Audi A6 Review
Audi's 5 Series rival packs some serious technological clout behind a handsome face
Strengths & weaknesses
- Beautifully made
- Subtle and stylish looks
- Decadent interior
- Pricy options
- Not as good to drive as some rivals
- Ride too hard for some tastes
Audi A6 prices from £13,895 Finance from £308.73 per month
The latest A6 is a tour-de-force of technology. The outside is packed full of sensors, depending on how deep your pockets are. The inside is even more technology laden.
Prices start at £38,640 for the 40TDI in Sport trim, and run to nearly £72,000 for an S-Line trimmed 50TDI with all the bells and whistles.
Pulling the strings of the A6’s technology is Audi’s MMI touch response system. This controls those massive touchscreens that dominate the interior. The top one is either 8.8-inches or 10.1 inches, and the bottom is 8.6-inch. They work in tandem with one another and it’s all very intuitive, for instance, while the top screen is set to navigation, the bottom screen will let you type a destination on a QWERTY keyboard.
The touchscreen itself uses haptic feedback, much like a high end smartphone. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you realise that you need to press the screen until it vibrates, you’ll find it easy enough to use. It’s supposed to mimic a button and Audi reckons it’s safer than regular touchscreens as it gives you feedback to say that it’s recognised your input. This means you don’t have to look at the touchscreen while driving, unlike in some systems.
It also uses Audi’s virtual cockpit, which is a 12.3 inch digital display that replaces the traditional instrument binnacle. It can be programmed to show different information, like navigation instructions or speed, and it works beautifully inside the A6.
The entertainment system also learns phrases, and the voice recognition works well. For instance, it wasn’t phased by, “take me to Bicester”, which would render an American confused. It doesn’t just work with sat nav instructions, but with other functions like turning on the heated seats. An Audi engineer even told us “my bum is cold” will turn on these heated seats.
Elsewhere in the interior, it’s all very well nailed together, and has the latest Apple CarPlay and Android Auto tech. The seats are big and comfortable up front, and in the rear it’s impressive still. The A6 is 21 millimetres longer than the old car and it boasts the largest amount of room in the rear among its competitors.
The boot’s 530-litre capacity is pretty much up there with saloon rivals. The E-Class’ is 10-litres bigger, but it has the same size as the 5 Series and XF.
Below the boot is a set of faux-exhaust pipes. This may not sound important, but it does cheapen a car that can stretch in price to £72,000. As can the radar sensors on the front - they’re ugly pieces of shiny plastic that sit in the grille. While we can’t criticise their performance, they do cheapen the car.
However, what they do is very good. They control the cruise control systems, which will not only monitor cars in front and change speed accordingly, but it will change speeds to the speed limit if you so wish. On our test route we didn’t manage to catch it out, and it slows down and speeds up calmly. Plus, it anticipates corners and slows down for them too.
The most expensive engine, the 50TDI, has a whopping 282hp, and it feels punchy. It never feels as exciting as a 5.5 second 0-62mph time would suggest, but it is a diesel saloon after all.
The 40TDI is a four-cylinder 2-litre diesel. Driving back to back with the V6 50TDI, it feels less immediate, but never feels slow or strained.
The 50TDI engine comes with an 8-speed automatic, whereas the 40TDI engine uses a 7-speed. Without getting in to the nitty gritty, they mostly act the same, both changing gears with subtlety. The only real criticism of either engines and gearbox combination is that the throttle response is really, really sharp in its dynamic setting. This is the sportiest of the settings offered by the dynamic driving modes, and it does make everything much more racy, but it feels strained and at odds with the rest of the car can’t handle it.
The weight also affects the way the car rides. It’s a brilliant way to crush motorway miles, even at motorway + speeds, but on the potholed and uneven a and b roads of Britain it never quite feels settled. The air suspension, in its softest and most compliant setting, does help out, but it’s still not quite perfect.
If you cherish interior quality over everything else, and you find the current trends of SUVs/crossovers/coupes a bit blingy, or even passe, the A6 is a much more subtle way of travelling.
|Warranty||Three years/60,000 miles|
|Boot size||530 litres|
|Tax (min to max)||£205-515 in the first year, £140-£450 thereafter|
Best Audi A6 for...
