My Audi RS6 C5 adventure and why i will never buy a RS6 again

In my previous post about my project car i wrote i traded a RS6 for a Leon Cupra, and in the comments there were some questions about it. So i decided to do a write-up, why would or wouldn’t you make this kind of trade?

In my previous post about my project car i wrote i traded a RS6 for a Leon Cupra, and in the comments there were some questions about it. So i decided to do a write-up, why would or wouldn’t you make this kind of trade? The story below took place within one year and around 25000kms

About the car itself

The RS6 was my dream car, and hard work from me and my wife made it possible to buy one when i was 25 years old. The car had a good maintenance history and during the test drive everything seemed okay. Since i’m addicted to street racing, the same weekend i bought the car i took it for some streetracing to Amsterdam. Had a lot of fun that night, made 3 runs against the same R32 skyline over and over where the skyline owner kept turning up his boost, he couldn’t believe an Audi beeing that fast. And a lot of people didn’t even recognize it as beeing a RS6, someone even asked: Is that a diesel?

Running costs and maintenance

Well after a month or two i had a lot of bad luck. I backed up into a wall that was to low for the sensors to see, and hit it with my exhaust. First i thought there wasn’t anything wrong with the car, but the next day the CEL came on. So i checked it with VCDS, and it turned out one of the O2 sensors was toast. Asked for a price at the dealer: The sensor isn’t so expensive, but we have to get the engine out for that.
So i asked around some more, i’m not believing that story haha….

I found a company in Soesterberg (NL) called Carrec Technocenter, they told me they found it hard to believe an engine pull-out was necessary for an O2 sensor, so they invited me and if they couldn’t reach it they will make a tool for it. So i did, and they did an awesome job! They even let me look in their workshop during the job.

So when i needed the first maintenance beeing done on the car, Carrec Technocenter was the place to be. Had another great afternoon watching them work on my car in their shop, and on my way home the car felt even a bit faster. The plugs were very worn out, so i had the feeling i had a fresh engine again.

Gearbox and converter

But before i got home, the CEL went on again. Woopsie? Did they forgot something? No they didn’t. VCDS told me my converter wasn’t locking up as it supposed to do. This is one of the well known problems with the RS6 C5.

So i had two options, swap the converter, or try flushing the trans first. We tried with the flush option, light didn’t come on for ~ 100km’s but at the end it still needed a new converter.
The engine got pulled out, and to be sure this was an one time job we dediced to open up the trans and replace every part that’s worn. One of the needle bearings was almost gone so it was a good decision. Carrec didn’t do the trans itself, because they only do manuals but they did have a contact for it (TSC, Geldermalsen) Since i also wanted a bit more power, we also took out the catalytic converters from the downpipes. Costs of this operation is about € 6000,-

After this i still had a lot of fun with the car. It was our daily driver, and because of that some extra’s were installed: Stinger Card (radar detector), VisionDrive dashcam, a Bearlock because the RS models are the favorite with car thieves, tinted windows and at a later moment a plate guard which made the RS6 famous for hiding its plate during some streetraces. It even was featured in a news broadcast from Pownews.

Remote video URL

DRC Suspension problems

The next big thing that broke on the car was the DRC suspension (Dynamic Ride Height). This works by flowing oil from the dampers in corners through pipes and valves, and these are famous for breaking. The car wiggled a lot on every speedbump and you could here a metal on metal sound. So i didn’t go through the trouble fixing it wen it was broke, i bought a KW V3 coilover set and lowered it a bit without the hard ride. Below are some pictures with the car on the KW V3 coilovers.

Leaking intercoolers

Than i noticed the intercoolers were very dirty, and googled a bit. It seems that the build quility from the RS6 intercoolers is very bad, they are well known for leaking pressure which puts more stress on the turbo’s with the risk of overspinning. It left me with 4 options: Don’t fix it, put some JB weld on it, replace it with OEM intercoolers, or go for upgraded intercoolers.

