What do you get when you take an average AWD family sedan and inject it with 8 cylinders that scream to a glorious redline of 8250 rpm? The answer, folks, is the Audi RS4. Long coveted by enthusiasts looking for subtle speed, the RS4 was the fastest variant of the B7 A4 platform and is no longer available in the states. We had the opportunity to glimpse one for sale out towards western Massachusetts, and it did not disappoint.
With an original MSRP of over $80,000, this particular example from 2008 is finished in the ever-popular Daytona Gray with just a hair over 75k miles. From the outset, it is clear this was a well-maintained car. Service receipts are plentiful, and creaks and rattles are basically non-existent. There are a few very minor blemishes on the car, but only ones you’ll spot if you’re really looking for them. But then again, vehicles like this were never meant to be center stage at a concours d’elegance, these cars were meant to be driven.
The interior shows some wear consistent with a nearly 10-year-old car, but there’s nothing that a little bit of TLC couldn’t fix. The white interior sets off the gray exterior nicely and could look almost brand new with a good leather treatment.
The car is located at Right Way Auto Sales in Southborough, MA and is listed at a very fair $29,995. Considering the level of refinement, gobs of power, and overall desirability of the RS4, the price is quite appealing. Here’s to hoping it finds a new home where the new owner will appreciate it for the wolf in sheep’s clothing that it is.
For one reason or another, a vast majority of us will want a new car within a few years. A combination of getting bored with the current ride and the allure of a fresh new set of wheels has the average consumer buying a new car every 6.5 years (actually, a dramatic increase as of late). But out there right now is someone who has owned a car for decades and loved every minute of it, so what’s the magical combo that keeps a car interesting for that long?
For many, it’s the aftermarket support. Part of keeping a car for that long means that it’s always evolving – never truly finished, and that means LOTS of parts to be swapped in and out as tastes change. Whether that’s an abundance of wheels to try or 23 different types of exhausts to fit, the availability of aftermarket parts to keep rides looking up-to-date has always been a big part of the “it’s almost done, honey” perpetual project car.
A car that you always look back at when walking away, that’s when you know you’ve got something worth holding on to. Whether it’s a 2017 or a 1987, a car with timeless looks can be the difference between trading up to the latest and greatest and holding on to your prized possession because “everything was better in the 80s”. Of course, this is subjective, but a car that has captured your heart by way of your eyes is one that will usually be the object of your affection for quite some time.
What keeps you swooning over your car? Is it the former or the latter? If it’s one of the two, a combination of both, or something entirely different, leave your thoughts on what helps cars defy the odds and become un-sellable.
While the boy racers of the world have been in an ongoing search for cheap power for what seems like thousands of years, there are still some out there that just want to enjoy their daily commute in a car that doesn’t empty the wallet. Well for those people, there are a couple of options out there for a reasonably priced, fun car that will make you the envy of the other road-goers.
1) Honda Civic Si: Everyone knows the Honda Civic as the boring, hum-drum sedan that runs forever and hasn’t gotten anybody’s heartbeat going any faster that a slow crawl in a couple decades. Well the Si is a tuned up version that has about 200hp and can turn any on-ramp onto something worth drooling over. It still retains that Honda reliability and won’t break the bank at the shop or the gas pump. Expect to pay somewhere around $15k or less for later year models with average mileage, with higher mileage or older examples going for less.
2) Subaru WRX: Probably one of the more popular cars with the tuner crowd, the Subaru has also gained a reputation as one of the best all-weather fun cars thanks to the legendary Subaru all-wheel-drive. As a cherry on top, they come in hatchback form for added practicality and get decent gas mileage considering how much they are oriented towards driving pleasure. They are not without their faults as they can be picky on which oil they like, and older early 2000’s models have weaker transmissions. Prices can vary significantly, but a good, mid 2000’s model can be found for around or under $15k depending on mileage, making it a fast but relatively affordable car.
3) Mazdaspeed 3 or 6: These left-field Mazda’s can be a little harder to find but when in good shape can be a lot of fun for a little money. The Mazdaspeed 6 was the fast version of the last Mazda 6 sedan and is no longer made, but the Mazdaspeed 3 was, and still is, a very popular alternative to the Subaru and others. As a bonus, they actually have very nice interiors for their class and size. You can also find the Mazdaspeed 6 in all-wheel-drive form making it all the more desirable for those who live in inclement weather states. If you can find them, expect to pay up to 18K for the well-cared for Mazdaspeed 3, and even more for the 6.
