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Autotrader Find: 450-Horsepower Audi RS 6 for $12,500

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Used 2003 Audi RS 6
Used 2003 Audi RS 6
$33,500
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author photo by Doug DeMuro May 2017

The latest crop of Audi "RS" cars -- namely, the RS 5 and the RS 7 -- are gorgeous, modern, fast and exciting ... but they're also tremendously expensive. The RS 5 is now off the market, pending a new model, but it could easily top $80,000 with options -- and the RS 7 is pricier still. Fortunately, you can buy an even more special "RS" car for far less money: this 2003 RS 6, which is offered by a private seller in Connecticut for just $12,500.

Before I get into the details of this particular car, let's discuss the RS 6. Although the RS 6 has been sold on and off in Europe for years, it was only offered in the United States once: For the 2003 model year, Audi gave us a limited-production RS 6 sedan. At the time, it was one of the most powerful sedans ever made, with an amazing 450 horsepower coming out of the car's twin-turbocharged V8.

Indeed, the RS 6 was truly a monster, and the performance wasn't even the best part. The best part was its subtle styling: Although newer AMG and M and RS cars all have huge grilles and big wheels and badges everywhere, the original RS 6 had only the smallest level of enhancements over the standard A6. There were bigger wheels, flared fenders, an RS6 badge and ... that was it. In order to know, you had to know.

Over time, depreciation has not treated the RS 6 well, largely for two major reasons. One, because it's a 14-year-old European car, and that's what depreciation does to 14-year-old European cars. But the RS 6 has also lost a lot of value because it's developed a reputation for being a bit temperamental, in the same way that the Atlantic Ocean has developed a reputation for being a bit wet. The biggest issue was the transmission: Audi's Tiptronic wasn't up to handling the car's horsepower, so most RS 6 transmissions failed over time.

Although the ad for this particular RS 6 doesn't say if it's had the transmission replaced, two things are for sure: It's been driven, and it's cheap. This one has covered a whopping 172,000 miles since it was new in 2003, and it's offered for just $12,500 -- a far cry from the original value, and an amazingly far cry from the price of a new RS model. Sure, nobody will know what it is, but you'll know -- every time you stomp on the accelerator at a traffic light.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2003 Audi RS 6
Used 2003 Audi RS 6
$33,500
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Autotrader Find: 450-Horsepower Audi RS 6 for $12,500 - Autotrader