A car that needs no introduction, the Audi A6 C6 has permanently damaged the reputation of the Audi brand. How this car managed to become the official immigrant chariot of 2005, we find out in today’s article.
The Audi A6 C6 took a much more luxurious approach than the old A6 C5 which was a sturdy but crude kind of barge. The Audi A6 C6 also came with a much more modern look than the conservative almost-competing W211 but also with a look that everyone would like, unlike the controversial BMW E60. Moreover, the Audi A6 C6 also came with a standard navigation that lasted a few minutes longer than the iDrive on the BMW E60 so that’s another plus.
And then there’s the big one: This is the period when Audi started to consolidate itself as a premium brand and when they still didn’t have premium prices. So, all the wide-neck-narrow-forehead gentlemen that couldn’t afford a used BMW E60 went on and bought an used Audi A6 C6 and got themselves a pleasant surprise, buying an imposing, luxurious and spacious car. You argue that it wasn’t the most reliable car possible, but the competition didn’t turn out to be built out of Trump’s self-confidence either.
Is it worth buying one in 2020 though?
Yes and no. If you avoid the versions that were bought by the container by people wearing t-shirts with 2 sizes smaller that are keeping an arsenal of swords in the trunk, then it is worth buying an Audi A6 C6 in 2020. But if the car you buy has a CD with russian techno glued in the CD player, you will have bigger problems than if you did not pay your protection tax to said gentlemen.
Audi A6 C6 Engines
- 2.0 TFSI of 170 horsepower – Essentially a de-tuned version of the classic 2.0 TFSI that we are used to within the VAG range, this engine was avoided by opera music enthusiasts because it is not a diesel, it’s not particularly powerful, it chugs down on oil and it does not get along well with an LPG installation. A decent engine for the city driving and for the occasional highway.
- 2.4 V6 of 177 horsepower – The old 2.4 V6 from the A6 C5 is denied from retirement and keeps on going. Like an old man, he is no longer so pretentious about what he drinks, so it goes very well with LPG. Yes, maintenance costs more than a 4-cylinder engine, but overall the engine is reliable. Plus the taxes and consumption scared most sword and baseball bat bearers ( for professional and recreational reasons ). Plus it’s the only engine 100% LPG compatible.
- 2.8 V6 FSI of 190, 210 and 220 horsepower – 2.8 V6s on the A6 C5 receive an FSI system and loses it’s compatibility with the LPG. Marginally stronger than 2.4 V6 and much weaker than 3.0 TFSI that is sitting in the same tax bracket, all of these make it difficult for me to recommend this engine. A very rare engine, rarer even than my moments of lucidity.
- 3.0 TFSI of 290 and 300 horsepower – Finally we are talking about a premium engine for a premium car. If you can afford such an engine, reliability doesn’t matter anymore. Even so, you have nothing to fear from this engine because history has shown that the 3.0 TFSI is a fairly robust engine.
- 3.2 FSI of 255 horsepower – The base engine on the Touareg, Cayenne and A8 also comes on the Audi A6 C6. An engine made to carry heavy loads around, the old 3.2 FSI has occasional personal issues with the timing chain and does not agree 100% with the LPG alternative. But if you want something reliable and fast, then 3.2 FSI is a good choice because many people avoided it and the depreciation really worked in your favor. Not the original buyer’s, but yours.
- 4.2 FSI V8 of 335 and 350 horsepower – We are now entering supercar territory, with the 4.2 FSI being used also on the Audi R8. An engine that can be used in everyday life, but it will not be cheap.
- 5.0 TFSI biturbo V10 of 580 horsepower – Specially designed for the Audi RS6 and Audi R8, we are already talking about a car totally different from a normal Audi A6 C6 so it requires it’s own article.
- 5.2 FSI V10 of 435 horsepower – The same engine is mounted on the Gallardo which makes the Audi A6 S6 the station wagon version of the Gallardo.
- 2.0 TDI of 136, 140 and 170 horsepower – By far the most common engine, the 2.0 TDI on the Audi A6 C6 is full of issues. First of all, it’s too small for the barge in question. Secondly, this 2.0 TDI is the same engine on the VW Passat B6 and A4 B7, having the famous balance shaft of the oil pump. We discussed the balance shaft issue in more detail in the article about the Passat, so I will not delve into it here. What is certain is that you want a 2.0 TDI after 2008 when VW switched to the common-rail system and the issue was solved. However, a 2.0 TDI was the favorite engine of those who wanted the A6 but couldn’t afford an A6, so many of them have at least dubious maintenance and have at least 500,000 km. On just one wheel.
- 2.7 TDI V6 of 163, 180 and 190 horsepower – Legend has it that this is the successor to the 2.5 TDI V6 on the A6 C5. The legend says that you should pay the difference in tax and go directly for the 3.0 TDI.
- 3.0 TDI V6 of 225, 233 and 240 horsepower – The same 3.0 TDI used for all large cars in the VAG group, the well-known 3.0 TDI has proven to be a reliable brute. There are occasional issues with the water pump and the timing costs a hell of a lot to replace, but with such an engine there is no point in talking about maintainance costs.
Audi A6 C6 General Issues
- As with any Audi from this period, the front-wheel drive models have a CVT-type Multitronic automatic transmission, affectionately nicknamed “Multitrauma”. Look for a manual gearbox and don’t give yourself headaches. The Quattro versions receive a Tiptronic automatic transmission and those are trouble-free.
- Various electrical issues plague all the technology in the car, and the Audi A6 C6 has a lot. In particular, the MMI system is affected, which gradually pixelates until it no longer works.
- Same as with the Passat B6, the parking brake is electrically operated and the parking motor breaks down quite often and leaves you stranded.
- Common point of interest for VW diesel engines is the dual mass flywheel which wears out faster than you would like. All engines come with a dual-mass flywheel, so put money aside for this expensive replacement part.
Audi A6 C6 Verdict
The Audi A6 C6really does give off the vibe that it was the middle ground between the BMW E60 and the Mercedes W211. If an entry-level 520d was somewhat decent and an entry-level E200 cdi was far too bare-bones, an entry-level Audi A6 C6 2.0 TDI does its job but has that constant feeling of wanting more. It’s somewhere halfway between comfort and sport, so if you’re in touch with your feminine side and you can’t decide which mid-size luxobarge to pick, the Audi A6 can be the middle ground for you. However, be very careful when buying, because many of them have an atleast dubious history. If you see sword and knife cuts on the leather upholstery, best to move on to another car.
What engine do I recommend? If you want something simple, unpretentious or sporty, then the 2.0 TFSI 170-horsepower is a decent engine. If you want the full Audi experience, then go straight for the 3.0 TDI Quattro automatic.