This Seemingly Sedated A6 is the Affordable Sleeper Car Audi Should Build

Base-level design hides the true, next-tier performance.


A major problem with modern Audi sedans is that the company’s base level models, like the A6, seem to be too much car for their engines. While the top-tier RS models come with more power than anyone needs in their day-to-day, they also come over-decorated with spoilers, vents and accents. The more performance you want, the more subtlety you have to sacrifice. The Audi you want is the S6 — it’s the Goldilocks option. Which is why this 2001 Audi A6 makes the perfect sleeper sports car.

It has all the clean lines of the base-level A6, but under the hood lives a tuned 4.2-liter V8 from an S6 of the same generation that makes 340 horsepower — 40 more than when it rolled out of the factory. What’s more, a six-speed manual sourced from another Audi A6 was bolted in because, well, all that power sent through all four wheels is just more fun when you can row through the gears yourself.

The downside to this Franken-Audi is that different owners did all the work — and in its 17-year life, the car has had five owners in total. The mileage indicated on the dashboard (which was also sourced from the donor S6) reads 119,000 miles, which refers to engine mileage. The chassis is said to be closer to 180,000 miles old. And since it was a daily driver for most of its life, this S6-powered A6 shows the wear and tear you’d expect with that kind of existence.

So, it’s not going to win any Concours awards for period correctness. That said, having a good, knowledgeable mechanic on call is a wise investment in general. He’ll come in handy here because of all random upgrades and tuning that might need attention; regardless, you’re still looking at a well-worn Audi, and it’ll likely need work soon. However, if this sleeper stays at a low price, the possible maintenance headache may be worth owning the fun, AWD sports car Audi should have built.

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