Every car running at the end of the test was driven by at least one editor. Les Bidrawn liked the understated, undemanding nature of ABD Racing's daily-driven car, which finished well in spite of its mildness. Dave Anderson and his crew sipped sodas in the shade while most other teams worked on their cars, fixing problems or simply making adjustments to squeeze the last bit of performance from them. Pressed to pick one, Dan Barnes would choose the Achtuning car, but it's his job to obsess on the possibility of perfection. He says the Avalon chassis with the Auto Sport Werks motor and RS4 body conversion, Hartmann's diffs and Achtuning's four-wheel Stoptech brakes just might get him to stop fantasizing about supercharging a U.S.-spec Elise. But probably not.
Keith Rust's Virgin S4
It's a good idea to remember your roots. That said, we decided it would be a good idea to invite a perfectly stock S4 to see just how far the other 11 cars had progressed. There was some trepidation as we wondered if some people made their cars different, not better. Maybe they would have been better off leaving things alone like Keith Rust and his unmolested Pearlescent White S4.
As evident, Rust's S4 came in last place. It produced the least power, took longer to go, and made it through the road course at the slowest pace. We loved it anyway.
What this Audi did was to remind us just how fundamentally good the S4 chassis really is. Despite its relatively modest output, the car is a joy to drive, both on the street and track. Both Barnes and Bidrawn agreed this car had wonderfully smooth power delivery and was the quietest of the lot. Compared to the other contestants, the car had significantly more roll and tended to understeer during the tighter stuff. However, it was a very balanced and predictable car, very forgiving if pushed beyond its limits. Keith's beautifully maintained S4 is testament to Audi's engineering prowess. It is everything good about German-made cars and reminds us why we remain in this business.
2000 Audi S4
Engine Management Modifications
17x7.5-in. Avus design alloy