Used 1998 Audi A6 Wagon

Style:
1998 Audi A6

1998 Highlights

Stretch an A4 platform, add rounded styling with plenty of edges for character, toss in a sumptuously comfortable interior available in several "atmosphere" styles, blend it all with traditional Germanic handling and what do you get? The excellent new Audi A6 sedan. Our only quibble is with the taillights, which appear to have been inspired by the Chevrolet S-10 pickup. The wagon is carried over from 1997.

Pros

  • Roomy inside. Impeccable road manners. Tastefully out fitted. Exceptionally comfortable. Optional all-wheel drive system.

Cons

  • No manual transmission. V6 provides adequate power, but that's all.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Sedan: Remember Audi a decade ago? Of course not. Nobody does. Back then, Audi was changing numerical model names almost daily, and some half-assed reporting by 60 Minutes had almost killed the marque. Claiming to drive an Audi negatively branded you, and the old 80, 90, 100, and 200 model designations registered nothing on the social acceptability meter at the country club. Audi? Isn't that a fancy Volkswagen?

Audis are still fancy Volkswagens, but who cares. The A4 and A8 are simply superb examples of automotive engineering. This all-new A6 is more of the same, adding new corporate styling themes from recent show cars to the mix.

Under the hood is a 2.8-liter V6 engine making 200 horsepower. The five-speed automatic transmission features Tiptronic shifting controls, just like a Porsche. This powertrain will get the A6 from rest to 60 mph in a somewhat leisurely 8.8 seconds. Opt for the $1,650 quattro all-wheel drive system, and it will take an extra half-second to get to freeway merging velocity. Not stellar, but the old A6 was no speed demon either. Want to go fast? Get the A4 2.8 or A8 4.2.

While a manual transmission is definitely missing from the equipment roster, plenty of other standard goodies are included for the $34,000 tariff. You've got your alloy wheels, heated windshield washer nozzles, headlight washers, puddle lamps on each door, dual-zone climate control system with air filter, heated exterior mirrors, retained accessory power, power front seats, real wood trim, trip computer, 140-watt sound system with 10 speakers and side airbags. You've also got quite a suspension holding it all in place.

A four-link front suspension lifted from the A4 virtually eliminates torque steer under hard acceleration. We haven't driven the new A6 sedan, but if recent experiences with the A4 and A8 are any indication, the new A6 should provide a smooth, well-damped ride without filtering out vital information from the underpinnings. Steering should be light, maybe even a tad too much so, but will communicate effectively what's happening with the front tires.

The new styling is unmistakably Audi, with a swept greenhouse and muscular fenders. However, this new A6 isn't a stunner like the A4. The rounded sheetmetal and sharply creased trim detail don't blend well to our eye, and the taillights appear to have been lifted from Chevrolet's lowly S-10 pickup. From some angles, the car looks great. From others, it appears somewhat dumpy and jumbled. Front overhang can appear especially out of balance. Fortunately, a graceful arcing greenhouse lends a touch of class and elegance to an otherwise characterless profile.

Despite nitpicks, we believe the new A6 will prove enticing in the hotly contested entry-level luxury class. But there's plenty to choose from at this price point. Select carefully.

Wagon: Despite a recent freshening, the A6 Wagon is growing old. Sitting next to the outstanding A4, the brand new A6 sedan, and the sophisticated A8 in the showroom, the only Audi that looks more geriatric than the A6 Wagon is the Cabriolet. Still, this midlevel model is attractive, solid, roomy, and comfortable, with just the right amount of luxury and European flair to make it a viable alternative to other entry-level makes.

The A6 Wagon's major shortcoming is its powerplant. A 172-horsepower 2.8-liter V6 engine is expected to motivate as much as 3,847 pounds when installed in an unloaded A6 Quattro Wagon. This just isn't enough power, and acceleration can be called leisurely at best. Handling is another matter. Steering is crisp with excellent feel, though too light with overboosted power assist. Brakes are outstanding, bringing the heavy A6 wagon to a stop smoothly and surely.

Passengers in an A6 wagon are certain to be comfortable, perched on Audi's traditionally supportive seats. Jacquard cloth upholstery is standard, and Kodiak leather remains optional. Interior ambiance is rich with burled walnut inserts and a no-nonsense gauge layout that features soothing red backlighting at night. Some controls are difficult to figure out at first, but owners quickly adapt.

Audi's quattro all-wheel drive system is available as a stand-alone $1,600 option or as part of the Quattro Value Package that includes a power glass sunroof, larger wheels, and bigger tires for less than $900 more. Currently, Audi is pitching the A6 Quattro Wagon as an alternative to truck-like luxury SUVs. The marketing doesn't seem to be working. Sales have stagnated, while Subaru sales skyrocket thanks to all-wheel drive station wagons, and Lincoln can't build enough Navigators to satisfy demand.

Regardless, the A6 Wagon is a unique type of car. Nobody else sells this kind of luxury in this kind of package. But soon, a Volkswagen Passat Wagon with Synchro all-wheel drive will be available. At that point, the A6 Wagon becomes a moot point. If you want the Audi, get it now.


Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Audi A6.

The SUV killer: the A6 Quattro Wagon
sd92104, 5/21/2002
Bought my A6 quattro wagon new in RI. Used if for commuting and carpooling and it it also got complements for its looks and ride. Never had a problem in bad weather with the car. Moved to SanDeigo and I put 18" performance tires on the car and handles like a 5 series. Plan on lowering it an inch as well. Best purchase I could have made I have the versitility of an SUV but the comfort of a luxury sedan and the sportness of a sport sedan. Can't wait to purchase my next audi quattro wagon.
Fun to drive car
x-cpwrguy-99, 5/30/2002
A great car, fun to drive, quattro in Wisconsin is wonderful. No problems in the year i have owned it. Starts out in the snow as if the pavement was dry. Buy one you will love it.
Too bad they don't make an A8 wagon!
mrburb, 11/22/2003
We've had gasket and seal issues, but they seem to have been resolved. Electrical is not the greatest, and rear seat legroom is tight - especially for a bunch of tall people. Those things aside, this is the most balanced, smoothest, most well- engineered car we've owned. It is a joy to drive - even if it is a wagon - though a little more power would be nice. If only it were a little bigger...
Great Car
Great Car, 12/29/2009
I love this car! That said it takes a lot of money to keep it well feed and healthy. I bought it at a charity auction (Never buy from one, trust me). The car was low miles and a great price. Two months later the transmission went out and cost over 3k to fix. Once she was up and running again, it's been great.
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed automatic
Gas
200 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
N/A city / N/A hwy
Seats 0
5-speed automatic
Gas
200 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1998 Audi A6 Wagon features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

Used 1998 Audi A6 Wagon Overview

The Used 1998 Audi A6 Wagon is offered in the following styles: 2.8 Avant quattro 4dr Wagon AWD, and 2.8 Avant 4dr Wagon.

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