B8 Audi A4 Avant Gets S4 Powertrain Swap for Max Performance

B8 Audi A4 Avant S4 Powertrain Swap

This Audi A4 Avant S4 clone mimics something that wasn’t sold in the U.S., and the results are quite impressive.

It may seem hard for many of us to believe, but 2009 was a pretty long time ago at this point – 14 years, to be exact. That’s an eternity in the automotive world, when things change quickly and technology advances at a rapid rate. However, there’s still plenty to like about Audi vehicles produced during this era, with their simple, tasteful styling that’s held up nicely over the years, as well as some compelling performance models. However, there was one ride in particular that wasn’t sold in the U.S. – the B8 S4 Avant, so a fellow named Mark Jackson set out to create his own by starting out with a 2009 Audi A4 Avant, a build that was recently featured in a video from Deutsche Auto Parts.

This Audi A4 Avant came from the factory with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder under the hood, which generates a reasonable 211 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It’s a decent engine for this platform, but it’s no hot rod by any means, leaving enthusiasts like us – and Jackson – wanting more. Thus, he decided he was going to build his own version of the B8 S4 wagon that America didn’t get.

B8 Audi A4 Avant S4 Powertrain Swap

Jackson set out to find a suitable donor, and wound up doing just that in the form of a wrecked S4. He harvested that car’s supercharged 3.0-liter V6, six-speed manual transmission, and differential, but he didn’t just leave the new motor alone, either. Instead, he added some performance extras such as an Integrated Engineering Stage 2 Double Pulley tune, a smaller supercharger pulley to ramp up boost, and a CTS crank. The result, according to Jackson, is that his wagon now makes around double the horsepower of the engine that it replaced.

Amazingly, Jackson points out that this job was actually pretty simple and straightforward, given the fact that the A4 and S4 share so much in common. His goal here wasn’t just to make his wagon faster, however – rather, he wanted to ensure that the average person couldn’t tell that this isn’t a factory B8 S4 Avant, so he even went to the trouble of swapping over the entire interior and other bits and pieces. Needless to say, it’s an amazing finished product, and one that makes us want to go out and build our own hot rod wagon.

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Want to Audi Swap Your Porsche 911?

Audi Swap 911

If your Porsche 911 motor went boom, the folks at Renn27 have a solution that offers Turbo power for a fraction of the price.

Even diehard Audi fans will admit that the Porsche 911 is automotive royalty. But every noble bloodline — just ask King Charles — has its less popular members, and for the 911, that’s the 996 generation, whose  “fried egg” headlamps drew the ire of Porsche purists around the world.

Fugly front fascia controversy aside, a 996-generation 911 Turbo is still going to run buyers north of $50,000, and while naturally aspirated versions can be found for less than half that, they come with a very well-documented problem. That would be the potential failure of the intermediate shaft bearing. There are few warning signs that it’s about to go, and when it does, that’s the end of the engine.

So if you’re buying a used model? You’re either going to need documentation that it’s been fixed, or pony up around $4,500 at your local Porsche garage.

Enter the proposition of an engine swap. Because while the idea of giving Stuttgart’s masterpiece a heart transplant might sound like heresy, that hasn’t stopped people from swapping in everything from Chevy small blocks to K-series Honda engines. And now, the folks at Renn27 have developed kit to drop in an Audi 2.7T. Since the Four Rings mill — which saw service in the legendary B5 S4 — can be reliably tuned to produce 500 ponies, it’s a great way to get Turbo power at a fraction of the price.

While Renn27 offers individual swap components, the complete kit runs $10,800, and includes everything you need to make the Audi engine play nice with its corporate cousin. This includes engine mounts, transmission spacers, a DME replacement microcontroller, and engine to chassis adaptor harness, along with other necessary hardware, like a new clutch, flywheel, turbo and exhaust. Watch the video below for an overview of the process, and cross your fingers that we get to see one of these babies in action at the track soon!

Photos: YouTube

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Craziest Aero Ever!?! Here’s Two Giant Wings with an Audi S4 Attached to Them

S4 Audi

This Audi S4 is the result of what happens when you exploit a rulebook that allows unlimited aero mods.

Racers are a unique breed. Racers who look to take advantage of the rule book are even better. Audi, as a corporation, did that with their Quattro, and dominated the World Rally Championship. On a more localized level, JXB performance is looking to dominate the King of the Mountain autocross championship.

The idea came about when the JBX crew was at UMI Motorsports Park’s TeamCross event. In that event, this S4 did good and their performance earned them a spot in the KOTM event. But they wanted to dominate. Some serious mods have already been performed on the car by this time, including an S7 engine, with RS7 turbos, too. It’s the first 4.0T swapped S4 in the US based on what the team could find, and the only one paired with the car’s factory manual transmission. JXB also made a host of suspension components to really give the S4 the tarmac bit that it deserves.

