The early 2000’s marked an interesting time period for many car manufacturer’s. A new century had begun and just about every auto company was in a race to bring about the car of the future. Luxury, performance, economy you name it the 2000’s brought some seriously awesome and seriously bad cars (i’m looking at you Pontiac Aztek). However, the good old engineers in Germany working for Audi developed a little gem which now has been deemed by many performance enthusiasts as one of the best power per dollar project cars you can buy today. Meet the Audi B5 S4, a sport injected version of the original A4, this “sleeper” performance sedan was powered by a relatively small 2.7L Bi-Turbo V6 churning out a mere 250 horsepower and 258 pound feet of torque. Not much by today’s standards, but quite impressive for the time. These figures paired with Audi’s infamous Quattro all wheel drive system allowed the S4 to reach 60 miles per hour in as little as 5.6 seconds, which is quick even against most modern cars.
However none of that is where all the hype about this car stems from. That little 2.7L boosted V6? Yea, it’s an absolute powerhouse for tuners across the board, and for the most part it’s relatively inexpensive to squeeze a lot of juice out of that motor. Simple performance chips or custom remaps can add around 100 horsepower to the car, adding a whole new level of fun, but that’s just the surface as bigger intercoolers, upgraded turbos, & downpipes can bring the numbers into near supercar territory. So what’s the catch? A German sports sedan with tons of power capabilities, good looks, and a cheap price? Let us discuss reliability shall we. To be frank, these cars are not reliable and plagued with a large amount of known issues from the factory. This notably includes the timing belt, water pump & thermostat, valve cover gaskets, chain tensioner & gasket, rear main seal, auxiliary water pump, coolant temperature sensor, ICM’s, coils, & spark plugs. Sometimes you just gotta love German Engineering. The reality is that the list goes on and on but roughly $2000 set aside should take care of any prominent issues and keep in mind the market value of these cars are quite low, so you aren’t spending much to begin with.
So maybe, you’re feeling a tad discouraged but never fear. Whether you are into the whole stance scene or want a drag strip annihilating machine the S4 can serve any of those roles. It has the power, it has the “retro” 2000’s looks, and most importantly it has the Audi performance heritage. The B5 S4 is undeniably an awesome little car which can be had for a very low cost when factoring its residual value. The big thing here is maintenance. If you can stay on top of maintaining this car, as well as having patience for its mechanical (and electrical) shortcomings, you’ll have an absolute monster of a ride. And one that is well respected by Audi and European car enthusiasts across the board. So what are you doing! Get out there and pick yourself a new garage project and get to work. The canyons and runways are waiting, and you need to get wrenching.