In our list of sexy European performance cars to own before we're too old to care, the '06 Audi A6 Avant quattro 3.0 TDI isn't in the top half. To be honest, it's not even in the bottom half, but we didn't want to hurt the owner's feelings. So when we received an email about such a vehicle we were lukewarm. But cover me in honey and call me Susan because this Avant has plenty of surprises, not least its cargo hold with a carbon fiber stereo install and custom exterior work boasting a unique front-end.
The wagon belongs to 27-year-old René Hansen from Klågerup, Sweden. Born in Denmark, he crossed the Öresund Bridge over the Baltic Seas from Copenhagen to Malmö in Sweden and settled nearby. His company supplies the region with wheels and premium styling, and the Audi is the latest rolling demonstration of what's possible from his company, cartrends.dk
Although he often works on Bentleys and Porsches, René found himself without a project car and began eyeing the A6 TDI on his driveway. Doing some research, he couldn't find any body kit he liked, so used a little ingenuity. The front bumper, for example, is from an S6 and if you think the lip looks familiar, that's because it's a Votex part molded with pieces from the rear bumper of a Toyota Sportsvan. The front-end also got a custom böser look to cover handmade headlights. The latter are René's speciality, taking the inner elements of some Audi S5 Bi-Xenon headlights and building them into the original housings. He then painted the reflectors black and matched the LEDs to the S6 LED foglights in the bumper.
The side skirts are from a European VW Touran, which is a mini-MPV. For that reason, he extended them 5.5" and sculpted them to the body. The imposing rear bumper was built with two Audi A6 rear bumpers and more parts from a Toyota Sportsvan.
Having created his unique mixture, the car was painted Lamborghini Deep black with three coats of clear in the middle of '08. It had a terrifying presence; lowered to the ground like a stalking predator.
At his first car show, two days after it was finished - the Vallåkra-meet in southern Sweden - he took Best Audi. This was followed by Street Xtreme at the Street Xtreme Festival and first place in in the New Styling Car class at the renowned Bilsport Performance & Custom Show.
Despite the accolades, the car was disassembled because René wasn't completely satisfied with it. A botched polishing job gave him the excuse to convince his girlfriend Camilla he should repaint the car.
Of course, he planned a complete makeover, and Lamborghini pearl white with a satin clearcoat would stand out from the crowd. "I wanted to do something different and although I had considered a flat-black roof, I skipped it because everybody does that," René explained.
Taking the family on vacation to Poland for a few days, he had the car painted and drove the 600 miles home. "People stared when the car was black, but now it's white they stare even more," he laughed. "It's the first of my paint jobs my girlfriend Camilla likes and she wants our Touareg in the same color."
Another very important element of the A6 is its stance. It began with a suspension system from German Airride Systems (GAS) using Koni dampers, three-gallon chrome tank, Viair 460C chrome air compressor and a remote control.
The next step was wheels and René chose 22x8.5" Asanti AF150 three-piece wheels with custom paint - the manufacturer wanted $2500 for the paint, so René did it himself. Despite this, the wheels cost more than $10k, and then you have to add the 235/30 R22 Pirelli P Zero Nero tires and the extra locking bolts you need!
Lamborghini genes were always part of the project, and the white eight-piston calipers on the A6 are from a Lamborghini Gallardo with 365mm discs. Unfortunately, the rear brakes are stock, but the owner plans to upgrade to RS6 parts with a solution for an electronic handbrake.
But it's not just the wheels that are 22". Take a look in the trunk where the flatscreen TV is the same size. However, this wasn't always the plan. Initially, the wagon would have space for René's dogs, Killah and Taco. Plus the stock Bose system worked well, and the family was awaiting a daughter, so a stereo was off the radar. But somewhere along the line, it all went wrong. Now there's a full carbon landscape with hardware from Focal's Utopia-series in the back. What happened René?
"My buddy is the Focal distributor in the Nordic region and needed a new sponsor car, so I had to sacrifice myself," he laughed.
