It doesn't take Lamborghini money to buy a Lamborghini engine.
The original Lamborghini Gallardo has depreciated massively, but it's still out of reach for the average car enthusiast. Early Gallardos have dipped below the six-figure mark and can be purchased for as little as around $70,000 to $80,000. To all the Wall Street bankers out there, this may seem like chump change, but we like to think this is still a bit hefty for most people who have always dreamed about getting to drive a Lamborghini, let alone own one. Luckily, there happens to be a much cheaper way to drive a car with a Lamborghini engine, and its called the S6.
Most people are familiar with the current C7 generation Audi S6, which packs a detuned version of the RS7's 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with 420 horsepower. This engine is highly tunable, and was later given a power bump from the factory to 450 hp. This engine is even shared with the V8 Bentley Continental, which certainly shows that it has pedigree. However, we think the previous C6 generation S6 had one of the most special engines that was ever put in a sedan. The C6 S6, not to be confused with the C6 Corvette, was powered by a 5.2-liter V10 engine mated to a six-speed ZF automatic transmission. In the S6, this engine produced 429 hp at 6,800 rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm.
This same engine was also used in the larger S8, where it produced 450 hp. However, the more well-known use for this engine was in the Lamborghini Gallardo. Even though the V10 in the S6 wasn't exactly identical to the one Lamborghini used, it was based on the Gallardo's 5.0-liter unit. The Audi version had a longer stroke and larger bore which increased the displacement and gave it more low end torque, thus making it more usable in everyday traffic. It was a four-door sedan after all. The C6 S6 could hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and complete the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds thanks to its Quattro AWD system.
The most important part about the S6's V10 is that with a little help from the aftermarket, it can easily sound just as good as a Gallardo. Here's a nice clip of the European-only wagon variant of the S6 with a Milltek exhaust.
Unlike the Gallardo, the S6 is what we would call a complete bargain. Even the best examples of these cars can be purchased for less than $30,000, but we found plenty of examples that were less than $20,000. It is possible to find one with well over 100,000 miles for around $12,000, but we would aim for one of the $20,000 cars with around 60,000 miles. These cars drive remarkably well, and would challenge most brand-new luxury cars on the market. The S6 has many nice features like navigation, leather seats, and backup camera, as you would expect from a luxury car from the 2000s. However, it won't have more modern features like blind spot monitoring, or connected features or Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The interior technology might be slightly outdated, but this car still rides and drives like any modern Audi and will certainly fool the neighbors into thinking it costs much more than $20,000. Plus, it comes with the ultimate trump card of being able to say that you basically drive a four-door Lamborghini. The maintenance might be pretty expensive, but the S6 is around $10,000 less than a nicely equipped V6 Honda Accord or Toyota Camry. Just take the $10,000 that would have been spent on one of those cars and set it aside for maintenance. Trust us, the S6 will probably need it. We didn't say that owning a Lamborghini was easy, but an older, V10-powered Audi S6 is certainly one of the least expensive alternatives.