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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated March 9, 2024

Older Audi A6 Overview, Third And Fourth Generations (2005 - 2018), Reliability, Possible Maintenance Problems, Overall Pros And Cons

Related: The Simple Way To Get The Lowest Price On A New Audi A6

While historically high new and used car prices have forced buyers to look for "older" vehicles that may have aged well as a way of saving money, the issues of reliability and dependability have become even more crucial.

2015 Audi A6

Has an older Audi A6 aged well? Well, generally, older A6 models have a reputation for solid engineering and durability, but they may also experience some common issues as they age.

It should also be noted that they're on the expensive side when it comes to regular maintenance and repairs.

And by "older", I'm generally referring to A6s that are 10+ years old, which would mean those from its third and fourth generations, those produced for the 2005 - 2018 model years.

Overall, history has proven that with very well-maintained care, an older Audi A6 can last well over 200,000 miles or more. Regular maintenance, including timely oil changes, fluid checks, and scheduled inspections, is crucial for prolonging the lifespan of any vehicle, including the A6.

So here, ...

- We'll do an overview of two earlier Audi A6 generations, specifically the third and fourth covering the 2005 - 2018 model years.

- Then we'll list possible mechanical issues from these production runs that have been reported by owners so they can be checked before buying one today.

- And then we'll summarize the overall pros and cons of an older A6 worth consideration for potential buyers today.

But first, and very importantly ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" A6

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's usually best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

And My #1 Price Tip: It's important to get online price quotes at auto sites such as and (both, actually), whether looking for a new or used car. Competition among dealers for your business is what gets you a lower price, and it's very easy.

And quickly, while we're at it, my #2 Tip is to always know the up-to-date trade-in value of your current car. You can get a quick and surprisingly accurate one at Edmund's Trade-In Quotes.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# followed by many simple, but specific, yes/no questions. It really focuses in on the detail of the specific vehicle.

Fourth Generation Audi A6 (2012 - 2018)

2012 Audi A6

This version featured a more spacious and luxurious interior, boasting an increased wheelbase of 114 inches, akin to its flagship counterpart, the A8. The exterior also underwent a redesign, characterized by a more assertive front grille.

Engine choices were streamlined to two options: a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 producing 306 horsepower and a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine generating around 177 horsepower.

The 3.0-liter V6 engine was coupled with a 7-speed S-Tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the 2.0-liter engine offered two transmission options: a CVT in front-wheel drive configurations and an 8-speed automatic transmission.

This generation also marked the introduction of the first-ever hybrid model, pairing a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with an electric motor. Additionally, the S6 sports variant featured a 4.2-liter V8 engine producing 414 horsepower.

Trim levels available included Premium, Premium Plus, and Prestige. The Premium trim level offered a host of features such as 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, and part-leather upholstery.

The Premium Plus trim added larger alloys, rear parking sensors, LED running lights, and driver memory functions, while the Prestige added adaptive headlights, keyless ignition, a rearview camera, and a premium Bose audio system.

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Also available as an option, the S-Line exterior package imparted a sportier aesthetic to the A6.

It should be noted that in 2014, this generation got a facelift, enhancing both efficiency and power. Exterior updates included new headlights, taillights, refreshed bumpers, and a more aggressive grille.

Engine revisions introduced a new 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 engine producing 310 horsepower. Other engine options included a 220 horsepower 2.0-liter and a 240 horsepower 3.0-liter V6.

Safety features such as anti-lock disc brakes and stability control were standard, with optional upgrades including front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and blind spot warning systems, which are often found in the upper trims. The interior remained largely unchanged.

2012 - 2018 Audi A6 Possible Mechanical Problems

This generation generally earned praise for its engineering and reliability, and improved upon the earlier generation in this regard. However, like any complex vehicle, it wasn't entirely immune to mechanical issues. The more common are listed below and should be included in an inspection before buying:

Oil Leaks: Some owners reported oil leaks from various engine components, such as the valve cover gaskets, camshaft seals, and oil pan gaskets. These leaks could lead to oil consumption issues and potential engine damage if left unaddressed.

Timing Chain Tensioner Failure: While less common than in earlier generations, some owners experienced issues with the timing chain tensioner. A failing tensioner could cause timing chain slack, resulting in engine performance issues or catastrophic engine damage if the chain skips timing.