The audio build started 20 days before the Nordic Tuner Awards and was finished 340 caffeine-filled hours later but minutes before the show. Its symmetry is possible because there's no oversized subwoofer in the rear. Instead, they specified four 5" Focal subs in carbon housings.
Like fine Italian tiles, the brushed aluminum amplifiers lie recessed in the carbon floor, echoing the 22" TFT screen mounted behind the rear seat.
Everything up front, from the leather seats to carbon trim, was taken from Audi's parts bin. The steering wheel, for example, comes from the RS6, complete with the associated gear paddles and multi-function buttons. The pedals and footrest are similarly RS6, while the S6 leather seats were from the S6.
Most of the interior panels and headlining were trimmed in alcantara, with leather used on the A-pillars that house 3" Focal mid-range speakers inside intricately fabricated casings. The Focal equipment came at a hefty price, with the audio gear alone costing around $10k.
However, he saves money at the pump, since René's A6 is 3.0 V6 TDI. Of course, it couldn't remain entirely stock, so underneath that color-matched engine cover is a K&N filter, new software and a Milltek exhaust. The result is said to be 275hp and 400 lb-ftof torque.
"Wow, what a fleet," a spectator on Facebook wrote when René updated his photos. On his driveway was this A6, a subtle black VW Touareg with 24" wheels and a handsome beige Audi TT with Pogea-Racing body kit. No wonder his neighbors question their choice of profession!
2006 AUDI A6 Avant Quattro 3.0 TDI
Owner: René Hansen
Location: Klågerup, Sweden
Occupation: Owner of cartrends.dk
Engine: 3.0 liter V6 turbo-diesel with cartrends.dk software, K&N filter, stainless steel Milltek exhaust with hidden tailpipe, Audi R8 oil cap
Drivetrain: Audi quattro with six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission
Suspension: GAS Version 1 air-ride with Koni adjustable dampers, three-gallon chrome tank, Viair 460C chromed compressor, GAS remote control kit, AirBagIT digital gauge
Wheels & Tires: 22x8.5" Asanti AF150 wheels, custom painted, 235/30 R22 Pirelli P Zero Nero tires
Exterior: Audi S6 front bumper with Votex lip and Toyota Sportsvan fill panel, PDC sensor moved, VW Touran side skirts extended 5.5", smoothed and molded, rear bumper made from two A6 bumpers plus Toyota Sportsvan parts, Audi S5 6000K Bi-Xenon headlights in A6 housings with black reflectors, S6 LED foglights, RS6 aluminum mirrors, side repeaters shaved, custom böser blick front fenders, RS6 grille painted black, window tint, carpainted Lamborghini Balloon white with satin clearcoat
Interior: Audi S6 leather seats with electrics and memory, carbon trim and gear knob, RS6 steering wheel with shift paddles and multifunction buttons, plus RS6 pedals and footrest, Audi LED interior lights, A-, B- and C-pillars in black alcantara
Audio/Visual: Audi MMI 6.5" screen, DVD-player in glovebox, iPod Touch 16GB, Nav-TV UK MOST Interface, Dietz 1570, Dension Gateway 500, two 7" Senergy LCD screens in backrests, Audi Bluetooth, DVD navigation, Focal Utopia No7 speakers in A-pillars, No7 crossovers, Focal Polyglass 6.5" rear speakers, Focal Dual Monitor amp, Focal Power FP1800 monoblock amp and FP275 amp, four Focal 13WS 5" subs, 22" LCD screen, Ctek XS25000 charger, Dynamat Extreme, carbon fiber trunk install, Asus Lamborghini VX3 laptop with VAG-Com for coding and adjusting crossovers
Thanks: Camilla, Kasper from carbon-customs.dk, Lasse from FocalCar, Thomas Krog, Kenneth J, painter Robert, Allan at AP-kabinedesign.dk, Morten from autolakspecialisten.dk.