For $2,800, Could This 1996 Audi A6 Avant Quattro Be Your Worry-Free Ride?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Avant claims it to be 100% reliable. That’s one hell of an endorsement, but will this old Audi’s price make that advocacy 100% beside the point?

‘Size doesn’t matter’ is among of the most notable of lies people in relationships tell. Mostly though, it’s uttered to keep from hurting someone else’s feelings. That’s typically followed, in order, by ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ and then finally, ‘I’m moving to a different continent, and they don’t have phones or the Internet there.’


Relationships are hard, and getting into a relationship with yesterday’s behemoth 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis de Sade proved even harder. That was owed to its not insubstantial $21,500 asking price. Oh sure, it looked to be impeccable, but according to the 77-percent of you who voted that price down in a Crack Pipe loss, it was just too much to drive around in one of the board pieces from the Hungry, Hungry Hippos game. And that was even with an interior that looked like it was straight out of Miss Kitty’s Good Times Saloon—liquor in front, poker in the rear.

We’ve had nothing but big plates so far this week, and I’m betting you’d all like something a little less filling as a respite. Maybe something with clean cool lines and a bit of Germanic flair. Hell, I’ll bet it’s something right along the lines of this 1996 Audi A6 Avant Quattro. Mmmm, longroofied.

Rocking Smaragdgruen Pearl paint over a light biscuit interior, this classy Audi comes with 168K on the clock and the assurance by its seller that it is 100% reliable. Now, I’m not one to cast dispersions, but that’s a statement that’s both bold and provocative. Those just so happen to be two of my favorite affirmations, which means I’m intrigued enough to dig a little deeper into this Audi’s particulars.


Let’s just start out by noting that the C4 edition of the A6 was one extremely handsome car, and the Avant edition is one of the tidiest wagons the German company—or any other—ever offered.


The engine here is the 12V 2.8-litre V6. That SOHC mill offered up 170-horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque from the factory. Behind that is a ZF-sourced four-speed automatic, which feeds power to all four wheels through Audi’s patented all-singing, all-dancing Quattro drivetrain.

The seller says that the engine runs without issue or check engine light. There are no drips, exhaust leaks, nor even suggestions that the A/C ‘just needs a charge.’ That’s good since, while not as sophisticated as later cars (I should know, I have a ’99) these are still German-designed and that’s code for complex engineering. Still, if you get a good one, an old Audi can be a joy to own and drive.


The body is in reasonable shape, with some noticeable peppering on the nose, and the admission in the ad that there’s ‘minimal rust.’ I don’t know what the seller considers minimal, as this is a Minnesota car and I’m sure up there they’re a lot more accepting of road rot than those of us living in more southern climes. The pics show no sign of any major issues, so perhaps it’s nothing to get your tighty whities in a twist over.


The interior shows its age, but there doesn’t seem to be anything egregious here either. The leather is crazed but not worn through, and the dash and door cards look to be in fine shape. Another point in this car’s favor is the design. Nobody does interiors like Audi, and even though this car is over 20 years old, its interior looks as clean and contemporary as any.


Is it all hot wings and cold beer here? Well, no. Despite the seller’s claim of the car being 100% reliable, there are still some bits that could stand some Mojo Nixon fixin.’ First off there’s that rust that’s mentioned. I’d like to get a little more intel on that. Then there’s the rear hatch struts that apparently aren’t strutting their stuff any more. Add to that a moonroof that only teases its function (luckily it’s stuck closed not open) and a cruise control that’s also just for show and you’ll realize that this is an old car with old car foibles.

The question for you is whether all of that, positives and pitfalls combined, could be worth $2,800. You can get a lot of cars for that kind of cash—Hondas, Corollas, Frigidaires—so why would you spend that much on this old Avant?


I think you would because you’re a Jalop, and as Jalops we love us some Audi wagons. This one is in seemingly decent shape, isn’t overly complicated so driveway wrenching when something goes wrong isn’t entirely out of the question, and it’s a damn nice looking place to spend your drive time hours. But still, is it worth that asking?

What do you say, could this Avant pull $2,800? Or, is this an Audi that’s overpriced—100% guaranteed.


You decide!


Minneapolis, MN Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.