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In your March Issue Roger Cartwright asked for comments about buying an early model used RS6 and future operating costs. My recommendation is that, unless he has a lot of money and a good RS6 certified dealer/ mechanic, don’t buy one of the original 4.2T V8 models. I will start out by saying I am a dedicated Audi enthusiast and owner. I have owned a 1991 #V8 quattro, 1998 A8, 2003 S8, 2003 RS 6 and now a 2013 TT RS (not counting family members who I have purchased other Audis for.)
I put 207,000 miles on the 1991 V8 quattro and 156,000 on the RS 6. The V8 cost me basically nothing other than routine maintenance after 80,000 miles and the RS 6 cost almost as much as the car cost new in repairs after 60,000 miles.
Fortunately, #Audi corporate and a great dealer, Winner Audi in Delaware, did all the work from day one, so I received significant discounts and subsidies along the way.
I finally sold the RS6 last year when the transmission started slipping in second gear and it was going to cost $11,000 to rebuild it with no other options. The RS6 was a great, fast car to drive, but the electronics were horrible. Not only did every switch and button have to be replaced over the life of the car, but the engine and exhaust sensors all had to be replaced multiple times. A year before the transmission went, the catalytic converter temperature sensors went and they had to pull the engine to replace them. The cost: $11,000, but Audi picked up $9,500 as part of the loyal customer program.
The DRC suspension went three times. They did give lifetime coverage for the shocks, but not the other parts. The suspension had to have multiple bushings and parts replaced many times, from just normal wear. There were many other parts that went wrong, like heating fan motors, radio; mirror retractors; the Navigation system and more. The engine was strong and had no internal issues, but sensor problems drove me crazy beginning as early as 60,000 miles.
Oh, and by the way, the DOHC timing belts have to be replaced every 30,000 miles according to Audi; that costs $3,500 each time with the required tune-up, plugs, etc. Front brakes and rotors cost $1,750; rear $750. Audi says replace the rotors every time, but the fronts are good for at least two brake jobs unless you are on the Autobahn all day. If the starter motor goes you have to pull the engine, as you do for many other sensors and engine parts. When a turbo oil line leaked they had to pull the engine - another $6,000 plus. The dealer always gave me a discount and the hours were faster than book. Parts are all very expensive: any RS6 unique parts cost more than standard Audi parts.
I changed my oil every 3,500 miles, followed and exceeded factory service requirements at the dealer and although I periodically drove it fast, it was more of a daily driver. I know other RS6 owners who have had the same type of problems as well.
If you wonder why I kept it for so long, the answer is that after every major problem I couldn’t believe that something else could go wrong and my sunk cost was so great I didn’t want to give it away.
As I told my Audi dealer, Audi can make an incredible car that is bulletproof and can win Le Mans and will hold up under any conditions for 24 hours, but after four years and 80,000 miles look out: they can’t hold together for more than six months at a time without some costly repairs!
Caveat emptor! Buy a normallyaspirated V8 engine Audi to save money in the long term! By the way my 2013 TT RS six-speed (it’s the Plus specification in US) is incredible and the best Audi daily driver I have driven, and I say this having driven the R8 V8 and V10, the RS 5, the S5, S6, S7, S8, RS 4, and most of them on the track.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.