts represents the Holy Grail of U.S. bound S-cars. And this example, in the signature Pearlescent White Metallic with black leather, is arguably one of the best we’ve seen: