Audi’s C5 allroad wasn’t the first tall all-wheel drive wagon to hit the market; AMC claimed that crown with the Eagle well before Audi’s Quattro even hit the market. But it somehow defined the luxury do-anything segment and was unique in the German marques; Audi brought massive amounts of computational power, height-adjustable air suspension, a wide-body flare kit, twin-turbocharged power and even a manual gearbox. It was awesome. It was popular. But, it broke so much that even MacGyver was left stranded..
So when it came to the original allroad’s replacement for the B8 chassis, Audi dropped pretty much all the cool stuff. Gone was the manual, gone was the V6, gone too were the twin turbos and height-adjustable suspension. Audi simplified the recipe and based the newer allroad on the A4 Avant. Power came from the same 2.0T TFSI inline-4 mated solely to an 8-speed automatic found in the regular A4, pumped up the ride height slightly and added matte black fender lips and Voila! Miffy had a new ride to get to Nordstrom. Worse for some enthusiasts, the advent of the allroad came at the expense of the regular (and attractive) A4 Avant. Disappointed? Me too. But hey, every once in a while a good-looking one comes around…
Recently I suggested that the first generation Audi TT was a classic in the making. Judging by the lack of comments, no one agreed with me. So, here’s my second suggestion for a future Audi classic – the return of the turbocharged inline-5 quattro coupe in the TT RS. In terms of performance, the TT RS was a massive step up, bringing the Audi up to Porsche levels of performance. With 335 horsepower, near instant torque and the Group B soundtrack wailing out the rear, these TTs are an impressive package. I got to drive one two years ago on an ice track and when you got it straight and into the loud pedal it was simply a monster – making huge leaps and bounds forward. You really had to plan ahead – one second on the throttle seemed to translate into five seconds on the brakes. If this car doesn’t give you chills when you floor it, nothing will. Coupled with a manual transmission, this package may be one of the last great “analogue” products from Audi:
Audi’s decision to launch a convertible S4 was interesting to me for a few reasons. First, the concept of a really fast 4-seat convertible is sort of odd to me; I can understand why a roadster would have its appeal, but even then really fast ones are sort of odd. It’s just not very pleasant getting buffeted by the wind at 130 m.p.h. and chopping the roof off tends to make the offending car all bendy. In order to combat that, manufacturers add support and strengthening in the floor – but that makes the car heavier and not handle as well. So, your very fast coupe – or in the case of the S4, sedan – is now a slower, more-ill handling car that musses your hair. On top of that, the idea of Audi’s strength – all wheel drive and adverse conditions – failed to mesh with the intention of most convertibles – sun and fair weather. But the S4 cabriolet pointed towards a future in the S range: Audi’s crack unit quattro GmbH produced them, because they were the only 2-door variant of the S4 at that time. Of course, more recently we’ve seen the introduction of the coupe version of the B chassis, the “A5” and accompanying S5 – but first, Audi went all high performance and made a RS variant of the B7 A4. Great! Then they offered it as a ultra-exclusive, $85,000 2-door, 4 seat convertible. Huh? I mean, the concept of paying 85 large for a trumped up Audi A4 is staggering in and of itself, but then why do it? You already had a S4 convertible. You were about to introduce a new lineup of the “5” series, along with convertibles there – including the replacements for the RS4 – the RS5 coupe and cabriolet. So why do it? Because people with a lot of money bought them, that’s why. And after a staggeringly short amount of time with them, they move on: