We already showed you the Smyth Performance Audi B6 chassis Ute prototype as a work in progress. The completed prototype left the shop for the first time, giving us our first look at what the new kit looks like. This kit, for the 2002-2008 Audi A4 and S4, takes a different styling approach than previous Ute kits.
While the Charger and Jetta Utes are somewhat boxy like a traditional pickup truck, the Audi has a more rounded shape that continues around the tailgate. In addition, the tailgate actually tilts forward into the trapezoidal bed at a slight angle, adding to the Audi Ute's unique look.
"No more safe designs, we wanted something different and we got it," said founder Mark Smith on the Smyth Performance Facebook page.
This generation of the Audi A4 is somewhat unloved today due to some major issues this car had. When the sunroof drain clogs the interior can flood. Audi mounted a number of relays for the Electronics Convenience Group on the floor under the seats, which short out when this happens. As a result, this luxury sedan that originally sold for over $50,000 can be picked up for well under $5,000 today. Anyone with enough mechanical skill to build the Ute will be able to make the necessary repairs.
At these prices, there's no reason not to hold out for a Quattro car, which is an option no Jetta/Golf based ute can give you. (Please don't cut up a Golf R32 for a Ute. Unless it's already damaged in the rear - then it would be awesome.) If you're feeling bold, hold out for the S4 and its 340-horsepower V8 with the well-documented engine-out timing chain guide replacement. That job will run an extra $3,000 for parts alone. But that didn't deter Mark Smith from buying one of his own to turn into the first production Audi Ute.
For the rest of us, Smyth is already shipping the first beta kits, and plans to begin full production on July 5. Now might be the best time to pick up one of these Audis whether you plan to turn it into a Ute or not. They are at the bottom of their depreciation curve, and the desirability of these kits might start making them more valuable.