Imola Yellow 2003 Audi RS6

Well, if it’s not evident already, you know why this one is here. First off, it’s one of just about 1,200 RS6s imported. But the vast majority of those are black, gray, or blue. A little over a year ago I took a look at a rare one that wasn’t – one of five Polar White examples. But in terms of rarity, this one is 250% less likely to be seen. It’s one of a claimed two Imola Yellow examples sold in the US. Some people claim color doesn’t matter, but let’s be honest – here, it does.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

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2019 Audi RS5 Sportback

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a huge Audi fan. Some Most consider this a huge flaw. But the company has emerged from fringe technology fighting to compete with the established giants in the 1980s to be the standard for interiors and, even in some cases, performance in a daily driver. And as a result, they’ve become incredibly popular. For some reason I can’t fully identify, as they’ve become more popular I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with the brand. They all look broadly similar, they all are way too complicated, and they all are way out of my price range.

But once in a while one pops up that grabs my attention. I live by a port that delivers new Audis and Volkswagens, and ride my bike by the long rows of oh-so-boring white, grey, silver, silver-grey, off-white, black, black-grey, grey-black, and charcoal SUVs that pile into this country. But last year I caught sight of a green RS5. I never stop to look at these cars, but I stopped to look at that one. It was damn impressive, and I internally applauded the buyer who sat down and refused to buy a black car. On top of that, they refused to put black wheels on it, too.

Lo and behold, I found its four-door twin this week:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2019 Audi RS5 Sportback on eBay

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2001 Audi S4

In just a few years as the century turned over, Audi went from only one S model with very limited production imported in the C4 S6 to three models. Top of the range was the S8, but it shared its running gear and sonorous V8 in a slightly detuned state with the new C5 S6. For Audi enthusiasts, though, big news came with the launch of the new S4.

It was unrelated to the first S4 because of Audi’s renaming strategy in 1995. That meant that the new S4 was based on the small chassis B5, and U.S. enthusiasts finally got a taste of Audi’s M3 competitor. Performance came in the form of a new 2.7 twin-turbocharged V6 30V and was mated to either a 5-speed Tiptronic transmission like its bigger siblings or a 6-speed manual. Like other B5s, the S4 made use of the 4th generation of quattro technology driving all four wheels. This utilized a Torsen center differential with open front and rear differentials, both of which employed the ABS sensors to electronically ‘lock up’ the slipping wheels when a speed differentiation was detected. Like other S models, some light revisions to the bodywork and more pronounced exhaust were present, along with polished mirrors and 17″ Avus-design wheels. Most notable was the large front bumper cover with 6 gaping grill covers which hid the twin intercoolers for the motor. With 250 horsepower and 258 lb.ft of torque, you had an all-weather 155 mph warrior – and one that could easily be turned up many notches:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 on eBay

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2002 Porsche 911 Turbo

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I suppose you find what you look for, but it seems like I’ve been finding a whole slew of interesting 996 Porsche 911 Turbos of late. Case in point, this 2002 up for sale outside of Boston is finished in the not-so common Orient Red Metallic paint. Inside, it’s equally not as common with Natural Brown leather and the Light Wood trim package. Yes, it is a 6-speed manual gearbox car thankfully, and the best part? Just 9,800 miles. Now we are talking.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Porsche 911 Turbo on eBay

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2003 Audi RS6 6-speed

Throngs of U.S. Audi fans rejoiced when the news came that not only was the RS6 returning to this side of the Atlantic, it would be coming for the first time as an Avant. With nearly 600 hybrid horsepower on tap, it promises to be exactly the rocketship full of 5-door tech you’d expect from the company. But it will be interesting to see actual sales numbers after all the internet buzz dies down, because herein lies the problem with the RS6 Avant; if it is competing with the E63 S AMG Wagon (how could it not be?), it will sticker somewhere between $120,000 and $140,000 depending on options. Let’s just say that it’s safe to assume that’s out of the reach of most of the people chastising Audi all over the Internet for not bringing it here to this point.

So is there a solution? Absolutely. There was already a perfectly good RS6 offered here two generations ago. And if you’re willing to pony up roughly $40,000, you can have an Avant here. But today we’re looking at a sedan, because 1) they’re much more plentiful, 2) they’re much more affordable, and 3) this one is turned up and should offer close to the performance of the inbound model. The seller claims this car produces 620 horsepower and 750 lb.ft of torque. Oh, and I almost forgot quattro) it’s a 6-speed manual swap, too:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

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2004 Mercedes-Benz S600 Brabus T12

Mercedes-Benz turner Brabus is never one to pull any punches. When they go “all in” on a build, they don’t hold back and usually produce something that has so much power that it is almost useless in any kind of normal driving situation. Impressive outputs aren’t the end of the spec sheet, as they’ll usually throw some bumpers, wheels, and most importantly, brakes on the car as well. Most of the time you get a fairly conservative design in terms of tuner companies, but sometimes you get some stuff that really went off the deep end.

