I’m a reader of the irreverent car blog Jalopnik, and this article is why. Doug DeMuro explains in a clear, straightforward manner “Why The V8 Audi S4 Is An Awful Used Car.” The article begins with DeMuro coming across a used S4 Avant (the Avant is the lovely station wagon variant; for some insane reason North Americans don’t like to purchase station wagons and so this model is very rare). The car is colored the desirable “Nogaro Blue,” it has a manual transmission, as an S4 it has a scorching 340 hp, and it’s for sale. What is more, the owner wants a measly $13,000.
As DeMuro puts it, coming across a car like this on the market is “the automotive equivalent of a unicorn and Bigfoot and a space alien all sitting in one room, playing poker, and then the Loch Ness Monster walks in and gets a Royal Flush.”
You get the picture. DeMuro wants this car.
So he does some quick background reading.
Turns out there’s a reason why a car like this is a mere $13,000. When they built it, Audi used a substandard, failure-prone timing chain on the engine. And this being an Audi, the repairs would cost approximately $8000. At that moment the world of poker-playing unicorns met the real world.
DeMuro passed on the car.
Along the way, he offered the rest of us some real-world advice, the kind of information you just don’t get when automotive journalists take a press car to the race track for a battery of closed circuit tests on a sunny afternoon. In the world of decontextualized automotive stats, it’s great to have a friend who offers some real world wisdom that cuts to the chase: don’t buy that car!