Double Take – Sprint Two: 2007 Audi S4 and S6

For a few reasons, I found yesterday’s S4 Avant a bit lacking. The B7 S4 Avant isn’t my favorite of the S Avants to begin with, and truth told I think I’d take a S-Line 2.0T Titanium before I jumped into a S4. The high price these have retained also is a bit of a turnoff; you can get the same car, for nearly all intents and purposes, in the B6 for a lot less. But the killer, at least for me, was the color. I just find newer silver and gray Audis predictable, cliche, and boring in general. They lack imagination. And when Audi had such brilliant colors available in the color pallet, I don’t look upon the more conservative and prevalent with envy.

But what about something wild, like LZ5F Sprint Blue Pearl Effect? Yeah, that gets the blood boiling and draws the eyes in pretty much every situation. But today I didn’t have a SBPE Avant; instead, to make up for that, I’ve got two examples of the color on S sedans from the same dealer. Strange? Even more strange is that this is the same dealer that I previously looked at a special order Sprint Blue A4. Does this dealer have some special source of smurf blue Audis?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Audi S4 on eBay

Right Hooker Week: 2009 Audi RS6 Avant

You want power? When Cosworth slapped a few turbos onto Audi’s venerable 4.2 liter V8 for the C5 RS6, that’s what you got. 450 stampeding horsepower and 428 lb ft. of torque meant that in the early 2000s it was the model to beat. But AMG and BMW M quickly caught up and surged past the C5’s power output – even when Audi upped it with the “Plus” model to 469 hp.

The launch of a new RS6 based upon the C6 platform allowed Audi some room to expand the model’s engine output by literally expanding the engine: now 10 cylinders displaced 5.0 liters. Straddled by two turbochargers again, the second generation RS6’s power output leapt into a new league, with an almost unfathomable 571 horsepower and 479 ft. of torque. The C6 is a heavy car, but it was capable of 911-scaring 0-60 runs and could top 170 mph with ease.

What’s amazing is that Audi’s replacement for this car, the C7, moved to the new twin-turbo V8 4.0T motor. More power right? Well, not so fast; it actually produces about 11 horsepower less than the peak performance of the V10, though I’ll grant that the additional gears and greater torque mean it’s a functionally quicker car (as if it needed to be). Well, quicker than a stock one, at least, because this particular RS6 Avant has been ‘slightly’ upgraded to north of 700 horsepower.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2009 Audi RS6 Avant on eBay.co.uk

Sprint6: 2007 Audi S6

It will be really interesting in another 10 years to see how we look back on the 2000s and specifically the beginning of the horsepower race between auto makers. In a just the span of a generation, we saw average power more than double in most performance cars while simultaneously technology filled their cockpits and dominated the driving experience. Take Audi’s S6; rising from the nomenclature change in 1995, it came to the market with a 2.2 liter turbocharged inline-5 developing a then inspired 227 horsepower. By the launch of the C5 platform, power was up to 340, now with a V8 developed out of the S6 Plus and S8 units. When the C6 was launched in 2006, the S6 now had a V10 motor displacing 5.2 liters and churning out 430 horsepower. What was perhaps more amazing was that it was overshadowed by the big-brother S8 with another 20 horses, and the twin-turbocharged RS6 positively dwarfed it with 580 horsepower on tap. On top of that, it quickly became evident that the way forward would be forced induction to generate even greater power, and consequently all of the major manufacturers have moved in that direction. Better response, better fuel economy, and even more power mean that the new TSFi motors make these V10s look like the dinosaurs they consume. To further sully the waters of contemplation of ownership, these exquisitely built sedans seemed just rather ho-hum. Fast? Sure, without a doubt, but they weren’t very flashy or wild. However there were two options to spice up your S6 – Brilliant Red was a great way to make a spash, but the one seldom selected that I think had the most character was Sprint Blue Pearl Effect:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Audi S6 on eBay

2007 Audi S6

I have a bit of a funny relationship with the C6 style Audi A6. On the one hand it is a good looking car that bestowed upon us the option of having a motor with Lambo DNA in a luxury sedan. On the other, it added heft to the most beautiful Audi design of all time, and it didn’t come to our shores in S6 Avant form. For a number of years I have simply found the latter unforgivable, especially since Audi did offer us the C5 S6 Avant. However, Audi crushing my dreams is nothing new, they’ve been doing so with reckless abandon for a number of years now, and frankly their more recent choices have turned me off to the idea of ever getting a new one so long as I’m living in these United States. No manual S4, no manual R8, no hatchback A3/S3?! I understand why these decisions make good business sense, but they’re a blatant FU to the core Audi audience that helped the brand achieve the success that they’re currently enjoying. While I find some of the new cars pretty, and their performance impressive, I can’t help but think that they’ve lost some of the inherent traits that made them special in the past. An RS7 will blow the doors off pretty much anything, and look damn good while doing it, but you’ll need to shell out $120k to have the opportunity to do so. The lower level Audis have just become uninspired, bland, devoid of emotion. That’s why instead of getting a new S4 like every other 30 something that just got a promotion, you should consider picking up an S6 with a 10 cylinders under the hood that only live to please.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Audi S6 

