Audi A6 Review

Find out more about the Audi A6 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Great refinement
  • Diesels work well and efficiently
  • Interior is comfortable and well-thought out

Cons

  • Rivals are more fun
  • Firm ride from S line
  • Expensive options list
  • MPG

    29 - 64

  • CO2

    117 - 171 g/km

Model Review

Carrying on the tradition of one of the brand’s most recognisable models, the Audi A6 replaced the Audi 100 in 1994, although it was based on the same chassis and was renamed due to the company’s new naming policy.

Coming in both saloon and ‘Avant’ models, the second generation came in 1997 with a new curved design and helped propel the A6 into the top echelons of executive vehicles.

Audi also build the S6 and RS6 models, which take the executive platform and give it a much sportier feel, with the Allroad Quattro version providing an off-roading alternative.

The third generation was introduced in 2004 and further refined Audi’s styling ideology with the elegant lines and excellent interior.

With the current fourth generation, Audi has to refine the A6 and that has helped it to become one of the top choices in the

Latest Model

Brought to the market in 2011, the Mk IV A6 came with a longer wheelbase, an even sleeker design and a raft of safety systems that has helped move the A6 to the forefront of the executive saloon sector.

Currently appearing with three trim levels and two diesel engines – with seven states of tune – the A6 comes with plenty of options for customers to choose from, all of which provide a refined drive with good performance.

The range includes the Allroad Quattro, which has a higher ride and rugged exterior suited for the rural environment, and the S6 and RS6 models, which add a sporty dimension to the practical and comfortable model.

In what is a competitive sector, the A6 has to take on a two very familiar foes in the form of the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes E-Class – both of which have a similar pedigree to the Audi yet offer a more involved driving experience. That doesn’t mean that the A6 has its work cut out by any stretch of the imagination.

 

Value for money

In the SE Executive base spec, the A6 comes with plenty of standard accessories, such as leather interior trim, cruise control, multi-zone air conditioning, Audi’s drive select system, bi-Xenon headlights with LED rear lights and the brand’s MMI Navigation and music interface system.

Also coming with Bluetooth, multi-function leather steering wheel, heated front seats and Audi’s parking system plus system, the A6 is crammed with accessories to make your journeys comfortable and is well up to the standard of its rivals. But if you’re looking for a bargain in the A6 range, used models can offer more performance and accessories for less than the £33,880 starting price of a new A6.

Priced at £32,925, a 2013 S6 saloon with a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine under the bonnet with 32,298 miles on the clock is on the market. Fitted with plenty of accessories on top of those fitted to an SE Executive-specced model, the S6 comes with reversing camera, privacy glass, advanced parking assist, quilted leather seat trim on super sport seats, 20-inch alloy wheels and soft-closing doors.

With the added performance, comfort and technological features, this 2013 example may not have all of the safety systems that newer models might do, but in terms of practicality and design it is the same car. Also as it is cheaper and more desirable, this S6 and many others can be found at prices that could be considered an absolute steal.

 

Looks and image

 

Although it isn’t the most exciting car to look at, the A6 is sleek and good-looking that fits well into the saloon categories. Yes, it looks similar to the smaller A4 and more luxurious A8, but is that a bad thing?

The well-thought out design continues inside and the simple yet ergonomic feel gives the A6 a welcoming feel and everything is exactly where it should be. It could be seen as being a bit cluttered, but it doesn’t take long to get used to.

For cruising, few can match the A6 as it soaks up motorway imperfections superbly with the dynamic suspension that comes as standard in base trim and is a no-cost option for other specifications.

Coming with front or four-wheel drive, the A6 does feel quite stable through the corners but rivals will offer more fun to petrol-heads with their rear-wheel drive setups. It does, however, feel nimble and direct on turn-in thanks to responsive steering and a lightweight construction. The larger alloys will take away comfort that the A6 is great for, so it is best to stick with the 17-inch alloys if you can – especially if long drives are a regular occurrence.

Possibly the A6’s party piece is just how comfortable it is. Due to its size it automatically provides lots of space for the passengers and with the extensive head and leg room, even taller people will be very comfortable in the back seats.

The well-structured seats and comfortable suspension means the A6 is a great cruiser, and with exterior noise almost completely drowned out the levels of refinement are truly excellent. Be careful with the sport suspension though, as it becomes skittish over less consistent surfaces and can retract from the overall comfort experience, although that it traded off for great body control and performance.

Space and practicality

One thing saloons aren’t the best at is practicality and despite having a good size boot – 530 litres – the A6 doesn’t adapt as well as other car types, as its rear seats don’t quite fold flat. Audi, however, has the answer in the shapes of the A6 Avant and Allroad Quattro, which as estate models add 30 extra litres of boot space and a cavernous rear space with the 60/40 rear seats folded down. The saloon model does well elsewhere

Audi, however, has the answer in the shapes of the A6 Avant and Allroad Quattro, which as estate models add 30 extra litres of boot space and a cavernous rear space with the 60/40 rear seats folded down. The saloon model does well elsewhere though, and has plenty of cubbyholes and storage spaces throughout the cabin.

