We tend to focus on the faster or the more unique wagons here at GCFSB, a habit which leaves out a huge swath of competent and quite nice automobiles. A great example is the Audi C6 chassis – the swan song, at least for the time being, for the large Audi wagon in the U.S.. It ended three generations of large Avants here, and while it was ostensibly replaced by a car I love – the hatchback A7 – its presence is still missed. There were only two basic configurations that the C6 Avant was available in here; from 2006-2009, you could get the A6 in wagon form only with the 3.2 V6 and the 6-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission. For enthusiasts, that was a bit of a letdown after the plethora of configurations in the C5; no less than 5 different layouts had previously been available. It was strange given the sales success that the C5 enjoyed; Audi chose not only to not bring the go faster V10 S6 and go fastest twin-turbo V10 RS6 here, but the new Allroad also didn’t make the excursion across the seas. Why? Well, quite simply, the sales model in the U.S. had thoroughly changed. While German manufacturers had resisted the temptation to fully delve into the “Sport Utility” market in the early 2000s, but the end of the decade that was just the opposite. Today Audi offers only one wagon option; the A4-based pseudo-offroad Allroad Avant is only available in 2.0T 8-speed auto configuration. Compared that to the early 2000s, when Audi offered fully 6 different wagons with a myriad of different transmission and engine combinations. Only a few short years later, Audi’s model range contained only two wagon options; the A4 Avant remained a popular option, while the A6 seemed to fade into obscurity. You just don’t really see them much, and I live in an area that really loves Audi Avants. Perhaps Audi priced itself out of the market; the base price on a 2006 A6 Avant was a pretty staggering $46,870 before options. Spec one out fully and you were at $60,000 for your family hauler. But for that amount you got a tech-heavy and attractive big wagon that offered pretty respectable performance. The 3.2 V6 had advanced over previous versions considerably; now all-aluminum and offering 255 horsepower, despite the over 4,000 lb. curb weight the Avant scooted to 60 in just a tick over 7 seconds. Opt for the S-Line package, and you got some serious Bologna skins to keep it planted, too – 255-35-19, in the case of this example. Inside was pure luxury, making for a discrete chalet sheppard for you and your four friends:
All posts in Audi
If the M6 I just wrote up was full of non-original details, it’s hard to find anything that came from the factory on this Audi Coupe GT. Much of that I can appreciate, as I myself have fully modified a Coupe GT from stock form. It’s a chassis often overlooked because of the layout; on paper, just like a 911 the Coupe GT shouldn’t work. It’s front drive with an open differential and a very forward weight bias; unlike nearly all the Volkswagens, the engine in the GT in longitudinally laid out. That’s because it effectively was a front drive Quattro platform; many of the details of the front drive GTs are shared with their Quattro cousins. The configuration leaves a giant inline-5 cylinder motor hanging fully in front of the axle line, and the motor which promised the power of a 6 with the economy of a 4 was really the opposite. Yet, as with the 911, something magical was born from this recipe; not only did enthusiasts love the GT, but indeed even automotive experts said the 2-door Audi was more than the sum of its parts. GTs dance through corners with a poise that isn’t shared with the Volkswagen GTis, for example. They’re stunningly composed over long trips too, both spacious and at home cruising on the highway. And, importantly, they looked different than just any 2-door sedan; the angular delight of the Giugiaro design translated well into the narrow body. But just like the GTi and the E30, the platform had room for improvement; stiffen up the suspension and add power and it punches well above its weight class:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Audi Coupe GT 20V on eBay
For the C5 chassis, there was a major change in that the popular S6 sedan was discontinued in the United States. In its place, you got to choose from a few options; if you had to have a S6, Audi would oblige but only in wagon form in 2002/2003 with the S6 Avant. If you had to have a S sedan, your option was to wait until the 2003 twin turbo RS6 launched and pay a serious premium over a standard A6. But Audi had two spiritual successors to the C4 S6. First, you could get the twin turbocharged 2.7T V6 in the A6 sedan and it could be had with a 6-speed manual. A little heavier than the C4 but with a bit more power, performance was very close to the legendary turbo 5. But few remember that there was a 4.2 V8 option on the C4 S6 in Europe as well, and you could even specify your S6 with (gasp!) an automatic transmission. Audi recreated this package as well in the new C5 A6 4.2 quattro, and to make it a bit more special it was given some S6 details. The 4.2, for example, sported lighter aluminum fenders and hood, along with an aluminum front subframe to match it’s alloy V8. A full 1.4″ longer and with 3.5″ of additional track over the standard A6, the 4.2 also gained the door blades that would later be seen on the S cars. It was the defacto S6 sedan that was never offered, though the 300 horsepower V8 was down on power to the S6 motor and only 2/3s the power of the later twin-turbo RS6. Despite the special aspects the A6 4.2 doesn’t seem to enjoy as much as cult following as either the S6 Avant or the A6 2.7T 6-speed. I’ve rounded up two 4.2s to consider today; one with a manual swap and another with quite low mileage. Which is the winner?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi A6 4.2 quattro on eBay
If you follow these pages, neither the names RS4 or Avant should be particularly new to you. Audi’s B5 generation fast wagon wasn’t the first to wear the RS badge, but it was the first fully quattro GmbH RS car. In the spirit of the RS2 built in conjunction with Porsche and the S6 plus which moved production in house to the quattro GmbH subsidiary, Audi utilized the VAG group acquisition of Cosworth to up the boost on the twin-turbocharged V6 to produce the best part of 400 horsepower. But while the RS2 and S6 plus had rather discrete changes outside to signify how special they were, the RS4 added vents, slats, big flares and giant wheels to back up the added performance. It was the change that launched a thousand dreams, as countless B5 S4 owners attempted to recreate the package that wasn’t brought to the U.S.. A few have made it here through back channels and we’ve written up previously the huge premium they command over regular S4s, but the newer generations of performance cars have dimmed the concentration on the older wonder Audis. Still, even today the RS4 is a pretty potent performance machine and getting closer to being legally importable to the U.S.. But of course our neighbors to the north have more lax importations laws, so RS4s are making their way into Canada as we speak. Additionally, really good examples of the regular S4 Avants are drying up as well. Today, I have an interesting comparison – a just imported, low mileage RS4 Avant versus a fully upgraded, low mileage S4 Avant – likely one of the nicest in the U.S.. What’s the difference in value today?