Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 2001 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro

Car Culture

Why bother with a Subaru Outback?

Up until 1994, Audi’s mid-size sedan was called the 100, but this changed that year when it was renamed the A6. This was part of the German automaker’s new naming plan following the launch of the first generation A8. But it wasn’t until the second-gen A6 that this now popular and well-established luxury vehicle found its groove and discovered its own identity. The second-gen A6 arrived for 1997 and it stayed on the market for an impressive seven years. Both S6 and RS6 performance variants also appeared, both of which had V8 power.

Remember, this was before the era of downsizing; V8s were still the norm for luxury sedans like these. And because this is Audi here, the A6 lineup also boasted the Quattro all-wheel-drive system. It wouldn’t be an Audi without that. And thanks to the success of the sedans, Audi figured it ought to do something a bit different. While BMW had its 3 Series wagon, the folks at Ingolstadt cooked up something similar yet different, the Allroad Quattro.

The Audi A6 Allroad Quattro, based off the A6 Avant wagon, had a higher ride height that allowed for an advanced air suspension system, larger wheels wearing all-terrain rubber, and flared bumpers. The overall result stood out from the rest of the semi-boring station wagon pack. The A6 Allroad was different for all of the right reasons. Crossovers had yet to come to dominate the market, so Audi’s new creation certainly found appeal amongst some buyers.

In fact, it’s only real competition was the Subaru Outback, itself a jacked-up wagon based on the Subaru Legacy. But unlike the Subie, the A6 Allroad was a true luxury vehicle. Its off-roading capabilities were also impressive thanks to the aforementioned components, such as the additional 8-inches of ground clearance offered by the adjustable suspension. When equipped with a manual gearbox, there was also a low-range mode.

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Audi even took the A6 Allroad (with a manual) to an official Land Rover test course and, at the time, proved it was the only car-based SUV crossover capable of completing the course. But don’t think the A6 Allroad was only good off-road; it’s called "Allroad,” after all. That air suspension can also reduce ride height to 6-inches and simultaneously stiffen the spring and damper rates for sporty driving. It’s not quite the same drive offered by the regular A6 equipped with a sport suspension, but it was anything but bland.

Under the hood was Audi’s excellent 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 with 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. There was also a 2.5-liter TDI diesel good for 177 hp and 273 lb-ft. And then in 2003 Audi made its 4.2-liter V8 available. Unfortunately, Audi opted to end A6 Allroad Quattro production in mid-2005. The "Allroad” nameplate didn’t return to the US until 2013 when the A4 Allroad Quattro made it here.

There has never been another A6 Allroad since. And that makes this 2001 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro all the more special. It’s for sale on right now and its seller is located in the Los Angeles area. This example is equipped with the twin-turbo V6 and it’s still in the garage of its original owner. There are just over 62,000 miles on its clock, but that’s actually mild for an 18-year-old vehicle. The sellers claim it gets 20/27 mpg city/highway, which isn’t outstanding by today’s standards, but far from terrible. This example is also fully equipped with leather, heated front and rear seats, and a moonroof. Its adjustable suspension is also supposedly in working order.

Another benefit here is that this Audi includes all maintenance and service records from the dealership since it was new. A clean Carfax report proves it’s had zero accidents. Aside from some from minor scratches on the flared fenders, this 2001 Audi A6 Allroad Quattro is a great find for just $5,000.