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Tag: rare Audi

Class of ’23: 1998 Audi S8 6-Speed

Now that we’re into 2023, we can consider what new cars can come into the country. For me, that last few years has been spent pondering pre-facelift Audi S8s. Although we got the S8 here in “plus” form between 2001 and 2003, and it’s still one of my favorites, there’s some allure about the 1996-2000 cars in Europe. Why? Well, that was the model used in 1998’s Ronin and, for many, our first introduction to the model that at that time was not available here. The styling is slightly more subdued, as well – there’s less chrome, and especially in silver, the design closely resembles the polished-aluminum Audi ASF concept. In fact, it’s nearly identical. Under the hood was a development of the ABH (V8 quattro and C4 S4 V8), ABZ (A8), and AHK (C4 S6 Plus) 32-valve 4.2-liter V8. The AHC/AKH was utilized in the first S8s and cranked out 335 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque; down slightly on the “plus” 40v version in the US market, but still plenty. But there’s one more special reason to look at European-market S8s – the transmission.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Audi S8 on


2008 Audi R8

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the introduction of Audi’s supercar-scaring R8. It really was a bit of a leap for the company which typically mastered unsteer-laden sedans to jump into a mid-engine, rear-biased all-out sports car, but when they put their mind to it they sure did an impressive job. The design built off existing themes in Audi’s show car history such as the Spyder and Avus concepts of the 90s, but the real foundation work was laid with the twin-turbo Lamborghini V10-powered LeMans quattro show car in 2003. Of course, such a crazy concept would never come to fruition, right?

Fast forward only three years later and the road-ready and newly coined “R8” was brought to the market. Architecture was heavily borrowed from existing models within the company’s umbrella; the basic platform was shared with the Audi-owned Lamborghini Gallardo, while the initial engine came from the RS4 in the form of the 4.2 liter, all-aluminum FSI V8. At 414 horsepower, it might not have given a 599GTB driver much concern, but it surely gave the crew heading into Porsche dealers pause.

From the get-go, journalists swooned over the performance and dynamics of the R8. It was lauded as one of the best packages you could buy – even Clarkson liked it! Even before the mega-V10 model rolled out for the 2009 model year, the 4.2 offered blistering performance in a budget (for the market) package. 0-60 was gone in 4.6 second, the standing quarter in 12.5 and it’d do nearly 190 mph flat-out – at least, that’s what Audi claimed. Car and Driver eclipsed the 60 mark in 4.0 seconds in theirs. At around $120,000 new with some options, the R8 was more dear than any Audi had ever hit market.

But there was something even more odd and unique that this car did, or rather, didn’t do, and it’s one of the main reasons I don’t often write them up. It didn’t fall in value. If you bought a well-equipped, V10-engined S8 in 2007, you’d shell out about the same money – $110,000. Today? Less than 20 grand. But the R8 was the first modern Audi not to fall victim to depreciation. Lower mile examples of the early models are still asking over $70,000 – sometimes well over $80,000. Today’s car has the more valuable gated manual gearbox and is in my favorite color on these – Jet Blue Metallic. Let’s check it out:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 Audi R8 on eBay

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1984 Audi 4000S

Back in July, I took a look at a pair of Audi 4000Ss, the easy-to-forget lightweight brother of the 4000 quattro and Coupe GT:

Double Take: 1985 Audi 4000S

The S package actually rolled out the year before with the pre-facelift model, though, and Audi steadily increased the appeal with the Type 81 four-door with the GTI-sourced 1.8L engine, a close-ratio 5-speed, alloy wheels, and a chin spoiler. Although these cars didn’t have the visual appeal of the GT, the rally-inspired drivetrain of the quattro, or the thrum of the 5-pot, they were nonetheless attractive cars that were fun and economical – and it helped that they were also several grand cheaper than their more illustrious counterparts. Today’s example is probably one of the nicer ones left:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi 4000S on eBay

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Winter Beater: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant

Even though Fall has just crept into our lives, it’s not too early to start thinking about what this winter will look like. While my son has been convinced that global warming will mean that our New England outlook will be more like Florida’s forecast this year, the reality is that…well, it won’t. So why not consider a winter beater to survive the (lack of) roads around here?

Today’s 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant is, you’ll know if you follow these pages, quite a rare bird. Unfortunately, it’s seen better days in New England along its 272,000-mile journey, and consequently it’s rusty, crusty, and a bit worse for wear. But it’s got some neat engine upgrades that are keeping the ticker ticking – plus those knarly three-spoke wheels! So let’s take a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on eBay


1987 Audi 5000CS quattro Avant

One of the reasons it’s hard to get excited about the Type 43 Audi is just how far forward the bar was moved with the Type 44. Similar to the leap from the 6-series to the 8-series BMW, the Type 44 was a radical departure both in style, aerodynamics, and chassis dynamics. The basic Type 44 chassis would endure a remarkable run, too – from its basic layout in the Forschungsauto FV Auto 2000 from the 1981 Frankfurt Auto Show right through the derivative D11 V8 quattro through the 1994 model year. The C3 was revolutionary in its incorporation of modern aerodynamic devices, helping to drop drag coefficients to a then-excellent .30 cd. The Audi design prompted many copies, the most notable of which was the very popular Ford Taurus.

But the C3 was about more than just a slick body. Underneath it continued the C2’s turbocharging on top-tier models. With the addition of intercooling, power was up quite a bit from the prior model. Where the 1983 5000 Turbo generated 130 horsepower and 142 lb.ft of torque in U.S. trim, the C3’s MC1 brought 158 horsepower and 166 lb.ft of torque to the party. It was good enough to prompt notoriously BMW-friendly Car and Driver to name it to its ’10 Best’ list for the first time. In the later 200 20V, it also brought a tamed version of Audi’s Sport Quattro motor to market. The Ingolstadt company also pioneered full body galvanization, something that would become the norm for many newer cars moving forward. That body also grew, as Audi added its signature ‘Avant’ model to the lineup. But of course the big news was the 1986 addition of the word synonymous with Audi in the 1980s and ever since – quattro. Combine them, and you’ve got a reason to click!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 Audi 5000CS quattro Avant on eBay