MARKET TRENDS – FAST ESTATE CARS

MARKET TRENDS – FAST ESTATE CARS

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 17th September 2018

Subaru Impreza Wagon
As far as classic Subarus go, most look back to the glory days of Colin McRae tearing up the rally stages in his first-generation Impreza. Today, though, we’re looking at an entirely different beast. Based on the same underpinnings as the regular Impreza Turbo 2000 AWD saloon, the Estate version offered a much bigger interior and boot space.

The same EJ20 2.0-litre turbo engine can be found underneath and the same four-wheel drive system putting down all of the 214bhp on offer.There’s something quite pleasing about the way the Impreza estate looks; offering an alternative to the rather ordinary-looking Outback without the lack of interior space.

The biggest issue with classic Subarus is rust; so be wary of this before you buy one. If it appears to be cheap, there’s a reason for this. That being said, you shouldn’t need to fork out much over £3000 for a good example, with some good projects available for £2000. Top examples will require slightly more money at around £5000.

Audi RS2 Avant

Audi RS2

Probably the king of all hot estates was the Audi RS2. Looking back now, you can quite clearly see how much influence Porsche had on the design and build of this car by taking into account just how many parts are taken from the Porsche bin. The mirrors, the front bumper, sidelights and indicators, as well as the brakes, which quite literally say Porsche and of course the 17-inch wheels. Under the bonnet the same continues; still using the inline five-cylinder engine from the Audi S2, the RS2 received more aggressive camshafts and a 30 per cent bigger KKK turbocharger, as well as new Bosch management system, bigger intercooler and free-flowing exhaust, all meaning that power was now at 310bhp with 302lbf.ft of torque.

Like all turbocharged cars of this era, the biggest thing to note with the performance is the turbo lag. Most reviewers of the time noted that things didn’t really get going until about 3500-4000rpm, at which point all 1.4 bar of boost is unloaded to the four-wheel drive system.

The RS2 is a rare beast, particularly in RHD format, with only 180 of the 2900 units built with the wheel on the right side. Finding one in RHD will be tough enough, and then finding one under £40,000 is your next task. It’s not cheap, but it is a car that’s gaining more and more popularity as the years go on.

Volvo 850 T 5R

Volvo 850 T-5R

Immortalised by its appearance in the racing scene within the BTCC, the 850, and in particular the T-5R, was the car that transformed the image of Volvo. Some may question whether motorsport is relevant to production cars, but the 850 is a recipe showing why it makes sense to race ridiculous cars. There’s no other way to describe it other than by saying the 850 T-5R was cool.

Arriving in 1994, the T-5R was alternatively known as the really quite fast yellow one, thanks to its launch in that stunning yellow. Like the RS2, it featured a turbocharged straight-five engine, but unlike the Audi, came in at a milder 240bhp. It arrived with the classic box shape, spoilers, special exhaust tips and huge 17inch wheels. All 2500 built were sold within a few weeks so an all-black edition accompanied it and finally a green version capped it off.
There were a few T-5Rs for sale at the time of writing for not too much money, sub-£10k to be precise.

If you budget around £8000 you’ll find good examples, albeit some may be imports so check the history. Price aggregator The Market, has tracked a handful of T-5R sales over the past four years placing average prices around the £6000-£8000 mark.