Just shy of five years ago I found myself as a young man on the hunt to attain one of my dream cars. After watching Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson thrash a Misano red Audi B7 RS4 saloon up a mountain against two climbers, I just knew I had to have one.
However being 20 at the time my budget wasn’t exactly massive so I knew there was a compromise to be made. Did I sacrifice the bucket seats? Buy a high miler with good history? Or take my chances on ex category damaged car? After inspecting a few cars around 80-100k miles that simply hadn’t been taken care of and a few stolen recovered examples I felt that maybe I just couldn’t afford one.
Then finally one Saturday morning during a routine trawl on Auto Trader I found a high-mileage Daytona grey saloon. The car had 140,000 miles, was completely standard but had full Audi service history. The best part it was only £12,000. After prancing around like an excitable child I immediately got in touch with the garage in question and arranged a trip up north for a viewing the next day.
The b7 was sat in the corner of the lot next to an e92 M3 in frozen white. Dusty and looking a little unloved I was apprehensive at first, however after a quick chat with the dealer he threw me the keys and uttered “crack on mate let me know if you like it”. It all seemed like a bit of dream, I turned the key pressed the start button and it roared into life without hesitation. As the car warmed up I looked around the troublesome DRC suspension and found it without leaks , tyres looked well with plenty of tread on the Goodyear Eagle F1s.
Now it was finally time for my first drive of a b7, it felt tight, well balanced and powerful. I launched up the road grinning like an idiot. The car behaved admirably and all skepticism of mine was gone, it felt like a car of half the miles even if it was looking a little sorry for itself (stone chipped side skirts and a pebble-dashed front bumper).
So that was that , I pulled back into the dealership stated I liked the car and paid the money , drive away insurance was a godsend at 20 years of age, especially after spending £80 on a tank of Shell V-power to get home.
Over the first few months I invested some cash to start improving the car. The first £880 was spent on a set of Bilstein B14 coil-overs to prevent any DRC issues, these were fitted by a friend an I on the drive over a weekend. Following on the car was sent off for paint, having a full front end both side skirts, rear three quarters and a new boot-lid. Costing around £1200 this really bought the car up to a phenomenal standard.
The car now handled as it should, fortunately having the thicker anti roll bars from factory. The coil-overs complimented these perfectly, if not making the car a little more tail happy. Next it was time for the first and only maintenance items I had to pay for in 13,000 miles , the infamous carbon clean. I sent the B7 to P&G automotive in Worcester where James thoroughly cleaned the ports and replaced an oil feed pipe at the same time. James commented on how powerful and strong my engine felt following its carbon clean. Stating the higher mileage appeared to have run the engine in well. It’s worth noting I also fitted a Milltek exhaust to really let the baritone roar of the v8 sing, although I’m not sure the neighbours were so keen on the idea.
I took the car to a number of shows that year with it often receiving a lot of positive attention. People rarely believed the mileage and many asked to see the odometer for proof. This is when it dawned on me I had an Rs4 that owed me around £14,000. Towards the bottom end of market, the car drove faultlessly, was very powerful and looked near new after paintwork, what exactly was I missing out on compared to the more expensive cars?
So I think what I’m trying to say is… just because a car has over 100k miles it doesn’t make it a bad car. Look for one with comprehensive history and you could save yourself thousands. I genuinely loved every minute with the RS4 saloon and knew I had sold a good car, I’m happy to report its now on around 170k and the current owner is still very happy with it. When spending less on cars your margins for loss are greatly minimised.