4) Volkswagen GTI: Well known as one of the best all-around hatchbacks thanks to its incredibly well appointed interior and the German fit and finish that other automakers can only dream of, the GTI is a very lively front wheel drive hatchback that has a little more character than its Japanese counterparts. Be wary though, these little firecrackers can cost a little more than average when they go in the shop as German cars in general are a little more difficult to work on. GTI’s can go for as low as $13K for 2010 model years, and up to $20K for newer vehicles.
5) Honda S2000: This was Honda’s attempt at making a fun, affordable, lightweight 2 door convertible for the “masses”. What we ended up with was a fun little screamer that handled well and looked great without sacrificing on reliability and convenience. Made with one of Honda’s well established 4 cylinder engines, and a true manual transmission, they have a comparable recipe for fun to the legendary Mazda Miata. They aren’t easy to find as they were never made in huge numbers, but if you can find one expect to pay around $20K for low mileage late model examples, with less pristine versions going for somewhere in the teens.
6) Ford Mustang GT: As the only American example here among those from foreign soil, the pony car holds its own with a 4.6 liter engine offering up over 300 horsepower in earlier iterations. As far as cheap power goes, it’s hard to find something that can keep up for this amount of money. As newer body styles keep coming, the older versions keep dropping in price, but don’t expect to get a lot of luxury for your money, this car is about a big motor powering the rear wheels and not much else. These will be easier to find with many examples on ebaymotors and similar sites, with models from around the late 2000’s going for a little under $20K.
7) Mazda Miata: We all know the little fun-loving roadster that is the Miata. Legendary handling, well balanced driving pleasure in a 2 door package, it truly is hard to beat. However, be wary when looking at used models as there is a good chance it has been tossed around a bit by the previous owner. They are generally pretty reliable, but never make that assumption when checking one out,always get a 2nd opinion. Prices are all over the map as they sold in high numbers through the years, so you can expect to pay over $20k for a late-model with low mileage, or around $6-8k for a well-used example with some wear and tear. If you are going for a newer model, the third generation’s engine received an update with a higher redline being a highlight.
Well folks, this is one of the big ones. The number 5 is pretty average, nothing to write home about, a pretty boring digit on its own, but as soon as you stick an M in front of it, things change pretty quickly. And as if that isn’t enough, add e39 to the equation, and you end up with pure magic. To many, this is still the best driver’s sedan on the road, despite being over 13 years old. A car that represents one of the greatest vehicles to ever leave the BMW factory, an analog example of what a super-sedan should be. And now, probably one of the most affordable fun cars on the road, that is, if you can find one.
Well we did. This particular vehicle, a 2000 M5 with a hair over 100k miles is listed for sale in Weymouth, MA for the price of a new Toyota Yaris. We couldn’t resist the urge to drive, photograph, and review this aging wolf in sheep’s clothing in an attempt to help it find the enthusiast it deserves. The M5 represents a car that we have been longing to drive and despite the risk of it not living up to all of the hype, we decided to take the plunge anyway.
First impressions are important. From a distance, this car could be confused with a typical early 2000’s well-equipped 5 series. The subtle styling, classic understated front fascia coupled with the slightly aggressive quad exhaust tips make this thing fly under the radar unless you have a keen eye for an M badge. This particular model had upgraded headlights from the later 2001 and up M5’s, which make a world of difference in giving the front end a more modern look. The stance, the body lines, everything is as you’ve seen in the pictures, awe-inspiring class mixed with subtle hints that say “I mean business”
The drive is hard to pin down. On one hand, you are driving a 16 year old car that some could call outdated, but most would see as simply worn down. On the other hand, in all the important ways it is still very much an M5 and unequivocally deserving of the name. The interior may be a little worse for wear in some spots, but the engine is so eager to get going, and the shifts, to use a cliché, like a well-oiled bolt-action rifle, that you quickly forget that the cupholders have seen better days. Thanks to near 400 hp, acceleration is still kick-you-in-the-pants fast, and the ride is sublime despite some additional rattles due to age. You get a sense that this car is still holding on to the glory days, yearning for a new owner to clean it up a bit and show it a little TLC.
We came away in awe of the tire-munching machine and how well it has aged. After all of these years never having driven what many consider to be the auto epitome of class/badass, we can safely say it was far from a let-down. Often the hype misleads everyone and the cars have a tough time living up to the excessive praise of reviews and publications, but this tired M5 showed so much life, one could only dream about what it was like new. It’s safe to say that this generation of M5 has made the list of performance bargain cars considering that near-mint examples can be had for under $25k. It is hard to find something that will excite a real driver this much and still be able to pull up to the Four Seasons and not look out of place, the M5 is still that car, and imitators are still playing catch up.
A big thanks to 777 Auto in Weymouth, MA and Svetlin for letting us test drive this car. Their selection of fun European autos is sizeable and their pricing reasonable, definitely check them out.