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Wagon Week: Quattro GmbH specials – S6 Plus Avant and RS4 Avant


The other day Paul wrote up perhaps the most desired wagon that was never imported to the U.S., the Audi RS2. While it’s true that car is massively awesome in just about every way, there is a second, lesser known quattro GmbH special wagon that would be the one I’d try to import first. While the RS2 is getting tantalizingly close to importation-legal status, we’re still a few years away on what is my favorite fast Audi wagon, the C4 Audi S6 Plus. They’re not common at all with less than 900 Avants produced, and most reside in the motherland – but they are also ridiculously inexpensive for what they are. With the same 32 valve V8 motor as the original S8 pushing 320hp, a six speed manual, awesome S6 Plus only-alloys and draped in RS Blue over RS Blue suede, it doesn’t get much better than this for me:


Year: 1997
Model: S6 Plus Avant
Engine: 4.2 liter V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 171,000 km (106,254 mi)
Price: E.5,500 Buy It Now ($7,534 today)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Audi S6 Plus on

Vehicle description:

Xenon headlights
automatic climate control
Wood interior
All-wheel drive

small rust spot on the rear left side panel
More details on the car can be found here
Xclusivecars GMBH
Phone: +49 (0) 162 2402991

For $7500, this car just seems like a steal. Not only that, but it’s not the only one available! There are several that you can choose from at any given time, all around the same price and same mileage. This car makes me want to call my friends in Germany and have them stick it in a container even though I’d not be able to register it for a bit. But not everyone wants an older V8 Audi wagon (who are these people???). For some of them, the limited run original RS4 is the object of desire:


A chunked-up Cosworth-motored S4 Avant, the RS4 has been desired and copied by Audi fans in the U.S. to no end. It amazes me the length that some owners will go through to copy this car; to do it right, you’re looking at $10,000 – $15,000 worth of body work alone. Guess what? You can buy a real one for that amount:


Year: 2001
Model: RS4 Avant
Engine: 2.7 liter twin-turbocharged V6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 129,000 mi
Price: GBP 8,950 ($14,337.90 today)

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi RS4 Avant on

*** This is not a trade sale, this is my own personal vehicle ***

129k, Full Audi Service history up to 91k, then service by indipendant (just serviced & New brakes fitted)

5 Doors, Manual, Estate, Petrol, 2001 Y Reg, Red. Electric black leather interior, heated seats, digital climate control, traction control, cruise control, standard 380 bhp, 6 speed, arm rest, privacy glass,18 inch alloys,cd radio,bose, remote locking,electric windows & mirrors,

MOT – 23/04/14

TAX – 31/10/13

We are situated close to Perth City Centre, just behind Homebase, in Perth’s St Catherines Retail Park. PH1 5RY. £8950
Call Ramsey for more info on 01738 638076 or 07732836306

We featured an imported RS4 a few months back for a ridiculous price. Granted, that particular model was already here, federalized and left hand drive, but if you’re willing to wait, RS4s are currently fairly cheap – on par with U.S. spec S4 Avants in similar condition. This isn’t the car I’d run to choose; there are several other Audis I’d want to import before this – original non-turbo Coupe Quattros, 20V RR Quattros, the RS2, S2 Avants, and 6 speed V8 Quattros all hit my list before this car. But, as I always say, it’s not all about me.

Which would you choose?



  1. Jacob
    Jacob October 31, 2013

    Hi Carter,

    How difficult and expensive is the process to import a car like the 1997 Audi S6 Plus Avant from Germany? I’m in Manitoba, Canada.

    Thank you.


  2. Olivier
    Olivier October 31, 2013

    I’d pick the RS4 because I prefer smaller cars.

    I know the federalization process is a major hassle, but any idea how much it would cost?

  3. Carter
    Carter October 31, 2013

    Hi Jacob and Olivier,

    A lot depends on whether you try to do it yourself or if you pay a company. Jacob, I think the regulations for importing into Canada are not nearly as strict as the U.S.; hence the large amount of desirable cars up there that didn’t make it here. I have a friend with a S2 up there, he’s also imported a RR 20V Quattro. I’m not familiar with the Canadian importation process though. Olivier, if you pay a company to do the paperwork and importation for you, it can get quite expensive but depends on the company.

    The government has some guidelines here:

    From another site, here’s some cost breakdowns, though it’s important to note that the costs go down past the 25 year ban:

    The Importation/Federalization Page
    (a simplified 10 step how to guide…)

    Step 1 – Commit yourself totally to spending a lot of time and money, make sure you want this car.

    The MINIMUM amount of money required to import and federalize a European car is approximately $10,000. (There are exceptions for race cars and display cars, but I’m assuming you want to drive this thing more than 2500 miles per year, and that more than 500 of it were manufactured) Shipping and duty will eat up about $3K, and federalization will cover the other $7K even if the car already has catalytic converters. If you need an airbag added for instance, it will cost you another $4K for parts alone! You must prepare yourself financially and mentally for the MONTHS ahead. No bank is going to loan you money to do this. Check with an ICI/RI to make sure the car you want is eligible for importation, and that they are willing to import/federalize the car for you. Do this before you even start looking for a car to buy… I did. My personal wholehearted recommendation for an ICI/RI is JK Technologies in Baltimore, MD. Very nice folks who do impeccable work.

