$750 Bahnstormer: 1992 Audi S4 Project

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Audi has a history of building turbocharged sedans and wagons that deliver blistering performance backed by capable Quattro all-wheel drive. This 1992 Audi S4 is known as the Ur-S4 as it was the first “S” car rolled out in the USA. While most owners were excited for the added performance, the seller of this non-running $750 example here on craigslist is clearly no longer enthralled with the rare super sedan. 

If you’re not the sentimental type, it’s not hard to see why: this is a severely depreciating asset, not worth a ton even in running condition. I’ve seen more than one of these end up at Pick-N-Pull, while I’ve never seen an M3 stacked in the self-service rows. Nevertheless, when running, this would make for a wicked winter commuter what with that 20V / 5-cylinder turbo thrumming away up front.

And, of course, this is one of those rare sedans that actually gave the driver three pedals to work with, along with some incredible leather-covered sport bucket seats. From these seats you were in command of 227 b.h.p. and 258 lb.-ft. of torque at a very low RPM. Overall, this does not present as a car that’s been neglected; the leather still looks clean and untorn and there’s no evidence of wonky teenage modifications.

Mileage is on the high side, but frankly, these S4s have a reputation for being fairly long-lived (especially for a performance car) if maintained. The combination of some light rust and low value when not running likely compelled this owner to kick it to the curb for such a low price, but anyone who knows these turbocharged beasts could likely have a superb winter car on their hands for not much money. Is it worth a roll of the dice?

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Comments

  1. Sam

    Keep the badging for another car just to screw with people. Salvage the front seats for a couple man-cave recliners or desk chairs.

    3+
  2. Ehare

    The perfect lemons racecar, a hotrod with questionable reliability. And it is only 250 miles away…

    4+
  3. edh

    $2000 tops if you tow it to me. I just want the seat to use as desk chairs in my basement. This is and was a turd and that goes for everything Audi and their parent company builds now and then.

    4+
  4. 86 Vette Convertible

    I know little of the S4’s but a former co-worker had 2 of them. First one had the tranny go out, bought another one. Some extensive engine repair in that one then the tranny went out in that one too. Didn’t sound too encouraging from all the work he did on it then both were dead. At least the automatics apparently have some larger than life issues.
    Maybe the price is worth it for a parts car, but then again I wouldn’t be the one buying it.

    0
  5. JimmyJ

    If i had money to burn id probably buy a new a8 just to say i owned one but i would definitely unload it before the warranty ran out!

    0
    • Mark-A

      I’m extremely interested in the A8 4.0ltr V8 Diesel (partly because I’m in Europe) but I’d like to experience the Torque wave! Or a VW Phaeton 5.0 V10 Diesel both intrigue me

      0
  6. Chebby

    Worth buying just to put the seats and wheels in your Vanagon.

    1+
  7. sluggo

    Hmm, I would have to look at the accidnet report to find out the year, But I was hit on my motorcycle by one of these Audis.
    I was travelling on a secondary highway at 45-50 pm (Speed limit was 45) and she was travelling at 75-80 mph according to the report.
    Never touched the brakes. She rear ended me and I thought I was overseas again and an IED. I knew I was flying thru the air but nothing I could do. Witnesses were seriously freaked. I impacted the windshield on driver side and cratered it in partially. Flew up and over and tumbled like a rag doll.
    I saw later the pictures and the back window was dislodged and partially hanging off the car. So, basically the entire structure of the car was compromised. Yes, she was drunk and texting,, arrested at the scene but not before claiming “He came out of nowhere and hit me!”
    At the trauma unit they cut all my clothes off and I was covered in stinky oil. At the time I assumed the oil bag/tank on my HD Sporty had ruptured. I was shocked when I got it back from the tow yard it was intact. I learned thru the photos and witnesses that the driver side was severely damaged and there is some sort of cooler there. Trans or power steering,. So thats where all the oil came from. Witnesses said it was like a cloud of oil mist in the air.
    So, She was underinsured of course and I contacted her bank and demanded the car. Didnt get anywhere with that but I wanted the satisfaction of parting it out. So, my $0.02 here is they probably ARE a good car but not so great if you want to play bumper cars. At the scene I felt she was going to try and flee. But the car was inop.

    6+
  8. Ron

    My brother has one of these which he bought new, had over 350k miles on it when he quit driving it, think he put a new head on it and a new turbo at some point.

    He’s been driving nothing but Audis since the mid ’80’s, put more than 200k miles on most of them except for his A8 V-10 which his grown daughter rolled with 5 adults in it, only injuries were a couple of bruises.

    2+
  9. m paris

    love audi and vw. great cars I own a s4 at the present. some things broke but when you push technology what do you expect….great car that one…if he was closer I would take it…
    as for solidity I was involved in 1 major accident I walk out…the owner of the other car still has problems to walk..these cars are made to handle punishment..
    If you take care of them (the car ) it will take care of you…
    I am sure those doors still close well..try that on a Honda or a gm…

    1+
  10. Carter

    ’92s are the most rare and featured unique suspension closer to the correct original ride height. For the right person the springs alone might be worth it.

    0
  11. Carter

    And the forged Fuchs wheels, too. A hit and the right fit for earlier 200 and Ur models. They don’t look bad on V8 quattros either!

    1+
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Hey Carter! Hope the M3 is treating you well.

      0
  12. Alan Brase

    Lots of hating on this one. To the right person this is a killer car. I think they can make 5-700hp set up right. And put it down to the snow. I guess somebody though it was worth $750.

    2+
    • Sam

      Most of the hating stems from VW and spotty reliability and repair cost. I would love to drive a new RS 7 or an A 8L.

      Back in the day, before 2 corporate downsizings, I looked seriously at an A 6 RS but pissed off the salesman in questioning some VW similarities and brand engineering.

      Lease what you can afford for a new one or be an enthusiast with the older stuff. Love the car and recognize you will likely outspend its value.

      1+
  13. Wagon master

    Loved my 4 Audis, but hated the high maintainene costs and rapid depreciation!

    0
  14. NickF

    I had one with lots of miles. Awesome to drive but quirky and expensive to work on. I got rid of it for a Porsche which strangely cost about the same as a Civic in maintenance. I found a couple kids with more enthusiasm than money … I hope they had fun with it.

    0

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