Today, as luck would have it, a 2004 S600 popped up for sale in Philadelphia with the Brabus T12 package on it. The W220 S600 was already a pretty powerful car with the M275 twin-turbo V12, but if you give Brabus a check for nearly $60,000, they’ll make it even better. How much better?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Mercedes-Benz S600 Brabus T12 on eBay

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2008 BMW 135i Sport

The 1-Series sought to return BMW to its more affordable small car roots by shrinking the swollen 3-Series down substantially. What BMW unintentionally did was to create an E46 successor. The E82s are similarly sized, similarly equipped and were similarly priced to the E46. And in its most basic, most sporty form, the early 135i Sport is on paper a close match for the performance of the third generation M3. Okay, theres no doubt that the 135i isnt a M3 when you get behind the wheel. But is it a special car? Yes. And does it move? The N54/55 are rated at 300 horsepower about 10% shy of the S54. But theyve got 300 lb.ft of torque, almost about 15% more than the M3 had. And because theyre a turbo motor and they were able to tune that torque curve in, its about as flat as the Makgadikgadi Pan. That means roll-on performance, and the 135i rewards you any time you want in any gear you’re in. The strange thing is, it really doesnt drive like it is a turbo motor. Theres no lag, no flat spots, no real woosh. It just feels like a very strong high-compression inline-6. It ALWAYS has power. And though it wont corner like a E46 M3, its not far off in acceleration or driving feel.

So while it’s not quite the visual triumph that is the E46 M3, it’s a very compelling alternative. Better yet, the polarizing looks have meant that these haven’t taken off in value yet compared to full M models. Today, now just over a decade after launch, few come to market looking quite as fresh as this Sedona Red Metallic first-year model:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW 135i Sport on eBay

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More Than Just a Tribute: 2001 Audi S4

Update 11/13/19: Despite showing as sold for over $34,000, this RS4 clone was relisted with a $32,500 Buy It Now.

On the other end of the spectrum from Audi’s U.S. spec B5 S4 was the monster which left me, and most fans of the marque, frustrated. That’s because Audi skunkworks quattro GmbH partnered with corporate acquisition Cosworth Engineering to create the legendary RS4. The same 2.7T motor from the S4 suddenly developed not 250 horsepower, but 375. Arches flared. Mouth was firmly agape. Seats were huggier. Wheels were bigger. Suspension was lower. It was wagonier. It was all around a better car in virtually every way.

So it should come as no surprise that its lack of importation didn’t stop enthusiasts from trying their own hand at the mods. And because of the turbocharged nature of the B5 S4, it was a little bit easier to achieve similar results to Audi. So here we have a B5 RS4 ‘Tribute’, but one that not only added the OEM body pieces and turned up the motor. Because under the hood hides not 375 horsepower, but punched-out 3 liter V6 churning 700 horsepower – at the wheels, mind you. Welcome to ‘The White Beast’:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 RS4 Tribute on eBay

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2001 Audi S4

The B5 S4. On paper, its a car that I should like a lot. Coming from the modest 4000 quattro, Audi produced what should have been a monster on paper; a 2.7 liter twin-turbocharged V6 rated at over twice the power of the old inline-5s mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. 6-spoke Avus wheels carried on the late 90s design in 17″ form, with deeper but still subdued body additions and more grills hinting at the better performance of this A4-based creation. Twin polished exhaust tips, Xenon headlights, deeply bolstered sport seats and plenty of technology also came along from the ride, too.

But for me the B5 S4 sedan was never super exciting. Perhaps that was because it was instantly popular. What I remember annoying me more, though, was that it really seemed like Audi could have produced stronger performance. After all, it generated only a few more horsepower than the last favorite at launch, the already out-of-production E36 M3 was the match for the performance of the S4 due to its lighter weight. And that was in turned-down U.S. spec! More sharply notable was the launch at the same time of the S8, and the S4 was some 90 horsepower down on that model. Yet get behind the wheel of one, and suddenly it wasnt a lack of grunt you were noticing. It was how well the package pulled together. It rode well, it had a glut of usable torque thanks to the small twin turbos ability to spin up so quickly, and the fit and finish inside was leagues better than the E36 was. And while you could stick snow snows on an E36 and make it through winter just fine, as a year-round commuter car the S4 made a lot more sense while simultaneously being a much better sleeper. It was a Q-Ship; admittedly, not the biggest or fastest one out there, but certainly an undercover speed agent. These cars developed a cult following, so it’s still possible to find nice examples, such as this Casablanca White over Onyx 6-speed:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 on eBay

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2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG with 322,000 miles

For me, there is this constant back and forth between “They don’t make them like they used to” and “Newer cars can basically go forever with proper maintenance and repairs”. Today’s car falls in the latter half. Although I’m skeptical. Very skeptical. Why? In case you haven’t noticed the title, this is a 2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG with over 322,000 miles on the odometer. Yes, this 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged whale of a car that produces 604 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque has somehow racked up over 322,000 miles. According to the helpful Carfax, this car registered just over 29,000 miles in its first three years – a totally normal amount. Then the next five years saw the odometer jump to 200,000 miles. Six months later, 250,000 miles. That is 275 miles every single day for six months. How? Why?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG at Selective Motor Cars

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