So through some RS forums i came in contact with a guy that has a friend at Wagner. I ordered a set of Wagner intercoolers including carbon fiber air ducts and went to pick them up at this guy in Germany. Maybe some of the readers know this guy because i lost his personal data.
He had a company in powdercoating, and behind is company was a real car heaven with a garage: Multiple RS4’s and RS6’s, Delta Integrale, E30 M3, GT3 RS, etc etc …

So the intercoolers and the KW set me at least € 4000,- back again. But the problems weren’t over. We (with a friend who drove a 996 turbo) signed up for the very first edition of the Streetgasm Challenge, and on our way to the pre-event the gearbox started acting up.

Ready to roll for the SG2K challenge!

Porsche 996 Turbo & Audi RS6 C5 Avant
Porsche 996 Turbo & Audi RS6 C5 Avant

It couldn’t hold any power, on the kickdown it went in neutral. 7 days before an epic roadtrip with other fast cars, the gearbox was broken! TSC repaired it under warranty, but the job they did and some other issues with that company made me decide to never go to TSC again. For example; we later discoverd they cut wires in the engine loom and ‘restored’ it afterwards, they tripped the GPS alarm on the car while i was in Italy and i couldn’t reach them, they also didn’t save the bearlock in the right place and the gear selector had some gaps after their job.
In the end everything was fixed, but it was a big headache. And it made a big dent in my love for the RS6.

My Audi RS6 C5 adventure and why i will never buy a RS6 again


In the winter i had the car sitting on 18” wheels with Continental tyres, this left me with a speed limit (because of the tyres) of 250km/h but enough to have some fun. Pictures below are on these winter wheels.

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Because i work from home, most of the kilometers were made during trips for holidays or car meets through the country. And a lot of kilometers on the autobahn. Did i get a lot of tickets? Just two for speeding (one while i actual went on the wrong lane through the red light, the speed was the cheapest so i didnt mind that), and one or two for driving on a closed industrial area, you can gues why we were doing that haha. But no big ones for speed. Although the police started to get to know me with the car.

The Stinger Card saved me a few times on high speed. The car had a speed limiter on 280kmh, and hitting that limiter is the weirdest thing that ever happened to me. It doesn’t feel like 280 and when you hit that point it is like you hit a brick wall, it just suddenly stops accelerating. Here some video’s about how fast a RS6 really is.

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So how does this Stinger Card worked? At the time i owned the RS6 the police in The Netherlands and Germany were only using 3 types of speed detection. The Stinger Card covered them all at that time, and i captured some videos of it in action.

Remote video URL

The next problem with the car that started acting up was a weird ‘ticking’ sound under the hood when the engine was cold, it also lost some power. This was the other problem RS6’s are famous for, leaking exhaust manifolds! Would i do another big repair (engine pull) or trade it? For every car there is a moment to say goodbye, and this was it for me. I started looking for a R32 or S3, but nobody wanted to trade in a RS6 for that because it was such a high risk car. Everyone knows, when something is broken on this kind of car, it will always cost big money! For example: the alternator is the same part number as the 3.0 TDI, but the RS one is more expensive at the dealer ;)

Audi RS6 at the Erasmusbrug Rotterdam
Audi RS6 at the Erasmusbrug Rotterdam

Then one of the previous owners of the RS6 which i got to know through car meets and the cars maintenance history, offered a Leon Cupra for sale so i proposed to make a trade. For who doesn’t know much about VAG cars, the Cupra, S3, GTI Edition 30 and MK6 R20 almost share the same engine. With a bigger turbo then the normal GTI’s. I drove the car to him and the same night we made the trade, he sold it again to his neighbour the next day. The RS6 adventure was over for me, it did set me back quite a few euro’s but we had a lot of fun and driving pleasure with it. It was one of the most comfortable cars i ever drove, but i will never buy one again just because of al the problems they are known for. The V10 model also seems to have such a list of problems.

