Audi A6 saloon
Price £32,295 - £56,545
- Ultra version is extremely cheap to run
- Grippy quattro four-wheel drive
- Good-quality interior
- Expensive optional extras
- Firm suspension on S line models
- Not as much fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series
At a glance
"The Audi A6 is the German brand's answer to the BMW 5 Series – and this version is the best yet."
The Audi A6 is a mid-size executive saloon (also available as the Audi A6 Avant estate) that competes with the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar XF. These cars are distinctly different, the BMW being the sporty all-rounder, the Mercedes focusing more on luxury and the Jaguar offering a blend of both. The Audi, meanwhile, is the safe and conservative choice, but a recent update has made it more appealing than ever.
Some versions with the powerful 3.0-litre diesel engine have Audi's popular quattro four-wheel-drive system. It's focused on providing good all-weather grip, rather than competing with the sporty, rear-wheel-drive 5 Series. It's possible to fine-tune the A6 to your driving style using the Audi Drive Select feature that's standard on all versions. This allows you to choose different steering, engine and gearbox settings, but the likelihood is that you’ll settle on one and leave it at that.
Audis are known for their impressive build quality and the A6 is no exception. In fact, no car in the class can quite touch it. Standard equipment is good across the three trim levels in the range. Even the ‘basic’ SE has four-zone air-conditioning, DAB digital radio, sat nav, leather seats and alloy wheels. Further highlights include xenon headlights, LED rear lights and cruise control.
Audi understands the executive market, which is why the A6 engine line-up is dominated by tax-efficient diesels. There's just one petrol: a powerful 4.0-litre under the bonnet of the sporty, range-topping S6. Otherwise, it's a choice of smooth, economical and powerful 2.0 and 3.0-litre diesels.
From a fuel-economy point of view, the star of the line-up is the 2.0-litre TDI Ultra SE with Audi's seven-speed S tronic automatic gearbox. Riding on its standard 17-inch wheels, it can manage 67.3mpg and costs just £20 a year to tax – and it still does 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds. In fact, this is our favourite model in the A6 line-up.
Higher trim levels have firmer suspension and larger wheels, which do nothing for the ride comfort. Fortunately, you can specify the car with the softer standard suspension at no extra cost.
Not surprisingly, given its solid construction, the A6 has an excellent reliability record. It's safe, too, with five stars from Euro NCAP to prove it and a list of safety features, among them six airbags, seatbelt warning buzzers, tyre-pressure monitors and electronic stability control, in support.
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