Review

Audi A6 saloon

Price  £31,955 - £56,000

Audi A6 saloon

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Ultra version is extremely cheap to run
  • Good-quality interior
  • Grippy quattro four-wheel drive
Cons
  • Not as much fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series
  • Firm suspension on S line models
  • Expensive optional extras

At a glance

The greenest
2.0 TDI 190PS Ultra SE S tronic 4dr £33,485
The cheapest
2.0 TDI 190PS Ultra SE 4dr £31,955
The fastest
4.0 TFSI quattro 4dr £56,000
Top of the range
4.0 TFSI quattro 4dr £56,000

"The Audi A6 is the brand's answer to the BMW 5 Series – and this version is the best yet."

Those wanting an alternative to the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar XF need look no further than the Audi A6. It has one of the nicest interiors in its class and for 2014 has been restyled – reflecting other Audi models such as the new Audi TT – and given a new super-economical engine called the Ultra. Inside, there are new trim finishes to choose from and the car's infotainment system is now quicker to operate. As before, the A6 is available as the Audi A6 Avant estate, while the Audi S6 is currently the fastest model in the range. We’ve reviewed both separately.

While the Audi's three main rivals mentioned above are rear-wheel drive, basic versions of the Audi A6 are front-wheel drive, which makes for safe and predictable handling rather than sporty driving thrills. Buyers can also choose Audi's famous quattro four-wheel-drive system, which improves stability on wet and slippery roads, but adds little to the driving experience. All models come with Audi Drive Select, which lets owners adjust the steering, engine and gearbox to prioritise comfort, economy or handling, but it's a gimmick that you’re unlikely to still be bothering with after a couple of months’ ownership.

A frequently mentioned downside of the A6 is the stiff ride on cars fitted with sports suspension and large alloy wheels, but this problem has been resolved by Audi's decision to offer softer Dynamic suspension at no extra cost on higher-specification models.

Low running costs make the Ultra model the one to go for – it can return more than 60mpg and is very cheap to tax. Its frugality doesn’t come at the expense of performance – the economical Audi still has a top speed of more than double the legal limit and accelerates swiftly.

Trim levels include SE, S line, Black Edition and the performance-orientated S6. All models come with sat nav, alloy wheels, a leather interior, xenon headlights, LED rear lights, a powerful stereo and four-zone climate control, which allows all four occupants to adjust the air temperature and fan speed to their liking.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.4 / 5

The Audi A6 Ultra features a fuel-sipping 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine that returns more than 67mpg

Engines, drive & performance

4.3 / 5

The Audi A6 is a fast and capable cruiser, but it’s not exactly inspiring to drive

Interior & comfort

4.2 / 5

Specify your Audi A6 with small wheels and Dynamic suspension to maximise comfort

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

The Audi A6 has a bigger boot than a BMW 5 Series and plenty of interior storage

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

The Audi A6 lives up to its reputation for superb build quality

What the others say

3.8 / 5
based on 2 reviews
4 / 5
It's certainly a lot better looking than its predecessor – even if it does look like a slightly smaller A8. Its aerodynamic shape boasts some sharp surfacing and a lovely curved roofline, while the neat taillights and that bold grille with its smart LED daytime running lights really finish things off. Inside, the baby A8 feel continues. The dashboard sweeps classily across the facia, the centre console is logically laid out and all the materials, from metals to plastics to leathers, are of a really high standard.
3.5 / 5
The surprise is that the lowliest A6 is actually a lot more entertaining. In fact it's the pick of the range for a good time, because it feels the most natural. The 2.0 TDI engine makes a lively 175bhp, and matched to the standard six-speed manual it involves you in the driving process in a way the DSG-only 3.0 TFSI doesn't.
Going down the budget route on the engine front in this segment usually involves major compromises on the performance and refinement fronts. But this tried-and-trusted VW group two-litre common rail unit is well known for its smoothness as well as pulling power, delivering a healthy 280lb ft, only five percent less torque than its three-litre brethren.

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What owners say

4.2794117647059
4.3 /5 based on 170 reviews
70%
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated
26 Nov 2014
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