Transmission Concerns: Instances of transmission-related issues, such as rough shifting, transmission fluid leaks, and electronic glitches in the transmission control module, were reported by a subset of owners.

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Electrical System Problems: Various electrical issues, including malfunctioning sensors, intermittent electrical failures, and glitches in the MMI (Multi Media Interface) system, were reported by some owners.

Suspension Components: Premature wear and failure of suspension components, such as control arms, bushings, and ball joints, were reported by a subset of owners. These issues could result in abnormal tire wear, uneven ride quality, and handling instability.

Cooling System Issues: Instances of coolant leaks from components like the radiator, water pump, and thermostat housing were reported by some owners.

Brake System Concerns: Some owners reported premature wear of brake pads and rotors, as well as issues with brake calipers sticking or seizing.

It's important to note that not all A6 vehicles experienced these mechanical problems, and the severity of issues could vary depending on factors such as vehicle usage, maintenance history, and driving conditions.

Third Generation Audi A6 (2005 - 2011)

2008 Audi A6

This A6 comes in two versions; a sedan or wagon. Many models were also equipped with Audi's "quattro" all-wheel-drive, making it less of a hazard to manuever throughout the winter. And these A6's can be found with either a V6 or V8 engine.

The wagon version of the A6, the Avant, was also one of the few luxury wagon vehicles available in the market.

This A6 version added new styling, more space and more power. The wheelbase grew by 3.2 inches compared to the previous 1998-2004 A6 generation. It's also this generation which first so successfully combined an eye-catching design, advanced driving dynamics, and luxurious surroundings.

The three available models were differentiated by their engines: base 3.2, midlevel 3.0T Quattro, and top-of-the-line 4.2 Quattro. In addition, each model comes with one of three equipment packages: Premium, Premium Plus and Prestige. Older A6 shoppers should note that the Prestige package was not offered on the base 3.2 but comes standard on the 4.2.

The Premium package wa standard on the 3.2 and 3.0T Quattro. And while there are some minor differences based on model year, this package typically includes leather upholstery, power front seats (heated on the Quattro), 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, a tilt/telescoping steering column, Bluetooth, a trip computer, Audi's MMI systems controller, and an audio system with a CD changer, and an iPod input.

Audi A6 3.2 Avant quattro Wagon (2007)

The Premium Plus package can be found as an option on some used 3.2 and 3.0T Quattro models and goes on to add driver memory functions, 18-inch wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass, heated auto-dimming exterior mirrors, bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, and aluminum door sills

The Prestige package was optional on the 3.0T Quattro and standard on the 4.2 Quattro and added unique 18-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, a back-up camera, adaptive headlights, a power-adjustable steering column, shift paddles, navigation, a color trip computer, an upgraded surround-sound audio system.

The 3.2 sedan offered a choice of 16, 17, or 18-inch wheels, while the 4.2 sedan came with either 17 or 18-inchers. Some of the lower trims can also be found with optional navigation, satellite radio, and for sedans, steering-linked adaptive headlights.

And in terms of safety features, all A6 models featured standard front side airbags, curtain side airbags (rear side airbags were optional), antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, and an antiskid system.

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Under the hood of the 3.2 is a 265-horsepower V6, while the 3.0T comes with a 300-horsepower supercharged V6 and the 4.2 is powered by a 350-horsepower V8.

The 3.2 front-wheel-drive sedan is equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with driver-selectable shift points. All other models come with a six-speed automatic transmission and the Quattro AWD system. The wagon comes with the 3.0T engine, the automatic transmission, and Quattro.

While all the engines are smooth and refined, our favorite would be the 3.0T due to its brisk acceleration (even quicker than the V8) and better fuel economy. And while the A6 offers a very comfortable highway ride, it's still able to provide capable and confident handling.

Potential buyers should also note that the base V6 produced only 255 horsepower from 2005 - 2009. In addition, the supercharged V6 (3.0T) was not offered during the 2005 - 2008 model years. Lastly, the V8 produced 335 horsepower before 2007.

2005 - 2011 Audi A6 Possible Mechanical Problems

2009 Audi A6

This A6 iteration introduced several advancements in technology, design, and performance compared to its predecessors. However, like any complex mechanical system, it had its share of more common issues reported by owners, which should therefore be included in a pre-purchase inspection:

Engine Oil Leaks: Oil leaks from various engine components, such as the valve cover gaskets, camshaft seals, and oil pan gaskets, were relatively common. These leaks could lead to oil consumption issues and potential engine damage if left unaddressed.

