The B7-generation Audi A4 may have been most famous for the RS4 performance derivative, but the S4 is perfect for performance seekers on a budget. Like the RS4, it had a naturally aspirated 4.2-liter V8, but this one was down about 75 hp, producing 339 hp and 302 lb-ft, channeled to all corners via a six-speed manual gearbox, although an automatic was also available. Later model years (2007-onwards) got a revised Torsen differential, which set the default torque split front-to-rear at 40:60.
The mid-five-second 0-60 mph time was quick enough and, sure, it was limited to 155 mph as with all German performance sedans of the time, but it was great fun, and you could easily relax and do the luxury daily driver thing when you weren’t hooning about.
These days, $8,000 gets you a grotty one, but for $9,000, you can find one in decent condition, albeit with high mileage.