So know you know my experiences with the RS6 C5 model, and why i traded it with the Cupra. This week some new upgrades were ordered for the Cupra (those who follow me on Instagram or Facebook did see them) and i’ll post an update this Friday about what was done last months on the car and what arrived this week.

Edit 27-01-2016: Added some pictures from the big gearbox operation! Scroll up if you missed it!

This content was originally posted by a Car Throttle user on our Community platform and was not commissioned or created by the CT editorial team.



Man the story was long,but worth reading

01/25/2016 - 17:40 |
210 | 0

Yes exactly, the writeup was beautiful and very interesting. ;)

01/25/2016 - 20:53 |
14 | 0
Jake Orr

What a cool write up! Sorted to Reader’s Reviews.

01/25/2016 - 17:41 |
90 | 0
Chris H 1

Thanks for putting so much effort in this post.

01/25/2016 - 17:45 |
18 | 2

Nice story tho !

01/25/2016 - 18:03 |
0 | 0
Lassë Lund

And that means you won’t recomend anyone to get an RS6? :(

01/25/2016 - 18:17 |
0 | 0

If you can save 1 euro per kilometer you drive for maintenance etc then buy one 😂

01/25/2016 - 18:19 |
14 | 0

Audis around the late 90’s and early 2000’s were maintenance nightmares, but thankfully, Audi got their act in gear and started to drastically improve reliability and customer service, too.

01/25/2016 - 18:21 |
0 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

mine is from 2000 and not a single problem, they do 500k with the replace of normal parts like timing belt and battery

01/25/2016 - 18:46 |
0 | 0
Tuners World

Duur autootje…… Ik spaar nog wel even door voor een M dan
Maar verder mooi geschreven en die plateguard is een slim idee hehehehe

01/25/2016 - 18:52 |
0 | 0

Het bouwen van de Cupra is een stuk duurder… maar bij de Cupra was dat een bewuste keuze en bij de RS6 niet.

01/25/2016 - 18:54 |
0 | 0

Before I even read, I will bet anything the awful gearbox failed at some point.

01/25/2016 - 19:42 |
4 | 0

In reply to by mamut

Twice! 😂

01/25/2016 - 19:53 |
2 | 0

Wow what a story!
Pity that your RS6 had all those problems… but I think the RS6 are very good cars if they work good… and the RS6 is so sexy!!
Btw, the thing to hide the plate and the stinger thing (radars) do really work?

01/25/2016 - 19:55 |
4 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

It dit at that time. But the police use a new type of radar now which is harder to detect because it uses multiple frequency’s. Long and technical story.

I used the plateguard for the type of speed checks where they measure time between point A and B and calculate the average speed. Just cover up the plate at A or B and the detection system cant measure the speed but you do need to know whay you are doing and where the detection points are.

01/25/2016 - 20:06 |
4 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

These are all known issues on the RS6. Real shame he sold it after he fixed the major issues because it’s a solid car after fixes are in place. Sadly most high-performance cars end up with a few issues but once fixed it’s done.

12/09/2019 - 07:56 |
0 | 0

Awsome article! this is the stuff we want to read! I was tempted by a RS6 like yours, but I went for the B7 RS4 instead, mainly because…MANUAL :-) I`ve done 60 000 km since the buy, I had the problem with the carbon build up, but other then that the car has been running like a swiss clock…..Your number plate cracked me up seriously! keep it up, love to read more of your car stories!

01/25/2016 - 19:58 |
6 | 0

In reply to by 68Mero

A good friend of me bought a RS4 B7 also last month! I got the honours to do the test driving because of my car knowledge. What a great car is it!

The TFSI from the Cupra is known for the same carbon build up. The process of cleaning and preventing is quite easy.

Did you also know, the gearbox and shafts from a B7 can be used to convert a RS6 C5 to a manual? 😉

01/25/2016 - 20:02 |
0 | 0


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