My good friends at AZ Euros have always been heavily involved in the B5 community, branding themselves the #B5Ninjas early on and building their co-owner Christian’s Nogaro Blue B5 into an absolute monster with a 3 liter stroker big turbo build that has been known to beat exotic cars at airstrip drag races…but they’ve outdone themselves once again, legally importing and federalizing a real, legitimate B5 RS4 with a clean and clear title registered in Arizona. This unicorn is listed for sale on their website, and serious buyers are encouraged to reach out to them if interested. This Brilliant Black B5 RS4 is just under 62k miles on the odometer and sports a few tasteful upgrades including a catback exhaust, 19″ BBS wheels, and B7 RS4 brakes.
There are only a few dozen people in the US who have converted S4s into RS4 bodies (which is undoubtedly an impressive feat) but the number of real RS4s in America is so few you can count them on two hands, possibly one…and this particular unicorn is for sale. In my years as an Audi fan and blogger, I can only recall one or two others being for sale in the last decade or so. The price tag isn’t cheap at $75,000 USD, but the opportunity to own a car that is this incredibly rare justifies the price point and will undoubtedly find a buyer. The other US legal B5 RS4s I could find were priced around the same, with one back in 2015 listed for $75K so I think they’re spot-on with the pricing. I’m sure there will be plenty out there who says its too much for such an old car, but if you think of how much air-cooled Porsches have appreciated in value, or even M Coupes (which if you’ve ever driven one, is not a very nice or impressive vehicle outside of its unique exterior design but I digress), then paying a premium for a car that is this rare, beautiful, and fun to drive is not only rational, but a pretty darn good idea for a collector or well heeled enthusiast.
Who are these heroes that imported and went through the tedious, expensive, and painful progress of bringing a B5 RS4 to America you ask? Well, back in 2013, Christian and Chad started AZ Euros. They had known each other for only a few months but they had the same interests in Audis, and in particular the Avant, so needless to say they both have great taste. AZ Euros was jumpstarted by Christians knowledge of the 2.7T and his big turbo Nogaro Blue B5 S4 Avant build, and they started to buy and sell B5 S4s like crazy given their knowledge of the platform. As any Audi Enthusiast, naturally Christian and Chad lusted after the B5 RS4 that couldn’t be had in America. They read all the forums and saw everyone’s opinion on how it could be done, but soon found out that it wasn’t as easy as the internet said. It took years to obtain a Registered Importer license, but at last they prevailed in getting this first step of the long journey complete…but this story is far from over there.
Next, Chad and Christian discovered a B5 RS4 in Canada that was for sale. As you may or may not know, Canada has a 15 year rule vs. the US 25 year rule, so they are able to import the B5 RS4 and drive them in Canada much sooner than we can, but even in CA they are very rare. Unfortunately, it is not any easier importing a gray market RS4 through Canada than anywhere else. Christian put a deposit on an Avus Silver RS4 and had to place it in storage for about 7 or 8 months in Canada while the importing process and logistics took place. Fast forward 8 months later and they identify a Black B5 RS4 that is also for sale, so they did what any sane person would do in this situation and bought them both! All told, they spent months and months, and thousand and thousands of dollars, certifying and modifying all the safety requriements to make the cars US Legal. Because the RS4 wasn’t sold in America, they had to pay an EPA testing center even more money after they crossed the border to test each gray market car that came in. Ultimately it was a lot of time and money to be able to federalize these cars, but the juice was worth the squeeze.
For those who think the price, time, and headaches involved in importing a B5 RS4 isn’t worth it when you could convert a regular B5 S4 Avant instead, here’s some food for thought. Buying a good, low mileage B5 S4 Avant will set you back $12-15k. Importing the body panels and doing all of the bodywork and fabrication to convert the exterior appearance alone is another $20-30k on the conservative end. Import the seats and other interior bits and you’re adding another $5-10k to the price; and you still haven’t touched the suspension or engine. The B5 RS4 engine has different heads, K04 turbos, better intercoolers, and a ton of other parts to bring a factory reliable & conservative 380 bhp, which would add another $5-10k to your build to do a similar big turbo build. Heck, just buying two K04 turbos from a site like Jegs will set you back nearly $2,500, and that’s just one small component of a big turbo build. All told you’ve easily got $50K or more into a proper conversion car, and it’s still only a replica at best and never have near the quality of bodywork or reliability that comes from the factory. According to the #B5Ninjas “Until you’ve driven one, there is no comparison; the RS4 avant is 10 times better of a vehicle” and that’s coming from guys who have built and driven tons of big turbo B5 S4 Avants.
Personally, this is one of my dream cars and makes me wish I had the garage space and funds to make it happen. I think it would be difficult to daily drive it as I’d be too afraid of it getting dinged, hit, or otherwise damaged through the rigors of commuting, so it would need to be a third car for the right buyer IMO. Ultimately the right person could buy this, drive and enjoy it for several years, and likely sell it for what they had in it (if not more) as there is unlikely to be many more of these to be found for quite some time in the US, and our cars start to get more electric and computer driven, the market for a true enthusiast vehicle like the RS4 will only get stronger. Maybe I’m just trying to talk myself into it, but this sounds like a much more enjoyable investment strategy than an S&P500 index fund!
AZ Euros plans to bring in more gray market imports, so hit them up if you have a project in mind. A big thanks to Chad for sharing the background on this vehicle with me, and @n8tar on IG for the photos.