Why does KFC chicken taste so good? Why do women freak when the toilet seat is up? Why aren't Audi Avants popular in the United States?

I consider the aforementioned questions great mysteries.

While I don't lose sleep over the first two, the Avant issue is maddening. Here is a car that has everything going for it: outstanding performance, sexy lines, and room for tons of stuff.

While logic would dictate a winning formula, the U.S. automotive market doesn't always behave with reason. The truth is Audi wagons (Avants) don't sell for shit in America. We think that's a damn shame.

The flipside is Avants are something of a rarity, a fact that makes them all the more desirable to enthusiasts. The trio here combine amazing performance with singular styling, a winning formula in our book, er, magazine.

GMG WC-S4


When Tony Little, owner of this Speed Yellow RS4 clone, isn't managing GMG's IT infrastructure, he's pedaling a road bike. Although Tony considers himself a "semi-professional cyclist," his Audi is something pro-racer Hans Stuck would be happy to hammer.

When S4s sleep, they dream about being RS4s. This car got its wish with the factory's all-steel RS4 body conversion. Audi has just announced it has ceased producing these parts so prices for these panels will undoubtedly rise.

GMG has equipped this car with its World Challenge (WC) tuning program. Utilizing technology proven during GMG's extensive race experience, it kneads a big chunk of high performance into the dough.

The engine includes AWE's "Big Turbo" system augmented with GIAC software and GMG's WC sport exhaust. It leaves the 3,400-pound chassis with gobs of low-end torque-at 2100 rpm there's some 480 lb-ft of twist. It's hard to believe all that comes from a V6 with a mere 2.7 liters of displacement. Like most Quattro-equipped cars, this Avant squats slightly under hard acceleration while all four corners argue over traction. Around 6400 rpm it tends to run out of breath, but simply snatching a higher gear places it back into its hugely entertaining powerband. To ensure all this grunt is properly distributed, the Avant was equipped with a Sachs Motorsport clutch and Stasis center differential upgrade. GMG added in its lightweight aluminum flywheel with 034 transmission mounts and a JHM short shift kit.

Another facet of GMG's WC program addresses the suspension, an area in which GMG has had great success. The underpinnings include Ohlins Motorsport dampers, Eibach ERS springs and larger H-Sport sway bars. The BBS wheels are forged from magnesium, just like the Champion Motorsport World Challenge S4s, and GMG corner balanced the Audi and gave it a precision alignment. The resulting ride is an outstanding blend of firmness and compliancy excellent for daily driven performance. Add the stopping power of Stoptech's gigantic brakes and you've got significantly more car than an RS4 ever was.

2002 Audi S4 avant

Layout
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel drive

Engine
2.7-liter V6, dohc, 24-valve, twin-turbocharged. AWE K04 turbo and fueling kit, Evolution Racewerks intercoolers with carbon ducts, GMG WC turbo-back downpipes and exhaust, GIAC software

Transmission
Six-speed manual, AWE transmission stabilizer and 034 mounts, Sachs clutch with GMG aluminum flywheel, Stasis center diff, JHM short-shift kit

Suspension
Eibach ERS springs, Ohlins Motorsport dampers, H-Sport antiroll bars, adjustable upper arms, GMG corner balance and alignment

Brakes
Stoptech big brakes, six-piston calipers with 15-inch rotors (f), four-piston calipers with 14-inch rotors (r)

Wheels and Tires
BBS Motorsport forged magnesium, 18-inch Toyo R888

Exterior
OEM RS4 panels, GMG carbon front fenders, Porsche Speed Yellow paint

Performance*

Peak Power: 550 hp @ 6900 rpm
Peak Torque: 520 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
*GMG Racing data

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