The second generation Audi A6 made its debut in Germany in 2004 as a four-door sedan. A wagon version, called Avant, arrived early in 2005. These premium midsize wagons are handsome vehicles and a more stylish alternative to SUVs. AWD versions quickly became favourites of well-to-do skiers in winter vacation spots such as Aspen, Innsbruck and Whistler. Critics lauded the Avant for its high level of standard equipment, even in base form. Minor cosmetic changes, both inside and out, arrived in model year 2008. Heavily optioned, these cars easily could top $80,000 in Canada when new. The Allroad variation on the A6 Avant went on sale in 2006 with standard air suspension system and increased ground clearance to make it more adept at negotiating rough terrain.
THE GOOD STUFF
Audi’s Quattro all-wheel-drive system is one of the best. Consumer Guide called both the V6 and V8 engines “remarkably refined” and said the cabin offered “class leading materials and assembly quality.” Starting in 2007 the A6 became a Consumer Reports “recommended” choice in the midsize luxury segment. After crash tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made the 2008 A6 a Top Safety Pick in its category, with “good” ratings for front, side and rear collisions. There are no recalls for this vehicle.
After an online survey of user forums, most problem areas appear to be with 2005-07 models and are electrical in nature, including the instrument panel, door locks and power windows. The multi media interface (MMI) integrates audio and navigation controls, and while not as confusing as BMW’s iDrive from the same time period, it is picky and some functions that should be simple require multiple steps to complete. Consumer Reports called it “annoying.” I call it “confusing.” The optional air suspension system can be troublesome and expensive to repair. With the V6 engine and Quattro, the Avant’s fuel economy was rated at 8.7 L/100km highway and 12.4 city. The V8 is even thirstier. Both engines require premium fuel.
This is the kind of upscale family hauler still favoured by Europeans - especially Germans and Swedes. Of the domestic and Asian automakers only Cadillac has anything close. These A6 Avants are quick and capable sporty wagons, built for the high speed Autobahns. But they’re also complicated, so repairs will not be cheap. Try to find a newer model that still has some of Audi’s 4 year/80,000 km warranty remaining. A new version of the A6 was introduced for the 2012 model year.
PRICES AT A GLANCE
Note: These are asking prices, not selling prices, from a cross-Canada search using Autonet.ca and other sources.
Year Approximate price range
2005 $11,900 - $14,500
2006 $13,800 - $22,500
2007 $20,900 - $28,450
2008 $22,995 - $33,995
2009 $30,950 - $36,888
2010 $35,500 - $39,995
2011 Not enough data
Engines: 3.2 L V6 (255 hp); 4.2L V8 (350 hp)
Transmissions: CVT (FWD models only); 6-speed automatic
Layout: front engine/RWD or AWD
Bodies: 4-door wagon