Once in a while, a truly special package comes along and is seemingly gone in the blink of an eye. The TT RS was that package for Audi, marrying the fantastic 8J chassis with the outrageous 2.5 liter turbocharged inline-5 and a 6-speed manual. With 360 horsepower on tap driving all wheels and a sticker price below $60,000, it was Audi’s answer to the BMW 1M, and it was a good one. Though the driving experience perhaps wasn’t as “pure” as the Munich monster, the TT RS was a potent alternative that was on par with the competition, if not better. It was a Porsche killer at a fraction of the price, and the same rings true today:
Emerging from the sales slump brought on by the recession and actual fake news, Audi solidified its position in the small executive luxury market with its brand new A4 model in 1996. While in truth the car heavily borrowed from the evolution of the B3/4 series and started life with the same flaccid 12 valve V6 that had replaced the sonorous 7A inline-5 for 1993, the A4 was exactly the model Audi needed to redefine its image.
And redefine it did, going from near zero to hero in just a year’s time.
Car and Driver immediately named the A4 one of its “10 Best” cars, a position it would repeat in 1997 and 1998. Okay, maybe it wasn’t the perennial favorite as the BMW 3-series was for the magazine, but still, that it was mentioned in the same breath was impressive. New sheetmetal was smooth and tight, full of great angles and well-placed curves. The bumper covers were finally integrated well again – something the U.S. specification B4 had inexplicably failed miserably at. Inside was evolution rather than revolution, but the cabin looked and felt upscale and modern. And the market responded to this instant hit; consider, in 1994 Audi sold 12,575 cars in total. In 1996, some 15,288 of just the A4 models were sold. That was before the many variations and improvements Audi rolled out in the B5, too.
Seemingly every year new changes offered refreshment and redesign to the A4. In late 1995 and 1996, you could only get one specification – the 2.8 either with or without quattro. But ’97 saw the introduction of the 1.8T, and the Sport Package got some revisions as well with new Ronal ‘Swing’ 16″ wheels. Today’s Laser Red example has to be one of the better examples out there:
There was a point where it was very hard to find a clean Mk.1 GTI anymore, and consequently the values on them rose sharply and quickly. Predictably, the moment that occurred a bunch of really nice examples subsequently popped up for sale and have continued to emerge as the car has finally been recognized as a classic. Now, couple that scenario with the racing pedigree of the Quattro and sprinkle in a dash of ///Mania into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for some very expensive cars.
With only 664 originally imported to the U.S. and a fair amount dead, balled up in rally stages or repatriated to the Fatherland, the remaining cars that do emerge generally fall into two categories: well maintained examples that fetch high dollars, or needy chassis for the project-minded enthusiasts. Today’s car looks quite clean at first glance, and though it’s not a perfect example it does appear to be highly original. How does that affect its value?
From a wheel that was pretty but let the car down, I’d like to move to a wheel that was pretty and really made the car. In the case of today’s A4, it had all the boxes ticked out of the gate: click the S-Line package on your order form, as many did, and you snuck an extra $2,000 out of your bank account. That got you a black-only leather interior, the 1BE sport suspension, brushed aluminum trim, a S-Line 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel, 18-Inch 5-Arm quattro GmbH Wheels with 235/40 All-Season Tires, S-Line door entry plates, and aluminum optic pedals. Considering what Porsche charges you just to take a radio out of a car, that’s not a bad deal, all in all. You then had the option to click the special package on the special package: the Titanium Package. This gave you blacked out trim inside and out, a black headliner, and the special Ronal-made 15 spoke quattro GmbH wheels in 18″ and finished in titanium, of course.
Sure, the rest of the stuff was nice, and in fact you could get these wheels on other A4s as well. But while I usually don’t love dark-toned wheels, the dark finish on these Ronal wheels, the shape, the stance…everything worked just right to make a really awesome package on the B7. I’m not alone in thinking this, as the B7 Titanium cars typically hold the highest value in the marketplace for this generation of A4. So, let’s take a closer look at this one:
I’ve spent a lot of time diving into the V8 quattro, both literally and figuratively, so I won’t rehash what makes the model special (or exceptionally scary to own) – but if you’re unfamiliar, you can check out my post on a Pearlescent one from January:
1990 Audi V8 quattro
The Lang and short of it is that if you see one marked ‘Project’, you really better have your eyes wide open going in. And without much further ado, that’s what we have here – a project 1990 Audi V8 quattro in California. So why look at it?
