Our own Paul has recently spent a few posts outlining some gripes he has with the current Volkswagen/Audi lineup, and in all honesty I have to echo him. With the exceptions of the TT-RS and Golf R, VAG has really left our market wanting. For some time, it was the niche-ness of Audi that made it so appealing. Where else would you get a turbocharged, all-wheel drive manual wagon? Ironically, it’s most recently been rival BMW that has offered that package in the 535xi Touring as Audi has steadfastly removed the fast 5-doors from North America. Okay, we get the beautiful A7/S7/RS7 lineup, but they’re exceptionally tech-heavy and….well, just plain heavy, as well as being (like nearly all of the Audi lineup) automatic only. Now, if I’m honest some automatics aren’t that bad and I think even Paul admitted the most recent generation of BMW autos were pretty impressive. The same goes for recent turbo motors that manage to produce both stellar fuel economy and outrageous power (for how long, I’m tempted to wonder as I saw yet another 2.0T apart on a bench today). But the synergy of naturally aspriated mechanical noise, three pedal engagement and a weighted lever to mesh them together is something enthusiasts will always want. That combo, when coupled with the equally sought fast wagons from Audi, creates a legendary package that has really few equals and a presence second to none. Last offered in the B7 chassis, the raucous BBK-code 4.2 V8 coupled 11:1 compression with variable valve timing for a screaming 7,200 rpm redline and 340 horsepower. The numbers were close to the S54 in the E46 M3, but the delivery is completely different. While the M3 is a high-revving race feel, the Audi positively comes across like a freight train when you’re behind it. Mash the throttle and there isn’t an explosion of speed – indeed, you might be disappointed at first. But keep watching that needle, because that silky smooth V8 has already propelled you past legal speeds and is showing no sign of slowing down:
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