Audi RS6 Avant: Spotted

When thinking of fast estates you can't help but picture the blistered arches, fat alloy wheels and honeycomb grill of an Audi RS product. Audi is one of the few manufacturers that has stuck to providing performance car junkies with their high-power hit, just in a more practical package. Think about it, the RS3 is a five-door hatch. The current RS4 is an estate, and so to is this, the RS6 Avant.

It must have been a question of prestige as to why Audi really went for this market. It's not an area which will lead to massive fleet sales: it's simply because both the E39 BMW 5 Series and W210 Mercedes E-Class had supercar-baiting offerings in the M5 and E55 AMG. "So how do we out do our rivals?" Audi must have asked themselves. "Let's give it not one, but two turbochargers and vanquish that naturally aspirated Merc. Oh, and we'll make sure it has more power than the M5 with its 'sophisticated engine management system'. And let's give it four-wheel drive to make it more usable in real world conditions than both of them."

When the RS6 came out, there were reams and reams of editorial produced that babbled on about the car's straight line speed. With the inevitable comparison being made regarding how this estate could out drag an old Ferrari (the Testarossa coming in for a bit of a kicking). Which it could still do even whilst carrying a builders ladder, for example.

It's easy to see why the whole fast Audi thing caught on. 450hp was considerably more than BMW or Mercedes offered, yet quattro made it accessible. However, while you may be going a hell of a lot faster, though the tyres do lose grip, the RS6 isn't the last word in driver involvement. The heavy steering makes it feel a bit leaden against the M5. The ride is a bit crashy, and Audi hadn't done anything to the spring or damper rates when turning the RS6 saloon into an estate, despite the additional weight penalty.

Mind you, this one might be a little better than standard, since the owner seems to have thrown the kitchen sink at their car. Not only has it had the cambelt, waterpump and thermostat changed; its had a gearbox replacement, work done to the cooling system, and the suspension has had a refresh. The car also has four matching Michelin Pilot Sport tyres fitted to it - an important safety consideration when driving any four-wheel drive car.

So, returning to the original point of the Audi RS6 being the go to fast estate. Even though it isn't a car for an autocross, it is the right sort of car for any across country (or even continent) trip. When you need to get somewhere fast and you need to take, say, your dogs as well, then the RS6 Avant could be the car for you. Just bear in mind that the cornering forces the car can achieve, combined with its rock-solid ride, are the perfect cocktail for spreading previously digested pedigree chum all over the boot floor.


Engine: 4,172cc, V8 twin-turbo
Transmission: five-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 450@5,700-6,400rpm
Torque (lb ft): 413@1,950-5,600rpm
MPG: 19.3
CO2: 350g/km
First registered: 2004
Recorded mileage: 88,000miles
Price new: £58,800
Yours for: £10,500

See the original ad here.

Max Adams



P.H. O'meter

Join the PH rating wars with your marks out of 10 for the article (Your ratings will be shown in your profile if you have one!)

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Rate this article

Comments (79) Join the discussion on the forum

  • FN2TypeR 18 Dec 2017

    Love these, but I would never buy one in this day and age - it would break and I would cry

  • Arnold Cunningham 18 Dec 2017

    I love my one.

    Lots of high end modern cars have shocking repair bills once they're out of warranty (body off to do a turbo on a range rover, for example).

    The difference with the old RS6 is that all the issues and resolutions are well documented now and there's a good owners community with all the tips and tricks to look after them. The biggest single job - doing the gearbox - isn't actually "that" big a deal. If you've got an engine crane and a garage, it's a couple of weekends work and I think there's even a chap that'll fixed price it all for you - and he doesn't need to take the motor out. Actual cost of getting a rebuilt gearbox is circa 1800 quid. So not so bad really!

    Moreover, all the good ones have all the jobs already done, now, and are on a much more frequent gearbox maintenance. With a stage 1 remap on the ECU & TCU, 3.9s 0-60mph is on the cards. While there is faster accelerating stuff around - the magic is that you can out drag everyone without having to even pause eating a pack of crisps.

    So if you buy one with your eyes open, IMVHO, they're a good bet. I bought mine for the factory spec it had (black with black alcantara interior & ali trim with sports wheel) - knowing it needed the standard jobs doing. Now all done - and it's awesome.

  • AC43 18 Dec 2017

    Lovely thing but t's not really £10k, though, is it?

    It's £10k plus another £10k for the next gearbox and another set of air struts :-)

    (my mate had one......)

  • nyxster 18 Dec 2017

    Those era of audis are still fantastic looking things compared to later models.

  • Arnold Cunningham 18 Dec 2017

    It's not really 10K for a gearbox, nor is it 10K for a set dampers, any more. A set of Konis is 600 quid and a day's labour. A gearbox is 1800 quid and about 3 days labour at a garage. (The core gear box, in both 2wd and 4wd versions is used in something like 20 different cars....)

    That's the difference between "then" and "now" - the right way to do everything is well documented and it doesn't involve a single trip to an Audi main dealer. And the good cars have already had all the hard stuff done.

    I wouldn't ever let a main dealer near mine - I'm sure they'd enjoy charging me 10K and still messing it up.

    Edited by Arnold Cunningham on Sunday 17th December 18:23

View all comments in the forums Make a comment