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Tag: Tiptronic

Audi A4-off Double Take: 1996 A4 2.8 v. 2000 A4 2.8 quattro Avant

Following up on the A8 3.7 front-driver oddity I posted last week, today I’m going to look at a few of the cars that put Audi back on the map. 1996 was the year Audi brought the brand-new A4 model in to replace the aging B4 90. So successful was the A4, and so ubiquitous in the small German executive market today that you’d assume the early examples were far more prolific than they were, in reality.

Still, the A4 is credited with saving the company, at the very least for the U.S. market share. Is it true? Take this into consideration; Audi sold 18,960 A4s from the launch in late 1995 until the end of 1996. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Toyota, after all sells about 400,000 Camrys every year for the last half-decade – and that’s in a market that very much no longer values the sedan. But in 1995, Audi sold a total of 18,124 cars including those early A4s. Go back a year, and the number was substantially lower; 12,575. Entering into the 2000 model year, Audi crested 100,000 A4s sold in the U.S. market. The proof was in the pudding. By the time the new C5 A6 launched, Audi’s sales had crested 65,000 units a year and they haven’t looked back. 1994’s sale figures represented 0.08 of the marketplace; today, Audi sells a still modest but sustainable 1.3%.

But while Audi and “quattro” are synonymous, like the A8 I looked at, a fair chunk of the early A4s avoided the extra cost of all-wheel drive and came configured as FronTrak models. About 7,000 of those nearly 19,000 1996 A4s were so ordered. The prolific nature of these cars, coupled with typical low Audi residual value, has meant that they’re hard to find in clean condition. So today I have two; one from the beginning and one from the end of the run. While both are white, it’s just about there where the similarities end:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 Audi A4 2.8 on eBay

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1998 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe Tiptronic

I didn’t entirely intend for this post to run the day after my discussion of automatic- vs. manual-equipped 928s, but it just so happens to have worked out that way. Yet my interest here remains along similar lines and the way we (or perhaps I?) tend to ignore automatic 911s. Granted, with the 911 we’re dealing with a different world than the 928. A manual 928GTS is a rare thing, while an automatic 911 is a rare thing. Also, while the automatic actually may be preferred by 928 owners, with the 911 that’s not the case. But there are owners for whom an automatic does hold appeal so we can’t just totally ignore them. This particular 911, a Slate Gray Metallic 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera S with 17,373 miles on it, makes for an interesting test of the market and the ways in which we ignore certain cars:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera S Coupe Tiptronic on eBay

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1998 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet

I don’t usually go out of my way to feature a 911 with Tiptronic, but for whatever reason this 993 really got my attention and more or less seems like just the sort of air-cooled 911 one might look for if a Tiptronic actually was desired. The 993 itself has always struck me as a particularly elegant design within the air cooled world. Some of the more aggressive edges of earlier 911s have been smoothed and the curves accentuated. The color combination of this particular 993 further enhances that elegant look. Add to that the very fact that this is a Cabriolet and I think you have the recipe for a 911 cruiser where an automatic might be preferred. Here we have a Forest Green Metallic 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, located in Nashville, with Red leather interior and 58,279 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 2002 Ruf R Turbo Cabriolet

If you want to understand why Ruf managed to achieve its own status as a manufacturer in Germany, it can at least partly be explained by considering the R Turbo. Not satisfied with Porsche’s own twin-turbocharged variant of the 996, Ruf made their own. They completely disassembled the 3.6 liter flat-6, reworked a fair amount of the internals including the Variocam system and turbochargers, then revised the electronics by remapping the Bosch ECU. Then they fit this upgraded engine, in keeping with their history, into the narrow-body of the normal 911 Carrera. In order to do this, it required utilizing both GT2 and GT3 parts to make the package come together. You could opt for different states of tune starting with 520 horsepower – some 100 more than the standard Turbo, making the R Turbo one of the fastest cars on the planet. Take a look at the speedometer, for example, which sweeps well past 200 m.p.h.. Yes, the R Turbo could get there, too – with a reported 217 m.p.h. terminal velocity. 0-60 was achieved in under 4 seconds and in between, very little could stay with the thin Ruf. To deal with all of this speed, of course Ruf fit their own suspension coupled with bespoke Speedline wheels and some pretty giant Brembo brakes. On top of all that, you could select new R Turbo as a Cabriolet – something Porsche themselves wouldn’t offer until 2004. And as they always have, the modifications Ruf made were as seamless as the factory bits with accompanying reliability. It made for one quite special package:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Ruf R Turbo Cabriolet on eBay

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