Digestible Collectible: 2004 Audi S4 Avant

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

B&B, I’m listening.

I’m still relatively new to this place, and I am trying to pay attention to your comments. Several folks last week were bothered by my rather cavalier use of the term “Crapwagon” for decidedly non-crappy cars. So, we have a new title for those better cars I find while I’m supposed to be doing my day job: “Digestible Collectible.” I hope to bring both a Crapwagon and a Digestible Collectible to you every week, until the Internet runs out of interesting cars.

This week, a particularly digestible collectible comes to us from Ingolstadt, by way of Houston. Naturally, I’m in love with hot wagons, and those from Audi are among the best. Like this B6-series S4 Avant.

I know that Audi maintenance and repairs are, at best, headaches, and that parts prices could mean community college for my children. I don’t care. A basic family sedan/wagon has absolutely no business looking as good as an S-labeled Audi does. The moderately-flared fenders riding right over a fat set of performance tires is alluring to this minivan driver. A twin-turbo V8, six-speed manual, and quattro all-wheel-drive mean I can have fun after dropping the kids off at volleyball practice.

Oh, since I live in an area without smog checks, I might consider yanking the cats:

The pearl yellow paint isn’t necessarily my style, as I tend to prefer more neutral hues, but it looks appealing against the dark wheels and window tint. With an ask of $14,350, I can’t imagine any family car being more fun for the price — even allowing for maintenance costs.

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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  • Matt Foley Matt Foley on Sep 09, 2015

    While it runs, the Audi S4 is a fine, fine automobile: fast, comfortable, nimble. Used to work with a guy who had a blue 2002 twin-turbo V6. When it started puffing blue smoke from one of the turbos, he took that as a command from God to install larger turbos and chip it. When he sold it, it was like Harrison Ford in "The Fugitive" leaping to safety right before a fiery disaster. Nice work on the new title, Chris. Now - if you want to test an actual crapwagon, I have this winter-beater Saturn SL2...

  • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Sep 09, 2015

    I have an itch for a V8 again and the S4's sounds great. That said, I'm terrified of the car. I thought getting one with the timing service already done would put me in good shape; now apparently I have to research scored bores. Maybe I'll just go back to an E39 540i. They have their own issues with timing chain guides, but the repair costs a fraction of what it does on a B6/7 S4 (though still painful). They are also much cheaper to purchase, with the difference easily paying to repair the guides if necessary. And they lack the added complexity of AWD. That says a lot about the S4 when it makes a V8 BMW look like it has low running costs...

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