Audi A6 features.

Buying a used Audi A6 (C5): which engine should I prefer and should I fear the Quattro?

“Tell us about the peculiarities of owning an Audi A6 (C5) with 2.4 and 2.8 engines. Which one do you prefer in terms of reliability, economy, maintainability? Is it worth to be afraid of commendable full drive Quattro, taking into account venerable age of a car?

In due time we told about Audi A6 (C5) in details, including the petrol motors V6, and also about a running gear and four-wheel drive transmission. Thus, we urgently recommend you to read these materials, and here we shall answer on essence of the set questions.

In fact, there is no fundamental difference in reliability and maintainability between the 2.4 and 2.8 versions, especially if you consider the age of the model and the copies presented on the secondary market. So everything comes down to draughtiness and economy: 165 hp version is more restrained in fuel consumption, than 193 hp one. Thus, dynamic qualities of both motors are simply sufficient for daily operation, but by modern measures for a representative of E-class are not outstanding at all. Besides the 2,4-liter version has a competitor in the form of turbo 1.8 engine (150 hp): in spite of existence of overcharging system, it is not inferior in reliability, and in cost of exploitation it can be even more preferable than the atmospheric “sixes”. However, it is already a question of “religion” of the buyer.

In any case, choosing a used A6 (C5) one should remember that structurally it is already rather complicated, demanding to quality of used materials and level of service, appreciably inferior to its predecessor in maintainability, and therefore with higher cost of works and spare parts.

As for the V6 engines it is worth mentioning their tight layout in the engine compartment, due to which it is necessary to remove the front optics, bumper and radiators when replacing the timing belt drive. Besides the belt on the old copy, most likely, camshaft drive chain will be replaced, and also the water pump will have to be replaced. In general, don’t be surprised if such “extended service” after purchase will cost more than $500.

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And that’s if you manage to buy a car with a “dry” engine! Leaks and sweating can be observed in the area of valve cover, cylinder heads, oil pan. Of other “heart aches”, we shall mention rather short-lived front engine support and variable valve timing mechanism. If the automobile “burns up”, most likely the cause of the problem will be “dying” lambda-probe.

From the point of view of reliability and maintenance/repair expenses it is better to give preference to a manual transmission. “Automatic” Tiptronic from ZF is quite reliable, although by no means flawless, but its age is already showing (at high mileage it can require repair of control unit, replacement – burnt friction packs). The more recent sixes are equipped with Multitronic variator, repair of which does not promise to be cheap.

But don’t be afraid of all-wheel drive Quattro transmission: it is very reliable even on cars with high mileage. The main thing is for the owner not to “kill” the car on impassability, to put the same size wheels on both axles, and to watch for condition of C.V.’s dust collectors.

However, we should remember that rear independent suspension of all-wheel drive A6 differs from semi-independent one of mono-drive models: there are more details, so potentially “re-suspension on a circle” will cost more. But the durability of rear arms will be better, than in front “aluminum” suspension, about which there are “horror stories” for a long time. One more nuance is a small (only 120 mm) road clearance, that one should remember, when driving down a good road.

And returning to a question about age. Even the freshest copies have long ago overcome the 10-year boundary. For the well-groomed automobile it is not terrible: stock of durability at the majority of units C5 is rather high, but with competent and timely service. Otherwise, the repair will not be cheap, so it is in your interest to find the best-maintained option.

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Price pulse

The analysis of database of advertisements ABW.BY concerning selling cars shows that Audi A6 (C5) is offered in the following price range: the copies of the first years of release (1997-1998) – from $4,500, last (2003-2004) – on the average for $6,500-$7,500, though there are more expensive offers.


More than 6.900 of original used parts for Audi A6 C5 with pictures and prices of every offer at BAMPER.BY . Search for any part – in three clicks!

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