However, a 10-hour drive home from the event offered ample time to think of new ways to go fast. Jay Bullington, the owner of the car and one of the team drivers wondered a simple theory; “How fast do we need to go in order to win with a cone?” In essence, they wanted a car fast enough that even with a penalty for tipping a cone, they could still emerge victorious.

Hilary, a team member opened up the rulebook and discovered that the class wasn’t really restrictive, and had next to no rules at all when it came to limitations on aero devices. At first they thought of putting on a front wing. But when real thought was given, why not add more wings? Why not put a total of 10 elements on the car? Five in the front, and a matching number in the rear.

Craziest Aero Ever!?! Here's Two Giant Wings with an Audi S4 Attached to Them

Craziest Aero Ever!?! Here's Two Giant Wings with an Audi S4 Attached to Them

It’s a lot of wing, but Formula SAE cars do something similar. And autocross speeds are lower so stall speed and drag aren’t that big of a factor. Best part is JXB Performance didn’t buy off-the-shelf units for this. They made all of the aero. Foam was laser cut, and then carbon fiber was laid by hand for each element.

Will it work? That’s to be determined. One quote from their Facebook page sums it up; “We went from reading the rulebook to final product in less than 6 weeks, so there wasn’t much time to do anything but read a few formula SAE papers and take a stab at it.”

Craziest Aero Ever!?! Here's Two Giant Wings with an Audi S4 Attached to Them

We’ll be keeping an eye out for the results to see how they finish.

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RS4 Avant Clone is The Closest You Can Get in the US

B7 Audi RS4 Avant Wagon Clone For Sale

Inside and out, this B7 Avant is a full-fledge RS4 clone. This Cars and Bids auction is the closest you’ll get to a B7 RS4 for a decade!

The B7 Audi RS4 Avant is an iconic staple of the fearsome four rings’ timeline. What’s not to love? A six-speed manual transmission and a 4.2-liter V8 that makes 420 horsepower and 317 pound-feet of torque.  Couple that with the practicalities of a wagon and Audi’s legendary Quattro all-wheel-drive system, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Come to think of it, though; there is one thing we don’t love about it. See, Audi never sold the B7 RS4 in the US. We’re sure you’re aware, and we promise this article’s point is not simply to add salt to that open wound. Instead, we have great news. Right now, there’s a chance for US Audi enthusiasts to get an authentic taste of the B7 RS4 lifestyle. Furthermore, this car is 100% US legal and ready to rock.

This 2008 Audi S4 Avant is currently listed on Cars and Bids. However, this particular wagon is a whole lot more than an S4. This car is a meticulous recreation of an RS4. It has a full drivetrain swap, meaning instead of the standard affair S4 V8 engine with 340 horsepower, it has an authentic RS4 engine making the full-fledged 420 horsepower. It doesn’t stop at just the drivetrain, either. This thing has hours and hours of love and care put into it. As such, though, it’s not going to come cheap. At the time of writing, this auction has five days remaining and already carries a bid of over $50,000.

Interior B7 RS4 swapped S4 Leather bucket seats

The RS4 Conversion Doesn’t Stop at the engine

While the drivetrain swap in itself is impressive, it’s far from telling the whole story of this conversion. If you open the doors, you’ll find that this car also has a full-blown RS4 interior swap. Of course, this includes the gorgeous and sporty Euro-spec leather bucket seats. Heated, of course. Additionally, it has Euro-spec RS4 door cards, a TTRS flat-bottom steering wheel, SRP pedals, and a weighted shift knob.

Other upgrades include an RS4 steering rack, KW V3 coilovers, Brembo GT front rotors, EBC brake pads, and 034Motorsports adjustable control arms, both upper and lower.

Audi RS4 RSFaux S4 B7 Avant Cars and Bids Auction

Widebody to Complete the Look

Perhaps the most selling part of this conversion is the widebody conversion. If we hadn’t been told it wasn’t a legitimate RS4 (and we didn’t read the fantastic “RSFAUX” license plates), we would be at a loss for how this car is in the US. It really is that convincing.

Tying together the whole look is a full-color change to Cambridge Green Pearl, Euro-spec head and taillights, a German-spec Avant rear bumper, and a shining set of gold Work Emotion wheels.

The only slight hang-ups some potential buyers may have are that the Carfax report shows a minor-damage front-end collision in 2014 and the fact that the RS4 cluster swap puts the actual mileage of this vehicle up in the air.