Back in January, I took a look at this European-specification 1995 Audi S6 Avant. So why is it back? Well, it’s now with a different seller, has different photos, and is now a no reserve auction. Strangely, the new photos also appear to be taken in Europe, but the car is claimed to be in Stamford, Connecticut now. Given that the US model I just looked at traded exactly where we expected in the high teens, and this one is currently under 10k. So, let’s take a look again!
Original text from January 2021:
It used to be a bit unusual to see 90s-era European-specification cars come this way. But with the advent of the internet and 25-year-old cars being relatively cheap in other areas of the world, coupled with a current soaring market in the US and nostalgia for easier (they weren’t, but it’s okay to think they were) times, it’s less unusual to see Euro-only models for sale stateside. That’s not the case today; this S6 Avant was available here in nearly identical spec. However, there are a few things interesting on this one and it’s worth taking a look:
This car sold for $3,700 on June 29, 2021.
Back in January I took a look at a late B5 1.8T quattro Avant:
2000 Audi A4 1.8T quattro Avant
Audi continued the recipe for sales success in the B6 generation, largely carrying over the drivetrain more or less unchanged from late B5s to early B6s. However, soon into the run a nice change appeared; the sixth cog in the gearbox, which had previously been reserved for the 3.0 model. Under the hood still lay the AWM 170 horsepower version of the venerable motor, and like the B5 you had your choice of nice options like the Sport and Cold Weather packages. Today’s sedan has combined all of those things, and it’s a nice shade to boot! Today it’s a surprisingly hard package to find:
I’ve covered quite a few of the special Audi R8s brought to our market, but most have been color-based and focused on the second generation. But before it bowed out, Audi offered a hotted-up performance version of the 5.2 model:
2010 Audi R8 5.2 V10 quattro Coupe
It was called the GT, and Audi only built 333 of them – a scant 90 of which were directed to the US market. Performance was increased thanks to 35 more horsepower for a total of 560, and weight was down over 200 lbs thanks to lightweight glass, panels, and seats. Audi ditched the magnetic ride damping system as well, opting instead for adjustable coilovers. Add in some aero and carbon-fiber bits, and this limited ride was pretty impressive – and expensive, with a sticker price of over $200,000. One is up for sale, and worth a look – and yeah, it’s a pretty cool color, too!
The A6 4.2 quattro falls into an unappreciated middle ground of typically unappreciated Audis. Unappreciated, that is, for everyone outside of the Vier Ringe, because the C5 has gone down as one of the most devoted fanbase Audi models I can remember, perhaps rivaled only by the B5. But while the cheap speed of the B5 attracted the Volkswagen and BMW crowd, the C5 fans seem to be more traditional Audi folk; offbeat, eclectic and fiercely loyal to their particular model.
Perhaps one of the reasons that the 4.2 gets so thoroughly overlooked by the market in general is due to the depth of the C5 lineup. On the performance end, you had the cool S6 Avant and the outrageous twin-turbocharged RS6. On the practicality end, the standard A6 2.8 and 3.0 models provided Mercedes-Benz like quality and adequate stateliness in both sedan and Avant bodylines. Outdoor adventures and tech-geeks loved the Allroad, which could be had with either a twin-turbocharged 6-speed or the subdued and upscale silky smooth 4.2 V8. And finally, for secret performance lovers, the twin-turbo’d V6 could be mated in narrow-body sedan with a 6-speed manual in the A6 2.7T quattro.
Frankly, it was hard for the 4.2 sedan to stand out in this crowd, yet it managed to appear quite special at the same time. This was the defacto S6 sedan, with aluminum front end and engine, along with wide flares and shark-fin door blades. It was longer, too, to accommodate the V8 tucked in the nose, giving a more menacing appearance overall. Special wider track was met with unique Speedline wheels (later replaced by the forged “Fat Fives”) and meaty 255-40 section tires as an option. And with 300 horsepower, out of the box the 4.2 was the top trump for the 2000 model year in the C5 lineup and would remain so until the 2002 introduction of the S6.
Treser is a name that occupies an interesting place in the tuner world. Both pioneering and polarizing, he pushed the boundaries of his technology at the time, creating stretched, chopped, and off-road versions of road cars. They had special wheels, unique body kits, and additional performance – not to mention optional interior refits. The highest-profile were, of course, his modifications of the Quattro, and today’s example is claimed to be the first modified by him. So let’s check it out!