In 2002, the S6 Avant returned to U.S. shores, and it was even more powerful than the C4 Plus model had been. Now with 5V technology, the BBD 4.2 V8 cranked out 340 horsepower. Like the A6 4.2 sedan offered before it, the flares were widened and door blades made the stance more aggressive – as well as adding aluminum bodywork. Special interior details abounded; sport seats and steering wheel (comfort seats were a no-cost option), an Alcantara headliner, and carbon-fiber trim let the driver know they were at the wheel of a special model. Audi’s signature Avus wheel design appeared in 17″, but uniquely 8″ wide and in lower offset than either the S8 or S4 models’ wheels. The 1BE sport suspension was 20mm lower and 30% stiffer than the standard models. And though it looked like the rest of the subdued, understated early 2000s lineup, the Avant scooted; 0-60 was gone in 6.5 seconds, the standing quarter mile in 14.5, and the S6 could pretty effortlessly brush against its electronically limited 155 mph top speed. Reviews and owners alike chime in with the same song: like the E39 M5, this is a car that does everything, and does everything well.
So why the hell didn’t we buy them? Audi claims it sold around 900 2002s and just over 200 2003; compared to the Allroad, those numbers probably didn’t even justify AoA’s effort and probably were a large part of the reason that the S6 Avant disappeared and has still not returned (granted, we’ve now got the RS6, but still…). Let’s take a look at a nice first-year model: