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If You Want an Audi A6, Buy New Instead of Used

Positioned between the more affordable Audi A4 and the powerful A8, the Audi A6 is the slightly overlooked middle sibling of the Audi sedans. Still, you might have your heart set on an A6, and rightly so. It offers more legroom and power than the A4 but is far easier on your wallet than the A8.

If you are trying to decide between a used or new A6, you should know that older models have more issues than new or more recent models. Let’s dig into the proof from CarComplaints.com.

Most of the complaints are against the older model years

A few luxury midsize sedans such as the Cadillac CTS and some Mercedes E-Class models have loads of owner complaints. The A6 doesn’t, relatively speaking. But that doesn’t mean that the car was problem-free over the 26 years of its production.

The 2004 model year topped the list with the most owner complaints on CarComplaints.com. This car had 51 complaints in nine problem categories, including those related to the engine, interior accessories, air conditioning and heating systems, drivetrain, and wheels and hubs.

Of these problems, the engine and engine cooling problems reported to the NHTSA have the worst severity rating of “really awful.” One owner whose A6’s check engine light was illuminating intermittently was told by the dealership not to be concerned about it. The owner was seriously injured in a single-car crash at highway speeds because his brakes failed. The car’s computer, which was connected to the engine, had a serious bug as the dealership pointed out after the crash.

The Audi A6’s worst model year

Counting down to the model year with the worst problem, we’ll first look at two subpar A6 model years with the third- and second-worst issues. 

The third-worst problem was a transmission issue for the 2016 model year, which wouldn’t start while the “Put in Park” indicator light was illuminated. This problem cost $3,700 to repair and occurred at 50,000 miles. Although no solution for this problem was posted, a good guess would be that the pin that holds the transmission’s output shaft in place would need replacing.

The 2013 Audi A6 came in as the second-worst. Its over-fueling injector typically cost owners $4,700 to fix and happened at 65,000 miles. This problem required either an engine overhaul or replacement to be solved.

The worst model year was the 2000 Audi A6 due to transmission failure. This defect typically cost $4,350 owners to repair and occurred on average at 86,750 miles. The automotive complaint website gave the A6’s ailing Tiptronic transmission the worst severity rating of “really awful.”

But owner complaints submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provide more insight into the A6’s general powertrain problems. For example, one owner’s manual transmission slipped at highway speeds and when shifted hard, the car stalled. The severity rating for this problem was also “really awful”.

In nearly every complaint, owners spoke of spending thousands of dollars for transmission repair. Sometimes the failure occurred shortly after the warranty ran out. Owners also were disappointed with the lack of support from Audi and its dealerships.

Newer A6s have fewer complaints 

Model years from 2017 onward have far fewer problems than older models. In fact, Car Complaints has zero problems posted for both the 2017 and 2018 A6 models, with five complaints about the former and zero about the latter. The 2019 model year has two problems and 15 complaints – the bulk of which concern electrical problems.

Although we won’t know what problems the 2020 Audi A6 will have until owners start sending in complaints, we can hope that this year’s model is a good one. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

It’s true that these later Audi models command higher prices. But paying more for a reliable A6 that spends less time in the shop may be worth the extra money. It sure beats buying a cheaper, older one that is likely to cost you more in the long run.