B7 Audi RS4 Clone Six Speed Manual 420 Horsepower

Ultimately, this is a rare opportunity to own a car in the US that meets the specs of one of the many cool cars we never got in our market. Though we finally get a taste of the RS Avant life thanks to the RS6, we are still missing out on plenty of awesome RS Avant cars that are not yet legal. Now, you’ve got a chance o experience it. Unfortunately, though, it’s likely not going to come cheap.

We’ll certainly be watching this auction to see the final hammer price!

Photos: Cars and Bids

2021 Audi SQ5 Review: Sports Car in Luxury SUV Clothing

2021 Audi SQ5

The Audi SQ5 jams the power and handling dynamics of the S5 and S4 into the taller Q5 platform. It’s a total blast, but is it worth $72,000?

Today we’re taking a look at the 2021 Audi SQ5, a muscular mid-sized SUV with a turbocharged V6 engine, snappy handling, sports car seating, and a sumptuous interior.

It ain’t what you call cheap, staring over $50,000 and as-tested at around $72 grand, but it may be one of the best all-around family vehicles on the market for enthusiasts who know that life’s too short to drive boring. (#NoMinivans)

Prefer to watch our Audi SQ5 review on YouTube?
Click HERE!

Is the SQ5 right for you? Read on!

Q5 vs SQ5

2021 Audi Q5

2021 Audi Q5. Photograph (c) Audi USA.

Let’s back up and first define the Q5 series as a whole. Recently refreshed, the mid-sized luxury Q5 is available with two engine options, three trim levels (Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige), and two body styles (SUV and Sportback). The entry-level engine is a 16-valve turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder making 261 HP and 273 lb-ft of torque. This configuration’s good for a 5.7-second 0-60 run. Or you can opt for the Hybrid system, which boosts the 2.0L up to 362-hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. This drops 0-60 runs down to 5-seconds, but it’s the heaviest of the bunch.

Audi SQ5

Chrome reduction for the win!

Stepping up the ladder, we have the sporty SQ5.

Under the SQ5’s hood, you’ll find a turbocharged 3.0L V6 pumping out 349 HP and 369 lb-ft of torque. Yes, it’s the same engine found in the S4 and S5. And yes, it’s less powerful than the Hybrid Q5… BUT, the SQ5, at 4,288 lbs, weighs 331 fewer pounds than the Hybrid. Which gives the SQ5 a straight-line advantage and an Audi-quoted 4.7-second 0-60 time. (For reference, in my testing, the best I could manage was 5.4 seconds, so your experience may vary.)

There are other variances we could discuss, but the quick version is that the Q5 is more luxury and comfort where the SQ5 adds performance driving dynamics and sportier visuals to the equation.

As Tested

SQ5 headlight

The Audi eye SEES ALL!

Audi loaned us a 2021 Audi SQ5 Prestige for review and provided one tank of premium fuel. SQ5 pricing starts at $52,900 — a $10,000 premium over the base Q5 — but our loaner included the following options:

  • District Green Metallic paint for $595
  • Prestige Package for $9,800
  • S sport package for $3,000
  • Dynamic steering for $1,150
  • Black optic package for $600 PLUS the $1,000 for the black optic wheels
  • Fine Napa leather seats for $1,000
  • Carbon Atlas inlays for $500
  • Rear side airbags for $350

Toss in destination and delivery and our MSRP hits $71,790.

Audi SQ5 side

Red brake calipers = fast! (It’s the law.)

What do YOU think of the Audi SQ5?
Let us know HERE in the forums!!!

SQ5 Visual Aesthetics

Audi SQ5 front grille

Lookin’ mean and green out front.

In and of itself, the SQ5 remains relatively faithful to its Q5 cousins, visually. It’s a chunky little SUV that’s been smoothed and carved away from the days of boxes on wheels. In short, it’s fine.

But add the optional Black optic package and larger wheels and suddenly the SQ5 stands out a little more from the pack. More muscular. More menacing. It’s not loud, mind you. But reducing the shiny bits draws eyes more to the SUV’s hips and curves and shiny red brake calipers.

Audi SQ5 rear

Four of these things are not real…

The other standout feature on our loaner is the paint. District Green Metallic is a bit of a chameleon. At night and under a cloudy sky, it looks a bit like an aftermarket wrap. Some type of military-style green that’s not quite shiny and not quite flat. (Think a green version of Nardo Grey.) But when the sun shines, District Green Metallic reveals its true nature — a gold metallic flake that shines and shimmers.

It’s a bit love-it-or-hate-it in photos. But in person, it’s a big win. At least for me.

