Published on January 22nd, 2017 | by Subhash Nair0
Shopping for an Older German Executive: Part 2, the C4 Audi A6
The C4 is a bit of a forgotten gem. Well, maybe ‘gem’ isn’t the right word here. In terms of design, let’s just say it was bad timing – not quite as handsome as the Audi 100s from the 80s, not quite as distinguished as the later C6 model (when the gaping Audi grille began). Still, there’s plenty to appreciate here, especially for fans of 90s car designs. And even if the exterior is a little tame for your taste, there’s no denying the interior is a lot nicer to look at than the W124 or even E34. The instrument cluster is a personal favourite of mine. It stretches all the way across just to achieve that driver-enveloping ‘cockpit’ look.
Compared to the W124 and E34, shopping for a C4 puts a lot of bargaining power in your hands. These cars are underappreciated despite being engineered to take on the German sedans of that era.
In terms of drivetrain options, the most common engine you’ll find is the inline 4, 2-litre 8 valve SOHC. These are fuel injected, but extremely straightforward engines. So even if a full overhaul is needed, your mechanic won’t have to deal with too many valves, camshafts or cylinders meaning lower labour costs. These were also made while Volkswagen Group engines were simpler and cheaper. Almost all of these were automatics and all automatics were 4-speed, so expect don’t expect much of an autobahn cruiser.
There are a few examples of the 2.3-litre inline 5 units that produce a little more power (131bhp vs 114bhp).
Alternatively, there are even 2.6-litre V6 and 2.8-litre V6 models in Malaysia, and they’re not too rare either. In fact, the higher road tax sometimes means owners are more willing to get rid of them for a lower price, putting more bargaining power in your hands. Some sources say that the 2.8-litre model was equipped with quattro, but we don’t know if this is universally true. Also note that the 2.8-litre might be the late model with 5 valves per cylinder, double overhead cams (X2) and a lot of aluminium parts. Needless to say, it’ll be a money pit.
Admittedly, the C4 is nobody’s first choice. It’s the forgotten generation of an unpopular nameplate of a locally-unvalued brand. But that’s where its appeal lies.
Allow us to make a case for it.
- There’s an 8 valve/SOHC/4-speed automatic option for the real base model experience
- The interiors don’t fall apart (though some plastics do melt and scratch easily)
- Chances are their owners are older, gentler drivers
- They were still trying to fight off the W124 and E34, so you’re still getting a competitive package despite the lack of brand prestige
- E34s and W124s are generally more expensive
- It has aged quite well and looks a lot newer than most expect
Pricing is difficult to pin down. Some owners are willing to let a car like this go for as low as RM3000, but these should be inspected properly by a specialist. We’ve seen immaculately kept 2-litre models going for RM8000, though some Audi enthusiasts will try and keep their prices above the RM10,000 mark.