2001 Audi S4 Avant
We all know Audi's line-up of RS cars is a source of nirvana for many car enthusiasts. Designed to take on and effectively whoop M and AMG cars, Audi has never let us down when it has come to doing what's necessary to accomplish such feats.
Actually, that's not entirely true, at least not for North American enthusiasts. Because Audi did let us down, big time, by keeping the original Audi RS - the Porsche-partnered RS2, as well as the even more impressive follow up, the B5 RS4 - out of the hands of US enthusiasts. And although we've since been blessed with the more recent Audi RS4, other versions have again gone missing.
Besides their outrageous performance and stealthy good looks, truly one of the coolest features of the first two RS cars was that each was only offered in Avant form. That's right, if you wanted Audi's highest performing vehicle you were going to be driving a station wagon. Talk about the perfect all-around vehicle!
Missing out on the RS2 and B5 RS4 bummed-out many Audi enthusiasts - some more than others. Denver's Adam McCarty is one of the others. Adam was bummed-out enough that he thumbed his nose at AoA and set forth to build his own B5 RS4. Though he's certainly not the first nut-job to do it, Adam's RS4 clone is as comprehensively built as any we've seen. Although the 380hp RS4 was no slouch in stock form, Adam has taken his vision of the RS4 even farther - some 75% farther.
From the pearl white paint to the bulging OE fender flares, to the impossibly wide BBS CH wheels, this '01.5 S4-turned-RS4 is truly stunning. If Adam had never opened the hood or touched the interior, this would still be a car you'd love to have in your driveway. There's an emotional appeal to the RS4's lines and, as already mentioned, the fact it's a wagon factors into the equation.
Lest anybody thinks converting a US-spec B5 S4 Avant to full RS4 spec is easy, keep in mind this particular project is six years in the making and, according to Adam, "It all began as a simple build, but obviously I don't know when enough is enough." True enough. In fact, he tells us there's still more to do
One specific problem faced by Adam and his tuners-of-choice, Autosport Werks and European Performance Labs (EPL), was how to get big horsepower from the twin-turbo 2.7 V6 while breathing the thin air at 5000ft above sea level. "Lots of trial and error with different turbo set-ups drove us crazy," said Adam, "but in the end, TiAL's 750 turbo kit and EPL's tuning did the trick." Yes, and quite the trick it is, too, with a Dyno Dynamics verified 528hp at all-four wheels. Keep in mind, this dyno is notorious for providing pessimistic numbers, and even factoring a conservative 15% drivetrain loss, we're still talking over 600hp at the crank.
There's more to building a 600-horse 2.7TT than slapping on bigger turbos, and Adam took a comprehensive approach to achieving his goals. Bigger is often better, so toward that end he upped the displacement to a full 3.0 liters by way of forged 82.5mm pistons and Pauter rods. The entire assembly was balanced, blueprinted and O-ringed to ensure everything stayed bolted together under multiple atmospheres of pressure.
Other notable players included a pair of ported and polished 2.8 heads, dual Apikol intercoolers, a sensible Aquamist water/meth injection system, and a custom Autosport Werks exhaust system employing sizeable 3" downpipes.
A Stasis-built transmission and Dahlbäck Racing clutch ensure the power makes it to the venerable quattro AWD system.
Helping the quattro system effectively put 600hp to the ground is a set of 265/30-19 Toyo T1R tires wrapped around the aforementioned 19x10" BBS CH wheels.
Making the CHs extra special is the fact Adam began with offsets designed for the BMW M3, having the wheels re-drilled to work with his Audi's 5x112 bolt pattern. Why go to such lengths when "proper" Audi applications are available? Spend a few moments drooling over the deeply recessed centers and contoured spokes of the RWD rims and get back to us.
High-quality Ohlins motorsport suspension and StopTech big brake kits round out most of the handling upgrades.
The S4 came from the factory with narrow fenders and Santorin blue paint. SVE Autobody had the task of adding the metal RS4 fenders and applying the tricky pearl white paint. Despite the high degree of difficulty, SVE should be congratulated for their impressive work.
Since we've mentioned this is a comprehensive build, you wouldn't expect the S4's interior to have been neglected. Anybody who's spent time in a factory B5 RS4 knows there's little to nothing that needs to be done in the way of improvements, and Adam obviously agreed. "When it came to modding the interior, I didn't want to stray far from the OEM theme," he said. "So all I wanted were the OE RS4 seats, steering wheel and carbon fiber trim." He's also added black alcantara inserts to the seats for good measure, but the effect is OEM and sensational. There's no shortage of custom ICE scattered about, but none of it detracts from the subtle factory theme Adam chose.
Perhaps the only thing that looks out of place in the car is the aluminum canister mounted in the trunk. At first, we thought it looked like an old hooch still, and our guess wasn't a million miles off because the custom-made reservoir contains the methanol for the Aquamist system.
So Adam got his RS4. He followed the "if you want something bad enough you have to build it yourself" cliché, but it's taken a lot of work, money and time to achieve. Upon deep reflection, is he happy he went that route? You bet your RS he is!
2001 Audi S4 Avant
Owner: Adam McCarty
Location: Denver, CO
Occupation: construction, Co-owner of SDR Research
Engine: 2.7 liter V6 twin-turbo with 3.0 liter conversion using 82.5mm CP pistons and Pauter rods, balanced, blueprinted and O-ringed bottom end, ported and polished 2.8 heads, Catt valve springs, retainers and locks, TiAL 750 turbo kit using two Garrett GT28RS turbo cartridges with TiAL 2886 billet compressor wheels in custom TiAL turbine housings, RS4 throttle body and pressure pipes, Dahlbäck Racing diverter valves, Aquamist HSF-5 with custom tank, SDR carbon fiber Y-pipe and fiberglass intake, Apikol intercoolers, Evolution Racewerks carbon fiber shrouds, EPL software tuning, custom 3" downpipes with exhaust
Driveline: Stasis-built transmission and rear differential, Dahlbäck Racing clutch
Brakes: StopTech 355mm front rotors, 332mm rear rotors, four-piston calipers all round
Wheels & Tires: 19x10" BBS CH wheels in matte black, drilled for 5x112 fitment, 265/30-19 Toyo T1R tires
Exterior: RS4 widebody conversion using OE fenders, bumpers and skirts, SDR carbon fiber hood, custom pearl white paint, satin black mirrors, window trim and roof rails
Interior: RS4 seats with alcantara inserts, RS4 steering wheel, door pulls and carbon fiber interior trim, custom aluminum methanol reservoir in trunk
Audio/Visual: Alpine CDA-9887 head unit, Focal front and rear component speakers, Focal Dual-Direct amp
Thanks: Bryan from Autosport Werks (autosportwerks.com, 303/460-9900), SVE Autobody (sveautobody.com), Tony from EPL (eplabs.net, 203/345-6499)