Safety-wise it is as you were with the Audi, as the five-star Euro NCAP rating is something that is expected from the German brand. With a 91 per cent rating for adult safety, a safety equipment rating of 86 per cent and a child occupant score of 83 per cent, the A6 scores well in all areas and with the addition of safety equipment, such as the optional night vision, active lane assist and adaptive cruise control, the A6 can adapt well – although many of the top-end technology assistants are expensive options.

With a 91 per cent rating for adult safety, a safety equipment rating of 86 per cent and a child occupant score of 83 per cent, the A6 scores well in all areas and with the addition of safety equipment, such as the optional night vision, active lane assist and adaptive cruise control, the A6 can adapt well – although many of the top-end technology assistants are expensive options.

For families then it could be a good option in terms of practicality and safety, but you will have to keep an eye on the leather interior for general wear and tear and using a leather cleaner to maintain its original look is almost vital to buy if you use it as your family car. It comes with Isofix points on the rear seats for child seats and other fixtures and the rear boot space is good for carrying push chairs and other equipment.

Engines

Coming with two base diesel units – a 2.0-litre TDI with 187bhp and a 3.0-litre TDI ranging from 214bhp up to 313bhp – the A6 comes with seven states of tune and transmission. The high-performance S6 and RS6 models come with turbo petrol engines and produce superb performance.

The base level 2.0-litre Ultra model with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed auto will provide good performance for pretty much everyone, but for the most relaxed yet potent package, any of the 3.0-litre V6 engines will do the job very well indeed.

Four of the engines come with the quattro all-wheel drive system, so if four-wheel drive is a necessity then go for one of those. The entire range is available for all trims. Although petrol engines were available for the standard A6 in previous guises, Audi has phased them out.

 

Running costs

Due to its lightweight structure and turbo diesels, the Ultra engine models are able to achieve over 55mpg and those are the top achievers in the range. The 3.0-litre TDIs can return upwards of 45mpg and the more powerful 4.0-litre TFSI unit for the S6 can return a rather average 30mpg.

The top 3.0-litre BiTDI emits 159 g/km CO2, which means a £500 first-year road tax rate, with a £140 charge every year after. The rest will have a maximum £200 first-year payment with £140 every year after. Insurance groups vary from group 26 up to group 47 for the top S6.

Things to look out for

The A6 has suffered from issues in its older models, such as child lock failure, sudden or failed airbag deployment and the optional powered tailgate closing without warning. Recently though the A6 has cleaned up its act and is doing much better on the reliability front than before.

Rivals

With its two main rivals coming from Germany in the form of the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 5 Series – with both also coming with estate and souped-up models – the Audi A6 has its work cut out to match those two due to their excellent driving feel. The Jaguar XF and Volvo S90 are also capable executive saloons on the market, with the Jaguar focusing more on performance and the S90 going for a more comfort-orientated finish.

Depreciation warning

Unlike other executive cars, the A6 will do well thanks to the Audi badge on the bonnet and a range of reliable engines. The 2.0-litre TDI models will hold their value better due to their lower list price and frugal diesel engines. Due to their desirable nature used buyers will like the lowered prices of the higher trim models, but first-time owners will feel the drop in price.

Which A6 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

40 TDI Sport 4dr S Tronic

Most MPG

40 TDI Quattro Sport 4dr S Tronic

Fastest Model (0-60)

S6 TDI 349 Quattro 4dr Tip Auto

Trims Explained

The standard A6 saloon and Avant models come with three trim levels, with the additional S and Allroad Quattro models also available. Both of those additional versions of the A6 also come with two spec levels .

SE

The A6 is applied with Audi drive select, leather seat trim, parking system plus, cruise control and Audi’s MMI Navigation and music infotainment system. Also fitted is four-zone air conditioning, bi-Xenon headlights, LED rear lights, dynamic suspension, Bluetooth connectivity and phone interface, multi-functional leather steering wheel and keyless go.

Starting at £33,720, the A6 is fitted with plenty of accessories from the lowest trim level and holds its value well on the used market.

S

In the mid-spec S line, the A6 comes with all-LED headlights with high beam assist, sports suspension, mixed leather/alcantara seat coverings, S line sport steering wheel with multimedia controls and perforated leather gear knob.

Electrically adjustable sports seats with driver side memory and heated folding door mirrors are also applied and the step up to S line is £36,470.

Black Edition

The top spec for the standard A6 is the Black Edition and that comes with the black styling pack that includes matte black detailing on the grille, high-gloss black detailing around the grille and windows and for the Avant models matte black roof rails. Also fitted are 20-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, three-spoke, flat-bottomed leather steering wheel and a Bose surround sound system. It certainly is the meanest looking of the three, although if you want a more aggressive look, pick either the S6 or RS6.

The RS6 Black Edition has a starting price of £38,695.

Summary

  1. Comfortable cruiser
  2. Well-refined engine and ride experience
  3. Older models could suffer from issues
  4. Rivals can be more exciting to drive
  5. Running costs are okay for model type
  6. Good safety options, but can be expensive
  7. Options list is expensive
  8. Practical for a saloon
  9. Estate and sportier models are excellent
  10. Competitively priced

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