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

Audi - My Audi RS6 C5 adventure and why i will never buy a RS6 again - Readers' Reviews

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?

Watch the faster start from the Impreza due to the slow gearbox from the RS6.

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,-

Gutted downpipes in the parking garage

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.

Offcourse the plates used in the video weren't from my car, but from the reporters car.

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.

Audi - My Audi RS6 C5 adventure and why i will never buy a RS6 again - Readers' Reviews

Wintermode

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.

Snow fun!
Snow fun #2

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.

252kmh on GPS

No GoPro's at that time, just a crappy dashcam. The cars i overtook were part of our group.

Full throttle run to log some MAF data.

My mother in law doesn't like big acceleration

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.

Radar in the grey car
On the autobahn

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!