The first generation Audi S6 succeeded the S4 in 1994 and lasted until 1997. It was the performance version of the facelifted A6, which was itself facelifted from the old Audi 100. Audi separated itself at this point from the old numerical nomenclature of 80, 100 and 200 into the alpha-numeric A4, A6 and A8, which would become common across almost all manufacturers.
The so-called Ur-S6 was mostly the same as the outgoing S4, but with new badges and body panels. The S6 was available as a 4-door sedan and the Avant 5-door station wagon in Europe and the U.S. Only the sedan made it to Canada, Asia, and Australia.
The 1994 Audi S6 continued to use the 2.2-liter 20-valve turbocharged engine with individual coils for each of the five cylinders, boosting power to 227 bhp. Bosch Motronic fuel injection as paired with a 5-speed manual gearbox, and a 4-speed automatic transmission was offered. The S6 could manage 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 17.5 seconds and had a top speed of 146 mph. An optional engine was the normally aspirated 32-valve DOHC 4.2-liter V-8, good for 286 bhp. With the V-8, the S6 could do 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds, and had a top speed of 155 mph.
European drivers also had a 6-speed manual gearbox option, and of course the Quattro all-wheel drive system was standard, with an automatically biased center differential in manual gearbox cars. Power assisted rack-and-pinion steering was standard as well, with a speed-sensitive option.
Before the Audi C4 platform was discontinued at the end of 1997, European buyers were briefly offered the S6 Plus. It was built by Audi’s performance division, Quattro GmbH, and only produced from June 1996 to Octobers 1997. The 4.2-liter DOHC V8 engine was massaged extensively to produce 322 bhp. It was only available with a 6-speed manual gearbox, which was beefed up to handle the extra power. Only 962 S6 Plus models were built – 97 sedans and 855 Avant wagons.
As comfortable, usable performance sedans, many S6s have accrued high mileages but with proper maintenance they hold up well. . The five-cylinder engines can accrue more than 200,000 miles with proper care and turbochargers seem equally durable. Insist on complete maintenance records.