    NHTSA import info page w/list of Registered Importers.

    Step 2 – Find a car, preferably one with low miles. Year of manufacture is CRITICAL. Here’s why…

    If the car is older than 25 years, no federalization required (woohoo).
    If the car was built before Sept 1989 and has catalytic converters, no airbag or passive restraint required (only $7K to federalize).
    If the car is older than 1996, no OBD2 retrofit required (a very expensive road…).
    Unless the car has less than 50K miles on it, get ready to buy new catalytic converters…
    Mine was an ’89 with 48K miles and catalytic converters already installed.

    The place I found my car. (Yes that’s my car in the showroom picture!!)

    A British used car seller with E30 M3 Sport EVOs and cabrios.

    Step 3 – See the car or have it inspected.

    Just like any other car purchase, but that much more important because of the $$$. Make sure you are not buying a lemon. E30 M3s are expensive to maintain, get a cherry example and save yourself worlds of grief. Remember though, a few thousand dollars of airfare and hotel can pay for just about anything on an M3 except for the motor. I had mine sent to a BMW shop locally in Switzerland for mechanical inspection in lieu of travelling over myself. I am not an expert, and the trip would have cost $3K. Instead I paid them $1K to inspect the car from top to bottom, tune it up and fix small items. Right now the dollar buys a lot in Europe.

    Step 4 – Buy the car.

    Most folks will want wire transfers to their banks. Your bank will not necessarily give you a good rate, shop around. If you watch the currency exchange rates, you can save your self a few thousand dollars here too. I managed to hit a 4 month low swing of the Swiss Franc in my favor! Make sure that you get a bill of sale and a foreign title. Without these documents, you are not going to be able to import or register the car.

    Currency exchange calculator.

    Step 5 – Arrange shipping.

    Your ICI/RI can recommend a good shipper. My shipper handled all of the details, even transporting the car from Zurich to Bremerhaven where it was loaded on the boat. They will have you fill out PILES of paperwork for customs etc. Import duty is 2.5% of purchase price. Shipping to the west coast will cost more than $3K.

    Step 6 – Clear customs/Start Federalization.

    A good shipper will have your car out of customs in a week or so. Mine was out in 1 DAY! You may have to close the loop between ICI/RI and your shipper to ensure a smooth handoff. BY LAW, you CANNOT transport the car or perform any of the federalization work yourself. The car does not even legally belong to you (even though you paid for it) until DOT and EPA release the posted bonds on the car. Most ICI/RIs require 50% of the total fee up front before work starts. If your car is not able to be brought into compliance , you must export it or abandon it to the government for destruction. Pay your shipper now too.

    Step 7 – DOT federalization.

    Your federalizer will add/change the car as follows:

    Install US headlights/blinkers/marker lights/third brakelight
    Install US gauge cluster (ODO should read miles or DMV will lose their mind!)
    Install Door bars
    Install O2 sensor, catalytic converter, DME to use them – where applicable ($)
    Install airbag system – where applicable ($$)
    Convert car to OBD2 – (you’re dreaming $$$$$)
    Depending on the ICI/RI (be nice to them) they may let you supply used US spec parts for some of the conversion.

    Step 8 – EPA emissions test.

    Your ICI/RI will have the car tested to ensure that it meets EPA emissions standards. Don’t think this is just another tailpipe test. This is a FEDERAL emissions test to STRICTER standards than any state test including CA. Each retest costs $1.5K, so be sure your car is tuned up and your cats are in good shape, because they can charge you for the retests and the parts/labor necessary to make your car pass. They may even refuse to import your car if it is a gross polluter that will cost too much to bring into compliance (old ragged out Ferraris from Liberia etc..) Have your car tuned up before it leaves Europe.

    Step 9 – Wait

    Your federalizer will have to submit a detailed report with pictures of all mods performed to DOT. Even after he has taken the time to generate and submit the report, DOT will put a 30 day MANDATORY hold on your car. Once your car has passed the EPA emissions test, EPA puts a 15 day MANDATORY hold on your car.

    Step 10 – Register the car

    Pay your federalizer now. Get temp tags so you can drive the car to get it state inspected. Be prepared for the blank stares from the folks at DMV when you walk in and try and register/get title for an imported car. Have all of your paperwork in order, and ask to speak to the supervisor.


    Was it worth it? YES. Would I do it again? I honestly don’t know, it was a ROYAL pain even though everything went smoothly. The possibility for nightmarish increases in cost/paperwork is there at every turn. I didn’t sleep a whole lot for that 6 months.

    To really give credit where credit is due, Jim Baxter of Victoria, B.C. found the car originally. He not only steered me to it, but had a friend of his in Switzerland act on my behalf to help smooth the road. He didn’t buy mine, because he found one of his own with 2,500 original miles on it!! He is still working on importing his to Canada (tougher than importing to the US!!)

  4. John
    John October 31, 2013

    Great write up Carter!

  5. cdnpaul
    cdnpaul October 31, 2013

    I really like the S6! I wish I had an Audi contact over there.

  6. Olivier
    Olivier November 2, 2013

    Wow. Great write-up Carter. A definite keeper

Comments are closed.