Audi's executive class sedan has changed its name so many times you'd think it was participating in the witness protection program. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe '93 Quattro goes by S4 due to its sporting pretensions, but does its seller need to name a new price?
Comedian Bill Saluga used to have this bit where he claimed to be named Ray J. Johnson, and went on about how you could call him Ray, or you could call him Jay, or you could call him Ray-Jay, or. . . This went on for about five minutes until what you really wanted to call him was finished. Almost as frustrating has been Audi's demand that you keep track of their model nomenclature as each new generation brought a badge change, evidently in an effort to exorcise the demons of models past.
It all started with the C1, which was marketed globally as the 100. The new in '76 C2 dropped the c-note nomenclature for 5000 here in the States, aligned with its new 5-cylinder engine. The next generation, C3 made its U.S. debut in '84 and continued that convention. That model, however was damned for all eternity by the CBS investigative news program, 60 Minutes, which aired a poorly researched segment implying the cars had a tendency to go full bonkers all by themselves, rampaging uncontrollably. This led to both the tanking of Audi sales and the slang phrase for leaving in a hurry, I'm Audi 5000!
Seeking a fresh new start, Audi went forward to the past, rechristening the platform the 100, and adding a 200 brand for the up-market turbo-equipped edition. The following C4 edition - like today's car - kept that for a while, until Audi decided to re-name all their models with a leading A, as though they were Fonzie.
The S4 nominally replaced the precedent 200, topping the range and carrying both the 20-valve turbocharged inline 5, and Audi's brand-identifying Quattro all-wheel drive system. Just to further confuse matters, the later S4 models were based on the smaller A4 platform. See, it's like they're characters in a Pasternak novel.
This 1993 S4 hails from the last year of the 100 badge, and rocks the 227-bhp 2.2-litre five, and a 5-speed manual gearbox. A Torsen center diff splits power between the front and back axles automagically so you don't have to. The seller says this particular one has been modded with a re-mapped ECU and some breathing enhancements, which may make up for the ponies time and miles have likely stolen.
Other than those updates, the car appears remarkably stock, although the three-spoke steering wheel is out of a later model, despite its coprolitic appearance. The seats too show signs of wear expected of eighteen year old leather, and could stand a good cleaning, but they are at least un-torn or lurid in color. As noted, the car comes with three pedals in its footbox and a row-yer-own sprouting from the console right behind the automatic climate controls. If its like every Audi I've ever driven, it's as rubbery as a Gumby hookup, but not so bad as to be a deal-killer.
Outside, the metallic burgundy paint seems not to have lost its luster, although the plastic bits look like they're more grey than back in the day, and could stand some Armor All or perhaps Just for Men. It even has the factory rims - 16-inchers, which were big back then - and the car is claimed to have but 108,000 miles under those wheels.
If the car runs and drives as well as the seller makes claim, then there's a whole lot to like here. Horsepower may not be stratospheric, but the car was still originally claimed able to sixty in a quick 6.2 seconds, and the Quattro all-wheel drive system made for confidence inspiring handling in either wet or dry. The styling of the C4 hasn't held up as well as say the contemporary BMW 5-series, but its staid, somewhat somber appearance will allow it to blend in all the better, as will that dark wine paint job.
The price shouldn't make anyone whine, and the seller is seeking a quick sale as he claims to need to cull the herd following a recent purchase. His aversion to automotive bigamy means that, at $2,999, he's priced his S4 in the real world, and not in that of the witless protection program.
What do you think about that price? Is a ten-spot under three grand a price that should put this S4 on someone's short list? Or, does that price make you say, I'm Audi 5000?
H/T to drshaws for the hookup!
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