THE RALLY RECRUITER
By Al Khoury
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Our love of German vehicles should be obvious to regular Oloi readers by now. We return to familiar territory this month, giving a previously featured 2007 Audi RS4 a visit from family. Audi’s S-series slots below the RS-spec vehicles and above the base models. This 2002 Audi S4 sedan was the last of the B5 generation, as it was released alongside the new B6.
Though the model year reads 2002, our featured S4 is also referred to as a 2001.5 model.
“These were manufactured in late 2001 and they kind of snuck them in,” owner Chris Lee told Oloi. This makes this car a rare and sought-after gem.
The original S4 was an upgraded version of the Audi 100 and was in production from 1991 to 1994. Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system was standard. The B5 A4 followed, underpinning the S4 quattro. This sports sedan launched in 1997 and reached American shores two years later.
The 2002 B5 S4 sedan featured a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque are split between the front and rear axles via a Torsen center differential. U.S. emissions regulations brought power down but despite this, the S4 could hit 60 miles per hour from a standstill in about 5.5 seconds and reach 155 mph.
Standard comfort and convenience features included auto climate control, leather sport bucket seats, 17-inch Avus aluminum wheels, CD and cassette players, auto dimming and heated mirrors, and pre-wiring for a car phone. Prices started at $38,900.
Our Light Silver Metallic Audi S4 sported leather onyx/silver seats with Alcantara inserts. These were part of the Enhanced Sport Package, which included an interior carbon fiber belt line trim, carbon fiber engine cover, aluminum mirror housings, and an upgraded head unit.
“I had an S4 before that wasn’t as built as this one,” Chris said. “I had it for about two years and did some rallies and drives with it. I sold it and regretted it soon after. I spent more than a year looking for the right one and this one was well-maintained and had a ton more options and upgrades on it.”
This S4 made 300 horsepower over stock. Chris got it in a literal fire sale – the car had been damaged by flames, considerably lowering its price. Chris fixed the damage in his garage using OEM parts.
The car was mainly used for rallies and coastal drives. Chris is the founder of Coastal Rally, which lets participants “have the chance to meet other like-minded individuals, get up close and personal with some truly amazing vehicles, and experience the coast’s most exhilarating roads.”
“I used it for any drive to recruit people,” Chris said. “I took it to meets. I rarely drove it to work or anything like that.” This B5 S4 has been modified “as far as you can take the car without building the block.”
On driving the car, it was like “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” Chris said. “At low speeds without dumping the clutch it was quiet. It wasn’t chattery – it had fluid power delivery. If you didn’t put your foot down to the floor you wouldn’t even know it had all these upgrades. But as soon you warm it up and started getting into the boost, it was a totally different monster.”
With an upgraded suspension and all-wheel drive, Chris could throw the S4 into turns. The 40/60 power split was rear-wheel biased, helping push and pull the car while keeping it planted.
“I don’t think I ever got close to the top speed on it,” Chris said. This S4 had a built transmission sixth gear from a Volkswagen Jetta TDI, and with this gearing was capable of more than 200 mph.
As Chris mentioned, the modifications on his S4 are extensive. This car uses the turbo from the RS6 (the entire turbine). Miltek SuperDual stainless exhaust and factory cats with converted downpipes mate with RS6 turbo outlet (it will pass the California Smog test and inspection). The main catalytic converters were replaced with OEM parts. Performance was further enhanced via Wagner cast-iron high-flow exhaust manifolds, APR Bipipe and Forge diverter valves, AWE side mount intercoolers, and full Samco/034 silicone boost hoses.
Chris dug deeper into the RS parts bin for a factory RS4 auxiliary oil cooler. His S4 has a full 034 tune with injectors and can push 1.7 bar (about 25 PSI on 91 octane), though this engine & its turbos can do 2.0 bar. A Bosch 044 high-pressure fuel-pump was installed, along with an engine compression reducing head gasket (8.92:1) and carbon fiber cold air intake with dry-flow filter.
A two-year-old old JHM-rebuilt 6-speed gearbox with the longer TDI 6th gear makes this car capable of speeds around 200 mph. A STaSIS 4:1 center differential offers a better power split to the rear wheels. An AWE drivetrain stabilizer, South Bend clutch, and lightweight mingle-mass steel flywheel round out the performance mods.
Uprated brakes were needed to contain this German beast and they came in the form of StopTech 355mm ST40 front Big Brake Kit and new rotors. These are the largest possible rotors you can fit inside 18-inch wheels. Out back you’ll find a B8 S4 rear caliper/rotor conversion and LED brake lights. The Bilstein PSS9 adjustable coilovers are the same ones you can find fitted to Porsche vehicles. The front control arm links are heavy duty with stronger bushings and the sway bars come from H&R. Yokohama S-Drive 235/40R18 tires are wrapped around genuine Audi RS4 silver rims.
Factory HID headlights are accompanied by a genuine RS4 grille, bumper, and fog lamps. European aspherical blind-spot wing mirrors improve rear visibility and the Euro-spec trunk lid was painted to match the car.
A JHM short-shift kit can be found inside this S4, along with a PODI boost gauge mounted to the upper steering column and an LED light conversion. RS4 logo floor mats are joined by the European RS4 LCD-screen with GPS navigation and Bose sound. This car has been modernized with Bluetooth/MP3/hands-free functionality. The rear blind was removed and replaced with back-quarter 3M tints.
Chris had the car for about two years before selling it. He picked it up with 93,400 miles and by the time he let it go, the clock read 95,200 miles. It had reached the point where Chris was finished modifying the car and, short of dropping in a newly built engine, and wanted a new project.
“Anytime I needed a part for the car I could get it relatively cheap at the junkyard or something like that, Chris said. “A couple of years ago it was easier to find parts, especially from the A4. But as it got more difficult, I decided it was time to sell it. There’s a huge aftermarket but they’re crushing these cars every single day. It’s getting harder to put fewer miles on it and not enjoy the car."
“I ended up falling into a newer BMW that has 740 horsepower for a good deal, so that sealed it,” Chris laughed. “The Audi was the sixth car that I had, so it made sense to let go of the ones I’m not driving as much.”
Chris’s collection currently includes a 1991 Ford Ranger, 1997 Mazda Miata, 2006 Volvo XC70, and a 2008 BMW 335i. He is also restoring a 1975 model year car that has yet to be revealed. Chris told Oloi that it’s a “celebrity-owned German hot rod.”