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2003 Audi RS6 with 23,500 Miles

Update 12/15/2017: This RS6 remains available with 400 more miles and a further $6,000 price reduction to $41,999 – down substantially from the original $59,000 ask.

If yesterday’s post on the Audi 4000CS quattro represented the genesis of my love for the brand, if I’m honest the C5 RS6 was the start of where I started to question the choices of Ingolstadt’s design. It wasn’t that the RS6 wasn’t a hugely impressive car; though they seem pretty new still, this amazing ride is over halfway towards being considered “vintage” in some states. 14 years has passed since the original owner plunked down the heady $80,000 for what was briefly the world’s fastest production sedan. Audi brought two turbochargers to the Cosworth-built 4.2 liter V8 party, offering 450 horsepower, sub-5 second 0-60 times and a car that would easily bump into its 155 mph regulated top speed – and it came to America!

Consider, for a moment, that in 2002 when this car was ready for launch, the car that had existed 15 years before that was the very 1987 4000CS quattro I wrote up yesterday.

It was a monumental leap for the company into the throes of the top-tier performance sedans, but alas, it was a war of escalation that hasn’t stopped since. Audi has already announced that the new RS6 will have a gazillion horsepower and may even come here. In response, BMW has promised to up the new M5’s power to no less than whatever Audi produces, plus 50. To me, though the newest and biggest and baddest sedans are certainly mind-boggling, none of them really appeal to me in the same way the 4000CS quattro did. The 4000CS quattro had been a car I could conceptualize owning downstream of the original owner (maybe I’d even be the second owner?), but the RS6? It’d have to be many years and many ownerships before I could even hope to own one. And then, did I really want a seriously complicated car that hadn’t been well maintained?

Of course, if you’re not like me (a blessing for you, I’m sure!), maybe you love the RS6 and have always wanted one. And, I assure you, there is not a better example than this one for sale. The only problem is, if you have to ask….

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 Audi RS6 on eBay

Year: 2003
Model: RS6
Engine: 4.2 liter twin-turbocharged V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 23,500 mi
Price: $41,999 Buy It Now

Rare collector quality Audi RS6, likely one of the best condition survivors still left.
2003 Audi RS6 23,100 miles. 450 HP, AWD, and only about 1,000 of these came to the USA in 2003. The only year the RS6 was imported to the USA.
Car is rare metallic black over black and is 100% stock other than a laser jammer installed. Car is collector quality inside and out.
The entire car was recently serviced top to bottom to be made like new. Just under $25,000 was spent during this service at a factory Audi dealer in Nov 2016. In addition all new high performance tires were installed in the Summer of 2016.
Virtually impossible to find an RS6 in this type of condition with all service complete.
There is one very small imperfection in the paint on the side skirt drivers side small than a dime.
Inspections welcomed and can be arranged in my climate controlled storage facility during normal business hours.

Thanks for looking.

Impressive? No doubt. The lineup of Ferraris in the background tells you the level of clientele this dealership is used to dealing with. The question I have is are any classic Ferrari owners out there lusting over a complicated Audi sedan that isn’t even particularly powerful compared to the latest generation of tech-laden Munich missiles? You can, for example, pop down to the local BMW dealership and walk out with a brand new M3 for about $5,000 more than the asking price here, and it will have zero miles. It will also pretty much obliterate this car in every measurable performance test except, perhaps, driving in the snow. But, of course, if you’re paying $60,000 for a 23,000 mile RS6, are you really going to drive it in the snow as your daily?

On top of that, WHAT THE HELL DID THEY SPEND $25,000 SERVICING? I just can’t imagine. I really, really can’t imagine. That would just about get you a new motor from Audi; what, with this low mileage, was really required? Fluids, belts, hoses, etc – I understand, but $25,000? You can buy getting on two used C5 RS6s for that amount – one to drive, and one to drive when the other one breaks.

Has the market on collectible mid-2000s Audi heated up? Not likely, they’re still on the downswing. You’re not likely to be able to find many better condition RS6s in the future, granted, but does that alone make this car worth buying?



  1. Christian
    Christian April 28, 2017

    Yea, I’m calling bullshit on the $25K service on a 23K mile car. That is crazy, even for an RS car. I would love to see what that service entailed….like maybe the owner blew the engine doing something stupid? Since the service was done at an Audi dealer, it would be easy to grab the VIN off the ebay page and have a dealer friend look up the service history on this car. Hmm, maybe I’ll call in a favor with my friend who works for Audi.

  2. MDriver
    MDriver April 28, 2017

    @Carter the “New” M5 based on the G platform will have 600hp on tap and will not be offered in a manual..
    will the new RS6 come here??….who knows….the RS5 is slated for US soil….
    as far as this car…well what you have here is an Audi ‘Unicorn’…can’t remember if I have ever seen an RS6 with sub 25k mileage on it…in the last 5 years!…
    but with a 59k BIN I think only a big Audi Fan like you might pony up the $$$

  3. David
    David April 28, 2017

    I’m a huge fan of these cars, but the “$XX,XXX in repairs” seems to be the go-to for selling these cars. There was a 2003 dark gray RS6 for sale in 2016, posted on YouTube. The salesman said the previous owner had dropped $30,000 over 18 months in services.

