2002 Audi S6 Avant

Recently I’ve several times bemoaned the death of the fast Audi Avant on U.S. shores; one of the culprits that helped to hasten that demise was unfortunately this car. It’s not really that it’s consumer’s fault that this occurred; after all, Audi did offer a manual, twin turbocharged fast version of the Allroad alongside the S6 that made the lack of inclusion of a manual an odd choice. Plus, out of the box, the Allroad arguably had more bling with the air suspension and nifty color contrasting trim that was all the rage amongst wagon manufacturers in the late 90s/early 2000s. We’ll blame Volvo for starting that popular trend, though. Regardless, the Allroad was substantially more successful in regards to market share than the S6 Avant; no surprise, then, that it was killed off to the U.S. market after a shockingly short run with not many sold. A decade on, though, the S6 offers a rare opportunity to get into a fast Audi wagon on a budget. Many of the pitfalls of the Allroad and other period Audi wagons didn’t appear in the S6; the neat but fragile air suspension was replaced by steel springs, and unlike the Allroad and A6 4.2s, the engine in the S6 was a cambelt driven V8. Long term, they’ve proven to be more reliable than the rest of the 2000s Audi V8s that have chains instead. The S6 got some unique features too, such as the grill, 8″ wheels and door blades that gave it a slightly more stately and classic appearance than the rest of the A6 lineup. The result is that you can grab one of these fast and unappreciated Audis for a song today:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Audi S6 Avant on eBay


Year: 2002
Model: S6 Avant
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 153,00 mi
Price: $9,000 Buy It Now

Very good condition, maintained by the book, drives great, looks great, have owned since 2005. Best car I’ve ever owned. Audi, unfortunately no longer imports S6 Avant (wagons) to U.S. and these cars are now only available in Europe. Extremely rare in U.S. and 2002 was the last year Audi imported S6 Avants. Very strong 340 HP 4.2 liter V-8, all wheel drive, new tires in 2014, updated and replaced parts as needed (ie: starter, radiator, front suspension bushings, timing belt, etc). Have all service records. I love this car, had it serviced regularly, and replaced worn parts as needed.

This one looks overall like a good example; it’s quite rare to see in white and I like the combination with the light grey leather. It just looks very nice, much better than the 150,000 miles would normally indicate. That points towards careful ownership; backed up by service records. The demons of these S6s are well known; they’ve got a fragile transmission. There, I’ve said it. But it’s possible to swap a manual in and have even more fun, or rebuilt and used units are available. It’s certainly not an insurmountable problem to rectify, and in exchange you get a solid performing, classic Autobahn burner capable of carrying a large load in comfort and style. When you compare the value of this car at $9,000 to the E30 Touring market, which often has higher asking prices, it’s amazing that more enthusiasts don’t at least take one of these cars for a test drive. Everyone that I’ve ever heard from that has owned one has loved them, and this one looks like a quite reasonable deal.

-Carter

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14 Comments

  1. I want it. I really really want it.

  2. If you look at it as ‘must swap in a 5spd’ though, aren’t you better off just buying an S4 avant? Yes its a little smaller, but it already has a manual, and may hold its value better…

  3. This generation S6 doesn’t make a case for it’s self versus the other sporting Audis of the era, or at this price point.

    The S4 is a much better sporting choice, that only sacrifices a small amount of interior room.

    The S8 is a better sporting euro barge.

    The S6 is handsome, but I can’t see picking it over the other two options.

  4. @Blair and @Poorhouse:

    Yes and no.

    C5 S6 v. B5 S4: The B5 is much smaller. Yes, it’s sportier, and yes, you can get a manual. But, the turbos are just waiting to blow and you’re looking at in the area of $5K to fix that properly. If you have a family, especially with a car seat, and you’re semi-tallish, the S4 is seriously tight. Plus, solid B5 manuals are a few thousand more than a C5 S6.

