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

1995.5 Audi S6

It’s been quite a while since we looked at a nice C4 Audi, and this S6 fits the bill well. Presented in the more infrequently seen Cashmere Gray Pearl with Platinum leather, it’s a nice original example of what was Audi’s top-tier sedan in 1995. The ‘95.5 changes were pretty minor and there were some rolling alterations to the model; closed headrests and a switch to radio versus the earlier infrared central locking are some of the few visual clues, but also some early run S6s came with the forged Fuchs alloys found on the earlier S4 rather than the later Speedline-made Avus wheels seen here. Other changes were minor overall but significant to enthusiasts – good was the wider and reinforced first gear, but gone was the option to lock the rear differential as Audi began its run of electronic differential locking. For most that won’t matter though, and what we have here is a pretty tidy example of an increasingly hard to find car:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 on eBay

1995.5 Audi S6 Avant

Certain cars have a few known issues or subjective desires when considering their value. Talk about a 500E and the wiring harness comes up. Mention a 996 non-turbo and instantly people start shouting “IMS” even if they don’t know what it means or what it does. And every time I mention anything about an E46 M3 the first question is instantly SMG related. Those are certainly all important and relevant factors in determining the value of their respective models. But when it comes to the S6 Avant, for me the first question when determining value is “Does it run?”. And the answer, which is almost invariably yes, almost certainly affirms the value. As with their 200 20V quattro grandfather I looked at last night, the S6 Avant has a cult following and of the few hundred that were imported most are well used by this point. But they were well built cars that shrug off improbably high mileage such that the expectation when looking at one is that the odometer probably reads north of 200,000. Properly maintained and modified, they are a package without peer:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

Wagons Ho! Super 5-door Roundup

Perusing the classifieds for interesting wagons this week, I came across quite a few and thought it would be a good chance to look at some sporty 5-doors. To level the playing field slightly, all are automatics. While that may cause some of you to groan, they make up for a lack of manual with distinctive styling, plenty of power and rarity that will set you apart from the crowd. Which is the one you’d choose?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 on Portland Craigslist

Honorable Mention Roundup

Time for another Honorable Mention Roundup of the cars we just didn’t have a chance to get to this week. In addition to a few reader submissions in this edition, I found a few affordable performance options that caught my eye. Which is the one we should have spent more time on?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 Audi TT 3.2 quattro at Coventry Motorcar

2002 Audi S6 Avant

Whereas the C4 S6 Avant had been the only high performance wagon in the Audi line in 1995, when it came to the early 2000s Audi had gone hog wild with options. In the both the A4 and A6 lineup, you could get the then potent 3.0 V6 and it could be opted with a 6-speed manual in the small chassis. While long term that engine has proven quite problematic, at the time it offered 60 horsepower more than the V6 had only a generation earlier – a substantial bump. Then there was the much loved B5 S4 Avant, with its twin-turbocharged V6 which again could be mated to a 6-speed manual. That same setup was available in the large chassis Allroad as well, though more often than not the C5 was equipped with the 5-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox – the transmission that was the only option for the 3.0. If that wasn’t a stout enough lineup, Audi also launched a revised S6 in 2002. Borrowing some of the aluminum elements from the A6 4.2, the S6 featured flared lightweight fenders and hood, larger 17×8″ Avus wheels with a wider offset than the B5 chassis wheels (though visually there was no change), lower door blades, a revised grill and polished aluminum mirrors and roof rails which had become the signature of the S-series cars. All of these elements would later be incorporated into the B6 S4 Avant. With 340 horsepower, the C5 S6 was capable of sub-6 second runs to 60 m.p.h. and could cruise effortlessly at triple digit speeds. Though it didn’t look much different than the rest of the C5 Avant lineup, it was most certainly the Alpha in the Audi wagon lineup in 2002-2003:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 Avant on eBay

2003 Audi S6 Avant 6-speed

It’s with some confusion that I write this post. There are several reasons for that, but it boils down to really two things; I keep seeing this car, and I don’t understand why it’s for sale. In general, S6 Avants aren’t really often seen. I don’t think that anyone who knows C5 Audis would consider Aqua Blue Pearl Effect to be a particularly common color. Find one with the Alcantara Recaro seats and it’s likely down to single digits. And to narrow that down even further, 6-speed converted S6 Avants pop up from time to time, yet generally aren’t often seen. But combine all of those things and there only has to be one, right? Well, wrong – as there appear to have been no less than two identical 6-speed converted Aqua Blue Pearl Effect 2003 S6 Avants for sale on the West Coast over the past two years. And what is even more confusing is that they keep coming up for sale. The first one appeared in January 2014 and was stock with 95,000 miles and on offer for just below $16,000. It was back in March 2015, now with 105,000 miles and on offer for $500 less. So in September when a nearly identical one popped up for $16,500, you’d presume it was the same, right? Well, wrong – this one has more miles and is highly modified. But at its base is the same Aqua Blue Pearl Effect with Alcantara and a 6-speed swap. As strange as that is, what perplexes me even more every time one of these or their S8 cousins come up for sale, though, is why anyone would go through all the trouble of the manual conversion only to sell the car shortly after:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi S6 Avant 6-speed on eBay

Honorable Mention Roundup

We get a lot of submissions from readers – something we greatly appreciate! But the reality is that we don’t get the chance to write up all of these cars, and some deserving examples slip through the cracks. For some time I’ve wanted to do a roundup of all the examples we missed out on, so today I’m doing just that. Here’s a group of neat cars that we didn’t get a chance to look at in more depth. Thanks again to all of our devoted readers who have sent in some of these suggestions – we really do love getting your suggestions, so keep sending them and tell us if this “Honorable Mention Roundup is a good idea!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC on eBay

1995.5 Audi S6 Avant

Why does Audi no longer offer this package? They’ve got the technology, certainly, with a stellar inline-5 in the new 2.5 liter turbocharged unit featured in the RS3 (and previously in the TT RS). They even still offer a manual in the S4, and though the company refuses to bring it here in anything other than allroad form they still make an Avant version. So why not combine them? They’d make an instant fan favorite, as all of the S4 and S6 Avants have been highly sought both when new and as second or third hand used cars. In the likely absence of that ever occurring, today’s example is a great representation of what many consider to be the highlight of the both Audi’s engineering and the most desirable package outside of perhaps the original Quattro:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995.5 Audi S6 Avant 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