Home » You Can Buy A V10-Powered Audi S6 For The Price Of A Used Ford Focus

You Can Buy A V10-Powered Audi S6 For The Price Of A Used Ford Focus

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In the future, the 2000s will be remembered as the golden years for natural aspiration. We’re talking big cubes, big revs, and big cylinder counts. In no other era could a V10 engine be stuffed into a sedan, but the noughties made it work. Sure, the V10-powered BMW M5 may grab all the headlines, but it’s not the only ten-cylinder sedan from the period. There was also an Audi S6 with a 5.2-liter V10, and while it didn’t scream like the M5 did, it made for one seriously sonorous Q-car.

We’re talking about 435 horsepower harnessed by four-wheel-drive, a leather-lined interior with impeccable fit-and-finish, and just the right mix of analog and digital to still be a daily driver. Best of all, it just looks like a normal sedan, so it’s a very if-you-know-you-know thing.

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Due to a market launch that lined up almost directly with the Great Recession, sales of the V10 Audi S6 weren’t exactly brisk. As a result, they don’t pop up for sale often, but when they do, you’ll find that driver-condition cars are far cheaper than you might expect for something with a V10.

What Are We Looking At?

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People love to assume that the engine in the 2007 to 2011 Audi S6 came straight out of the Lamborghini Gallardo and well, that’s only half-true. See, when Audi launched the S6, Lamborghini was using a five-liter V10 in the Gallardo, but it wasn’t identical to the 5.2-liter V10 under the hood of the S6. In fact, the engines were so different, they didn’t share bore spacing, and the Gallardo five-liter V10 was an odd-fire engine compared to the S6’s even-fire engine. However, for the 2009 model year, the Lamborghini Gallardo adopted a version of the 5.2-liter V10 in the S6, complete with 90 mm bore spacing and an even firing interval. Does that mean later Gallardos have Audi V10s? You be the judge.

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What isn’t up for debate is the effect of this monstrous V10. Sure, it may have only propelled the S6 from a dead stop to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds during Car And Driver testing, but the soundtrack is absolutely epic. As Automobile Magazine wrote:

The S6–like its big brother, the S8–benefits from a charismatic engine. Rated at 435 hp, the V-10 with Italian DNA features direct fuel injection, four overhead camshafts, and an intake plenum with two unequal-volume lungs. Drop the hammer, and the S6 catapults itself into action, generating tidal waves of noise that sound so physical they might result in the car’s flight path being lined with leafless trees and featherless birds.

What’s more, even though the S6 isn’t the sharpest German super sedan, all-wheel-drive and a docile six-speed automatic transmission mean it’s easy to use as an everyday car. Smooth, refined, and offering unyielding traction when the clouds start to shed their moisture. As far as all-weather point-to-point sedans go, you could do much worse than this.

How Expensive Are We Talking?

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You might be shocked to learn how little you can get into a V10-powered Audi for. We’re talking used economy car money here. Taking a look around the classifieds, you could get a nicely equipped low-mileage 2018 Ford Focus Titanium for around $15,000. However, a V10 S6 doesn’t cost that much up front. Take this 2008 model, which recently hammered on Bring A Trailer for $11,200. Sure, it might have 110,000 miles on the clock, but it’s a warm climate car with tons of amenities, and the seller wasn’t shy about dropping some coin on maintenance.

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On a similar note, here’s a 2007 Audi S6 that sold for $12,750 on Cars & Bids back in November. It’s lightly modified with an RS6-style grille, aftermarket wheels, and H&R lowering springs, but it also had a reasonable 115,100 miles on the clock, was a west-coast car since new, and looks to be in remarkably good shape for its age.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, higher-mileage examples are even cheaper. This 2007 Audi S6 sold on Cars & Bids last January for just $7,100, and although it came from the salt-free south, it did have 149,400 miles on the clock when it hammered. Sure, it wasn’t a perfect car, but as far as running, driving V10 performance cars go, it’s hard to find one cheaper.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

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Well, we are looking at a complicated, once-expensive German super sedan with an engine linked to supercars, so pour yourself a beverage because some of these parts price tags are hard to swallow. The intake manifold on the S6 has a set of flaps in it that fail over time, and a replacement intake manifold isn’t exactly cheap. A new manifold alone will run you $3,918.99 from FCP Euro, and that’s before we even get into the labor costs. Audi really shoehorned this V10 into the S6, so it’s a tight engine bay to work in. The bottom line? Don’t expect to get out of this repair for less than $5,000.

