Audi A6 saloon
Price £31,955 - £56,000
- Ultra version is extremely cheap to run
- Good-quality interior
- Grippy quattro four-wheel drive
- Not as much fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series
- Firm suspension on S line models
- Expensive optional extras
At a glance
"The Audi A6 is the brand's answer to the BMW 5 Series – and this version is the best yet."
The Audi A6 saloon sits between the compact Audi A4 and limousine-like Audi A8 in the brand's model range. It competes with the Mercedes E-Class (the luxurious alternative), the BMW 5 Series (the sporty one) and the Jaguar XF (somewhere in between those two). In short, the Audi A6 is the sensible, conservative choice – still quick, but in standard front-wheel-drive form, not quite as engaging as a 5 Series or XF.
Audi's four-wheel-drive system – called quattro – is available with the more powerful 3.0-litre engine, but it boosts grip rather than the fun driving characteristics associated with a sporty, rear-wheel-drive car. All models feature Audi Drive Select: a system that allows you to choose from a range of different steering, engine and gearbox settings to suit your taste. However, once you've settled on one, you're unlikely to change it, so it feels like a bit of a gimmick.
What's definitely not a gimmick, however, is the A6's sturdy build quality, which should continue to delight you long after the 'new-car smell' has disappeared. The A6 is also well equipped, with the SE, S Line and Back Edition versions all featuring four-zone air-conditioning, DAB digital radio, sat nav, alloy wheels and leather seats. Also included are xenon headlights, LED rear lights, cruise control and hill-hold assist, which prevents the car rolling backwards on inclines.
The A6 is powered by a choice of smooth, powerful and economical 2.0 and 3.0-litre diesel engines. Only the super-sporty S6 version gets a petrol engine. The most economical diesel is the 2.0-litre Ultra. With a seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox and riding on the SE model's 17-inch alloys, it's capable of up to 67.3mpg and costs just £20 a year to tax. Even so, it can do 0-62mph in just 8.2 seconds.
This trim level, engine and transmission combination is our pick of the A6 range – not least because the other specifications have larger wheels and sports suspension, which together result in harsh ride quality. Fortunately, it's possible to specify the SE's softer suspension at no extra cost.
The A6 is a reliable and safe car, too. It was awarded the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests and standard equipment includes tyre-pressure monitors, electronic stability control and parking sensors.
The Audi A6 Ultra features a fuel-sipping 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine that returns more than 67mpg
The Audi A6 is a fast and capable cruiser, but it’s not exactly inspiring to drive
Specify your Audi A6 with small wheels and Dynamic suspension to maximise comfort
The Audi A6 has a bigger boot than a BMW 5 Series and plenty of interior storage
The Audi A6 lives up to its reputation for superb build quality