1994 was the year Audi changed their naming nomenclature. Instead of the 80/90, 100/200 or the 5000 in the USA (surprised they didn’t call it the 50,000), these cars became the A4, A6, and the high-end S4 became the Audi S6.

The 1990s were a pivotal decade for the Ingolstadt car maker. Self acceleration problems in the US market and poor general image was about to fade out, as bold projects such as the RS2, the D2 S8 and the S4/S6 from Audi increasingly earned the title of a true BMW competitor. Marketing efforts were also made – the Rain Master himself, Ayrton Senna daily drove and promoted an Audi S4 Avant all the way until his tragic death. And because of this smart move from Audi marketeers, you could actually be cooler than Senna, because his S4 had the 20 valve turbo 5 cylinder, while the S4 Plus gave you the option to have a 4.2 liter V8 with 290 horsepower and a manual gearbox.

Spacious, usable and fast

In general the original Audi S4 was not that different from a regular C4 chassis Audi. In case of the 227 horsepower 5 cylinder AAN engine, it was still sitting at the very front of the car, acting as a crash barrier in case in an accident, but it still had the quality attributes of a true Audi. It was well built, silent, comfortable and in quattro models, had multi-link suspension in the back. By the way, the all-wheel-drive system was co-built with Torsen, and had a locking rear diff for extra fun when the road surface got slippery and loose.

The Audi S4 continued the legacy of the C3 generation Audi 200 turbo quattro
The Audi S4 continued the legacy of the C3 generation Audi 200 turbo quattro
© Audi

With 1994, the renamed S6 continued delivering a very good experience behind the wheel that made you scratch your head as to why your weekend sports car and the family car next sitting next to it in the garage can’t be the same car. Well, the Audi S6 pretty much was the ideal solution at the time, as it was very practical, comfortable, silent and not far behind in the power department from a lot of sports cars of the 90s.

What’s it like compared to the competition?

The C4 chassis S6 in its full Plus version, only produced from 1996 to 1997, whipped out a whopping 322 horsepower, thanks to the 4,2 liter, 32 valve V8 and 6 speed manual gearbox. 0 to 60 mph happened in just 5.7 seconds. These later built S6s really showed the motoring world what was about to come, as the cars were flying of showroom floors.

The Audi S6 Plus was only in production for 16 months. With just 952 in existence, it is the rarest and most desirable Audi C4 model. When the S6 Avant was launched, it had virtually zero rivals. The BMW E34 M5 Touring come almost 2 years later, and with only 891 M5 wagons overall on the market, it did not have the selling supply punch of the S4 and S6 wagons, which had a much bigger production run. In the last 2 years of production, 11 thousand Audi S6s were made, almost as many as the E34 M5 (12,000) and the 500E (10,000) over their entire production run.

Audi S6
One of the best choices an S6 buyer could do, was ordering one in Nogaro blue
© Audi

The main issue for keen drivers of the S6 was handling at the limit of grip in sharp corners, as the centre of gravity at the very front of the car was fighting driver input. The comparable Mercedes-Benz E500 and BMW E34 M5, on the other hand, had no such problem. Another downside was its ordinary appearance. Yes, it's obviously an Audi, but few people knew what an S or RS badged car was back then, and if it's a station wagon, you were more likely to be asked how big is the diesel fuel tank, rather than what’s the top speed. Audi's V8 engines also have a huge thirst for fuel, and the complex transmission, heavy bodywork and combined weight of 1800 kg do not make things any better.

audi rs6
The C4 Audi S6 ended production in 1997, making way for a new A6, therefore also a new sports variant, the RS6, released in 2002
© Audi

The S6 Plus is a worthy catch

Looking back retrospectively, this was Audi’s own unique weapon, the luxury sports wagon, made with a recipe that is still used by BMW, Mercedes and Audi today. It is a comfortable, unobtrusive, fast and capacious autobahn liner. And the last thing worth mentioning is their availability in the US market. The Europe exclusive S6 Plus has now reached the age of 25 years, meaning this is great chance to import a cult classic with strong history into the USA.

Audi RS6 Generations DRAG RACE


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