As for other problems, this V10 uses gasoline direct injection, so it’s known to suffer from carbon buildup on the backs of the intake valves. A cleaning every 40,000 miles isn’t a bad idea. Ignition coil-on-plugs are also common wear items, and a full set of Denso coil packs will run you $279.90 from FCP Euro. In addition, the crankcase ventilation system components are known to go bad, and the car itself eats front suspension components,

Should You Buy A V10-Powered Audi S6?

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If you have any financial sense at all, you absolutely shouldn’t buy a V10-powered Audi S6. Between periodic maintenance and sheer voracity for fuel, this is a car that could max out your cards in a hurry. However, if you’re the sort of person who has five grand lying around at all times for maintenance and wants an all-weather daily driver with a soundtrack to die for, it’s worth at least test-driving one. These cars have a strange way of burrowing into your heart

(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)

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Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
9 days ago

When I was little, my dad would take me every Saturday night to this newsstand store. He would get the Sunday papers and buy me candy. One time I got this lollipop shaped like a whistle, it even tweeted when I blew it. Dad said, “I should have my head examined”.
THAT!

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
13 days ago

See, here’s the thing: an E39 540 will get you similar acceleration numbers, similar luxury AND give you a manual transmission. And while they are painful to maintain at (all) times, I am betting they are less painful than an Audi with a V10.

I am sure there is more room in the engine bay.

VanGuy
VanGuy
13 days ago

odd-fire

even-fire

Oh, great. My fairly minimal understanding of engines just gained a new thing to be confused about!

Bleeder
Bleeder
13 days ago
Reply to  VanGuy

I can’t wait to bore my friends out of their minds when I explain to them the enormous (I must assume) difference between odd- and even-fire engines!

DrDanteIII
DrDanteIII
13 days ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Its all about the split-pin crankshaft

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
9 days ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Those of us who are of the 3800 faith consider it a sacred event, that day in 1978 when God came down to Flint and bequeathed a split-pin crank upon the 231, thereby begatting the architecture for the all-powerful 3800.

Segador
Segador
14 days ago

These are fantastic cars but the understeer will truly catch you off guard if you drive them hard in corners. That engine weighs a LOT.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
9 days ago
Reply to  Segador

Yes and in typical Audi fashion they stuff it as far forward as possible. The cam chains are like 4 inches behind the grill!

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
14 days ago

The PowerShit transmission in the Focus costs about $4k or so. And those will fail because it’s a terrible design.

Can’t believe the Audi is the better buy in this matchup.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
14 days ago

> You Can Buy A V10-Powered Audi S6

Why would you, though?

PeriSoft
PeriSoft
14 days ago

If I’m going to spend a thousand plus a month on a car, it’s going to be on a new 911 or LC500, not a beater S6. And the beater S6 WILL be a thousand plus a month.

William Doucette
William Doucette
14 days ago

The maintenance costs on the Audi can be measured in used 1990s Honda Civics.

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
14 days ago

Just because you can get into a VAG doesn’t mean you should. Ask Donnie how he knows.

Sklooner
Sklooner
14 days ago

If I were to buy all of these ‘you could buy a (insert financial deathtrap here) for the price of a ( insert cheap item) myself and my family would be running very low on kidneys and I may have invest in cheap motels and sacks of ice.

Goof
Goof
14 days ago
Reply to  Sklooner

Depending on where you set that scenario, and if you turn yourself into an elite cartel drug-runner, that might be a decent idea for a new Netflix series.

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
14 days ago

My rule of thumb for these depreciated German cars is that if it wouldn’t be cool with an LS swap it’s not worth it (for when the engine inevitably goes)

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
14 days ago

Say it again with me: They’re cheap for a reason. Because while the boring focus might cost the same its also probably going to run more reliably and cost a lot less to fix and be EASIER to fix if it has to. That Audi? No fucking way. Its one problem away- which they have often- from becoming your worst nightmare.

Nathan Joly
Nathan Joly
13 days ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

For the same money, you could get a focus st which would be more fun, actually can handle and get better mileage. For the maintenance of the s6 , you could upgrade the focus to make it both quicker and faster while still pulling in better gas mileage.

V10omous
V10omous
14 days ago

Considering they are available for about the same money, you might as well just go for the S8.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
13 days ago
Reply to  V10omous

Or almost anything else.

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