Some prefer the look of the S6 grilles (below). They are lighter gray as opposed to the black look of the standard grille. They also have more prominent vertical struts, with the horizontal ones being thinner (as opposed to the "louver" appearance on the standard grille). It is a subjective judgment call which looks better. I find the standard grilles to be a bit recessed, easily lost in the shadows, conservative, and elegant. The lines are similar to those in the small left and right grilles. The S6 grilles are more forward, more prominent, emphasizing the vertical lines which makes the car appear stockier and taller, and more sporty. They emphasize the integrated upper and lower grilles, seemingly as if they are a single trapezoidal grille broken by the bumper.
By the way, both pics were taken with the same digital camera with recently waxed car. The difference in apparent color of the Nemo Blue paint is due mostly to the light: bright blue midday in the second, filtered evening sun in the first.)
All parts are special order, although the upper grille seems plentiful in the US. The hood hook can be found reasonably easily. But the lower grille had to be ordered from Germany, taking 8 weeks. I think the bottleneck may clear up and future orders should be faster (the part was originally listed as obsolete until I rattled some cages).
- Lower S6 grille: Part Number 4B3 807 647 C 3SR (3SR is the color code,
Granite Gray) $190
I got mine from Anderson-Behel in San Jose (aka, Stevens Creek Audi, Craig Burke in Parts, (408) 244-5400x4. Craig was great in tracking this down, first when the lower grille was listed as "obsolete" and later when the shipment was overdue.) Clair parts, call (800) 354-5100 or email Barry at Baz@clair.Com. Often discount, but must pay shipping. Or, try your local dealer.
Removal and Installation
Upper Grille Removal: The upper grille is a direct replacement. Use an allen driver to remove four screws from the lower edge. Then pull the grille free of the upper edge. Note the slots in the grille that grip the hood... you will need to slide and press the new grille back in the same fashion. But not yet...
Hood Hook Replacement:
The hood hook should be replaced, or the hood release pull-tab may not move correctly through the slot in the grille. Note the slight difference in the picture below. The S6 hook is on the right, with the shorter lever.
Use a nut driver to remove three nuts, freeing the old hood hook. Reverse to install the new.
A hood hook looks like this installed, with just the tip of the pull-tab sticking through a special slot in the grille:
Upper Grille Installation
Replacement is the reverse of removal, except one has to be very careful to insert the hood hook's pull-tab through the slot in the grille before forcing the upper edge into place on the hood. Look at the slot carefully to make sure you are inserting it in the right place. It only extends into this slot a fraction of an inch, and can pop out as you are pressing the grille clips onto the hood. So check it carefully as you proceed. Press the new grille into the hood, and insert one screw into one hole each end of the grille and finger tighten. Then put in the other two screws before fully tightening any of them. If the holes don't line up, you may find the grille is not yet fully pressed over the ridge in the edge of the hood.
Lower Grille Removal and Installation
The S6 lower grille is slightly different than the A6, in that the end clips are located in different positions. The standard A6 grille has the clips in the second slot from the top (as seen when installed); the S6 has them in the third slot, as pictured below:
This difference is no problem, because the clips engage a long continuous ridge. The new grille fits just as well as the old one, except the clips are designed to be a little more snug, requiring a little more force. Note that the grille is held by plastic clips (four on the top, two on the bottom, and one on each end). Only the clips on each end can be accessed with fingers or tools.
Remove the license plate and frame (if any). To remove the grille, you will pull on it, first on one end while fingering a clip to release it, then the other end, then the remainder. See below for tips how. You can use a tool inserted in the recess and pull towards the center line of the car to retract the clip. Or you can just reach in with an index finger and pull it. As you do so, pull that end (L or R) of the grille outward a half inch or more. Repeat for the other end and clip. Once the ends are free, the middle clips will come free if the whole grille is pulled outward. To install the new grille, it helps to lubricate the sloped parts of the various clips with some soap (bar or liquid), or perhaps WD-40. I also flexed the clips a little first with needle nose pliers to loosen them slightly. The end clips take a significant force. So I placed the grille into the bumper, and starting with the ends, pressed one at a time inward until there were signs of movement. I then hit the grille with the palm of my hand several times to engage it. I repeated this with the other end, then through the middle until all parts appeared flush with the bumper. Reinstall license plate (if any). Note that my prototype mount is shown above, which uses two long bolts to attach it through the lower grille, without any holes in the bumper. I will make a better one from plastic, and post instructions for those who may wish to make one. Parts will be less than $10, although some careful drilling and cutting will be required.
Audi Sport Badge
To fill the blank spot on the upper grille, I suggest adding an Audi Sport Badge (there isn't room for the Quattro badge).
Start by purchasing a "old style" front S4 badge from a year 2000 car. (Try firstname.lastname@example.org, or your local dealer). Carefully saw off the "S4" silver portion, leaving a little of it sticking out of the Audi Sport logo (red trapezoid). Then slowly file down this remainder until it is just flush with the silver border of the logo, without actually damaging the silver border. Notice now that the black backing is not securely adhered to the front logo. Carefully separate the layers and insert some cyanoacrylate, flexible glue (I used a waterproof automotive version), or epoxy to secure between these two layers. Using a glossy silver automotive touch up paint or toy model paint, and a small brush, cover the bare plastic with silver paint. Using (preferably) a flexible waterproof glue, adhere this badge to the grille. Try to locate it closer to the center of the grille than I did here, to make it look even better (or trim the flat spot on the grille down to matching size). The same can be done with the larger, rear version of the same S4 badge, to place on the rear of your A6. The main difference is that the rear badge comes with its own mounting tape.