    C5 S6 v. B6 S4: The B6 is larger and closer to the size of the C5, so it’s slightly more practical. However, you’re going to pay much more for a clean manual Avant (going on double the rate of most C5s). Then there’s the timing chain issue that lingers on these models.

    C5 S6 v. C5 Allroad 6-speed: covered above, the Allroad has some serious maintenance needs, as does the V6TT. A good example can be had for around the same amount, but will likely cost you more in maintenance.

    C5 S6 v. C5 Allroad V8: The problem with the Allroad V8 is that it has the chain motor instead of the belt S6 motor. Plus, you’ve got the big dollar suspension to fix. And, most good ones are asking more than S6s. Plus it has less power, and they were only automatic. I also don’t think that the Allroad V8s got the aluminum front panels the S6 did.

    C5 S6 v. C4 S6: probably the biggest thorn in the side, but find a good one and you’re going to pay as much or more.

    I think overall it really holds its own, but that’s just my opinion.

  5. @Carter – can you explain the roots of the “door blades?” I’ve seen them before, but especially on this white color I think they look odd.

    I love wagons, I’ve made no secret of that…and I also think a lot of people screw up aesthetics with their mods…but if I was Chip Foose level talent, I might try:
    – going +1″ on same style rims
    – dropping F&R .5-.75″
    – painting rear bumper monochromatic body color
    – nicer looking exhaust finishers
    – fenders flared out another 25%, rims fit to width
    – remove roof rack

    Just my ideas…wish I could photoshop, I’m curious how it would come together. I’d also love to see a head to head of this vs similar vintage V70R, I looked but couldn’t find one.

  6. @Ry, I can’t. They first appeared on the S6 and carried over to the S4. Not sure where they came from.

    Regarding the mods, sounds like you made a C5 RS6 Avant:

    http://gomotors.net/pics/Audi/audi-rs6-c5-avant-02.jpg

  7. Great pic @Carter…you have to admit that stance (though I now hate that word) is beautiful. Well, you don’t *have* to… :). Do you think those fenders are different than the S6? My eye alone can’t tell.

    I forget what model it was, but on Top Gear Jezza once drove something with “Quattro” emblazoned on the front air dam mesh, it was kind of evil without being too flamboyant I thought, I liked it!

  8. I owned an S6 Avant and liked it; great looks, perfect size, solidly built and well handling. It even had a rebuilt transmission which should have put me at ease but I was always hesitant to really hammer it for fear of something breaking. For me the drivetrain was the weak point; the motor had decent power but needed revs to really move such a heavy AWD vehicle, and the trans even when working properly was a poor performer. I wound up selling it after 4 months and bought an A3 3.2.

  9. This 6 speed conversion might be fun to drive: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/cto/4768641600.html

  10. @Greg – driving opinions are very subjective, but 0-60 in 6.3 sec, peak torque around 3400 rpm, and 4100lb aren’t pokey. Granted a lot of the feel is how and when the trans finds its next gear. If you weren’t likeky to hammer it you probably weren’t likeky to be accelerating in the appropriate gear at all times. Also, most autos force a kickdown mode at WOT where it will downshift the most amount of gears possible, if you never hit WOT you will miss out on that joy! 🙂

    http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/audi-s6-avant-quattro-short-take-road-test-specs-page-2

    At 16-18 mpg though, they were probably limited in final drive & trans gearing, cause that’s near gas guzzler territory.

  11. So I just met the owner and drove this S6. Very good shape. Couple of quirks on the body/interior but nothing that is a deal breaker. Drives very smooth and the owner, Bill, has a stack of service records including a 1 page overview of everything he’s done since he bought it in 2005.

    If I could sell my 1989 325iX I would probably buy it today.

  12. @Mike – excellent first hand update. It’s great when someone can check out one of these cars IRL and report back!

    I know of a good site you could advertise your 325iX on! Or cross-promote an eBay listing… Those are hot cars.

  13. Great feedback Mike, thanks!

  14. Actually I bought my 325iX from an ebay listing I saw on this site!

    Forgot to mention that the reserve on this Avant is $7500.

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