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Tag: S4

10K Friday: Practical Performance Edition – S4 Avant v. 944 Turbo v. S600 v. Passat TDi Variant v. M5

One of the things I love most about these 10K posts is the breadth of selections and ideas that I dream up to try to pull together. Today’s thought was about practical performance – what’s the most your can buy for $10,000? As a result, we have quite a diverse selection to make it through today, ranging from a 2.0 TDi gas sipper through a 5.5 liter, twin-turbocharged V12 torque monster. In their respective ways, each is a great car (at least, in premise) and probably defines its category. What’s your favorite of this group?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 quattro Avant on eBay

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2010 Audi S4

The Audi S4, now in its 6th iteration, has been a perennial performance favorite of those who like the understated looks coupled with all-weather performance. And since the original, the S4 has offered a unique tuning platform; while the B6 and B7 were difficult to extract extra performance out of, the other generations have offered forced induction out of the box that allows for generous tuning potential for a real sleeper supercar slayer. 1,000 horsepower isn’t unheard of out of the legendary inline-5, but power numbers exceeding 400 seem to be almost commonplace for the C4 and B5 S4s. So when Audi launched the supercharged V6 model in 2009, the return to a smaller displacement forced induction powerplant immediately had me thinking that it wouldn’t be long until tuned versions appeared. The trick in buying a S4, though, is and always has been managing to find an unmodified one that is well cared for but also affordable. After all, for under $10,000 you can run out and grab any one of the first three generations – however, the less you spend up front, the more likely you’ll be dishing out of pocket in the future it seems. But as we get towards the newer generation of B8 you can get a car that is still quite new for a substantial discount over the original purchase price without (generally) the fears of abuse, neglect and immediate repairs that need to be undertaken. Compare this 2010 B8 S4 to a brand new 2015 model, and you’ll notice slight changes with the facelift; more attractive lights and some other minor changes, for example. However, with only 55,000 maintained miles on the clock, if you can get past the un-refreshed looks of the early B8 you’ve got a car that is nearly identical to new ones at the dealer but is only about 50% of the price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2010 Audi S4 on eBay

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1988 Porsche 928S4 5-speed

There’s a romantic vision I always seem to have; grabbing my wife and child, jumping in the exotic sports car and heading for the backroads for some spirited driving. That vision always seems to include some exotic; a Maserati Ghibli or perhaps even a Ferrari 400i. While Ferrari 400i prices have remained at a level attainable for mere mortals, the Ghibli has rocket well out of reach. But the Ferrari has problems, too – well, it’s a Ferrari. Last time I checked, maintaining those lovely stallions isn’t exactly cheap. But there is a much more practical supercar also born in the 1970s with futuristic styling and it’s a perennial favorite of ours; I’m speaking, of course, of the Porsche 928. Sure, compare the 928 to a Volkswagen Scirocco and it’s a very complicated, expensive car to run. But compare it to some of the exotics it ran against, and the 928 almost seems like a bargain to maintain. Great build quality, styling which has weathered the test of time and legendary GT performance make for a quite desirable package which is still very affordable in today’s world:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1988 Porsche 928S4 on eBay

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2006 Audi S4 Avant

A few weeks back during our “Wagon Week” theme, I wrote up Audi’s last stand in the Avant market; a steadily decreasingly number of offerings in the 2000s. I looked at three nice versions of the Avant that were available in 2008. My unfortunate conclusion, though, was that none of them would be the car that I would want. The S4 Avant was certainly tempting, but the automatic wasn’t the transmission I’d want in there. However, change a few details and suddenly that B7 becomes much more appealing. Add some great option BBS CH wheels and a manual transmission along with a caring owner, and the B7 S4 was a package that really had no rivals. It looked as fast as it went and remains on the best all-weather people haulers made:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Audi S4 Avant on eBay

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1994 Audi S4

It’s funny that as enthusiasts we desire what we can’t have; there are a plethora of Audis that aren’t import friendly currently that I long after and plenty of rare BMWs and Mercedes-Benz models that make the collective jaws of the automotive community hang low. Yesterday’s European-spec 1994 M5 3.8 is a great example. It’s a very rare car that in pristine shape draws some serious dollars out of the woodwork and enthusiasts pine over. But in terms of all-out speed and value for your money, the Audi S4 packs much more punch than than the boys from Munich or Unterturkheim. Available generally for a quarter to at most half the price of most of the E34 M5/500Es on offer that are in reasonable shape, they can easily be customized and upgraded – and the results can be fantastic:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 Audi S4 on eBay

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