Timing Chain Tensioner Failure: The timing chain tensioner was prone to failure. A failing tensioner could result in timing chain slippage or even breakage, leading to catastrophic engine damage.

Transmission Issues: Some owners reported problems with the continuously variable transmission (CVT) and automatic transmission variants, including rough shifting, hesitation, and transmission fluid leaks.

Suspension Components: Premature wear and failure of suspension components, such as control arms, bushings, and ball joints, were reported by some owners. These issues could lead to abnormal tire wear, uneven ride quality, and handling instability.

Electrical Problems: Various electrical problems, including malfunctioning sensors, intermittent electrical failures, and issues with the MMI (Multi Media Interface) system, were reported by owners.

Brake System Concerns: Some owners experienced premature wear of brake pads and rotors, as well as issues with brake calipers sticking or seizing.

Cooling System Leaks: Coolant leaks from components such as the radiator, water pump, and thermostat housing were reported by some owners. These leaks could result in engine overheating, coolant loss, and potential engine damage if not addressed promptly.

Overall Pros And Cons Of An Older Audi A6

Older Audi A6 Pros

Affordability: Older A6 models typically come with lower purchase prices compared to newer vehicles, offering potentially significant upfront savings.

Historical Reliability: Audi A6 models have a reputation for engineering quality and durability, with many older vehicles maintaining their reliability and performance over time.

Luxurious Features: Even older A6 models often boast high-end features such as premium upholstery, advanced infotainment systems, and innovative safety technologies, providing a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience.

Timeless Design: Audi's design language tends to age well, meaning older A6 models can still exude style and sophistication on the road, contributing to their appeal as used cars.

Solid Performance: Many older A6 models offer robust performance with powerful engine options, responsive handling, and advanced drivetrain technologies like quattro all-wheel drive.

Availability of Parts: As a popular luxury sedan, parts and aftermarket support for the Audi A6 are generally abundant, making maintenance and repairs more accessible and potentially more affordable.

DIY Maintenance Potential: Older vehicles often have a wealth of resources available for DIY maintenance and repairs, empowering owners to save money on servicing costs over time for those so inclined.

Potential for Customization: With a variety of aftermarket parts and accessories available, older A6 models offer opportunities for customization and personalization to suit individual tastes and preferences.

Comfortable Ride: The Audi A6 is known for its refined ride quality and comfortable interior, making it well-suited for long journeys and daily commuting alike.

Older Audi A6 Cons

Higher Maintenance Costs: Older vehicles may require more frequent maintenance and repairs to address wear and tear, mechanical issues, and component failures, resulting in higher ongoing ownership costs.

Expensive Maintenance and Repairs: Ownership costs for an older A6 can be higher than average due to the premium nature of the vehicle and the complexity of its engineering. Routine maintenance and repairs at authorized Audi dealerships or specialized shops can be costly.

Technological Obsolescence: Older vehicles may lack the latest technology features and advancements found in newer models, potentially impacting convenience, safety, and overall driving experience.

Higher Fuel Consumption: Older A6 models may have less efficient engines compared to newer models, resulting in higher fuel consumption and operating costs.

Aging Design: While timeless, the design of older A6 models may lack some of the modern aesthetic and styling elements found in newer vehicles, potentially affecting curb appeal and resale value.

Limited Safety Features: Older vehicles may lack the advanced safety features and driver assistance systems found in newer models.

Higher Emissions: Older A6 models may emit higher levels of pollutants compared to newer vehicles, potentially leading to higher emissions-related costs and environmental impact.

Potential for Rust: Depending on climate and maintenance history, older vehicles may be more prone to rust and corrosion, especially in areas with harsh weather conditions or road salt usage.

Limited Cargo Space: While the interior of the third generation A6 offers ample passenger space, cargo capacity was somewhat limited compared to rivals in the midsize luxury sedan segment. The trunk space is adequate for everyday use but may be insufficient for larger items or extensive luggage.

Lastly, Suggestions For Getting A Low Audi A6 Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" Audi A6 if the price was really good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Audi A6. This works just phenomenally well.

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