Introduced for the 2002 model year as a high-performance companion to the A6 Avant wagon, the S6 Avant features a sport suspension, 17-inch Avus alloy wheels and gray birch wood interior trim. Both of these midsize Avant wagons from Volkswagens luxury division get only a modest list of changes for the 2003 model year. A passenger-side seat memory is no longer standard, and the interior monitoring system was decoupled from the S6 Avants alarm. LATCH child-safety seat anchors and tethers have been added to the two rear seating positions.
In contrast to the 220-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine that powers the A6 Avant, the performance-oriented S6 Avant gets a 4.2-liter V-8 that whips up 340 hp. Both wagons are equipped with Audis quattro permanently engaged all-wheel-drive system and a five-speed-automatic transmission.
Smooth, flowing lines highlight the A6 series and its S6 cousin. The A6 first debuted in 1998 and earned a front-end restyling two years later. Freshening for 2002 included a new front end with clear glass headlights. Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights are standard, and front and rear fog lights are installed on all Avants. Servotronic speed-sensitive steering is standard on the S6 Avant.
As part of its sport suspension, the S6 Avants body has been lowered by 20 millimeters, its spring rates are 30 percent stiffer than usual, and larger-diameter stabilizer bars are installed. Six-spoke cast-alloy wheels hold 17-inch performance tires. Other than the aluminum hood, Audi bodies are made of fully galvanized steel and are covered for 12 years against corrosion. The S6 Avants roof rails are aluminum-trimmed.
Audi buyers expect elegance, and thats what they get in both the A6 and S6 Avants. Both have ample room for five adults, with heated front seats and a split, folding rear seat. An optional rear-facing third seat holds two children. A retractable/removable rear cargo cover and a power rear sunshade are standard. Cargo volume behind the rear seat is 36.4 cubic feet, which grows to 73.2 cubic feet when that seat is folded down.
Wood trim on the doors, center console and the dashboard adds a touch of warmth. Leather seating surfaces are standard. Audis Symphony II stereo system comes with a cassette player and an in-dash six-CD changer, and it works with a Bose 200-watt premium sound system that includes a subwoofer. Parktronic parking-assist and navigation systems are optional.
Under the Hood
Befitting its high-performance status, the S6 Avant holds a 340-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 engine. The five-speed-automatic transmission employs a Sport mode and a Tiptronic manual-shifting provision that operates with switches mounted on the steering wheel. Audis Dynamic Shift Program and hill-detection capability select from more than 200 shift patterns.
Side-impact airbags are standard for the front seats and optional for rear occupants. Curtain-type airbags deploy along the front and rear side windows during a side-impact collision. Antilock brakes and Audis Electronic Stabilization Program are standard.
The S6 Avant is no ordinary wagon. Buyers of this car get all the luxury touches of the A6 Avant, as well as a smooth ride, quiet operation and confident handling characteristics. They also benefit from V-8 power, which translates into seriously energetic action whenever the gas pedal is pressed.