District Green Metallic

Lose yourself inside the flakes of district green metallic.

In terms of negatives, I’m not a fan of the fake quad-tip exhaust tips — as in they are connected to no part of the exhaust — even though they look sporty.

Overall the SQ5 is a bit of a sleeper, aesthetically. But as configured, it’s a sharp SUV that looks terrific, even if it blends in with almost every other Audi product.

SQ5 Performance & Handling

Audi SQ5 wheels with red brakes

Where the rubber meets the road. Literally.

In a world where sports cars routinely run to 60 in under four or three seconds, the SQ5 ain’t gonna win you any bragging rights. Still, its power-to-weight ratio delivers a relatively thrilling experience. Especially for an SUV.

Mash the pedal to the ground and the SQ5 leaps forward. Turbocharged torque hits hard and races you up to illegal speeds with only a touch of torque steer. Toss the SQ5 into a corner and it’s wonderfully balanced in its lowest air suspension modes. Speaking of which, the SQ5’s suspension is terrific — both tight and sporty in the corners, but able to mask all but the harshest bumps. And, if you’re looking to do some light off-roading, you can raise up the SQ5, which only adds to the sensation of driving on a pillow.

SQ5

Forget what Audi you’re driving? No problem. Just look out back.

As I said earlier, the SQ5 drives very much like a sports car but sacrifices none of the comforts. And with this power level, it’s a vehicle where you can enjoy its abilities at a full ten-tenths. Which of course encourages you to find its limits.

Overall, it’s a joy to drive, but there are two downsides.

As with most turbocharged engines, this 3.0L V6 dies out a little early in the revs, which makes the SQ5 feel quick off the line when the torque hits, but slower at highway speeds. Further, the SQ5’s transmission isn’t the quickest to downshift. Which, when coupled with the engine’s turbo lag, can feel like two back-to-back power-kicks at some speeds.

P Zero tires

Cursed be these inferior summer tires! (<– Opinion based on personal experience.)

The other thing I’d like to see is Audi dumping the Pirelli summer tires on this particular package. Taking the SQ5 around a tight corkscrew freeway onramp, I found the squealing edge of the Pirellis’ grip, something I never feel when driving Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires at similar speeds.

Overall, though, the SQ5 is a total blast. And equally at home commuting as it is playing in the twisties.

SQ5 Interior

SQ5 interior

Is your leather from Napa or Sonoma? And what’s the vintage?

I’d venture to say that, after its all-wheel-drive systems, Audi might be best known for its quality interiors. And the SQ5 is no different. The optional fine Napa leather seating wraps around perfectly bolstered heated sport buckets. Rear seating includes just enough leg and headroom for taller passengers, although not as much as a similarly sized EV crossover like the Mustang Mach E. Touch surfaces and materials aren’t the fanciest Audi offers, but they’re very good overall.

Click on any of these photos to see the larger file!

In the tech department, Audi’s gauges and infotainment touchcreens are sharp, clear, and snappy to operate. And the upgraded Prestige stereo system sounds quite good as well. But I don’t love the way Audi organizes the system’s menu systems and it would be nice to see wireless Apple CarPlay at this price point. I was also a bit surprised to see cooled front seats missing from a $72,000 vehicle. But they are available as part of a $600 package that also includes window shades.

center console

Shift this, man!

Lastly, the vehicle’s center console layout is a bit odd to my tastes. There are several small cubbies that would work well for a phone, but don’t quite fit them. And trying to use the cup holders with the phone charger and the armrest is a bit of a challenge. Minor quibbles, of course.

Overall, Audi’s interiors are generally excellent, and few nitpicks aside, this one’s no different.

Who Should Buy an Audi SQ5

Audi Sq5

Fun and sporty, but is it large enough for your lifestyle?

Is the Audi SQ5 right for your lifestyle? That depends, of course. If you’re into sports cars, the SQ5 isn’t going to blow you away. This isn’t a full RS model, after all. Nor is the SQ5 for anyone who needs a larger SUV for families with more than four people or lots of cargo.

Instead, the SQ5 finds a happy middle ground. Perfect for smaller families. An amazingly comfortable commuter. And all the fun-factor of the S4 and S5 with a little extra cargo room in terms of overall value. The 3.0L turbo V6 provides a lot of torque and smiles per gallon with an adjustable, tight suspension customizable to your tastes and needs. Picking up the kids. Running to the Home Depot. Roaring through the canyons.

You name it and the Audi SQ5 is a total blast.

But if you prefer extra capacity to sportiness, check out the Q7, which also offers this 3.0L turbo V6 along with three-row seating. Cheers!

Photos: Michael S. Palmer