Best for Economy – Audi A6 50TDI
It might surprise some to find out that the bigger diesel is actually the more economical. Put that down to being less stressed during acceleration.
Best for Families – Audi A6 40TDI
Although the 50TDI is more economical, it’s also more expensive and hard to recommend over the smaller 40TDI for families.
Best for Performance – Audi A6 50TDI
The most powerful variant is a 3.0-litre diesel V6 which will propel itself from 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds, plus, it has four-wheel-drive to keep you on the straight and narrow
- February 2018: New A6 makes public debut at Geneva Motorshow
- September 2018: A6 goes on sale in the UK
- Late 2018: 55TFSI petrol engine goes on sale
Understanding Audi A6 names
From the launch there are only two engines available, both diesels. The 2.0-litre diesel 40TDI and the 3.0-litre 50TDI.
Audi is offering two trim levels at the moment, Sport and S-Line.
There are two gearbox options, both automatics. One is a seven-speed, the other an eight.
Audi A6 Engines
The latest A6 follows Audi’s new naming structure for its engines. The 40TDI is a 2.0-litre diesel, and the 50TDI is a 3.0-litre diesel. A 3.0-litre petrol, badged as a 50TFSI is due later this year.
All the engines also use a mild-hybrid technology, that aids stop/start and improves economy. Neither systems can power the car on electricity alone.
The 50TDI has 282hp and an impressive 620NM of torque. It’s an effortless engine, even with the car’s relatively porky kerb weight, and is the most powerful, and most economical engine in the A6 range at the moment.
Audi reckons it will do around 48.7mpg combined too. We didn’t see close to that on our test route, but when the engine has run in, and it’s on a motorway, this figure would likely be close to achievable. It even sounds muscular, and doesn’t drone like other diesel engines.
It’ll crack 62mph from zero in 5.5 seconds, and while it doesn’t feel particularly exciting while doing it, it’s mightily impressive. This engine comes with an eight-speed auto that makes shifting gears nearly seamless. Although, it can hold on to gears for a bit too long in ‘dynamic’ mode.
The 40TDI, will be the best-seller according to Audi. It’s a four-cylinder unit, but is the more powerful compared to BMW, Mercedes, and Jaguar’s similar units. It has 201hp, and while it does feel a fair chunk slower than the 50TDI (0-62 mph in 8.1s compared to 5.5s for the 50TDI) it never feels slow.
It’s a remarkable feat that such a relatively small engine will transport such a large car with such ease. Audi reckons on 48.7mpg, while less than the larger diesel, not so much less that it’s worth the premium.
The price differential between the two engines is £8470, so the 50TDI is hard to recommend unless you regularly feel the need for speed.
Audi A6 Trims
Sport, S Line
From the get-go, Audi will only offer two trim lines for the new A6.
First up is the cheapest, called Sport. It has 18 inch alloy wheels, LED front and rear lights, a seven-inch entertainment screen, a rear view camera, and parking sensors.
Next up is S Line. This has larger 19-inch alloy wheels, harder and more sporty suspension, Alcantara upholstered seats, and S Line bodykit.
The Comfort and Sound Pack is an additional £1,895 and pulls together some of the most popular options. This includes a 360 degree parking camera that includes a live ‘bird’s-eye view’ of the car, a Bang and Olufsen premium sound system, an LED interior lighting pack, and a keyless entry system.
The Technology Pack is a £1,495 option. This includes additional software on the touchscreen like Google Maps, voice control, Audi’s virtual cockpit, and a phone box which can wirelessly charge a phone, which also enable two different phones to be connected to the car via Bluetooth.
Audi A6 Reliability and warranty
Audi’s three-year/60,000 mile warranty is a standard set for most manufacturers, but on a high-end luxury saloon it feels a bit stingy. Mercedes and BMW both offer no mileage cap with their three-year warranties.
Plus, Audi did finish above both BMW and Mercedes in Auto Express’ 2018 Driver Power car survey. But, overall, more Audi owners reported issues with their cars when compared to Mercedes owners.
Used Audi A6
This new A6 has only just gone on sale, so it’s hard to give useful data here. However, historically, a big problem for the A6, and other big expensive luxury saloons has been depreciation.
This is a win for used buyers, as A6s lose value quicker than cheaper cars.