It's been said that stereotypes don't happen by accident, and in most cases you'd be correct in believing that highly modified cars are cantankerous and unreliable. Like the laws of physics, many enthusiasts try to creatively bend the rules but in the end they fall victim to the same problems. So when we heard Ryan Lent's B7 Audi S4 Avant had survived more than 70,000 hard miles with little more than basic maintenance, we knew it didn't happen by accident.
"The car was built with an emphasis on quality and performance, so each time an area was addressed, the best parts were used," Lent said.
Although Ryan has known the Avant since it was several thousand miles old, he's only owned it but a year. Confused? Let him explain. "I'm a Service Advisor at 3Zero3 Motorsports and back in 2006 the original owner came to the shop for mods to help him keep pace with STIs and Evos in the mountains," Lent said.
He then explained that when the stock S4 Avant wasn't enough, the owner first turned to suspension and brake upgrades for more speed through the serpentine Colorado roads. "Believe it or not, he started with the StopTech ST60BBK six-piston calipers and 355mm slotted rotors up front, with StopTech OE-sized slotted rear rotors when the car had just 3200 miles on it."
Remember the part about the Audi being trouble free for tens of thousands of miles? The brakes were part of that equation as they've rolled through 65000 trouble-free miles with only the rotor rings needing replacement during the five sets of pads they've worn through. Apparently the previous owner was heavy on the middle pedal and loved late-braking, which can cause some stress with the B7 S4 Avant tipping the scales north of 4000 lb.
While the Avant weighs more than its sedan sibling, its extra heft is actually rearward, helping improve the front/rear balance. Despite its girth, the wagon was surprisingly capable in the winding roads, yet a well prepared STI or Evo is never easy prey. And so Stasis Engineering's LMJ series Ohlins Motorsport coilovers with remote reservoirs were added, along with an RS4 rear sway bar to keep the Avant flat through the corners.
"The Stasis/Ohlins coilovers are amazing. They eat up potholes better than anything I've experienced. The original owner specified progressive rate springs so the car handles exceptionally well for its weight and even rotates if provoked," Lent said.
In the 40,000 miles the suspension has seen, it's only been rebuilt once, and still handles as well as always - further proof that you get what you pay for.
At this point in the story, Colorado's altitude was too much for the stock V8. The 4.2L aluminum V8 produced 340hp and 302 lb-ft but at almost one mile above sea level it wasn't producing its advertised output. "The altitude robs roughly 3% of your power per 1000ft, so our cars are down approximately 15-18% at this altitude, which is pretty significant," Lent said. To save you from breaking out the calculator, that's about 60hp!
Thankfully, 3Zero3 Motorsports is in cahoots with PES (Performance Engineered Systems), enabling the original owner to add the stage 2 PES supercharger. The kit was based around the Eaton M90 positive displacement Roots-type blower, which gave it lots of torque from idle, with solid power to redline. Oh yeah, and it has the characteristic blower whine at WOT (Google it for giggles).
Since Eatons are commonly known as Heatons because they are known to increase intake air temps (IAT), PES added an air-to-liquid intercooler to keep the temperatures at bay.
"The Stage 2 kit came with a 7psi pulley and PES even helped us get the mapping right since the altitude needed custom tailoring," Ryan told us.
The out-of-the box, PES supercharger kits are said to increase power by 40-45%, which certainly compensates for the altitude-related losses. But the original owner reasoned that if some is good, more is better, so inlet restrictions were reduced with an APR/Carbonio cold-air intake, while the big V8 was uncorked after the cylinder heads with Milltek downpipes, high-flow cats and an unresonated cat-back exhaust system. "The car sounds amazing under full throttle," Lent said. "You get the blower whine up front with the unresonated V8 blast out back - it's stunning!"
The car hasn't seen the dyno since 2010 when it made 325hp and 327 lb-ft, but Lent explained newer software was recently uploaded that should be good for at least 360hp at the wheels.
Not to beat a dead horse, but the supercahrger has run for 35000 fuss-free miles with only a recent hardware service upgrade required. "We replaced a few bolts and O-rings to keep everything fresh, but aside from that it's been driven for thousands of miles without a hint of trouble," Lent stressed.
Of course, no street car is complete without a few interior and exterior upgrades, even if the blank canvas is a pretty as the B7 S4 Avant. "The original owner spent a fortune fitting the Audi MMI nav system, along with a custom enclosure for a Focal sub and amp plus iPod integration," Lent said.
On the outside you'll find an OEM RS4 grille that sets the tone for the slammed stance and 19x8.5" RS4-style Hartmann B7 HRS4-252-GA:M wheels that nail the OEM+ look.
"When the owner finished college and was returning to Turkey, he decided to sell the car rather than pay $30,000 in import taxes," Lent said. "With the blessing of my wife, I just couldn't pass it up since it would haul the kids but also hauled butt," he added. And in one fell swoop, Ryan was the proud owner of a supreme daily driver.
"It was a good deal, but still expensive. I have a one-hour commute and now look forward to the drive since the Avant is amazing in the turns and has enough torque to squirt through traffic, climb mountains and blast to 120mph with a brush of the throttle - it's literally the best daily driver," he added.
2007 Audi S4 Avant
Location: Wheat Ridge, CO
Occupation: Service Advisor, 3Zero3 Motorsports
Engine: 4.2L V8 40v with stage 2 PES supercharger kit and software, Milltek downpipes with high-flow cats, unresonated cat-back exhaust, APR/Carbonio CAI, K&N filter
Drivetrain: stock six-speed manual transmission, JHM short shifter
Brakes: StopTech ST60BBK six-piston front calipers with 355mm slotted rotors, OE-size slotted rear rotors
Suspension: Stasis/Ohlins LMJ series Motorsport coilovers with remote reservoirs, RS4 rear sway bar
Wheels & Tires: 19x8.5" Hartmann B7 HRS4-252-GA:M wheels ET38, 245/35 R19 Continental ExtremeContact DW tires
Exterior: RS4 grille
Interior: Audi MMI navigation module, Focal subwoofer and amp in custom enclosure, iPod integration
Thanks: 3Zero3 Motorsports (www.3zero3motorsports.com)