For a few reasons, I found yesterday’s S4 Avant a bit lacking. The B7 S4 Avant isn’t my favorite of the S Avants to begin with, and truth told I think I’d take a S-Line 2.0T Titanium before I jumped into a S4. The high price these have retained also is a bit of a turnoff; you can get the same car, for nearly all intents and purposes, in the B6 for a lot less. But the killer, at least for me, was the color. I just find newer silver and gray Audis predictable, cliche, and boring in general. They lack imagination. And when Audi had such brilliant colors available in the color pallet, I don’t look upon the more conservative and prevalent with envy.
But what about something wild, like LZ5F Sprint Blue Pearl Effect? Yeah, that gets the blood boiling and draws the eyes in pretty much every situation. But today I didn’t have a SBPE Avant; instead, to make up for that, I’ve got two examples of the color on S sedans from the same dealer. Strange? Even more strange is that this is the same dealer that I previously looked at a special order Sprint Blue A4. Does this dealer have some special source of smurf blue Audis?
Okay, let me get this off my chest first: I don’t like the A4. My reasoning is most likely completely irrational from the standpoint of being an Audi fan. Quite simply, the A4 made Audi popular, and I didn’t like that. Each successive generation made it more popular, too, to the point where my neighbor “Tiffy” (no joke) bought (of course) a 2007 Dolphin Gray Metallic sedan brand new. Predictably, it was Tiptronic. Tiffy represented to me the sale of the soul of Audi to the heartless masses of New Jersey housewives that replaced their Honda Accords, Acura TL, Lexus ES, or BMW E36 with the new flavor du Jour. Seeing gray A4s actually causes me physical discomfort to this day. The only point of solace in the situation was that I knew, at some point, these A4s would go “all Audi” on Tiffy and her cohort of hair-flipping, bleached and over-makeup’d friends in heels that fit them ten years ago, and they’d be left with a dash full of warning lights and a laughing AAA driver transporting them to the local dealership. There, their knock-off Louis Vuitton purses would be emptied, as their local authority on all-things-Audi-repair would literally take the Armani Exchange shirt off their backs.
Then there’s the group of 2nd/3rd/4th-owner bros with flat-rimmed hats and a long line of credit with APR that have modded these A4s to the hilt. They’re a whole other level of discomfort for me.
I recognize it’s a problem, and at some point I’ll probably seek therapy over it. Needless to say, I won’t be owning an A4 at any point soon. Or ever, likely.
With some disdain, then, I consider an A4 2.0T quattro sedan. To me, there’s but one reason to consider an A4, and that was that (until recently) you could get an Avant. Obviously this isn’t one. And the ad for this particular example has some issues. By some, I mean they mis-list the year, color and trim levels. Yet it has some redeeming qualities. It’s a manual, first off, unlike about 90% of the A4 sedans produced. It’s got lower mileage, too, with only 65,000 miles covered in ten years. But what most interested me was the color of this part this model. It’s certainly not the Deep Sea Blue Metallic the seller claims. I’m also pretty sure it’s not the other blue from 2007 – Ocean Blue Pearl Effect. That would make this particular A4 a special order car, and I believe it to be Sprint Blue Pearl Effect:
It will be really interesting in another 10 years to see how we look back on the 2000s and specifically the beginning of the horsepower race between auto makers. In a just the span of a generation, we saw average power more than double in most performance cars while simultaneously technology filled their cockpits and dominated the driving experience. Take Audi’s S6; rising from the nomenclature change in 1995, it came to the market with a 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5 developing a then inspired 227 horsepower. By the launch of the C5 platform, power was up to 340, now with a V8 developed out of the S6 Plus and S8 units. When the C6 was launched in 2006, the S6 now had a V10 motor displacing 5.2 liters and churning out 430 horsepower. What was perhaps more amazing was that it was overshadowed by the big-brother S8 with another 20 horses, and the twin-turbocharged RS6 positively dwarfed it with 580 horsepower on tap. On top of that, it quickly became evident that the way forward would be forced induction to generate even greater power, and consequently all of the major manufacturers have moved in that direction. Better response, better fuel economy, and even more power mean that the new TSFi motors make these V10s look like the dinosaurs they consume. To further sully the waters of contemplation of ownership, these exquisitely built sedans seemed just rather ho-hum. Fast? Sure, without a doubt, but they weren’t very flashy or wild. However there were two options to spice up your S6 – Brilliant Red was a great way to make a spash, but the one seldom selected that I think had the most character was Sprint Blue Pearl Effect:
If you were to walk into an Audi dealership and spec out a brand new S4, you’d find yourself $60,000 poorer. In fact, that hasn’t changed much over the past decade; the original price on the 2008 S4 shown here would have been pretty close to that amount by the time all the option boxes were ticked, too. However, while anyone can walk into a dealership today and be handed the keys to a new car, it’s not often that you get the opportunity to get into what is effectively a brand new previous generation car. But that’s exactly what we have here, and arguably the DTM S4 is the best of the normal production run. Presented in the signature Sprint Blue Pearl Effect, the DTM edition sported extra carbon fiber bits provided by quattro GmbH. The real treat, though, was underneath – the DTM edition received the same revised differential as the RS4, quite literally turning this car into more of a canyon carver than the earlier models were known to be. Shouty and fantastic, the combination of the high-revving sonorous V8, the 6-speed manual and all-wheel drive gives you the confidence to run this car much faster than legally anyone should. With only 20,000 miles covered and in near perfect condition, the opportunity to get into this package will never be so perfect again – the right color, drivetrain, and the special limited edition model at half the price of a new example makes this one special package indeed – and even comes with a warranty.
The below post originally appeared on our site May 4, 2015:
Blue is my favorite color. I know, this doesn’t really come as a surprise; I think I wax and wane all the time about the special blues that are available from different manufacturers. Whether it was my own Coupe GT’s original Oceanic Blue Metallic or my Passat’s Ink Blue Pearl Effect, there’s just something that’s very special about the glowing, bright and vibrant blues. Audi made a bold change to their blue around 2005; with the mid-year refresh to the B6 chassis, the new B7 discontinued the very popular purple-blue hue of Nogaro. Now, that color had been around in various forms since the RS2, and was closely associated with fast Audis – so it was a big deal. The new color, Sprint Blue Pearl Effect (LZ5F), was pretty and shiny but somehow changed the character of the fast Audis. Maybe it was time for a change, or maybe it was the wrong move – personally, I think a new RS7 in Nogaro would be pretty stunning. But the new hue was also a hit and offered a rare splash of color in Audi’s otherwise conservative grey/silver/black lineup. Today I have two of the faster Audis offered in this shade; about the same mileage, both 6-speed manuals, and both with the 4.2 V8, would you take the S5 Coupe or RS4 Cabriolet?