    I would love to drive a well sorted 2003 RS6 but I’m afraid I might buy it.

    Keep writing about Audis, Carter and I’ll keep reading about them.


  4. Cory
    Cory April 28, 2017

    I too am an audifanboy, but I never liked the c5 rs6. It’s ugly. It’s tiptronic. It’s a sedan. It’s a maintenance nightmare. It’s always a boring color. It lacks steering wheel audio controls, which I expect by ’03 (and could use since it’s not like I’m going to be busy shifting).

    It was a fast car once upon a time, but it’s not at all endearing.

    I also don’t consider this car a unicorn, it’s just like all the other rs6’s, just lower mileage. Maybe if it were red…or a manual

  5. Carter
    Carter April 29, 2017

    @MDriver – looks like I was right about the RS6/M5 battle – 552 for the Audi, 600 for the M5. But the RS6 Performance has 597 (I think?), so that must mean there is a M5 sport model soon to follow with 645.

    I’m a serious Audi fan, but there’s just no way I’d pay $59,000 for one of these cars. I’d take that money and buy a container in Germany and stuff it with an S2 Avant and a S6 Plus Avant first, and have plenty of money left over 🙂

  6. Carter
    Carter April 29, 2017

    @David – no kidding on the repairs. A friend fixes them for a living and had to order some parts for one straight from Germany. It was some small seal, and it cost a mint, and the car threw codes without it. I guess that’s the price you pay for owning one of these, and it does make me wonder about their sustainability. If one can drop more than the purchase price of a similar performance car just on service every few years, I’m certainly that I couldn’t foot that bill. Personally I really prefer the same year S8 to this model.

    Thanks for following!

  7. Carter
    Carter April 29, 2017

    @Cory – funny you mention that steering wheel controls. My ’02 Passat has them, but the same year B6 Audis with the performance wheels don’t. I guess Audi’s intent was to focus the driver on “sport” rather than convenience? I never thought I would like steering wheel controls, but on all three cars I have that have them (M3, 530xiT, Passat) I almost exclusively use them rather than the dash controls. It was strange that they weren’t present on this model, because the S8 has them.

  8. Cory
    Cory April 29, 2017

    Well, just add it to my list of why the B7 is superior. Steering wheel controls are the only automotive advancement of the last 15 years that I’ve become addicted to.

    If I’m in an e30, 993, Mk2, I don’t even notice they’re not there, but put me in a new century car and I’m pissed if they’re lacking.

    I could get on board with the “it’s a sports car” argument on the C5 RS6, but not when they’re all Tip’s.

    The more I think about this car, the more it becomes clear that this was the turning point, not just for Audi, but for all Germancarkind. It’s been a dawning realization that no car designed in the last 10 years has interested me. But this, this is where I got off the bus.

  9. Dustin
    Dustin July 2, 2017

    Yeah, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most of the commenters here have never driven an RS6. They sound great, “drive smaller” than a modern S6/S7/equivalent, and the fit and finish of materials is better than the newer cars. These cars felt very quick when they came out, and they still feel faster than magazine numbers suggest. Buy one, spend money on some software and down pipes, keep the rest stock. I guarantee you will not be left wanting for more power.

    Yes, they are maintenance hogs. As an Audi dealership technician that has only by happenstance done a lot of work on these cars, I can tell you:

    -Timing belt replacement every 35K, which requires the lock-carrier (front clip) to be completely removed, not just unbolted and slid out like normal Audis of this era.

    -EGTs are an engine out job.

    -Torque converter is an engine out job.

    -The transmission cannot be separated from the engine without removing the engine first, due to the turbos covering some of the bellhousing bolts.

    -You do not want to disconnect any of the hydraulic lines to the suspension unless you have no other choice.

    With all that aside, I’ve driven every Audi produced from the middle-late 90s to present, and the RS6 is still at the top of my list. Drive one, then make your final judgement.

  10. Cory
    Cory July 3, 2017

    I’ve driven several. They are fast. But not fast enough to warrant paying the repair bills. And they’re tiptronic. And they’re ugly. But they are fast.

    Are oil changes engine out?

  11. Gingerman515
    Gingerman515 December 15, 2017

    My brother-in-law just paid about the same for a 2015 S6 with a little more power, lots more technology and some residual warranty.
    So, yeah. This price challenges that rational thinking but if we follow that string all the way to the end, we all drive Camrys.

  12. Brad
    Brad December 16, 2017

    Black on black is rare? (Really?)

  13. John Rafferty
    John Rafferty December 16, 2017

    I don’t doubt 25k for service….my 2001S8’has chewed through 10k of maintenance in last 24 months ( oil cooler pipe, various leaks, suspension, brakes), my 2001 911 cab just had an 11k service at 80k miles ( rear main seal, ims aftermarket, clutch, front brakes, front shocks, etc.

    German cars older than ten years are essentially reverse annuities of the highest order, heck, I’ve got $50k of receipts for maintenance on my 1989 200 Quattro from 1998-present….

Comments are closed.