Double Take: Audi A6 3.0T quattro Avant

Last week I wrote up a 2007 A6 3.2 quattro Avant S-Line, the end of a dying breed of luxury wagons from German manufacturers. But before they fully dismissed the large wagon from U.S. shores, Audi went out with a bang when it refreshed the A6 in 2009. Minor updates to styling once again brought the A6 in line with the new design language from Audi, but the real change was under the skin. As they had with the previous models, in an attempt to save some weight from the large Audis the company utilized aluminum throughout; the 3.0Ts featured aluminum hood and fenders like the previous generation S6 had. Additionally, just like the 3.2 had been, the new 3.0T was an aluminum block; the decrease in displacement was more than made up for with a literal boost from the supercharger. With a full 20% power increase to 300 horsepower and 310 lb.ft of torque at a low 2,500 rpm, the new 3.0T was a much better performer than the 3.2 FSi V6 had been and was, briefly, a defacto S-Avant that was missing from the lineup. On top of that, the new supercharged layout meant power increases are much easier to attain; as Chris Harris demonstrated with his stunning S4 v. RS4 comparison. Audi also moved away from its “S-Line” designations towards the new strata of Premium, Premium Plus ($1,400), and Prestige ($3,200) levels which added levels of electronic wizardry and small detail difference. That was on top of the raised base price, now $60,200 in 2010. If you though the 3.2 was rare, the 3.0T is downright hard to find even though they’re nearly new.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2011 Audi A6 3.0T quattro Avant on Cargurus

2007 Audi A6 3.2 quattro Avant S-Line

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.…

Wagon Week: Forbidden Fruit – C6 and C7 Audi S6 Avants

For a few short years, Audi indulged us. In 1995 only, we received the first S6 Avant on U.S. shores; though the C4 Avant would soldier on until 1998, the 220-odd horsepower turbocharged 5 cylinder hooked to a manual transmission would be gone for a few generations and not seen again in the large wagon. Though the next generation C5 platform would grow in size, Audi would answer with a new S6 Avant for these shores. Now with a seemingly impressive 340 horsepower in an all-aluminum V8, it unfortunately only came to the U.S. in automatic form. It was still a very fast car, but one that catered to a slightly different crowd than the original. It was also, for all intents and purposes, a bit of a sales flop; enthusiasts I think correctly found it difficult to pay the premium when you could get the spiritual successor to the “Ur-S6” in the 6-speed manual, twin turbocharged Allroad 2.7T. As a result, when the new C6 platform launched, although there were new forms of the S6 Avant available, they stopped coming here. Indeed, as soon as we hit 2010, Audi stopped bringing the large Avant all together; you can thank the popularity of the Q7 for that. So today we’ll look at two of the forbidden fruit; the last two generations of S6 Avant that didn’t come to the U.S.:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

Wagon Week Avant End Of An Era: ’08 S4, A4 and A6 Avants

At the risk of sounding a bit like a grumpy old man, I really miss the days of Audi yore. Audi did things differently for such a long time that it’s a bit disappointing to see more designs that mimic their contemporaries. I realize part of that has resulted from a realization that the market dictates what is popular, and Audi’s huge sales successes in recent years are no doubt the product of producing more mainstream vehicles that sell. But the result of that is that Audi has stepped away from part of what made them such a fan favorite; starting in 1986, Audi began offering fast wagons. At the time, that was unique to the market – BMW didn’t even offer a wagon stateside until the E34 Touring, and most of the Mercedes-Benz models didn’t really fit in with the fast motorsport enthusiast crowd. Audi furthered its reputation in the early 1990s, expanding the fast wagon lineup from just the large wagons with the introduction of the 20V Turbo version of the B4, the S2 and later RS2. Refining the 200 20V into the S4 Avant in C4 form, Audi broadened the engine range to V8 and turbo 5 offerings – continued in the C4 S6 Avant. There was a brief lull in sport between the death of the C4 and the introduction of the B5 S4, but Audi rebounded in style; the B5 A4 was a popular sporty small wagon and the S4 Avant turned that package up a notch. Then Audi simulatenously offered 4 versions of the C5 platform wagon; regular A6, A6 Allroad (with both twin-turbo and V8 options), S6 and RS6 Avant. The RS package revisited the small wagon in the RS4, and suddenly Audi had no less than 8 different sporting versions of wagons in the early 2000s – the height of their power, they were the undeniable fast wagon kings.…

Stunning Ss – Two Lesser Appreciated S-cars from Audi

It’s hard to believe I could make such a claim; that there would be unappreciated Audi S models. Even more surprising is that they’re recently produced. But the truth is neither of these cars grabbed the headlines of their bigger brothers – while the S8, RS4 and Europe-only C6 RS6 stole the show for Audi, in the background were two very competent, very fast and very luxurious cars that not many chose to buy. These truly are cars that would have been enthusiasts’ dream rides only a decade earlier – the C6 S6, with its sleek body hiding a Lamborghini-derived V10 that was modified to produced more useable torque, and the B7 S4 – the last run of the great 4.2 V8 and arguably the best looking since the original S4, punting 340 horsepower though a great 6-speed manual. Today, 7 years later, you can pick up one of these super sedans for around the entry-level price of a Volkswagen Golf. Simply amazing. Let’s look at the S6 first:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2007 Audi S6 at Coventry MotorCar